The following is from "The Family of Willis Vernon Farr" by Jayne E. Bickford:
There being some question about the exact date of the marriage of John Ivah and Alida May, I wrote for a copy of the marriage record, and it is an interesting one, for it states that John I. Farr “who is under the age of twenty-one years,” and Alida Starin “who is over the age of eighteen years” were authorized to be married, and “The Father, (G. N. Farr) of the said John I. Farr has give his assent to the said marriage.” (The G., of course, should be S, for Sylvester.) The document also shows that V. T. Williams, Justice of Peace, certified that the couple were married at Stanberry, Missouri, on 18 October 1885.
John Ivah Farr and my grandfather, Willis Vernon Farr, apparently had a close cousin relationship, even though they lived many miles apart, for as stated earlier Willis visited John in Kansas on at least two occasions, and when Willis' brother Winfred died, John Ivah Farr was among those present at the funeral held in Vermont.
The death of Thelma following the 1911 visit to Kansas was tragic. Willis and Ethel had gone to Stockton taking their three youngest children with them and leaving their older children, Vina, John and Delphine, in Vermont. The two younger children, Alma and Frank, had not been born. The visit was over, as I recall the story, and it was time to go to the station to take the train back to Vermont. My grandmother, Ethel, and Thelma, the baby, were riding in a horse-drawn conveyance and the men and the other children were walking. The horse became frightened and the vehicle turned over, throwing my grandmother and Thelma. In August of that year Thelma died, and it was my grandparents' opinion that her death was a result of the accident.
I have heard my mother speak of Thelma and her advanced intelligence for her age. Mother said members of the family, long before Thelma could talk, would send her on errands throughout the house, and Thelma would return wiith the article requested.
Among my grandfather Farr's papers is an item from the Burlington Free Press (Vermont newspaper) concerning the death of John Ivah Farr. At the top my grandfather has wrItten 7 March 1945, apparently the date of the newspaper item. The item reads as follows:
“John I. Farr
W. V. Farr of 376 South Winooski ave. has received word of the death of his cousin, John Ivah Farr, 60, of Stockton, Kans., Feb. 23. He is survived by his widow, Alida May Starin Farr, nine chIldren and 10 grandchildren. Up to a year before his death, he had been very active on his large farm.”
Also among ny grandfather's papers is a newspaper clipping apparently from a Kansas newspaper which reads:
“J. I. Farr
“John Ivan Farr, son of Sylvester N. [Should be Ivah] and Alida B. Farr, was born January 8, 1865, at parkersburg, Iowa. He moved with his parents to Mount Pleasant, Mo., when he was five years old. They lived there until they completed the buildings on their farm, which was 1½ miles from a new town named Stanberry. Here he met and married Alida May Starin in October, 1865. To this union nine children were born and reared to manhood and womanhood all of which are living today.
'In 1899 the family moved to Cushing, Okla., and spent a year with his parents looking for a place to locate. They came to Rooks county in 1900, and bought a farm six miles west of Stockton. They made their home here until 1930, with the exception of three years during World War I, when five sons served in the fighting forces of our nation. Mr. Farr and his wife have made their home in Stockton since that time, with the exception of 18 months in 1938-39 when they lived in California.
“Mr. Farr laid down the burdens or this life early Friday morning, February 23, 1945, at the age of 80 years, one month and 15 days. Mr. Farr as a young man gave his heart to Christ and joined the Baptist church at Stanberry, Mo. In 1906 he moved his membership to the Webster Baptist church. He became a member of the Main Street Christian church in Stockton in 1936.
“Mr. Farr was a very liberal giver of the material things of this world that the Lord blessed him with, and will be missed very much. Mr. Farr's death is the first the family has known in over 59 years of married life. He was preceded in death by a sister, Katie, who died as a girl.
“He leaves to cherish his memory nine children:
Katie and Harlan, of the home; Benjamin Harrison Farr, Ivah Newton and Helen May Thrasher and J. Dennis Farr, of Stockton; Marion Farr, of Summerville, Mo.; William Farr of Loma Linda, Calif.; and Edward Farr, of Pomona, Calif.; also ten grandchildren and a host of friends.
“He lived his life as best he knew and his last words were a prayer to his Master that he might be acceptable to that mansion not made with hands.
Funeral services were held at the Smith Memorial Chapel on February 25 in charge of Rev. Charles Chandler. Burial was in the Stockton cemetery.”
