Fairfield on the Thames
In 1792, a group of Moravian missionaries founded Fairfield on the north shore of the Thames River. The Moravians (or United Brethren) had come to the area from the United States with approximately 170 Delaware and Iroquois. An Order of Council dated July 10, 1793 granted 50, 000 acres of land to the group. The land was surveyed and given to the ‘Moravian Society’ in trust by Order of Council on February 26, 1793 (McEvoy et al 1866). A plan of Fairfield from 1793 shows thirty buildings arranged along two rows built directly along the bank of the Thames River (LAC, 1793).
1793 Map of Fairfield on the Thames
All of the buildings shown on the 1793 plan were destroyed by the American soldiers in 1813 after the British loss at the Battle of the Thames, which also resulted in the death of Tecumseh. Prior to the Battle, Tecumseh had urged General Proctor to send an advance party to prepare Fairfield for defence, but no defence was sent and when the Battle of the Thames was lost, Fairfield was burned to the ground (Collins, 1998). Following the war, the Moravian settlers returned to the site and built New Fairfield (now Moraviantown) on the south side of the Thames River.
A plaque was erected on the site by residents of Thamesville in 1917 to commemorate Tecumseh. In 1931, Tecumseh was designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board as a National Historic Person and a plaque was erected at the site. In 1945, following archaeological excavations of Fairfield by Wilfred Jury, the site of Fairfield on the Thames was designated as a National Historic Site.
To learn more about Fairfield on the Thames, visit Fairfield Excavations.
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