The following appeared in the Ogden Standard Examiner for the Aug. 2006
Winslow Farr Sr. Family Reunion:
OGDEN - When the descendants of Ogden's first mayor meet in Ogden this week, they will ponder Lorin Farr's hat, wander around his old fort, gaze upon his tombstone and hear the latest discoveries regarding his deoxyribonucleic acid.
The other stuff just sits in museums or on the ground, but Farr's DNA has been doing some interesting stuff of late. Everyone is very excited.
Farr became Ogden's first mayor, unofficially, in 1850 when he was sent to the area now called Ogden by Brigham Young, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Farr's title was made official in a special election in 1851. He kept the job 22 years, off and on, and had a career that included American Indian troubles, a brief move to Southern Utah, the coming of the Transcontinental Railroad, a mission in England and getting arrested for having five wives too many.
He beat the polygamy rap and went on to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt, who was stumping the country encouraging large families as a way to avoid "race suicide."
Farr, who at the time had 326 descendants, certainly qualified. Since then, in raw numbers, the Farr family has done all right by itself.
David Farr, Mission Viejo, Calif., president of the Winslow Farr Sr. Organization, serves as a central coordinator for the Farr family.
Winslow Farr Sr. was Lorin Farr's father. David Farr's best guess is there are perhaps 8,000 descendants of Winslow Farr. There are probably 40,000 for the whole family, if you add in ancestors, their other descendants and so forth, he said.
The reunion, which runs Thursday through Saturday, won't draw anywhere near that many relatives. North Ogden resident Duane Manscill, who is organizing a bus tour of Farr historical sites, guesses there will be about 400 Farr relations at the reunion. He has 100 seats for the bus tour and expects them to sell out.
David Farr said the reunion is held every two years and is actually for descendants of Winslow Farr Sr. and his wife, Olive. They usually pick one descendent to focus on. This year, the focus is on Lorin Farr.
"The meeting is about our mission statement, research, telling the stories, focusing on Winslow and Olive and the five children," said David Farr. "We hold classes on them. We want to communicate our heritage to the descendants of the Farr family, to strengthen families this way."
One major advance this year was not in finding descendants of Lorin Farr, but his antecedents. That is where Farr's DNA comes in. It will be a major topic at the reunion.
Members of the LDS faith are scrupulous about genealogical records for religious reasons. Before the faith was founded by Joseph Smith, however, people were not so careful about keeping track of who was who.
Lorin Farr's great-great-great-grandfather, Stephen Farr, was a puzzle. He just seemed to show up in America around the early 1670s, with no hint of his origins.
St. George resident Tim Farr, the clan's chief genealogist, said they are pretty sure Stephen Farr was born in 1640, but the earliest positive paper record they have of him is his 1674 marriage.
But where did he come from? He was a Puritan, living in Massachusetts, which meant he probably came to America from England. Beyond that, nothing was certain.
Tim Farr said he was able to narrow it down to a Farr family in Bedfordshire, England, mostly by laboriously searching old records for people named Stephen Farr who did not connect up properly in other places through the existing documents.
He found one Stephen Farr, in Bedfordshire, England, who seemed to fit the bill. How to be sure?
Internet, science help
That's where DNA testing came in.
Tim Farr posted the Farr ancestry on the Internet and, subsequently, was contacted by a man in Belgium named Stephen Timothy Farr. This fellow told him he had looked into his own ancestors and there seemed to be a lot of similarities to what Tim Farr had found.
So David Farr in this country took a DNA test. Stephen Timothy Farr in Belgium took the same test. The test looked for a particular strand of DNA that is carried intact through male descendants.
They found that strand in both Farrs and it matched, Tim Farr said.
"It's actually a pretty major thing," he said. It provided first proof of from where in England the Farr family came. It also connected the family in America to a whole new branch in Belgium, England and around Europe.
Mike Farr, who runs Farr's Ice Cream in Ogden, said he's glad to see his great-great-grandfather the focus of this year's reunion.
The bus tour includes his family's ice cream shop where, yes, he said, they will get free Farr's ice cream. He'll also be with them when they visit a monument to his ancestor in the Ogden Municipal Gardens.
"They asked me if I will say a few things at that, and I will be doing that," he said.
His great-great-grandfather will be there, too, in a way.
"I will be dressed in a suit that was Lorin Farr's," he said, which like the former mayor's memory, is carefully preserved and handed down.
