A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, my dad George Edwin Farrar, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.
To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.
George Edwin Farrar
I’m going to begin with a discussion about my dad’s name. His full name was George Edwin Farrar. His first name, George, came from his maternal roots. It was his mother’s maiden name, the surname of her paternal ancestry. I am not sure where his middle name, Edwin, came from. I do not find an Edwin in the George or Farrar ancestry other than his 22nd great-grandfather happened to be Edward I Plantagenet, King of England. Did Dad’s parents even know of that ancestry? I’m not certain they did.
But Dad was an “Edwin,” not an “Edward.” The only other “Edwin” I find in his family’s history is the name of the street on which his parents lived in 1913, 1 Edwin Place in Atlanta, Georgia. Did they like the name so much that they picked it for his middle name eight years later? I’m so not certain about that either.
To family and friends, George Edwin Farrar, was always “Ed.” Once he entered the military, he became “George.” Obviously, when your superior officer calls you “George,” your name is “George.” I’m quite sure he never would have corrected anyone with whom he was associated in the military, including fellow enlistees or crewmates, and especially not anyone under whom he was training or serving.
The name issue causes me difficulty when I transition between stories of my dad’s military life and his family life, like now. I often find myself switching back and forth between “George” and “Ed” when referring to my father, and sincerely hope I do not cause too much confusion about whom I am speaking. Forgive me for the lengthy digression into something as simple as my father’s name, but I thought it deserved an explanation up front.
George Edwin Farrar came into this world on 3 September 1921. He was the fifth child and second son of Carroll Johnson Farrar and Raleigh Mae George Farrar.
Carroll was born December 17, 1888 in Charlotte Court House, Virginia to Charles Henry Farrar and Martha Ann Johnson Farrar. Charles was a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Raleigh Mae was a native Atlantan, growing up in the Grant Park area of Atlanta. She was born January 25, 1890 in Atlanta, Georgia to Raleigh David George (1858 – 1891) and Mary Willie Hollingsworth George (1861 – 1935). Her father, Raleigh David, was a train conductor and killed in a train accident the year after her birth.
Supposedly, up until his death, his daughter remained unnamed and was called “Baby.” After his death, Baby’s mother decided to name her Raleigh after her father. Unfortunately, the 1890 Federal census records were destroyed by fire leaving me unable to confirm this family legend told to me by the family’s youngest daughter, Beverly Farrar Millwood.
Carroll Farrar and Raleigh George were married in Atlanta, Georgia on June 25, 1909. Over the next twenty-eight years, they would have nine children.
The nine children of Carroll Sr and Raleigh Mae Farrar were:
- Nell Geraldine “Gerry” Farrar (1910 – 1994)
- Janet Mae Farrar (1912 – 1990)
- Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr (1916 – 1967)
- Dorothy Gertrude “Dot” Farrar (1919 – 1970)
- George Edwin “Ed” Farrar (1921 – 1982)
- Robert Burnham “Bob” Farrar (1925 – 1983)
- Martha Ann Farrar (1927 – 1970)
- Harold Eugene “Gene” Farrar (1931 – 2011)
- Beverly Marie Farrar (1937 – 2017)
While I have previously covered the 1930 and 1940 Federal census records for the Farrar family, I’ll provide a summary, or recap, here. Click the link for all the details.
Carroll and Raleigh Mae Farrar raised their family in Atlanta, Georgia, and according to the 1920 census, were renting their home in the Kirkwood section of the city. Four of the Farrar children were born by this year: Geraldine (age 9), Janet (age 7), Carroll, Jr. (age 3), and Dorothy (a month shy of age 1).
The family moved around quite a bit in the 1920’s, always renting in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood.
According to the 1930 census, the Farrar family was living in a rented home, still in Kirkwood. By now the family had grown to seven children and all seven lived at home: Geraldine (19), Janet (17), Carroll Jr. (13), Dorothy (11), my dad, Edwin (8), Robert (5), and Martha (2). The Farrar family continued to rent the same home for the first half of the 1930’s.
