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George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, was born September 3, 1921. He was the fifth child and second son of Carroll Johnson and Raleigh May George Farrar. Carroll was born December 17, 1888 in Charlotte Court House, Virginia. Raleigh was a native Atlantan, growing up in the Grant Park area of Atlanta. She was born January 25, 1890. Carroll and Raleigh were married in Atlanta on June 25, 1909. Over the next twenty-eight years, they would have nine children.

According to the 1920 census (the year before my dad was born), the Farrar family rented a home at 125 W. Boulevard Drive in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia. This area of Atlanta is commonly known as Kirkwood. Carroll Sr. was 31 and was employed as a printer for a printing company. Raleigh was 29. Four of the Farrar children were born by 1920: Geraldine (age 9), Janet (age 7), Carroll, Jr. (age 3), and Dorothy (a month shy of 1). The family had been living in the house at 125 W. Boulevard since 1919 according to city directories.

Backing up briefly into the previous decade, the family lived at a number of different addresses.  In 1913, the family lived at 1 Edwin Place in Atlanta and Carroll Sr. was employed as a printer for the Atlanta Journal newspaper. Carroll and Raleigh must have liked the name “Edwin.” By then they had two daughters (Geraldine and Janet). The first boy came along in 1916, and they named him after his father. They had to wait several more years before having another boy and named him George Edwin, George after his mother’s maiden name, and perhaps Edwin from Edwin Place as his middle name. Although he was known as George in his military service and later in his professional life to his customers, he was always known as Ed to family.

The family continued to move around quite a bit in the 1920’s, always choosing to stay in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. From 1921 to 1925, the Farrar family lived at 31 Clay St., SE. Annual city directories list the address as 31 Clay K. I don’t know what the “K” stood for, but perhaps it was an apartment number. Carroll Sr.’s occupation was continually listed as “printer,” but from 1924 to 1926, his place of employment was reported as Farrar Printing Co. By 1926, their residence had changed to 107 W. Boulevard Drive.

Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr.’s print shop. I’m not sure, but I think he is the one on the left, standing the furthest back.

In 1927, the Atlanta city directory reported the Farrar family living at 1732 (107) Boulevard Dr., NE. Perhaps because of a move in 1927, both street numbers were included. In any case in the 1927 to 1929 city directories, Carroll, Sr. was reported to be working for Ben Franklin Press in Atlanta. He was listed as a printer for the company in 1927 and 1928, and listed as a superintendent in 1929.

According to the 1930 census, the Farrar family continued to reside in the rented home at 1732 Boulevard Drive, NE in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia. At the time, Carroll Farrar, Sr. was listed as a printer for a publishing company. Carroll Sr. was 41 years old and Raleigh was 40. 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 only child working was Geraldine, who was a saleswoman for a dry goods store. (Note: part of Boulevard Drive has since been renamed, so this address may now be 1732 Hosea L. Williams Drive).

The Farrar family continued to reside at the 1732 Boulevard Dr., NE home into the first half of the 1930’s. City directories place them there in 1934 and 1935. Carroll, Sr. is listed as a printer in both years, but his place of employment is noted as the Darby Printing Co. in 1935.

I have not found a city directory listing for 1936, but by 1937, Carroll Farrar, Sr. was a compositor for Lyon-Young Printing. The family lived at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE. The new home was one mile from the 1732 Boulevard Dr. home. The youngest child of the Farrar family, Beverly, was the only one born in the East Lake Terrace home.

Beverly remembers 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 1940. They are also listed at the same address in the 1938 city directory and Carroll, Sr. is listed as a printer, with no indication of employer.

According to the 1940 census, the Farrar family owned their home at 79 East Lake Terrace, SE in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia. Two more children had been born in the 1930’s, Gene and Beverly, and the family now had nine children.

The three oldest girls – Geraldine, Janet, and Dorothy – were no longer living at home, but six of the Farrar children were. 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.

Standing, back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt (Janet’s first husband), Janet, Ozzie Couch (family friend), Carroll Jr.
Standing, middle, L to R: Martha, Dorothy (Dot) holding her daughter Phyllis, Raleigh, Carroll Sr.
Kneeling front: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), Denny (Dot’s son)

My dad lived in quite a few different homes growing up in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta and considered himself one of the “Kirkwood Boys.” One of his earliest memories that he shared with me was that when he was five or six years old, the family moved right across the street from the home they had been living in. He remembered sitting on the front steps of the new house, crying that he wanted to go home.

Another of my dad’s favorite memories of growing up in Kirkwood was that when he was a teenager of driving age, he and his fellow friends, the Kirkwood Boys, liked to drive their cars to the top of Stone Mountain. At the time, Stone Mountain was not a park. Picture in the 1930’s a carload of teenage boys, probably some beer, and a giant piece of granite to be conquered.

My dad left high school after 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. After his stint as a soda jerk, he worked as a vending machine maintenance man and made extra money as a Golden Gloves boxer. He continued to live in Kirkwood with his family at the 79 East Lake Terrace home until he enlisted in the Army Air Corps on June 4, 1942.

