Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 213 & 217
submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, Sept. 8, 2007

Aug 14, 1886.

The sad message was wired to Mr. James H. St. John, of this city, late on Saturday, announcing the death at Santa Cruz, California, on Saturday morning of Deacon Pliny Fay, late of Muscatine. The sorrowful news has been anticipated to some degree since it was known that Mr. Fay’s health had suffered a relapse from a renewed attach of his old malady of salt rheum. He was over 74 years of age and there could be little hope of his being able to resist the serious advances of a virulent disease. But the news of his death falls with no less pain on his multitude of friends in this city and county because of its dread anticipation.

Deceased was born in Framingham, Mass., March 4, 1812. He was among the earliest settlers of Muscatine, arriving here in the “thirties,” and celebrating his marriage in this city April 1, 1840, with Miss Adelia St. John, who had moved to Iowa in those territorial times, from Ludlowville, N.Y. Mr. Fay bore a prominent and influential part in the social, business, political and religious movements of this community from his arrival in Muscatine, during a period of thirty-three years, until the state of his health compelled him, in the fall of 1873, to see the genial clime of Santa Cruz, where he has since resided. Mrs. Fay died in Santa Cruz, December 15, 1884, and her loss seems to have had a blighting effect upon the recuperative energies of her husband. The dispatch was a simple statement of his death with no particulars.

Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Fay, a son, Hamilton, now of Santa Cruz; Mary, wife of Rev. J.M. Strong, now of Waukegan, Ill., and Ella, (deceased) wife of Rev. J.M. Chamberlain, of Grinnell, Iowa.

Deceased filled many important public trusts while a resident of Iowa and was United States Assessor for this District under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. But he will be best and longest remembered as Deacon Fay, for the deaconship he held and honored for so many years in the First congregational Church of this city. It is not a little remarkable that this church should lose three of its most beloved and time-honored deacons in almost the same half-year. Deacon Foster dying January 21, in his 75th year, Deacon Cornelius Cadle, Mary 11, in his 77th year, and now, Deacon Pliny Fay, August 14, in his 75th year. Few churches in the country have had such cause to mourn for the falling of its strong pillars, and none have had cause for a nobler pride in its membership than the one whose list is graced with the names of Foster, Calde and Fay.



Died, in Santa Cruz, California, Aug. 14th 1886, Pliny Fay, aged 74 years. Pliny Fay was born in Framingham, Mass., the 4th of March 1812, where he lived until April 20th, 1833, when with his mother he left the old home for Cincinnati, Ohio, whither three brothers had preceeded them, and settled May 7th, 1833.

Solon, Edward E., and Pliny Fay purchased horses and outfit for a horseback exploration of three months, of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, and entered the town of Chicago, Ill., June 22d, 1833. At that time the estimated number of inhabitants was 800, including one hundred Indians, Old Shaberny, Chief, and the U.S. troops at Fort Dearborn. The foundation of the town seemed to be principally mud and water, the latter covering nearly the whole distance from the Lake to Widow Berry’s Point, nine miles away. The road was indicated by stakes at intervals.

In two days there were ready to bid adieu to Chicago and its inhabitants. They traveled together to Aurora, where they separated-Solon and Edward E., going to what was then called the Military Tract, lying between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, to the confluence. Pliny left Aurora for Dixon, Galena, Mineral Point and Dubuque. At the latter place he sold his outfit and took a steamer for St. Louis, July 4, 1833. Solon, Thomas S. and Pliny engaged in business in Alton, Ill., where Solon and Thomas lie buried.

In April, 1837, Edward E., who had settled in Muscatine, Iowa, was taken with bleeding of the lungs. He sent for his brother, Pliny, who came and remained here for thirty-six years. His mother, brothers Socrates and Edward, and the latter’s wife, are buried here.

October 15, 1873, Pliny Fay started to California to benefit his health.

He married Adelia St. John April 1st, 1840, who died in Santa Cruz, Dec. 15, 1884.



Old Settler’s Anniversary.
Picnic and Excursion to the Month of Pine-List of the Excursionists-Speeches, etc.

Sept. 8, 1886--- The following papers, commemorative of two old settlers who died the past year, were then read by the secretary:


    I have been requested to present to this meeting of the old settlers of Muscatine county some notes of Mr. Pliny Fay, one of the earlier members of our fraternity.

    Mr. Fay was born March 4, 1812 at, Framingham, Mass., and died at Santa Cruz, California, Aug. 14, 1886, 74 years and 5 months old. He came to Muscatine, Iowa, in 1837 and resided here till 1873 36 years.

    It is a labor of love to the writer to pen these words in reference to this one among the oldest settlers. He first gave to me, as a Congregational minister, a warm greeting and welcome to Iowa and Muscatine, and the sincerity of that welcome was demonstrated by 30 years of faithful help and confidence and unfaltering support, as a brother and deacon in the church of which I have been for forty-three years of his faithful support his healthy demanded, as he thought, a change of climate; and now we are to express in a few words of sense of his worth, he having this past year departed this life, and gone to the better land and larger life;

    , That in our departed brother, Pliny Fay, who lived with us for 36 years and in Santa Cruz, California, for 13 years, we recognize, with thanks to God and with honor to our friend, a man who had to stay only a short time in any place to make the impression that he was an honest man, and what is more, a consistent Christian, and a man who could not stay long enough (though 36 years in one place and 13, in another, making nearly 50 years of manhood life) to cast any suspicion or leave any stain upon that character. We rejoice that we have abundant evidence that, on the contrary, that character grew brighter and clearer still, till the hour of his passing quietly away near the shore of the Pacific sea.

    If, as the Bible says, the blessed man is he who “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord,” then do we thus name blessed, our long-time friend and brother, Pliny Fay.

    That we recognize, with great pleasure, in the wife of our brother Fay, Mrs. Adelia St. John Fay, who preceded him nearly two years in her departure out of this life, another of the choices ones of our old settlers, and a woman and wife who with earnest and Christian solicitude well illustrated, through all her life, the true saying that “a woman will do unfinitely, more for a man than any man would do for a woman.”

    A.B. Robbins,
    Pastor of the Congrational Church of Muscatine.

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