[End of Article]
When he was eight years old, his parents moved north into the town of Charleston, Orleans county, Vermont where his father bought a farm. In the spring of 1832, when Lorin was eleven years of age, the family, for the first time, heard the gospel preached by Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson. Although but eleven years of age Lorin's mind was prepared to receive the testimony of these servants of God, so he was baptized by Lyman E. Johnson, in Clide river, near his father's house, and confirmed by Orson Pratt. In the fall of 1837, Father Farr, who with his family had joined the Church, sold his farm and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. In the spring of 1838, Lorin started for Far West, Mo., where he arrived May 1st, and made his home with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He passed through most of the persecutions heaped upon the Saints in Missouri, and when they were driven from the State, he went to Quincy, and in the spring of 1840 settled in Nauvoo, Ill. In the spring of 1843 he was called upon a mission, by the Prophet Joseph, to the Middle and Eastern States, with the instruction to go wherever the spirit led him He was performing this duty when the sad news of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Patriarch Hyrum reached him. Elder Farr remained in the field, comforting and strengthening the Saints, until late in November, 1844, when he returned to Nauvoo. Jan. 1, 1845, he was married to Miss Nancy B. Chase, by Pres. Brigham Young. Elder Farr was with the Saints during all their troubles in Nauvoo and assisted in building the Temple. In the spring of 1847, he prepared to go to Great Salt Lake valley, where he arrived Sept. 20th of that year. He lived in Salt Lake City till the spring of 1850, when he was called by Pres. Brigham Young to go to Ogden to preside over the Saints in the northern part of the Territory. The following year (1851), when the Weber Stake of Zion was organized, Elder Farr was called and set apart as the president of the Stake. This position he held until 1870, when he was called on a mission to Europe, where he remained until 1871. Elder Farr has served as mayor of Ogden city for many terms; he also represented Weber county in the Territorial legislature from the organization of the Territory until he was disfranchised, excepting one year while on his mission to Europe. He is a public spirited man and has done much for the advancement of the kingdom of God and the commonwealth. (See also Tullidge's History, Vol. 2, Bio. 172.)
Settled at Ogden 1850. First president Weber stake; president high priests' quorum in 1850-51. Erected first grist mill and sawmill in Weber county. Member first territorial legislature from Weber county, and in the earlier days represented Box Elder county from the time of the organization of the territory until 1887; first mayor of Ogden 1851-70, and re-elected in 1877. Missionary to Europe 1870. Prominent in building of railroads; superintendent of grading Central Pacific for two hundred miles west of Ogden, and also building of Utah Northern to Brigham City. Died Jan. 12, 1909, Ogden.
Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.1313
Sun. 26. Pres. Brigham Young and party held meetings with the Saints in the south fort, Ogden, when Lorin Farr was chosen President of the Weber Stake, with Charles R. Dana and David B. Dille as counselors.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 14, p.490
Lorin Farr Sawmill Lorin Farr was called by Brigham Young to build a sawmill at Ogden. In the spring of 1850 he chose a site southeast of the present "Old Mill Inn," 1251 Canyon Road. Logs were cut in Ogden Canyon and floated down the river. A dam was made to divert the water to form a mill pond in which the logs collected. Men cutting logs for Farr received 50% of the logs as pay. The saws were run by water power. The first sawyer was Joseph Harris. The mill was abandoned in 1873.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 13, p.21
On the 14th of September, that year, elder Woodruff recorded the death of Ezra T. Benson, who died suddenly at Ogden City, at the home of Elder Lorin Farr. The following Sunday elder Woodruff preached a discourse in the Tabernacle, [p. 22] in honor of Brother Benson, and gave a brief sketch of his life. He said that on that occasion there were about sixty ladies and gentlemen from Ohio, who occupied the front benches and who gave strict attention to what was said.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 14, p.489
Lorin Farr Gristmill With lumber available from the sawmill built by Lorin Farr, and rock plentiful nearby, a 30 x 40 foot, two-story flour mill was built by Lorin Farr in the fall of 1850, on Canyon Road. The grain was ground by the use of burrs, several of which were set up. The bottom burr remained stationary, while the upper burr was propelled slowly by wooden paddles turned by water power. It was placed evenly between the burrs and sifted slowly by way of numerous grooves, chiseled at 45-degree angles. This process required constant watching and it was necessary to sharpen these grooves often. The first burrs were made from rock from our mountains and proved too soft, cracking and crumbling. The next were made from granite like that used in the Salt Lake Temple. This proved too hard, striking fire and scorching the grain. Other experiments were made until suitable material was found.
