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Charles S. Fairfax


Date Party Office Votes Result
11-02-1852 Democratic AD-15 0 Win
09-07-1853 Democratic AD-15 0 Win
11-04-1856 Democratic Clerk of the Supreme Court 50579 Win
09-07-1859 LeCompton Democratic Clerk of the Supreme Court 60179 Win
09-04-1861 Breckinridge Democratic Clerk of the Supreme Court 32314 Loss

Candidate Biography:

Lord Charles Snowden Fairfax, tenth Baron of Cameron
Born: March 8, 1829 in Vaucluse, Virginia
Married: Ada (neice of US Senator John C. Calhoun)
Military Service: ARMY (Pyramid Lake War of 1860)
Died: April 7, 1869 in Baltimore, Maryland

1846-1869: Held the title of the 10th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
1851: Chairman, Marysville Committee of Vigilance
1854: Speaker, California State Assembly
1861: Fairfax hosted a duel for Charles W. Piercy and Daniel Showalter. Piercy died after being shot in the duel.
1865-1867: Member, Marin County Board of Supervisors
1868: Chairman of the California Delegation, Democratic National Convention

  • PLACENAME: The town of Fairfax, named for Charles S. Fairfax, was built on the former grounds of his estate (called "Bird’s Nest Glen"). California Historic Landmark #679 marks the former location of the Bird’s Nest Glen, now the "Marin Town & Country Club".
  • QUOTABLE: In 1854, the Assembly received a petition from some "colored people of the State, requesting that laws then in force, which excluded them from being witnesses in cases where a white person was a party, might be repealed..." In response, a motion was made on the Assembly Floor to throw the petition out the window, which passed with a single no vote, that of Speaker Fairfax. He said "This is all wrong - the petition should have been received... It is a shame that a petition from any one, black or white, should not be received by the Legislature of the State, whether it be granted or not." (Source: Field)
  • QUOTABLE: Speaking of the Stidger-Rust Duel "I confess I had counted on his wilting, before the thing was over, since he was a Northerner not educated in the light of the code. But there wasn't a wilt or a shadow of unease about him. He took to the field, by Ged, sah, as if it belonged to him. People who tell me, after this, that men born in the North are cowards, will run the resk, sah, of my telling them they are asses. I know better. It won't do to monkey with such men, sah. No, sah, they are plucky and will die game, sah, game as I am."
  • Legislative Altercation: On March 25, 1859, Harvey Lee was involved in an altercation with Fairfax. The fight ended when Lee pulled a sword from his cane and stabbed Fairfax in the chest. Fairfax drew a pistol and was ready to kill Lee when he cried "Don't kill me; I am unarmed!" to which Fairfax replied "You miserable coward; you have murdered me-you have assassinated me-and I have your worthless life in my hands; but for the sake of your wife and children I shall spare you."  
  • Fairfax was the Assembly Speaker for the legislative session that took place while the State Capitol was in Benicia.
  • Being a member of the Scottish nobility, Fairfax was the Great(x6) Grandson of Lord Thomas Culpeper, Second Baron of Thoresway and Governor of Virginia (1677-1683) and the Great-Great-Grandson of Thomas Fairfax, Sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron (for whom Fairfax County [Virginia] is named).
  • TRY TO IMAGINE THIS: His grandfather's brother, George William Fairfax, married Sally Cary Fairfax (who George Washington was in love with). According to her page on Wikipedia, "she was a key inspiration for the future President to elevate himself to a higher social, cultural, and intellectual sphere..."

Source: History of Political Conventions in California, 1849-1892 by Winfield J. Davis (1893)
Source: Last Night of the Session of the Assembly by an Eye-Witness (Sacramento; James Anthony & Co., 1854)
Source: Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California by Stephen J. Field (1893)

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