The following is from The Ancestors and Descendants of Julius E. Farr by Mileta Farr Kilroy:
In all the research that has been put into this family record, it has never been ascertained exactly what the middle initial stands for in Julius' name. He was born 4 November 1837 in Chatham, Medina County, Quo, and in that period in our history, it was quite the accepted thing to name a first born son after the father. Since Julius' and Mary's first son was named Eugene, it would seem safe to assume that the name was Julius Eugene. However, in a record written by another son, Frank, in 1906, he was called Julius Edwards. Then when Justin married his second wife in 1934, he gave his father's name as Julius Edward, without the “s.” So what did the “E” stand for? Perhaps it will never be known!
Julius was the eighth child born to Benjamin and Lydia Parr, and the only child to be born in Ohio. He spent his early years in Chatham, and never knew his father because he had died when Julius was less than a year old. When he was about eight years of age, his mother and step-father moved to Prairieville, Barry County, Michigan. There seemed to be no real reason for the move other than it was the trend in those days to move ever westward, and perhaps there was a promise of better land and living conditions.
By 1860, according to the census, Julius, at age 22, was a farmer with his own house, and living alone.1 This state of affairs did not last long for he married before the end of that year.
Julius was a handsome man, with strong features, a high forehead, high cheek bones with deep set eyes. The only pictures of him show a full head of dark hair, a heavy beard, but no mustache. He does not appear to be a tall man, but broad of shoulder and radiating strength. Mary Conrad had dark wavy hair, and was quite petite although in later life, she put on a lot of weight. She had an ample bosom, and with the tight corset she always struggled into, she ended up with a shelf under her chin. This handy shelf was used to set her spool of thread on while her fingers were busy with fancy work, embroidery, crocheting or tatting. One time when she was visiting in California, she reduced two little granddaughters to uncontrollable giggles. They wanted to, but did not dare to suggest to Grandma that she use her “shelf” to hold her glass of lemonade!
Mary Conrad was very fastidious, and one granddaughter remembers the daily morning inspection of neck and ears when Grandma Farr was visiting. Her grandson, Kenneth Farr, tells an amusing story of a camping trip to Yosemite Valley in California, about 1917. Grandma insisted she must freshen up after the dusty four hour trip in an open touring car. A makeshift bathroom was hastily made by stretching blankets on wire between the trees, while water was heated on the campfire in a large tub brought from home. When all was in readiness, Grandma took her fresh clean clothing and put them neatly on a pile within the enclosure. As she removed her dust laden clothes, she piled them neatly beside the other stack. Dusk had fallen by the time the bath was finished. Imagine the consternation when the lanterns were lit to discover the Grandma had put back on the soiled clothing!
Where Julius and Mary Conrad met is not known, but they were married on 22 December 1860 by Rev. A. Gore, minister of the Gospel. Ann Eliza Gore, possibly the minister's wife, was the only witness. A copy of the marriage certificate is on page 63. It is not known where the marriage took place. Julius lived in Prairieville, Barry County and Mary lived in Gun Plains, Allegan County, Michigan.
It is hard to say what religion the two newly weds adhered to, but they were received in membership in the United Methodist Church in Galesburg, Michigan on 28 October 1877. Mary Parr was baptized on the same day. These records were found in the basement of the United Methodist Church, 111 West Battle Street in Galesburg. This was an exciting find for the compiler, because this church was built in 1853, and is the one mentioned in the Conrad Chronicle on page 72. The church is still a fine looking edifice, and has a large congregation.
One entry found in one of the musty old ledgers reads: “M. Conrad, married, died in hope of a better life. May 13, 1884.” This was Marv Conrad's father, Melkiah.
Julius Farr died at a very early age, and there are conflicting stories of the cause of his death. The death certificate reproduced on page 64 gives the cause of death as consumption. In those days, when it was not known exactly what caused a death, it was a common practice to call it “consumption.” Evalyn Farr Kreider, Julius' granddaughter, tells this story of his death:
When our grandfather, Julius, was in his early 40s, he purchased a combine, which was a new piece of machinery in the 1880's. Since he was the only one for miles around to own such a piece of equipment, he was much in demand when it was time to harvest the wheat and grain. He had a crew of men who went with him from place to place harvesting the crops of the farmers in surrounding areas.
On one such job in a neighboring community, on an extremely hot day, the combine broke down some distance from the farmer's house, Julius apparently had some know-how about repairing machinery, so he lost no time in immediately setting to work trying to fix the complex equipment. He became very warm, and asked the farmer's son to go fetch some water from a well at the farm house. It seems this youngster was well known for being a lazy no-good type of boy, and he resented being sent on such a long errand. So, instead of going the considerable distance to the well at the house, he went to a nearby abandoned well that he knew about. He filled the bucket with water there, and took it to Julius who eagerly drank it. Little did he dream that the water contained typhus, and that his life would end one week later!
This story is plausible in that, according to the obituary shown on page 64, Julius became delirious in his last hours. Delirium is not usually associated with consumption, which is a slow, steady wasting disease.
Julius was buried in the Forest Home Cemetery in Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan. Mary Conrad lived another forty years after his death, and spent much time visiting her daughters in Michigan, and her sons who had all migrated to California. She was making her home with her daughter, Dollie, in Woodland, Michigan, when she passed away on 5 October 1925. An obituary in the Hastings Banner of Wednesday, October 14 1925 reads:
Grandma Farr passed away last Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the home of her daughter Mrs. E. J. Sheldon at the age of 84 years. She will be missed by all who knew her. Those who attended her funeral from away were Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Farr, Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Farr, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Farr of Prairieville, Mrs. Sleeper, Mrs. H. S. Earle, of Galesburg, Mr. and Mrs. Leon Tylor and family, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Egelkroud and son of Detroit, and Rev, and Mrs. Thomas Thompson.2
Another notice in the Woodland News reports:
Mary Conrade was born in York State, Sept. 8, 1841. She came to Michigan at the early age of five years.
She was married to Julius E. Farr, Dec. 22nd, 1860. To this union was born nine children, two daughters and seven sons, of whom all are living. The children are Mrs. H. S. Earl of Galesburg, MI; Mrs. E. J. Sheldon, Woodland, MI; Eugene, Justin, Frank, Irwin, Jesse, Fred and George Farr, all of California. There are 37 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. H. S. Sleeper, of Pasadena, CA, and Mrs. E. W. Sleeper of Galesburg, MI, and a host of nieces and nephews.
She was born in a Methodist home, converted in early life, and was a loyal Methodist all through the years. All her children are Christian workers, of which three, Prank, Irwin and Jesse are preachers of the Gospel.
She passed from earth to heaven at the home of her daughter, Mrs. B.
J. Sheldon, October 5th, 1925, at the age of 84 years. The funeral was held at the Woodland Methodist Church October 7th, 1925, and interment beside her husband in Forest Home cemetery at Greenville, Michigan, where they resided over forty years.
1Federal census, 1860, Barry County, MI, M432, #346
2Ernest Farr and Ed Parr were the Sons of Homerus Farr. The D. A. Farr might possibly be Almon Farr, son of Homer. There were no Farrs in Paineville at that tine with those initials.