[p.490] In the Ogden City Directory of 1883, we find the following description of his mill: "There was a substantial stone building with frame wings and stone houses. The power supplied by a flume nearby, one mile in length, running from the Ogden River to the mill. There are four run of stone burrs with a capacity of some 10,000 pounds of flour per day. John P. Williams ground the first and last grist from 1862 to 1897. Joseph Stonebreaker was the first miller." Lorin Farr Sawmill Lorin Farr was called by Brigham Young to build a sawmill at Ogden. In the spring of 1850 he chose a site southeast of the present "Old Mill Inn," 1251 Canyon Road. Logs were cut in Ogden Canyon and floated down the river. A dam was made to divert the water to form a mill pond in which the logs collected. Men cutting logs for Farr received 50% of the logs as pay. The saws were run by water power. The first sawyer was Joseph Harris. The mill was abandoned in 1873.
Biographical Sketch of Lorin Farr (1820- )
Source: Biographical sketch of Lorin Farr typed from the original photostat from Bancroft Library. The original was written on stationery with the following letterhead:
CLIFT HOUSE, S. C. Ewing, Proprietor.
Room and Board, $2.00 per day. Salt Lake City, .......188
Lorin Farr of Ogden, born Caladona County, Vermont, July 20, 1820. Remained there and attended the schools at that time. Moved with his parents to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1838. Moved to Missouri 1839. Went to Nauvoo then to Council Bluffs. In 1847 came to Utah with Captain Spencers Company of over 600 wagons. Nearly 5000 people remaining till spring of 1850.
Located in Ogden building a saw and grist mill, the first north of Salt Lake City. Also helped build first mill in Utah. Has followed the milling business until the present time. I 1868 built the Ogden Woolen Mills in connection with Randall Rugsley and Neil. He also followed merchandising for several years buying a stock of good costing $30, 000. Setting out in 1869. Has also been and is a extensive farmer owning 300 acres of farmland all subject to irrigation.
Then he came to Ogden. Was elected as mayor which office he held for 20 years. After 6 years out? [p.2] was elected for a term of 2 years. Was appointed as president of the stake of Weber Co. which he held for 20 years. Then going to Europe and being obliged to resign his position as president of the stake. Has also been a member of the Territorial Legislature from the time of its organization until the last session, when he was disfranchised...but having never broken to law neither the law of 1862 or the recent Edmonds law.
Has always taken an active part in all matters pertaining to the welfare to the Church or Territory. Was the principal mover in building the roads through the Ogden Canyon. Also held the contract with Benson & West for constructing 200 miles of the C.P. Also took an active part in building the U.U., also the Utah Central. Was instrumental in seeing the R.R. Depot at Ogden. Also in getting the D & R G into Ogden making several trips to Denver for that purpose. He raised a family of 38 children, the youngest being 16 years. All respectable and well educated. Has also buried 9 children.
Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 4, p.106
The Farrs of Utah are a numerous and an influential family, especially in Weber county, where the subject of this story resides. The life of Hon. Lorin Farr has been active, useful, and replete with interesting incidents. Than he, none of the founders of our States have made more honorable records, whatever may be said of more illustrious ones. To speak of greater gifts and larger opportunities, is not to disparage those possessed by a man whose abilities as a colonizer, a law-maker and an executive are so well known and recognized.
The simple fact that for twenty-two years he was mayor of the second city in Utah is an eloquent tribute to his worth and the esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens. Those were times, too, when the best men were sought for and put in office, men of honesty and integrity, who could be relied upon to expend the public revenues wisely and economically and administer the affairs of government in the interest of the entire people. No man was given office as a reward for political service, partisan politics was almost unknown, and the spoils system had no place in public life. For a period of equal length to that during which he was Mayor of Ogden, Mr. Farr presided over the Weber Stake of Zion, and for twenty-eight years he represented Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties, and some of the time Carson county, in the Territorial legislature.
Lorin Farr was born July 27, 1820, in Waterford, Caledonia county, Vermont. His parents were Winslow and Olive Hovey Freeman Farr, and his earliest American ancestor was George Farr, who emigrated from London, England, in 1629, as a ship-builder for a Boston company. His father was a well-to-do farmer, prominent and influential, holding the office of judge of the county court. When Lorin was about eight years old the family moved to Charleston, Orleans county, forty miles north of their former home, and it was there that they became connected with Mormonism. They were converted under the preaching of Orson Pratt who, by the laying on of hands, was instrumental in healing Mrs. Farr of consumption and other ailments from which she had been a sufferer for five years. The healing was instantaneous and permanent; she who was then an invalid, thirty-two years of age, living until she was ninety-four.
