Shearer & Fain Family Photos


Readers are invited to continue to contribute pictures to this web site.  ALLIED SURNAMES ARE:  FAIN, MASON, QUEEN, QUINN, KILPATRICK,  ALLEN, BARONIAN, WALKER, and others.  See our page on Photo-ops for you.

Laura Mason Shearer, whose photo is at the lower part of this page, was a Fain descendant through her mother, Mary Ann Fain → John Fain → Ebenezer Fain → Nicholas Fain.

The Fain family made a unique contribution to the American Revolution.  They appear to be the only family that contributed five members to the American Armies.  The founder of the American Fain family, Nicholas Fain, was the descendant of a French Huguenot family that fled France when King Louis XIV decided to revive Protestant persecutions in 1685.  The Fains fled to Ireland.  In the mid-1750s, Nicholas Fain brought his young family to Pennsylvania and then followed the general movement of the country into the Appalachians.  When the Revolution came, he and three sons plus a son-in-law (Andrew Evans) fought at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain, SC.

Click on the photos to get a larger version.

A memorial to the Patriot Family of Nicholas Fain

Map to King's Mountain

The route taken by the farmer-soldiers, known as the "over-mountain men," who defeated the British in one hour at King's Mountain.

The Tennessee SAR gives three cheers for Revolutionary soldiers Nicholas, Samuel, and John Fain.

To celebrate this unusual Fain family contribution to the founding of the country, a memorial was placed at the graves of Nicholas, Samuel, and John at Reed Cemetery, near Johnson City, TN.  Among other family members, a son David had been killed by Indians prior to the Revolution.  Elizabeth Fain married Pvt. Andrew Evans, and together they were among the pioneer families of Indiana following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.   Capt. John Fain was later ambushed and killed by Cherokees while he and his small band of troops were getting apples from an abandoned orchard in Tellico Plains (TN).  Reuben, the youngest son, was only twelve at the time of the King’s Mountain Battle.  It is not know whether he also participated in some patriot fighting.  He moved to SC with his brother Ebenezer after the conflict ended.

Ebenezer Fain, the youngest of those Fain family members known to have served in the Revolution,  volunteered for service with American armies four times during the War.  He too fought at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain.  He later moved first to South Carolina, then to to Habersham County, GA, where he received land in the Cherokee Land Lottery.  He applied for a pension on the basis of his Revolutionary Service.  Click HERE to see a copy of the original in a PDF file.  A typescript of the pension request can be found in the records of Revolutionary soldiers at the Library of Congress.  This original also has some family records written into a Bible, plus the handwriting of a youthful Samuel Fain trying out his penmanship on the record.

Other Fain family photos are shown below.

Mercer Fain, Iron manufacturer, Railroad president, Murphy, NC

S. F. Fain, 1861

Revolutionary guard at Ebenezer Fain Memorial

♦ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

As the Fains were moving from Tennessee to SC and GA, the Shearers were moving from Virginia to North Carolina.  They moved as a group to Rutherford and eventually settled in Cherokee County.   James William Shearer (b. 1774), who married Nancy Allen in Mecklenburg County, VA in 1789, moved with his children.  The daughters of whom we have records married Enoch Burnett, Isaac Truitt, and William Preston West.    Most of these families lived near each other in Cherokee County by the 1840s.

The tomb of Jessey Shearer, son of James William Shearer and Nancy Allen Shearer

Jessey Shearer (1809-1891) married  Margaret Queen in Macon Co, NC, on Oct. 26, 1833.   They had eight children:  James M.,  Nancy, John Wesley, Drury H., Susannah, Henry Clay, Margaret, and Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson Shearer was born on Christmas Day in 1855.  He married Laura Mason, whose mother Mary Ann Fain was the granddaughter of Ebenezer Fain, as noted above.  Laura was born on April 17, 1859, one of eleven children.  She and Tom Shearer married in 1883 and had five children (or six, as one may have died in infancy).  Tom died in McCaysville, GA in 1938.  Laura survived another 11 years.

Click here for a pedigree chart of the children of Tom & Laura Shearer.

In  photo at left, Tom and Laura are surrounded by their adult children. In the
center photo the Shearer clan has assembled.  At right, a 4-generation
photo of Laura, daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter.

