The Arrowhead Club

Hitler’s Enabling Act

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about events leading up to WWII in the Winter of 1933. One of the most significant events of that time was the passage of Hitler’s Enabling Act.

On March 23 of that year, the newly elected members of the Reichstag (German Parliament) met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider the Act, which was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” They were meeting in the opera house because on February 27, the Nazis had burned the Reichstag building and blamed the fire on the Communists. The fire caused the “distress” and an atmosphere of crisis in Germany as the German people were led to believe an uprising was coming.

The next day, March 24, the vote to pass Hitler’s Enabling Act was held. Nazi Storm Troopers intimidated those who might oppose Hitler, glaring menacingly and chanting “Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder!” They had gathered around the opera house, in the hallways, and lined the aisles.

Just before the vote, Hitler addressed the group. He said,

The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…

The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.

Hitler made other promises he did not intend to keep, to end unemployment and to promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But he said in order to do these things, he needed the Enabling Act.

To pass his Act, Hitler needed a two thirds majority as the law would change the German Constitution. He had the Nazi vote, but he needed thirty-one non-Nazi votes, which he would get that day from the Center Party by making a false promise to restore some basic rights that had been taken away.

Before the vote, Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrat party, bravely spoke before the group, addressing Hitler.

We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.

An enraged Hitler responded,

You are no longer needed! – The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded!

When the vote was taken, four hundred forty-one voted for the Enabling Act. Only eighty-four, the Social Democrats, voted against it. With well over two thirds of the vote, the Nazis achieved what Adolf Hitler had wanted to do for years, legally end democracy in Germany and claim dictatorial powers. The passage of Adolf Hitler’s Enabling Act paved the way for the Nazi takeover of Germany.

These events happened eighty-five years ago this week. It seems like a very long time ago, and then again, it doesn’t.

For many of us, our parents were school children during this time in history. Merely a decade later, our fathers, who were in their late teens or early twenties, and should have been chasing girls, were chasing Nazis instead.


The History Place

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018


An Interview with Col. Robert E. Thacker

Christopher Wilkinson

Late last year, 384th Bomb Group NexGen Christopher Wilkinson requested my help with a special project. Back in 2014, Chris sat down with Col. Robert E. Thacker in the Colonel’s home for a lengthy interview.  Chris wanted to turn that raw interview footage into a video, but didn’t have the tools to do it himself. He knew I had dabbled in video production, so Chris asked if I would take his footage and some photos of the Colonel and put it all together. Colonel Thacker’s 100th birthday was approaching and Chris wanted to give the Colonel a copy of the interview on DVD as a birthday present. And Chris wanted to upload the video to YouTube so that he could share the interview with others.

I finished the video just in time for Col. Thacker’s birthday and Chris has now uploaded it to YouTube. It covers a lot of ground and is quite interesting. Before I began working on the project, I did not know anything about the experiences and accomplishments of Colonel Robert E. Thacker. The Colonel has led an amazing life and each story he tells tops the one he told previous.

Colonel Thacker was an important player in the 384th Bomb Group in WWII, which was Chris’s initial interest in interviewing him. But Thacker was so much more than a respected Deputy Commander of the Group as you will learn watching the video.

I’m happy I had the chance to be involved with the making of the video and I feel honored to have played my part in bringing Colonel Thacker’s story in his own words to the public.

If you’d like to view the video, it is on YouTube in two parts. These links will take you to YouTube to watch them.