Lorin was baptized a Latter-day Saint in the spring of 1832, being then eleven years of age. Five years later he removed with his parents to northern Ohio, and in the general Mormon migration from that part to the State of Missouri, he and his brother Aaron walked the whole distance from Kirtland to Far West. This was in the spring of 1838. The following winter he was in the exodus of his people from Missouri to Illinois, and while in both those States he lived a good deal of the time in the family of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Hitherto a farmer and a carpenter, Lorin, who had received a good common education, now turned his attention to school teaching. He taught for a number of years at Nauvoo and the vicinity, the children of the Prophet and those of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor and other leading men being among his pupils. In the spring of 1842, by direction of the Prophet, he was ordained an Elder of the Church, and in the fall of 1844, under the hands of Elder Charles C. Rich, was ordained to the office of High Priest. While still at Nauvoo, on New Year's day, 1845, he married his first wife, Nancy B. Chase. Early the next year he bade farewell to that city and the State of Illinois, and with the main body of the exiled Saints passed over the frozen Mississippi and traveled across the Territory of Iowa on his way to the Rocky Mountains. From the Missouri river, where he remained until the summer of 1847, he journeyed [p.107] westward in the companies that followed immediately behind the Pioneers, leaving the Elk Horn in June. These companies comprised about six hundred wagons, with fifteen hundred human beings and five thousand head of stock. His individual outfit was a wagon, two yoke of oxen, two yoke of cows and provisions to last him and those dependent upon him eighteen months. His family was then small, consisting of his wife and his little son Enoch. He first traveled in A. O. Smoot's hundred and George B. Wallace's fifty, but during the latter part of the journey he was in Daniel Spencer's hundred and Ira Eldredge's fifty. He reached Salt Lake valley September 21, 1847.
After living awhile in the "Old Fort," he moved onto a lot north-west of the Temple block and adjoining the corner now occupied by the residence of Hon. Moses Thatcher. His first domicile in the valley was his wagon box, taken off the running-gears and made into a temporary abode; but he and his brother Aaron soon hauled logs from the canyon and built homes of a more comfortable character. Their houses in the fort had whip sawed lumber floors and were among the best constructed there. Lorin had brought with him from Winter Quarters all kinds of seeds, and these he planted in the spring of 1848. Most of his crop was devoured by the crickets before they were destroyed by the, gulls, but he raised enough to support his family till another harvest time, and had considerable to spare. Some of his neighbors were forced to eat thistle roots, raw hides and even wolf meat. Many put their families upon rations. He was not reduced to this necessity, owing to the fact, he says, that he had an economical wife, who managed so well that the family had enough to eat and something to give away.
In March, 1850, by special request of President Young, Lorin Farr removed to Ogden "to locate and take charge of the northern colonies." He with Charles Hubbard built, in the summer of the same year, the first saw mill and grist mill north of Salt Lake City. In the fall he bought out Mr. Hubbard and conducted the milling business alone for several years, after which he took in as a partner his brother Aaron.
In the fall of 1851 the colonists on the Weber had considerable trouble with the Indians, caused by the accidental killing of the Shoshone chief Terakee by Urban Stewart, one of the settlers. The chief, who was a noble specimen of his race, and very friendly to the whites, had gone into Mr. Stewart's cornfield one night about eleven o'clock to get his horses out of the corn, when the owner, hearing a noise and supposing it to proceed from some animal, wild or tame, that had strayed into his enclosure, imprudently fired his gun in that direction. The bullet struck Terakee, killing him instantly. Much beloved by his people, his tragic death was deeply lamented, and for a time it seemed as if the Shoshones could not be placated, but would take revenge on the whole colony for the unwise act of one of its members. As it was, the Indians, on the day following the accident, shot and killed one of Mr. Farr's men, his best mechanic, while at work upon his mills. Mr. Stewart regretted his rashness as much as any one, but that did not bring the dead to life, though his explanation and apologies, with the protestations of his associates, did much to appease the wrath of the red men. The settlers, however, fearful of a massacre, lived for several years in forts. A large portion of the immigration of 1851 was sent to strengthen the Weber county settlements. The first military organization of the county was formed about this time; it comprised all the militia in the Territory north of Davis county, and was organized by President Lorin Farr.
Elected Mayor of Ogden in the spring of 1851, he was re-elected every two years until he had had ten consecutive terms of office. He retired in November, 1870, but in 1876 was again elected for two years, making his aggregate period in the Mayoralty twenty-two years. From 1852 until 1880 he was a member of the Utah legislature. Meantime, in the summer of 1868, in connection with Chauncey W. West and Ezra T. Benson, he took a contract from Governor Leland Stanford, of California, President of the Central Pacific railroad, and did the grading for two hundred miles of that road west of Ogden.