Photos of Richard Mason and Mary Ann Fain Mason

Richard Mason and Mary Ann Fain Mason

Mary Ann Fain Mason

Mary Ann Fain Mason's Application for Civil War Widow's Pension


49 Responses to “Shearer & Fain Family Photos”

  1. Mark Shearer Says:

    I’m not sure who put all this together but thanks. I am a descendant of Thomas Jefferson Shearer. His son Grady T. Shearer was my great grandfather. I have been meaning to start looking into the family history and this is a great help.

    On another note my son Nolan Thomas Shearer was born just a few days ago; December 15th. He will have to carry the name for a while.


    Mark Shearer

  2. Sharon Conley Says:

    Nicholas Fain’s youngest son wasn’t Ebenezer, it was Reuben, from whom I descend.

    • shearerblog Says:

      Thank you for your input. I have restated this information.
      Incidentally, I found a Reuben Fain in a SC census. I presume this is Ebenezer’s brother.

      Again, many thanks.

    • Leo Fain Says:

      To Sharon Conley.
      I too am a decendant of Reuben Fain.
      Nicholas Fain > Reuben Fain > Mathew Fain> John Thomas Bryant Fain> John Thomas Fain> Leo B Fain Sr> Leo B Fain Jr( me).
      I saw a photo of John Thomas Fain that my Aunt Jessie in Cairo , GA had. The photo was taken in front of a portch with all of the men dressed in black suits and sporting hats and beards. Unforunately , no one could remember which of the men in the photo was my Grandfather ( John Thomas Fain )
      …Do you have any photos of the Fain Family ?

      Thanks for your time and patience,

      • Sharon Conley Says:

        Leo, Please email me at
        I am confused on the lineage you posted.
        I do have some photos of the Fain’s. They are copies of copies. Not great but useable.
        Sharon Conley

      • John H. Fain Says:

        Leo, I am also doing some research on the Fain Family. My grandfather was Andrew Jackson Fain (aka, Big Jack), also a son of John Thomas Bryant Fain – I assume your grandfather’s brother. I understand John Thomas Bryant Fain was born on 4/9/1839, died on 10/27/1919 and married Sarah J. Pritchett, but don’t know the date – do you? John Fain, Virginia Beach.

    • Daniel Jaworski Says:

      To Sharon Conley,
      My younger sister and brother are the grand children of Hugh Smith Fain, who was the son of Aurther Franklin Fain, who descended from Edward Carol Fain, Andrew Jackson Fain, Reuben Fain, and eventually, Nicholas Fain. Do you have any records that officially connect Andrew Jackson Fain to Reuben Fain and back? If you do and you’d be willing to copy them, we’d be incredibly grateful. My email address is

  3. Rhinoplasty : Says:

    it is always interesting to know each of our family history ”

  4. Sadonna (Shearer) Schwab Says:

    I’m looking for the parents of my great-grandfather, also named Thomas Jefferson Shearer, born 2-24-1874. Info to date is sketchy at best, but is believed to have been born in Illinois, married ‘Elizabeth’ (surname unknown) and had two sons, Orville Lilborn-born 5/16/1898 and Basil Thomas-born 1901 but died 1902. Just wondering if the ‘Thomas Jefferson Shearer’s’ could some how be related.

    • Elaine Burklow Says:

      I think you are looking at the wrong Shearer family. My Great (x3) grandfather, Edward Shearer married the sister of his deceased wife, and they had several more children. Thomas Jefferson Shearer was born on 2-2-24-1874 in Hardin County, Illinois. I have a little more info!

      • shearerblog Says:

        There are many Shearer families in Scotland, England, US, Canada, Australia. Most are not related. Shearer is an occupational surname based on the work done by the person with that surname. One theory about the name is that a shearer was a person who cut the tiny fibers off wool fabric, or sheared it down to make a smoother surface. It is likely that many early holders of the surname Shearer were related, just because it would be common for members of a family to learn a craft and then to earn a living from it. But by the time you get to 17th or 18th century immigration, there were many Shearer families.
        So the two Thomas Jefferson Shearers are probably not part of the same family unless the Hardin County group can trace back to Richard Shearer of Virginia or one of his ancestors.
        — The Editor

      • Philip M Shearer Says:

        Hello, i am a Shearer as well, no precise idea which branch or which family specifically.
        I do know that our family originally comes from the northernmost coast of Scotland, in a town that we visited with my parents and siblings.
        The word “shearer” comes from the occupation “sheep shearing”.

