During my research on the 19th century Scriptural geologists, I was privileged to meet some of the living relatives of George Fairholme, another one of the geologically competent opponents of old-earth geological theories. George was born into the wealthy Scottish family of William and Elizabeth Fairholme of Lugate, Midlothian on January 15, 1789. Nothing is known of Fairholme’s childhood years except that in 1800, at the age of eleven, his uncle bequeathed to him the Greenknowe estate (comprising 5000–6000 acres) near Gordon, Berwickshire. Given his family’s affluence and the fact that his parents and other relatives were very well read, he was probably tutored at home and then self-taught. According to official university records, he was not a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews or Dublin. Nevertheless, his writing style, vocabulary and evident literary research skills reflect a high level of education and his writings suggest that he was fluent in French and German.
Fairholme was married in Dunkeld, Perth, on November 15, 1818, to Caroline Forbes, eldest daughter of the eighteenth Lord Forbes and granddaughter of the sixth Duke of Atholl. Together they had four sons and one daughter. They resided first in Scotland, then in Switzerland and Belgium and later in the wealthy resort town of Ramsgate in southeast England. Throughout his life, however, they traveled extensively, sometimes for months at a time. They were affiliated with the Church of Scotland, but Fairholme evidently was not too bothered about denomination, since his third son attended a well-known Anglican school and his fourth son was baptized in an Anglican Church in Brussels.
Fairholme died in Leamington Spa, England, on November 19, 1846, leaving his wife, three sons and one daughter. Besides his approximately £l,000,000 (by modern estimation), land and four homes in Scotland, Fairholme also bequeathed to his wife and each of his children a valuable painting, each depicting a different scene from the life of Christ. To his daughter he also gave a small cabinet of his collection of fossils, shells and rocks. Clearly, Fairholme’s Christian faith and the study of natural philosophy, especially geology, were important to him and like many geologists in his day he had the financial resources and time to pursue his study of geology both in Britain and on the European continent….
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