Biography of John A. Fairman
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

JOHN A. FAIRMAN, a prominent retired funeral director and livery keeper, of Allegheny city. Pa., has been identified with the business interests of Allegheny city for almost half a century. He was born in what is now the fourth ward of the city, in 1845, and is a son of Robert and Agnes Fairman, both of whom are well remembered by the older inhabitants of the city. Robert Fairman died Oct. 5, 1878, and his wife on June 20, 1895. John A. Fairman's early education was acquired in the fourth ward public school, after which he took a course at Duff's college, Pittsburg, and entered upon his business career as an assistant in William Rorah's photograph gallery, which was the first west of the mountains in Pennsylvania. While thus employed, the Civil war broke out and young Fairman, fired by the patriotic impulses which at that time found lodgment in the hearts of so many American citizens, left his peaceful occupation to take up arms in defense of his country. He first enlisted as a private in the ist battalion, Pennsylvania cavaler, but later became a member of Knapp's Pennsylvania battery. He served until February, 1864, being captured at Averasboro, N. C, and was for some time an inmate of the famous Libby prison. At the close of the war he returned to Allegheny city and became associated with his father in the undertaking business. In 1869 he went to Cleveland, Ohio, as secretary and treasurer of the Forest City pipe works, manufacturers of steam and gas pipes. In 1873 he sold out his interest in the company, returned to Allegheny city, and opened an undertaking and livery establishment on Beaver avenue. Afterwards he removed to Sandusky street, where he conducted the business successfully until 1879, when he sold out, and for the next two years was not actively engaged in any business. In 1881 he became connected with the Pittsburg oil company, in sinking wells, etc., in which he continued until 1884, and since that time he has been looking after his interests in that vicinity. Mr. Fairman is a prominent figure in the lodge and club life of Allegheny city. As early as 1867 he joined Franklin lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, but later transferred his membership to Allegheny lodge, No. 223. He is also a member of Allegheny chapter, No. 217, Royal Arch Masons, and Lorena Orr chapter, No. 18, Order of the Eastern Star. As a member of Abe Patterson post, No. 88, Grand Army of the Republic, he has held the office of commander, an honor that any man might covet. He belongs to Allegheny lodge. No. 339, B. P. O. Elks, of which he is a past exalted ruler, and in which he now holds the important office of trustee. He was also the chairman of the building committee, having in charge the work of remodeling the Elks' home on Cedar avenue. Mr. Fairman has always been a consistent republican, but the only office he has ever held was that of member of the common council of Allegheny city. He was prominently mentioned in connection with the office of sheriff of Allegheny county, but positively refused to become a candidate. Throughout his entire business career he has been distinguished by his uprightness and integrity. As a member of the council he considered it his duty to guard the interests of the people, and that duty was always well performed. As a young man, a member of Knapp's battery, the same devotion to duty marked his military conduct. Had he been willing to desert his post at a critical moment, he might have avoided capture and imprisonment, but he preferred capture, or even death, to dishonor.


From:
Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
personal and genealogical with portraits.
Publishers: Northwestern Historical Association
Madison, Wis. 1904.


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