  5. Welder work Says:

    of course we need to know our family history so that we can share it to our kids ~,.

  6. Ron Janke Says:

    You state the Nicholas Fain Memorial is placed at the grave site of Nicholas Fain, John and Samuel in Reed Cemetery. Reed Cemetery is not the grave site of Nicholas Fain and his sons. The memorial was placed there due to the location and is located on land formally owned by the Fain family. As far as I know, no one has any documentation showing the place of buriel for Nicholas.

    • shearerblog Says:

      You are probably correct. The earliest speculation I found was that Nicholas was buried at Knob Hill. The Fain Family is of considerable interest to genealogists and historians as well, and has been the subject of at least a few assertions that do not seem very likely, including the origin of the surname.
      The best authority on the Nicholas Fain Memorial is Dean Thomas. You might wish to contact him if you have a question on the actual grave site for Nicholas, John, and Samuel Fain.
      – The Editor

  7. Jeannie Pappas Says:

    So glad to see so much family information. I descend from Nicholas Fain and his son, Thomas Fain who married Mary Parramore. Their daughter, Mary Fain married John Martin and their daughter, Lavinia Martin married John A Bird/Byrd. These were my 3rd g-grandparents

  8. Philip Arlen Wiles, Sr. Says:

    Wonderful web-site! I too am a descendant of John Fain. His daughter Matilda Adeline married Benjamin G. Holland; their daughter Martha Jane married Benjamin Franklin Collins; their daughter Exie is my mother who married James Preston Wiles my father.

  9. Deborah Hall Daugherty Says:

    Hello. I am descended from Mary Ann Fain and Richard Mason. There is so much rich information on Nicholas, Ebenezer and John S Fain but I cannot find who Richard Mason’s parents were. Do you by any chance have that informatin? I sure wish someone out there did? I have put ads in the newspaper in Murphy and placed blind calls to Masons in Murphy all to no avail.
    I hope to hear from you. Debbie Hall Daugherty

  10. Richard Zollman Says:

    I’d like to also thank you for the information regarding my sixth great grandfather Nicholas Fain. His son John was my fifth great grandfather. Could you please email me the location of the monument to the Fain family. I grew up in East Tennesse but live in Georgia. Each time I go back I like to vist a place that is significant to my ancestry. I’d love to visit this monument, even though I know its not the actual resting place, I’m sure his spirit is nearby.

    • shearerblog Says:

      The monuments to Nicholas Fain and two sons are Pvt. in the Reed Cemetery, Knob Creek, Washington County, Tennessee, in the outskirts of Johnson City.
      — Ed.

  11. Lori Fain Albrecht Says:

    I am a descendent of Reuben Fain. Does anyone know what city in Ireland Nicholas was from? Thanks!

    • shearerblog Says:

      There is a lot of speculation about the Fain family, some of which seems possible, some of which unlikely.

      The likely information is that the Fains were originally French Huguenots. Huguenots (Calvinist Protestants) were under the protection of King Henry IV (1553-1610), upon whose death their rights were gradually stripped. Louis XIV attempted to drive them out by revoking their protections in 1685, subjecting them to massacres, slavery, burnings, and other persecutions. These Protestants were the craftsmen of France, the watch-makers, weavers, glass-makers. About 200,000 fled to other countries. It is at least a likely theory that the Fains left France shortly after 1685.

      Nicholas’ grandfather, Charles, is alleged to have been born in 1666 in Ireland. The date is believable. The location less so. His wife is supposed to be Sarah Anderson. No documentation is provided. However, Anderson is a Scottish name, so if the Fains fled to northern Ireland (where the Scot Protestants lived in large numbers), Charles’ marriage to a person of that name is possible.

      Nicholas’ father William was allegedly born in Ireland in 1698 and married Margaret McMahon. Margaret, also likely a Scot, was born in 1702 in County Down and emigrated to America, possibly to Pennsylvania Colony along with Nicholas. She died in 1774 in Walker’s Creek, Rockbridge, Virginia Colony.
      It has been postulated that the Fains moved to Ireland where they became the barons of Carlow, living principally in the counties of Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow. This is highly unlikely. The landed overlords of Ireland were English, not French, Anglican, not Calvinist, and to become a baron you would have to ingratiate yourself with the monarch. And if you were a baron, you would probably not give it all up to become a peddler in Pennsylvania.