Col. Robert E. Thacker Interview Part 1

Part 1 Topics and Highlights…

  • 00:28  Growing up in El Centro, California
  • 02:54  Early interest in aviation
  • 03:42  Airplane modeling
  • 04:32 High school
  • 05:15  Entry in the Air Corps
  • 10:50  Strategic bombing training
  • 11:52  Family
  • 13:05  The romance of flying
  • 13:34  Marriage to Betty Joe
  • 14:00  First assignment
  • 16:43  Transition to B-17’s and Pearl Harbor
  • 32:15  The Pacific Theater in WWII

Col. Robert E. Thacker Interview Part 2

Part 2 Topics and Highlights…

  • 00:48  The Pacific Theater in WWII
  • 08:05  The WWII Battle of the Coral Sea and a close call with the USS Chicago
  • 11:00  Strategic bombing in the Pacific Theater
  • 12:10  Repatriated back to the States to train B-17 crews
  • 13:12  Thacker Provisional Group took forty B-17’s to North Africa and on into Foggia, Italy
  • 15:05  A military man goes to Europe
  • 16:20  Flying B-17’s with the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th AF out of Grafton Underwood, England in the WWII European Theater
  • 31:25  Back to the States and reassignment
  • 33:30  Flight Test Division Assignment at the Experimental Test Pilot Academy of the US Air Force at Wright Patterson in Dayton, Ohio
  • 35:10  Flying the P-82 non-stop between Honolulu and New York City
  • 43:50  Test pilot days with Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover

Like I said, it’s a long interview, so get comfortable and sit back, put your feet up and take a look. You’ll learn a lot about the life and aviation career of Col. Robert E. Thacker. He’s a fascinating storyteller and will leave you wanting more.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Dachau Opens Near Munich

In March 1933, as the Police President of Munich, SS leader Heinrich Himmler, and the Nazis open the Dachau concentration camp near Munich for political enemies of the Third Reich. It was constructed at an unused munitions factory located twelve miles northwest of Munich on the Amper River. Himmler chose Theodor Eicke to organize Dachau, which became the model for all future SS concentration camps. Eicke became known as the “Father of the Concentration Camp System.”

Before the formal concentration camp system began, conventional prisons were becoming overwhelmed with political prisoners of the Nazis and early crude camps known as “wild” concentration camps were quickly constructed. They were often simply stockades surrounded by barbed wire. Prisoners were subjected to military-style drills, beatings, and torture. Often, prisoners were held for ransom and were released upon payment.

At Dachau, each prisoner passed through an iron gate, arriving under the Nazi slogan, “Arbeit Macht Frei.” Work sets you free. The prisoners were presented with another slogan painted inside the camp. “There is one way to freedom. Its milestones are: obedience, zeal, honesty, order, cleanliness, temperance, truth, sense of sacrifice and love for the Fatherland.”

In the early days of Dachau, most were political prisoners who were not told how long they would be imprisoned. For most, it was the first time they had ever been in trouble with the police or arrested. Upon being detained, they were told, “Based on Article One of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State of 28 February 1933, you are taken into protective custody in the interest of public security and order. Reason: suspicion of activities inimical to the State.”

The prisoners worked twelve-hour days in a camp workshop or outside along the camp grounds. Their health declined quickly due to the long work hours, poor nutrition, and inadequate sanitation.

The harsh forced labor system became the model for all subsequent concentration camps as Himmler and the SS took advantage of a ready supply of slave labor.

Under Theodor Eicke, SS guards at Dachau underwent rigorous military training in addition to their camp guard duty. Eicke convinced them to treat all inmates as dangerous enemies of the state and to not harbor any sympathy for the prisoners. The guards had to witness or participate in acts of cruelty against the prisoners, who were treated as numbers, not persons, stripped of everything human.

The existence of Dachau and other early concentration camps instilled fear in all Germans and effectively suppressed any political opposition to Hitler and the Nazi regime.


The History Place World War II in Europe

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

WWII Timeline – Winter 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1933



In 1933, Germany’s Jewish population is estimated to be more than 500,000, but less than 600,000, or about three-quarters of one percent of the total German population.

January 30, 1933

German President von Hindenburg names Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany.

February 22, 1933

In Germany, forty thousand SA (Sturmabteilung) and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.  (The SA was eventually replaced by Himmler’s SS).

