Roger Farrer (1795-1887) and Mary Stubbs Farrer (1800-1879)
Contributor: prawlins Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
This account is based on typescript sketches of Roger Farrer, Sr., by his granddaughter Eleanor Farrer Duke, and by my grandmother, his great granddaughter Mary Zella Thomas Monson. [Annotations are by Wayne E. Clark.]
Roger Farrer, Sr., was born near Helsington (Kendal), Westmorland County, England, 18 March 1795, the son of Thomas Farrer and Jane Graveson, of Helsington, Westmorland, England. Roger and his family belonged to the Church of England.
At the age of twenty-five Roger married Catherine Hadwin. She was the daughter of William Hadwin and Hannah Witham. To them were born two sons. William was born 26 January, 1821. He married Elizabeth Ann Kerry. He died 17 February, 1906, at Provo Utah. James was born 12 March, 1823. He married Mary Jane McCune and Phidela Dains. His family lived in Beaver, Utah. He died there on 26 August, 1899, and was buried there. Catherine Hadwin Farrer died in 1825 and Roger then married Mary Stubbs. To this union were born two sons and three daughters. Thomas Farrer was born 3 September, 1829, at Helsington, Westmorland County, England. He married Mary Strong. He died at Provo, Utah, 9 April, 1909. Margaret Farrer was born 21 January, 1832. She married Hugh Syme. She died 21 July, 1861 at Provo, Utah, leaving one son, Leslie Syme. Jane Farrer was born 25 February, 1836, and died in 1848. Roger Farrer, Jr., was born 17 April 1838. He married Agnes Strong. He died 17 January, 1914, in Provo, Utah. Mary Farrer was born 22 September, 1844, in England and died 1853.
In England Roger Farrer, Sr., was a miller. He also worked in a brewery. In addition he had a truck-garden and raised cows and chickens. He sold garden vegetables, eggs and butter in nearby Kendal. At times, when in Kendal, he took his ponies to be shod at the blacksmith shop of John Strong. The Farrer and Strong families became great friends, and years later, after both families had emigrated to America, then on to Utah, they met and lived near each other. Two of Roger Farrer's sons, Thomas and Roger, Jr., married two of John Strong's daughters, Mary and Agnes. So close were they all that their descendant's hold Farrer and Strong reunions.
In 1841 Roger Sr. and Mary were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Elder Parkinson in England.
In the fall of 1842, Roger Sr., his wife Mary Stubbs and their five children, as well as the two sons of Catherine Hadwin, William and James, travelled to Liverpool where, on 26 December, 1842, they boarded the ship Emerald and sailed to America. Parley P. Pratt was in charge of the Company. They arrived in New Orleans, then proceeded toward Nauvoo, Illinois, the gathering place of the Saints.
They remained in St. Louis until the Spring of 1843. The men worked to save money to buy teams of wagons to start the long journey west. From St. Louis they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, and here they joined the Church of Jesus Christ (sic), and were baptized August 1, 1844, in the Mississippi River, by David Evans.
[The Latter-day Saints Millennial Star, Volume XLI, p. 461, says they reached Nauvoo 1 May, 1843. Roger Farrer and his wife and remaining children were still in Nauvoo when Mary Farrer was born there on 22 September, 1844.]
They remained about three years in Nauvoo where Roger Sr. and his sons, Thomas, William and James, worked on the Nauvoo temple. After leaving Nauvoo, they lived four years at Garden Grove, Iowa, a way station about half way between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, farming and working to help the family on their way to Utah. Roger Sr. made his own way crossing the plains with his family.
On December 15, 1846, Roger Farrer wrote from Garden Grove to his son, William Farrer, that his other sons, from whom he had not heard for some time, were working somewhere in Iowa. Nearly destitute himself, he added, "I have been sick for nearly five months and we have suffered for want of provisions on account of my not being able to go to work. [Leland Gentry, The Mormon Way Stations: Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah. BYU Studies 21, Fall 1981, p. 451.] Roger Farrer was ordained an Elder on October 15, 1847, by Kington and Blair at Garden Grove. Roger Farrer was possibly the older man who helped the Davis boys go to the southern part of Decatur County to trade in the early Spring of 1849.