In my grandfather's papers I find three letters, one from John's wife and two from his daughter Katie. The first letter from Katie is headed Stockton, Kansas, 2 March 1945, and reads:
“Our Dear Father passed away Febr. 23 1:30 AM. Everything was done for him that was possible but he couldn't get well. He had the shaking palsy and was so nervous. He was sick 2 months and was so nervous he couldn't be still until he got so weak he couldn't walk around with help. Ben and Harlan were here through it all. Marion was here from Mo. 10 days. Will and Ed were her& from Calif part of the time. Will and wife just left this morning. He passed away easy the Dr had given him a hippo. Harlan has been at home for sometime in fact has been home most of the time. And will be with us. Ivan May's boy is home on a furlough from New York City. He may be sent across again now. Merlin Marion's boy is in Okia. And their boy Floyd expects to be called. We hope you folks are all well as usual. Mother is standing it pretty good. She has to try to take it easy. Her heart isn't so good.'
I would liked to have reproduced these lettersby having actual copies made, but the letters were written in pencil and would not have been legible if Machine copied.
The second letter from Katie is dated 8 April 1945. It reads:
“Dear Cousin Willis & family
“We received your letter some time ago. I sure didn't know I didn't sign it. I likely thought I would write sone more and forgot to sign it.
“We would like to have visited you folks in Florida but father or nother neither one were able to make the trip really.
“Mother is pretty well for one her age. But she thinks about father all the time now. We all sure do miss him.
“We are sorry you and cousin Ethel are not well. It is nice Vina is with you.
'Yes Harlan and I are with Mother.
“Father sold his walnut grove in Calif two years ago. It was too far away to rent. Calif. is a very nice place to live. The climate is so warm. But we didn't want to be so far from Kan. And we had too much here to take care of. Father never had any land in Western Kansas. He did hire sone cattle and horses pastured out there a few years at the time of World War No. 1.
“We have had a warm winter it don't seem like we ever had one so warm. We never had much snow. We had several snows but they were not very deep.
We had one last wk about six or seven inches I think it was as much as any we have had. I will close with love to all. Mother says she wIll write some.
“P. S. The temperature wasn't below zero unless just a little for a short time. We shelled 2000 bu. of corn a few weeks ago, We had to hire it stored we don't have much granary room here in town. The elevators aren't buying any grain much. They can't get box cars. Only once In a whIle. They buy some then. But have to watch them awfully close.
Your Cousin Katie”
The reference to Katie's parents visiting in FlorIda
is probably in response to an invitation from my grandfather
Willis who spent several winters (and a few summers) in
The letter from Alida is dated 10 April 1945 and reads:
“Just a few lines this morning. Katie wrote some last evening. Yes Harland and Katie are with me but we are not on the farm where we were when you were here last. We still have that but have lived here in town the last 15 yrs. John bought a home here in 1930 when I was poorly before I had my goiter operation in 1932 and he since bought 100 acres that joins up to town. John moved a house on it and that is where our daughter May lives. She is a wIdow. Her husband died in July 1939 while we were in Calif. She is close by when we go to see her, we are in the country. John left a will half to me of everything and half to the 9 chIldren to be divided equally. It is hard for me to write seems like it is hard to think there is a good many worries and I miss John so
so will close
Write with best wishes to all
Alida M. Farr"
I quote these letters here, for they indicate the great love and closeness which prevailed in the famIly of John Ivah Farr and his wife Alida and because the letters will give my readers an insight into the personal attributes, dreams and aspirations, worries and failures of these people, thus making them live for the reader.
In a letter from Elsie Farr written in October of 1975 to me, she states:
Bill's folks started west from Missouri when he was a year old. He remembers his mother telling how he sat on her lap and helped drive the horses.”
Elsie continues and says that Bill's mother drove one wagon and his father the other one, that they would stop along the road and make a fire by using cow chips and wood to do their cooking. She tells me that the family stopped at Sylvester's in Oklahoma on their way to Kansas. When they reached Kansas, they built a rock house, two rooms downstairs and one big room upstairs -- all the chIldren were small then. Bill's youngest brother was born in Kansas. In 1905 John and his wife built an eight-room house and Sylvester's widow went to live with them.
And Ruby Sanders (John's granddaughter) writes ne about the same trip. She says that her grandfather “came up from Missouri oy covered wagon when the children were small.” She says that the children went to Ash Grove school, a little rock building less than a quarter of a mIle from the house. “The boys would have to stay out of school and work as needed, but the girls got to go more regularly.” And Ruby refers to her grandfather's sister, Katie who died in her teens. She says “I have a pink and white doll quilt of her's that was given to me when I was three years old.”
BIRTH: Willis V. Farr book states that he was born in Iowa but the census' states Missouri.