February 27, 1933

The Nazis set the Reichstag building, the seat of the German government, on fire and it burns. This creates a crisis atmosphere which enables Adolf Hitler to seize power under the pretext of protecting the nation from threats to its security.

February 28, 1933

The Nazis’ plan works and as a result of the Reichstag fire, emergency powers are granted to Hitler.

March 12, 1933

The Oranienburg Concentration Camp opens as one of the first detention facilities established by the Nazis. The camp was located in the state of Prussia and held political opponents of the Nazis, mostly members of the Communist Party of Germany and social-democrats, as well as homosexual men and other so-called “undesirables.”

March 21 or 22, 1933

The Nazis open the Dachau concentration camp near Munich for political enemies of the Third Reich. The opening of other camps follows in later years:  Sachsenhausen (July 1936) in northern Germany near Berlin, Buchenwald (July 1937) near Weimar in central Germany, and Ravensbrück (1939) for women in northern Germany north of Berlin.

March 23, 1933

The newly elected members of the Reichstag (German Parliament) meet in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. The Act was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” Passage of the Act would effectively mean the end of democracy in Germany and would establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

March 24, 1933

The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act giving Hitler dictatorial powers.

March 27, 1933

Japan withdraws from the League of Nations.


This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

And other information from Wikipedia

Most recent post from the series:

The Early 1930’s

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Farrar Family in 1941

It was 1941. On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 8, the US declared war on Japan, entering WWII. On December 11, Hitler declared war on the United States. President Roosevelt then asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying, “Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.”

This was the year that life for this generation of Americans would change forever. This was the year that the Farrar’s took this family photo.

The Farrar family in 1941

Standing, back row, L to R: George Edwin (Ed, my dad), Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet Mae, Ozzie Couch (close family friend), Carroll Johnson Jr.
Standing, middle row, L to R: Martha Ann, Dorothy Gertrude (Dot) holding daughter Phyllis, Raleigh May, Carroll Johnson Sr.
Kneeling front row: Robert Burnham (Bob), Harold Eugene (Gene), Beverly Marie, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)
Not pictured: Nell Geraldine (Gerry)
Photo contributed by Joan Stephenson (Dot’s daughter)

My grandparents, Raleigh May and Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., had nine children twenty-seven years apart. The oldest was born in 1910 and the youngest in 1937. Of the nine children, four would be directly involved in the war effort, three sons and one daughter.

Nell Geraldine, the oldest child and first daughter, was born in 1910. Gerry married Wallace Mass in 1932 and moved to California. She was the only Farrar child to permanently move out of the state of Georgia and away from the closeness of the Farrar family.

Janet Mae was born in 1912. She married Bob Hunt (pictured) in 1936. During WWII, Janet joined the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft (known as Bell Bomber) in Marietta, Georgia, contributing at home to the war effort. She was hired as their very first policewoman in March 1943. Bell Bomber supplied the U.S. Army Air Forces with Boeing-designed B-29’s.

Carroll Johnson, Jr. was the first son, born in 1916. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on August 13, 1941. He served in Army Air Force Service Squadron 315 in the Pacific.

Dorothy Gertrude was born in 1919. She married Hugh Cobb in late 1936 or early 1937. Dot and Hugh followed in her parents’ footsteps and had nine children of their own. Included in the photo are the couples two oldest children, Denny and Phyllis.

George Edwin (my dad) was born in 1921. Ed enlisted June 4, 1942. He served in the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the 384th Bomb Group as a waist gunner of a B-17 crew stationed in England. He was knocked down on his sixteenth mission and became a prisoner of war.

Robert Burnham was born in 1925. Bob enlisted in the Navy on May 8, 1943. He served in the Pacific on the USS Intrepid and was injured when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots on November 25, 1944.

Martha Ann was born in 1927.

Harold Eugene (Gene) was born in 1931.

Beverly Marie was born in 1937.