In November, 1870, President Farr took his first and only foreign mission, which was to Europe. He had always been of a religious turn, and had done much preaching in his time, but his ministerial labors were generally at home, where his services were most needed. He not only preached the gospel, but practiced it, "trying to persuade men, women and children to live better lives in every way. I have labored all my life," he says, "to promote religious sentiment and make laws to protect the same. I have tried to do all the good I could, and as little harm as possible."
Mr. Farr was a member of the Constitutional Convention, which in 1895 framed the State Constitution upon which Utah was admitted into the Union. Since then he has led a quiet, uneventful life at his home in the city of Ogden. He is the father of forty children. His first wife, who has been named, and his plural wives, Sarah Giles, Olive Ann [p.108] Jones, Mary Bingham and Nicoline Erickson, are all dead. He has recently married again. Some years ago Mr. Farr met with an accident, a very painful fall, which at first threatened to be fatal, but he recovered and regained much of his old time sprightly vigor. At this writing he is in the eighty-third year of his age.
Fountain Green, Utah
August 10, 1992
Ferron, Utah 84523
Dear Brother Farr,
As I promised, even though a little late, the following is the essence of the remarks your great-grandfather made at the dedication of the Manti Temple:
"Elder Lorin Farr said he felt very thankful for the present privilege. For a year and a half he had not been able to stand before a congregation. For over fifty-six he had been connected with the, Church, and when a youth, he was intimately associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He never saw a man who manifested greater kindness and consideration towards his family than Joseph did. He, knew him then to be a prophet of God. A greater prophet never lived. He held the keys of all dispensations, and conferred the same, upon the Apostles. Temples would yet be built not only throughout America but in the various nations of Europe and Asia as well.
He could promise the saints that if they would be faithful, the present temple never should be taken from them nor destroyed. Faithful men had died in the past ages were engaged in the work of redemption in other spheres, which work would be connected with that performed in the Temples upon the earth. Millions of the dead were waiting for ordinances to be performed by the living in their behalf. He could testify that the Latter-day Saints were people, of God. It was the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands which was destined to fill the whole earth."
Tim, you can certainly be grateful for your progenitors. These men, those who built up this part of the West and had sacrificed so much, were some of God's choicest! They were men of great faith. How grateful we should be for them and for what we enjoy today because of their faith and sacrifice.
Very truly yours,
Victor J. Rasmussen
Death and funeral of Lorin Farr as described in the journal of Caroline Ballantyne Farr:
Jan 12 1909
Father Farr went up to the Hot Springs to take a bath and while in the warm pool he died. He was in the act of taking a plunge when life went out. When found, he was standing in the water with bowed head and hands extended. His body was still warm. Barlow Wilson and ________ Wallace went to his rescue. It was always his desire to go suddenly when his time came to leave this earth and his desire was granted. He was the best Father-law that ever lived with the exception of one, my own Father. We shall miss his dear face, one of the grandest among men. There is no feeling of gloom however, but a spirit of peace and love characteristic of him who has just left his place among the great ones who have lived on earth (Apostles and Prophets.) He was in his usual good health up to the moment of his death. His life just went out. He was standing in about four feet of water when found and his life gone out, and he did not fall. Surely the hand of God was made manifest in his behalf. I trust we may live lives that will be worthy of in other words that we may be worthy children of such a nobel father.
Sunday, Jan 17, 1908
At 2 o,clock in the Ogden Tabernacle was held the funeral service of Lorin Farr, our dear Father. No grander funeral was ever held, I believe here or at any other place. The speakers were President Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Parry, David 0. McKay, Moses Thatcher, George A. Smith, Fred J. Keisel, President L.W. Shurtliff and a poem in memory of the dedication of the Joseph Smith monument in Vermont which our Father was present with a company of about 30 members from Utah (He being the oldest.) He was the first of them to be called to the other side. It was a most beautiful poem written by Susie Y. Gates who was also one of the number who attended the dedication of that monument.
The Ogden Tabernacle choir were out in full force rendered most beautiful music under the direction of my brother Joseph Ballantyne. The decorations were beautiful. A calla lily blanket covered the casket. and many other beautiful flowers. There were at least 300 or 400 relatives present. The speakers were greatly inspired, and I have never heard grander words spoken of any human being than were said of him. They were spoken by a Prophet of the living God. I never felt more humble. I felt very small indeed and unworthy but hope to become worthy of a membership in his family.
Carriages were provided for all the relatives who all met at his terrace on the hill on 21st street and looked at him for the last time in this life.
BIRTH: Name recorded as Loring Farr in Waterford Vital Records.
RESIDENCE: Age 50, Mayor & Pub. Speaker.