By 1937, according to the Atlanta city directory, the Farrar’s lived at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE. By now the family had grown to nine children with the addition of Gene, born in 1931, and Beverly, born in 1937. The youngest child of the Farrar family, Beverly, was the only one born in the East Lake Terrace home.
Ed Farrar attended J. C. Murphy Junior High School in Atlanta, Georgia, completing the junior high course of study on 2 June 1938. He would go on to high school, but I do not know which high school he attended. More research for me, I see.
By the late 1930’s, while Ed Farrar was still completing his education, it was now two decades after the end of World War I. World War II was brewing in Europe, but most Americans felt the United States should stay out of foreign conflicts.
On 1 September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland to start World War II. Two days later, on 3 September, the day George Edwin Farrar celebrated his eighteenth birthday, Great Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany.
On 5 September, the United States proclaimed its neutrality, but it would only be a matter of time before three of Carroll and Raleigh Mae’s four sons would take part in fighting in the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.
Before America and the Farrar family went to war, time slowly marched on into the 1940’s. Americans must have been very on edge while the rest of the world battled on, wondering if and when they and their American sons would be called upon to join the destruction of nation against nation.
According to the 1940 census, the Farrar family owned their home at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia. Beverly remembered that the family rented the home first and then Raleigh decided they should buy it. Carroll, Sr., objected to the purchase, but Raleigh succeeded in talking him into buying the home. I don’t know what year they made the purchase, but they had done so by 18 April 1940, when census takers recorded the Farrar family for the Federal census.
In 1940, the three oldest girls – Geraldine, Janet, and Dorothy – were married and no longer living at home, but six of the Farrar children lived at 79 East Lake Terrace with their parents. Living in the home in 1940 were Carroll Sr. (51), Raleigh (50), Carroll Jr. (24), Edwin (18), Robert (15), Martha (12), Gene (9), and Beverly (3). Carroll Sr. worked as a printer in a printing shop, Carroll Jr. worked as a floor salesman in a department store (Atlanta’s downtown Rich’s store), and Edwin was a soda clerk in a drug store. The younger children attended school.
For the 1940 Federal census record entry for Edwin Farrar, in response to the question “Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940,” the answer was “Yes.” The next question, “Highest Grade Completed” was H2, or 10th Grade. Ed left school after completing the 10th grade. He was a good math student and won many math competitions, but with so many brothers and sisters at home to feed, the family needed an extra paycheck and his education was over.
[Note: his WWII Separation Record notes that after 2 years of high school, Ed Farrar left school in 1939. Even though the year he left school contradicts the census record, all records note his highest grade completed as 2 years of high school, or 10th grade.]
After his stint as a soda clerk, or as Ed called it, “soda jerk,” he worked as a vending machine maintenance man and made extra money as a Golden Gloves boxer.
On 4 September 1940, the “America First Committee” was established with the goal of keeping the United States out of WWII. But less than two weeks later, on 16 September, the United States military conscription bill passed and the first U.S. peacetime draft was enacted. A month later, Ed Farrar’s older brother, Carroll, Jr., registered for the WWII draft on 16 October.
The next year, in the Summer of 1941, Carroll, Jr. was preparing to join in the war effort, even though the U.S. had not yet entered the war. Carroll, Jr. enlisted in the Air Corps on 13 August 1941, and this family photo was taken shortly before he entered the service.
On 7 December 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The next day, on 8 December, the United States and Great Britain declared war on Japan.
On 11 December 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Hours later, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying,
Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization.
As the U.S. entered the war in Europe, Ed Farrar was still living in Kirkwood with his family at the 79 East Lake Terrace home. He followed his brother into war the next year, enlisting in the Army Air Corps on 4 June 1942.
On 8 May 1943, Ed’s younger brother Robert “Bob” enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18.
More about George Edwin Farrar and his military training and World War II service in my next post…
Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia
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