During WWII, Gerry, Janet, and Dot were married and living away from home. Carroll, Ed, and Bob were still living at home at the start of the war, but would all be far from home during their WWII service. Martha, Gene, and Beverly were the only children left to grow up in the family home during the war years.

The only person in the picture who has not yet been mentioned is a friend of the family named Ozzie Couch (I’m unsure of the spelling of his name). Ozzie and Carroll Jr. both worked at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta. Ozzie’s inclusion in the family photo says something about his closeness to the Farrar family. Youngest daughter Beverly remembered that Ozzie brought many gifts to the family including a variety of plants, Beverly’s first Persian cat, and a retired circus horse named Danny Boy that lived for a time in the garage. Ozzie’s family was from North Carolina. Ozzie, too, served in WWII. I am curious about Ozzie and would like to find out more about him. If anyone reading this can tell me more about Ozzie Couch (sp.), please contact me.

Did the Farrar family, sensing the war moving right into their living room, take this photo in 1941 wondering if it might be the last photo of them all (except for Gerry) together? Many families lost sons to WWII, but the Farrar family was fortunate to see all three of their sons – Carroll, Ed, and Bob – and even family friend Ozzie return from the war. A family intact.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Dad’s Escape and Evasion Photos

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

In WWII, airmen were equipped with an escape and evasion kit to help them in the event that they had to bail out of a crippled plane. Once on the ground, if they were not immediately captured, they would have a few tools to help them evade capture.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

For those airmen in the European theater, the kit may have contained banknotes from several countries, multilingual language cards, silk maps, a knife, a small amount of rations, first aid supplies, and photos in civilian clothing for false papers.

George Edwin Farrar Escape and Evasion Photo

An airman forced to bail out over France or Belgium had a better chance of evasion than an airman forced to bail out over Germany. One who bailed out over Germany was much more likely to be found quickly by German soldiers and much less likely to be found by someone sympathetic to his predicament.

When my father, George Edwin Farrar, landed on German soil, he was severely injured. He was unable to walk and never had a chance to attempt to evade capture.

I found these photos in my dad’s wartime things along with two silk maps which he never had the chance to use.

Edouard Renière has written a nice piece on the items the airmen may have been given before their missions which you can read here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Lingering Shadows of an Aluminum Overcast

When  I look at written World War II history, I see names, dates, places of great battles, and statistics. I rarely see mention of family, but families are what’s at the core of such a great struggle. One man was not fighting this great war against his enemy, another man. Their families were right there beside them fighting, too. When one man went down, many more at home who shared his blood went down with him. The loss of one man became a great emotional loss at home and the loss of many future generations of his family.

Two B-17 flying fortresses collided above Germany on September 28, 1944. Of the eighteen men aboard the two forts, four survived. None of the four live on today, but their children and grandchildren carry on their legacy. At least three of the men who died that day had children or knew that they were to become fathers in the months to come. That makes seven families, not quite half, who share a common history dating back to WWII.

Of the eleven men who would have no descendants, most of them had siblings who had children and there are nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and -nephews who also share their history and cherish their memories.

We are known collectively as the Buslee and Brodie crews’ NexGens, the Next Generation of the men of these two crews of the 384th Bomb Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force who bravely defended our country in WWII.

I began my search for Buslee/Brodie NexGens, who I consider extended family, in 2011 after I met Wallace Storey. I remember so clearly now my astonishment when Wallace told me that he had been in touch with other family members of the two crews. It was that light-headed feeling of shattered disbelief that almost knocked me off my feet, the thought of something I had never considered possible. There were others out there who knew my father’s story of the mid-air collision. It was no longer my family’s private history.

I had never before considered that my sister and I were not the only ones. From my dad’s stories, I knew he was the only survivor of the Buslee crew. At the time, I did not know that children were born to two of the men after the mid-air collision. And I never suspected that any of the men of the Brodie crew had survived the horrific accident, but three of them had. One of their sons had contacted Wallace Storey before me. So had a newphew and great-nephew of Buslee crew members.

