Asa M. Fairfield

Asa Fairfield
Asa M. Fairfield – Courtesy of Olive DeWitt

Asa Merrill Fairfield is known to different people for various aspects of his life. When I started my research a long time ago, I interviewed numerous people who knew him. Today, Fairfield is known for Fairfield’s Pioneer History of Lassen County. More on that later.

Fairfield is known to previous generations as a school teacher first, and his book second. Its very similar to one of his contemporaries, Alex Sifford, known as a school teacher first, and the founder of Drakesbad second. Fairfield spent his entire teaching career in the Honey Lake Valley, that spanned over thirty years.

According to his own biography, Fairfield began writing his epic history in 1910. At that time he boarded with the Ramsey family on their ranch, just south of Susanville, the property owned today by Les Allen. What Fairfield neglected in his biography was that he started his research many years prior to his writing. During the writing stage, he walked from the Ramsey Ranch to the post office, and a customary stop at the Pioneer. The latter being a social hub, where many of the old timers of the era gathered. In 1916, his history was published and to his dismay after years of work, it was not well received and sales were marginal, to say the least, it bothered him a great deal.

After the release of his book, he moved into Susanville on North Street. He continued with his daily rounds to the post office and the Pioneer. On September 1, 1926, he did not make his appointed rounds. The following day, again he was absent. Friends went to investigate, and when they reached his residence, he was not there. They went around the back, and found him slumped over in the outhouse. He was buried in the Janesville Cemetery were so many members of his family claim as their final resting place.

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