[The Farrers travelled to Utah with the David Evans Company. This group of 109 individuals departed from the outfitting post at Kanesville (present day Council Bluffs), Iowa, 15 June, 1850. In the company with him were 55-year-old Roger Farrer, 49-year-old Mary Stubbs Farrer, 20-year-old Thomas Farrer, 18-year-old Margaret Farrer, twelve-year-old Roger Farrer, Jr., and six-year-old Mary Farrer.]
While crossing the Plains, cholera broke out and many of the Saints died and were buried on the way. The Farrer family was blessed as none of them were sick on the long trek.
All arrived in the Salt Lake Valley September 17, 1850, where they all lived one year.
They were sent to Provo, Utah, in 1851. Here they helped make irrigation ditches and canals and fight Indians. Roger was a farmer and miller at Provo. They bought land, built homes and become very successful.
Roger, Sr., was a Seventy and High Priest in the Church.
He was ordained a member of the High Priest Quorum on the 9 March, 1860, by Dominicus Carter and Isach Higby. He did baptisms for his first wife, Catherine Hadwin, his father, Thomas Farrer, his mother, Jane Graveson, two brothers, and his daughter Jane. On September 17, 1859, he and his wife, Mary Stubbs Farrer, received their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah and were sealed by President Brigham Young.
[The 1860 Census shows 65-year-old Roger Farrer, and 61-year-old Mary Farrer, in dwelling 2812. With them are their 28-year-old daughter Margaret and her husband, 34-year-old Hugh Syme and 31-year-old Thomas Farrer, his wife, 25-year-old Mary and their two children, 3-year-old Mary Jane and 11-month-old Thomas John Farrer.
Their home was on the northwest corner of the block at the intersection of 3rd South Street and University Avenue. A layout on display at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum, Provo, places the names of families on the blocks where they lived between 1850 and 1875. The residences of William, Thomas, and Roger Farrer, (probably Roger Farrer, Sr.) are depicted in the block bounded by 300 and 400 South, between South University Avenue and 100 East Street. Roger and Mary Farrer lived on the northwest corner of the block south of the intersection of 3rd South Street and University Avenue, a corner of what became major thoroughfares through Provo, South University Avenue and US Highway 89. Their sons Thomas Farrer and William Farrer and their families came to occupy the southern section of the block. The State of Utah Death Certificate for Thomas' wife, Mary Strong Farrer, gives 39 East, 4th South, as her address at the time of her death, confirming the position of the home indicated by the DUP Museum layout. William Farrer's 1909 death certificate gives simply "South, 1st East, Provo, but the 1924 death certificate of his wife, Elizabeth Ann Kerry Farrer, gives 80 East, 400 South, Provo, as the address, which also conforms to the DUP Museum layout. Others of the families of both Roger and Mary settled nearby in the neighborhood.
Mary Stubbs Farrer was of great help in time of sickness. She was the daughter of John Stubbs and Margaret Robinson. The family settled in American Fork, Utah.
[Did she mean Mary Stubbs Hindley? She married John Hindley. She's not the daughter of John Stubbs and Margaret Robinson, but she did settle in American Fork, Utah. Mary Stubbs Farrer seems to be the only known child of John Stubbs and Margaret Robinson.]
I (Mary Zella Thomas Monson) have in my possession a little square table with a drawer to hold a lunch cloth and napkins. Here they had four o'clock tea, a custom of the English people.
When the family came to America they brought with them a large clock, like the grandfather clock in the song. The clock was given to Roger's oldest son, William, and it was in his home many years after William died.
Grandfather Farrer was able to read the newspaper without glasses when he was 92 years of age.
He's in the household of his eldest son, William Farrer, in the 1880 Census.
Home in 1880: Provo, Utah, Utah
Relation to Head of House: Father
William Farrer 59
Elizabeth Farrer 55
Mary E. Farrer 21
William Farrer 19
Charles Farrer 17
Frances Farrer 11
Sarah Farrer 7
Thomas Farrer 4
Roger Farrer 85
Roger and Mary Farrer were very hospitable. Many people came to their home. They both loved children. In 1858, at the time of the move south [during the Utah War] President John Taylor and his wife, Sophia, were taken in to the Farrer home and while there [15 May, 1858], their son, John W. Taylor was born.
At one time they took into their home a Danish girl, Maria Neilsen, whose parents and brothers and sisters had died of cholera while crossing the plains.