I began contacting the relatives for whom Wallace provided information and I started researching each man who had been on those two planes, looking for their families, and finding some of them. During this process, I realized there was a lot we didn’t know about September 28, 1944, and that the other NexGens wanted to know as badly as I what happened in the skies above Magdeburg, Germany on September 28, 1944.

Top secret reports from WWII were public now, and I discovered details bit by bit and started putting them together, like pieces of a puzzle. I shared what I found with the other Buslee/Brodie NexGens and they shared knowledge, photos, and letters. These men who were our fathers and grandfathers, and uncles and great-uncles had an incredibly close bond. And now we NexGens were forming our own bond as we learned details about that late September day, details that in the 1940’s our families struggled so very hard to discover, but of which they were left uniformed.

With the power of knowledge of what happened to the boys that day, we are able to feel them again, hold them close, grieve for them, and look at them with a new sense of awe and respect. I have new family now, these descendants of the great airmen of WWII. We live in the lingering shadows of an aluminum overcast that will never fade away as long as we remember.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

A Place for Everything…

A place for everything and everything in its place. My dad must have repeated those words to me a thousand times. Or maybe more. When I was a child, it meant “clean up your room.” I was a big fan of clutter and rarely put anything away. Cleaning up meant either dumping everything in a drawer or stuffing it into a closet. As long as Dad couldn’t see it, I was in the clear.

Once, in college, I checked out a cookbook from the library. I don’t remember the name or author of the book, but right there in the front, after the title page, was that quote:  “A place for everything and everything in its place.” The quote continued with some reference to the kitchen, the exact wording of which I do not remember. After hearing those words so many times from my father, I was surprised to see them in print. I never considered that anyone but my father strung those particular words together into a phrase.

After a little searching, I found that the origin of the quote is generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is also sometimes attributed to Mrs. Isabella Beeton, who published “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” and “Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book” in the 1860’s. However, Mrs. Beeton’s books were published seventy years after Franklin’s death, so she must have been quoting Franklin. Perhaps Mrs. Beeton’s father admonished her room-cleaning skills with that phrase, too, and it became her mantra.

Samuel Smiles also quoted Benjamin Franklin in his book “Thrift,” published in 1875.

Thrift of Time is equal to thrift of money. [Benjamin] Franklin said, “Time is gold.” If one wishes to earn money, it may be done by the proper use of time. But time may also be spent in doing many good and noble actions. It may be spent in learning, in study, in art, in science, in literature. Time can be economized by system. System is an arrangement to secure certain ends, so that no time may be lost in accomplishing them. Every business man must be systematic and orderly. So must every housewife. There must be a place for everything, and everything in its place. There must also be a time for everything, and everything must be done in time.

There are many interesting concepts in this one paragraph written by Samuel Smiles, but clearly Mr. Smiles was expanding on ideas originating with Benjamin Franklin. And please note that Smiles did not mention room cleaning as a proper use of time.

The list of authors borrowing the quote from Franklin goes on and on. Even Budd Peaslee, first commander of the 384th Bomb Group used Franklin’s words in his book, “Heritage of Valor.” On page 41, Peaslee wrote:

…there was a place for everything and everything must be in its proper place so as to preserve the balance of the bomber in flight as its weight changed with the using up of its great fuel load.

Did those words become common around the Grafton Underwood airfield, surviving Peaslee’s command of the group? Is that where my father first heard them? I’ll never know, but I know those words still echo in my head to this day and when my piles of clutter get too big, “a place for everything and everything in its place” still means stuffing it all into the nearest drawer or closet. Dad, my room is ready for inspection.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Farrar Roots in England

Regardless of whether the American boys who fought in WWII were born to immigrants who were recent arrivals or into an ancestral line of immigrants who arrived in America long ago, they were all American patriots fighting for the same thing. They all stood together united in the same cause.