      Nicholas and his wife Elizabeth supposedly settled in the town of New Garden, named for a town in Carlow.

      The name “Fainyance” has been put forward as an early variant of the name, but it is unlikely. A modern search of French telephone books uncovers no such surname. There was an early colonist in Canada named Fain (a Protestant, like Nicholas).

      There is a great interest in the Fain Family. I invite anyone who has theories about their years in Ireland or documentation to enter a comment on these pages.
      — The Editor

      • Kathy Says:

        I am a descendent of Nicholas Fain and have been trying to find out the town or county in Ireland he came from. The info of his mother Margaret being from County Down is the first thing I’ve heard, thank you. At least it gives me a place to start.
        In researching Nicholas’ info about where he lived in Chester County, Pennsylvania, I found the name “Nicholas Fane” on the tax rolls for that county in 1762, 1763, and 1764. See the Chester County, PA Archives website. The township he’s listed in in New Garden, so that fits with the info in this post.
        This is a great site!
        If anyone has info about the Irish county or town Nicholas was from, or even an area or province, please contact me.

  12. Nicholas fain | Fotohint Says:

    […] Shearer & Fain Family Photos « Shearer Genealogy NotesNov 21, 2011 … The founder of the American Fain family, Nicholas Fain, was the descendant of a … In the mid-1750s, Nicholas Fain brought his young family to … […]

  13. Emily P. West Says:

    My husband is a descendant of Mary “Polly” Shearer who married William Preston West through their son, John Wiley West. Both of us would be very interested in any information you have on this Shearer ancestor and her family. We live in North Carolina and are planning a trip to Cherokee County, NC in early summer.

  14. Peter Says:

    This is great information. I am a descendant of Elizabeth Fain and Pvt. Andrew Evans, my grandfather was born in Indiana and it is interesting to hear that his forbears were pioneers there.
    If you could provide links to specific sources about Andrew Evans and Elizabeth Fain in Indiana, I would be most grateful

    Many thanks


  15. Brenda Babb Says:

    I am also of the Shearer family. I would like to get ahold of someone with some questions that i have. I am Brenda Faye (Dougherty) Babb. My mother is Clara Sue (Shearer) Dougherty. Her dad is Hiram Shearer of Elk Valley, Tenn. (close to Jellico, Tenn) and I have family records back to Charles and Elmira Shearer. Since I was little, I have known about the Shearer Schoolhouse, And knew it was apart of my family. But what I dont know is what happened to it changing hands to the Church of God of Prophecy (Did the Shearers lose it, or give it to the church?) And did the Shearers terrorise the church? I also grew up in the Church of God of Prophecy. so i have connections on both sides. If anyone has any answers on this matter, could you get ahold of me. (

    • shearerblog Says:

      The Shearer Schoolhouse is no longer standing. The only thing left is a sign. It did not change hands to the Church of God. It was owned by the Shearers. The schoolhouse was used by a group who held revival meetings in it.

      This group of what we would now call Pentecostals was controversial in the community, possibly because of rumors that they were “snake handlers.” (In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them…” –Mark 16:17-18). Other stories that circulated about this group were that they were ruffians, or barn burners, and the actual burning of a barn fanned the animosity towards the group. Both sides in this community uproar felt threatened by the other group. There is some testimony that one of the pentecostal converts was hurt by another person, but the names of these people are not known. At any rate, hostile feelings rent the Camp Creek community.

      The controversy was ended when the schoolhouse was dismantled. The religious movement that began there was headed by R.G. Spurling and first called the Christian Union, then The Holiness Church, and eventally the Church of God.
      — The Editor

  16. Brenda Babb Says:

    I did know that the building is not there anymore, I have been there and seen the sign. Are you a shearer? Can you tell me about the boys who caused trouble and had to go to court? And were they shearers? Any other info? what did you mean the building had been dismantled? I thought it burned down.