[It wasn't on the plains. They died before they got to the plains. This was Kirstine Marie Neilsen (1841-1916), KWCJ-3BG. The dates and location of the deaths of her father and mother are given on Family Tree as 28 and 26 March 1854, respectively, Mississippi River Bank, New Orleans, Louisiana. She married John Strong (1829-1894), KWCJ-3B5]
[There's more from Treasures of Pioneer History. "Roger and Mary Stubbs Farrer understood the plight of this lonely, bewildered girl and took her into their home where she received the love and kindness she so badly needed as long as she remained with them. With their help she learned the English language and later acted as interpreter for other Danish people who came to that city. She married John Strong July 24, 1859 and became the mother of twelve children.]
[She and her brother, Rasmus, were left orphans. She the was separated from her only living relative when he went with a family to Sanpete County. She was very quick to learn English and was of great help to interpret the Danish language for the many Danish people who arrived. She lived for a long time at the home of the Farrers, then she obtained work. She later married a very good friend of Roger Sr., John Strong, whom he had known in England.]
[Peter and Sarah Farr LeCheminant and the 1854 Mormon Emigration from Europe to the Great Salt Lake Valley provide a slightly different version of the story. "Rasmus Neilsen, his wife and five children, left Denmark for Utah that year (1854). In March as they traveled from New Orleans to St. Louis they came down with cholera and within three days the parents and three of the children had died. The older of the survivors was Kerstina Maria, fourteen years old. These two lonely orphans watched the bodies of their loved ones as they were wrapped in sheets, and without coffins, laid side by side in shallow graves on the banks of the river. Rasmus, sensing death was near, had placed the children in the care of a trusted friend. This man took charge of all the family belongings, which were sufficient to last for a long time, as well as a large sum of money sewed into a leather belt that Rasmus wore under his clothing for safe keeping. The orphans walked most of the way across the plains. On reaching Utah their guardian was called to settle in Sanpete County. He left the children, who did not speak English, with some bedding and promised to return. This he never did. They were adopted and reared by the Roger Farrer family in Provo.]
Roger's wife, Mary, always had a pan of apples and a large plate of cookies on the kitchen table, not only for their own four living sons, but for their neighbors children.
She made Easter a happy day by saving eggs and coloring them with onion peelings for the children that came to visit in their little home.
The homes of Roger's sons, Thomas, Roger Jr., and William are still standing. Well kept and made of brick, they each are owned by the fifth generation of Farrers.
The Farrer Junior High School at Provo was named in honor of [Roger Farrer, Sr.'s] grandson, John William Farrer, who was a promoter of education and civic affairs.
The eldest son of Roger Farrer, Sr., William Farrer, was a missionary to the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii] in 1853. There were ten missionaries called. However, just five of them could seem to stay under the circumstances and learn that difficult language, also make friends with the natives.
I remember uncle William saying how hard it was to make friends with the natives and to learn the strange language at first. When the mission was ended, in three years, the Natives came to bid they good-bye and show their love for the Gospel to them, so far away. Many did join the Church. George Q. Cannon was also a missionary. With tears in their eyes they bid the missionaries good bye. Uncle William kept in touch with these kind people for many years. [Pencilled in at the end, "Talked signs".]
Roger Farrer and two of his sons, Roger Farrer, Jr., and William Farrer, are featured in Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. A single photograph is also available from the same source. The same individuals are likewise mentioned in a section on Roger Farrer, Jr., in Portrait, genealogical and biographical record of the State of Utah, pp. 334-335. Roger Jr. is described as a Democrat. Roger Sr. is said to have engaged in farming and stock raising and to have led "quiet and retired life." The Deseret News for 24 July, 1897, had a feature article on William Farrer.
The passing of Mary Stubbs Farrer, 1 June, 1879, in Provo, is noted in the Latter-day Saints Millennial Star, Volume XLI, p. 461. She emigrated from Westmorland, England, in 1842; reached Nauvoo 1 May, 1843; came to Salt Lake in 1850; moved to Provo in 1851, and remained there until her death.
The following was taken from a newspaper clipping: The funeral services over the remains of father, Roger Farrer Sr., who died Tuesday morning were held at the First Ward Church. Remarks were made by Elder O. H. Berg, President of Utah Stake; Harvey H. Cluff; Bishop J. P. R. Johnson and J. W. Loveless. His six fine grandsons acted as pall bearers and carried the frail little body from his home nearby to the meeting house. His remains were taken for burial to the Provo City Cemetery.
Roger Farrer and Mary Stubbs Farrer are buried side-by-side in the Provo City Cemetery.