George Edwin Farrar was one of the boys whose family arrived in America long, long ago. Our immigrant ancestor of the Farrar line, Captain William Farrar, arrived in America in 1618. William’s wife Cecily and her father arrived even earlier, in 1610.

Dad’s paternal ancestry can be traced fourteen generations (fifteen for me) and more than a half century back to Henry Ferror I of Midgley, Halifax Parish, Yorkshire, England.

Midgley is about thirty miles northeast of Manchester, one hundred fifty miles northwest of Grafton Underwood, and a little over two hundred miles northwest of London. I don’t think my father was aware of the specific location of his roots in England at the time he was stationed at Grafton Underwood with the 384th Bomb Group, but he likely had English relatives nearby.

Dad’s and my ancestor, Henry Ferror I, was the original owner of Ewood Manor or Ewood Estate in Midgley from 1471. Ewood was subsequently the home of the Farrar family for over four hundred years. Henry and his wife (whose name is unknown) raised fifteen children at Ewood.

Ewood Manor

All of the children have not been identified due to loss of records, but it is believed that Bishop Robert Ferrar (listed in Foxes’ Book of Martyrs) was born around 1502 at Ewood and was possibly a son of Henry Ferror I. Bishop Ferrar was educated at Cambridge and Oxford where he received his Doctor of Divinity degree and was later appointed Bishop of St. David’s by King Edward VII in 1547. He died as a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary (known as Bloody Mary) on March 30, 1555, burned at the stake because he embraced the English Reformation.

Another one of Henry I’s sons, Henry Ferror II, who inherited Ewood in 1548, is the only other child of the fifteen identified and was next in the line of my father’s ancestry. He and his wife, Agnes Horsfall, had three children, and their oldest, William Ferror, continued our family’s lineage.

William Ferror inherited Ewood from his father and he and his wife Margaret Lacy Ferror raised six children there. Our line continued with their second child, who was known as John Ferror the Elder.

John Ferror was not only the second child, but was the second son of William and Margaret Ferror. Upon his father’s death, John’s older brother Henry inherited Ewood Estate. In 1610, Henry was stabbed to death by Justice Thomas Oldfield. He died before having children and Ewood Estate passed to John, keeping the ownership of Ewood in our lineage for the time being, although John didn’t live there. Henry’s widow continued to live at Ewood until her death. John Ferror, Esquire and his wife Cecily Kelke Ferror lived in London. John and Cecily had four children, all sons. Their third, William, continued our lineage.

William Ferror was our immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1593 in London, England. He was a barrister and immigrated to Virginia aboard the Neptune in 1618. The founder of the Farrar family in America, here he was known as Captain William Farrar.

William played an important role in the early development of the Virginia colony. He patented 2000 acres on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, known as Farrar’s Island. In 1622, ten people were killed at his home on the Appomatuck River during the Great Indian Massacre. William escaped to his neighbor Samuel Jordan’s home, known as Jordan’s Journey.

Jordan’s wife Cecily had arrived at Jamestown from England at the age of ten with her father in 1610 aboard the Swan. Samuel Jordan was her second husband, her first being a Mr. Baley. After the death of Samuel Jordan, Cecily married Captain William Farrar in 1625.

In 1626, Captain William Farrar was appointed by King Charles I as a member of the King’s Council. He served as Chief Justice of the county. Captain William and Cecily Jordan Farrar had two children, both sons, although some Farrar ancestral records state that they also had a third child, a daughter. William and Cecily’s first born son was our ancestor and was known as Colonel William Farrar. He was born about 1626 on Farrar’s Island.

Colonel William Farrar later inherited Farrar’s Island and he and his wife Mary had five children there. Our Farrar lineage in America continued in Virginia with William and Mary’s son, Thomas Farrar; Thomas’s son, William Farrar; William’s son, Joseph Farrar, who fought in the Revolutionary War; Joseph’s son, Charles Farrar, Sr.; Charles Sr’s son, Charles Farrar, Jr., who was born after his father died; Charles, Jr’s son, Ezekiel Baker Farrar; and Ezekiel Baker’s son, Charles Henry.