    • shearerblog Says:

      The revivalists were removed from the schoolhouse by Cherokee County officials. There is no documentation that cites members of the Shearer clan involved in court proceedings. The revivalists continued to meet in the woods and elsewhere and were hounded by some other area residents, particularly night riders. Almost all new movements in religious history have met considerable initial resistance from established groups, and these Pentecostals were no exception. Most Pentecostal websites mention few if any details of the controversy. There is some disagreement over the impact of this revival on the growth of Pentecostalism, among both Pentecostals and independent historians.
      For further information:
      Deborah Vansau McCauley, Appalachian Mountain Religion (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995).
      Thomas Burton, Serpent-Handling Believers (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

  17. Russell Fain Says:

    I am also a descendent of Samuel Fain, I think. I have found four George Washington Fain’s in my family (including my father). The first was a son of William Fain (married to Sarah Noland), who was a son of Samuel Fain. I’m just curious if I am accurate in my own research? There are quite a few Fain’s here in Oklahoma.

  18. robin abrams Says:

    I am a descendent of Reuben Fain and Jennie Clark. Does anyone have any information on them or their daughter, Nancy Fain. thank u robin

  19. goins Says:

    I’m concerned William Fain, one of Nicholas’ sons, doesn’t receive due credit for fighting in the revolution alongside his father at the Battle of King’s Mountain as per documentation in Tennessee Cousins.

  20. goins Says:

    Here is a link to the DAR information on William Fain, ancestor # A038310

    I’ve not seen the cemeteries you’re speaking of.

    • shearerblog Says:

      Although this isn’t specifically a Fain site, I’ve added another page on the Fains because of the numerous questions on this site and general interest in the family.
      — The Editor

  21. Melody Martin Beck Says:

    I am also a descendent of Nicholas Fain. A distant relative of mine published a book in the late 1980s titled The Fain Family of Southwest Georgia. We are trying to secure rights for a reprinting. Very interesting info in the book. There were only 60 copies I belief and our family was lucky enough to have one. It was written by Agnes Perritt who is now deceased.

  22. Allan Fain Says:

    Melody, Do you have any further information about the Book “The Fain Family of Southwest Georgia”? I am a Fain whose family orginated there, but we can’t find any concrete documentation other than Middleton Fain who married Syntha Sketon in Ga about 1831 (Fulton Co. I think) or so. He was a GGGrandfather and moved immediately to AL, where I can pick up the lineage.

  23. Melody Beck Says:

    I will look in the book and see what I find. Will let you know.

  24. Melody Beck Says:

    Allan, they are not in the Fain book. However, I did find him on a public family tree on His fathers name was John Fain. Good luck.

  25. Robert Strickland Says:

    I find this site about the Fain’s most interesting. I am a descendant of the Fain Family through Thomas Fain’s daughter Clara, my GGGrandmother who married Reuben Strickland down in Decatur County, Georgia.

  26. Allan Fain Says:

    Thanks for the Fain family info. It is mentioned the Fain’s went from the

    Johnson City Tn area to SC to Ga. Do you have any info on
    Which Fain’s went to Ga. Its where our family is from but cannot
    Find anything earlier than Middleton Fain 1809-1876
    Thanks Allan Fain.

    • Robert Strickland Says:

      Hi Allan, the only Fain’s that I know for sure in Decatur County is Thomas’s family, because, as I say, my GGGrandmother is Clara. Decatur County, GA actually has a marker with Thomas’ name on it in tribute to him, along with others, as a Revolutionary War Soldier that helped to settle Decatur County.

  27. Jeannie Says:

    There is a book on the Fain family in the Bainbridge library in Decatur County, GA. These are the descendants of Thomas Fain and Mary Parramore.

  28. Melody Martin Beck descendent of Addie Fain Martin Says:

    I am a from the Fain family and live in Albany, Georgia. The book that someone referred to is The Fain Family of Southwest Georgia and was written by Agnes Perritt Axson in 1986. I just had the book reprinted last year for my family. This book is a detailed history of the family and traces their roots back to Nicholas Fain who was born in Ireland in 1730. He was the first emigrant to America.

  29. Blog Editor Says:

    There is also another older book entitled “Men of Mark in Georgia: A Complete and Elaborate History …, Volume 6.” It lists several members of the Fain Family. You can search it online through Google Books. –
    — The Editor

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