Charles Henry Farrar was born in 1837. He was seven feet tall, though he preferred to refer to his height as “six foot twelve.”

Two books record our lineage of Farrar ancestry, the original The Farrars, written by William B. and Ethel Farrar, and The Farrars Addendum, written by Clarence Baker Farrar, a grandson of Charles Henry Farrar. Between his book and a letter to my mother, Bernice Jane Farrar, Clarence provided some interesting information about Charles Henry Farrar.

During the Civil War, Charles Henry Farrar was a private in the Confederate army and on April 9, 1865, surrendered at Appomattox with Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant gave Charles Henry a horse and he rode south from Appomattox one day, spending the night on the banks of the Staunton River on the farm of the widow Johnson (Mrs. William Brent Johnson) and her six and a half year old daughter, Martha Ann. Charles was hired the next day as men were a scarce commodity in the South after the Civil War.

In 1874, just before his thirty-seventh birthday, Charles Henry married Martha Ann, who was just a month past her sixteenth birthday. After the marriage, Martha Ann was sent off to finishing school in Danville, Virginia. The school was Miss Somebody’s Seminary for Young Ladies – now Fairfax Hall. After finishing school, Martha Ann returned to Charlotte Court House, Virginia. She bought a large Georgian house uptown, a home built by Patrick Henry called Villeview, for herself and Charles Henry.

At Villeview, Martha Ann bore Charles Henry eight children, though one was stillborn. In later years, the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where Charles Henry joined his brother, William Baker Farrar, in the lumber business in Dalton, Georgia. Martha Ann was unhappy over the move and lonely for home. She took the younger children, including my grandfather, Carroll Johnson, and returned to Virginia.

Martha Ann divorced Charles Henry and he remarried in 1907. He died three years later in 1910. Martha Ann married Dr. W.E. Michie, who was her childhood sweetheart. After Dr. Michie’s death, Martha Ann said that next time she married, she was marrying a Yankee. She had had two Southern gentlemen and that was quite enough. She died in 1915.

My Farrar lineage continued with the first Farrar generation in Atlanta, Georgia, with Charles Henry and Martha Ann’s son Carroll Johnson Farrar, my father’s father, my grandfather. He was born in 1888 and married Raleigh May George in 1909. They had nine children and their middle child and second son was my father, George Edwin Farrar.

George Edwin Farrar was born in 1921. In 1944, he found himself in England, on an American air base in Grafton Underwood. He was only one hundred fifty miles from Ewood Manor, but at the time didn’t know of its existence or significance to his family. As he stood on the English soil, perhaps he considered that this was the place his family came from and that it took a world war to bring him here, to the home of his ancestors. His stay in England was only a few short months and after many more months as a prisoner of war in Germany, after a year away, he was thankful to be back in his home in America.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018


In my research of the members of the Buslee and Brodie crews and other crews of the 384th Bomb Group, I learned that many of their families were recent (pre-WWII) immigrants to America. It struck me that their parents came to America not only to escape religious persecution or a dangerous political climate, but to make a better life for themselves and to make a better and brighter future for their families. America provided freedom and would be a safe place to raise their children.

Coming to America was a hard decision to make and a difficult goal to realize. It cost life savings. A lifetime of possessions would be left behind, with only the most important and precious carried along.

Once on American soil, it was a new start at a new life, discovering an unfamiliar country, absorbing a new language, learning new customs. But they managed. They found jobs and became Americans. They settled in to live good lives and raise their children in the freedom of their new land.

But when freedom was threatened with a world war looming, they found their children would be the ones who would have to fight to keep that freedom. Immigrant parents had to sacrifice the very thing they came to America to protect. For many, their offspring were lost in the great battles of the land, sea, and air of WWII and the future of their families disappeared overnight. This is one of the greatest tragedies of war.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

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