Kirkwood area of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1930’s.
Photo credit: The Sarrett family of Kirkwood.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Raleigh May and the Liberty Bell

My dad was George Edwin (Ed) Farrar, who served in WWII in the 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group (Heavy), 544th Bomb Squadron. During the time he served, he wasn’t married and he didn’t have a girlfriend waiting at home for him. Like many unattached young men in the service, his number one girl was his mother.

My dad’s mother was the former Raleigh May George of Atlanta, Georgia. She was born in 1890, grew up in the Grant Park area, and lost her father, Raleigh David George, not long after her first birthday.

The George family after Raleigh David’s death. Pictured are (and this is my guess based on ages): Standing back L: James England George Standing back R: Hayden Edger George Standing front L: Julia Cleo George Standing front R: Eunice “Ennis” George Seated: Mary Willie Hollingsworth George, holding Raleigh May George

The George family after Raleigh David’s death. Pictured are (and this is my guess based on ages):
Standing back L: James England George
Standing back R: Hayden Edger George
Standing front L: Julia Cleo George
Standing front R: Eunice “Ennis” George
Seated: Mary Willie Hollingsworth George, holding Raleigh May George

Raleigh May grew up to be a very patriotic woman who during WWII had three sons in the military. Sons Carroll and Ed were in the Air Force and son Bob was in the Navy.

Raleigh May’s feeling of intense patriotism did not start in WWI or WWII. It started much earlier, in 1895, when she was five years old. In that year, the Cotton States and International Exposition was held in Atlanta, Georgia from September 18 to December 31 on the grounds of what today is Piedmont Park.

A few weeks after the start of the Exposition, the Liberty Bell came to Atlanta as a prime attraction of the fair. After the Civil War, the Bell had become a symbol of unity and the idea was to bring the Bell to the people to proclaim liberty and to inspire the cause of freedom.

The Liberty Bell had already traveled to New Orleans in 1885 for a World Industrial and Cotton Exposition, and to Chicago in 1893 for the World’s Fair. A crowd greeted the Bell in Atlanta. A two-mile parade from the train station took the Bell to the Exposition, where tens of thousands of people lined up to see it pass.

Liberty Bell Parade, October 8, 1895

Liberty Bell Parade in Atlanta, Georgia

Liberty Bell Day was proclaimed on October 9 when the Liberty Bell was installed in the Pennsylvania Building at the Exposition.

installation-of-liberty-bell-in-pa-building

A book written about the Cotton States and International Exposition (see sources below), describes events of Liberty Bell Day in Atlanta.

The pupils in the public schools were given a special holiday, and it was further directed that every teacher in the Gate City [a historic nickname of Atlanta] should previously relate to her pupils the story of the Bell and bring home to them its patriotic significance. Railroads and traction companies volunteered to carry children free to the Exposition, that none might be debarred from some share in the celebration.

A grand civic and military parade escorted the Bell to the grounds in Piedmont Park, where, at noon, upon the broad steps of the Pennsylvania Building, in the presence of 30,000 people, it was solemnly given over to the care of the City of Atlanta.

At the Liberty Bell Day ceremony, Mayor Charles F. Warwick of Philadelphia spoke to the people of Atlanta.

We leave it in the hands of its and our friends. We know you will watch it with the same solicitude and tenderness that we bestow upon it. Though its lips be mute, though its tongue be silent, it is more eloquent that ten thousand human voices. Its echoes still thrill the world. The words inscribed upon its surface, taken from Holy Writ, are prophetic. It seems as if they must have been written by inspiration, and may they go ringing down the ages, giving hope and encouragement to nations yet unborn, to peoples not yet free.

The inscription on the Liberty Bell is a Bible verse taken from the book of Leviticus 25:10. It reads, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”

Four officers (Robert Mofflit, James A. Robinson, Frank F. Westphal, and Harry Hetteroth) from the Philadelphia Police Department were specially detailed to guard the Bell during its stay in Atlanta until the end of the Exposition on December 31, 1895. During its travels outside Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell’s guards have been blamed for the worsening of the crack in the Bell. They were accused of chipping off pieces of the Bell and selling them as souvenirs.

I don’t know the validity of that claim, but I do know of one of the wonderful, kind things one of the guards did that impressed patriotism upon my grandmother, Raleigh May George, at a very early age. She was one of the school children, then only fives years old and a kindergartener, brought to see the Bell. One of the guards picked Raleigh out of the crowd of children, lifted her up, and told her to put her hands on the bell. As her tiny hands touched the Bell, the guard told her she would remember the moment for the rest of her life. He instructed her to tell the story to her own children one day.

Children surround Liberty Bell at Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia

Children surround Liberty Bell at Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia

The simple act of the Bell’s guard impressed my grandmother’s young mind so deeply that she did remember that special moment years later and told the story to her children. She told the story to her daughter, Beverly, and Aunt Beverly told it to me. Aunt Beverly turns eighty today, January 25, 2017 – Happy Birthday, Beverly! She shares her birth date with her mother, Raleigh May George Farrar, who gave birth to Beverly at forty-seven years old.

Beverly is the last one of Raleigh May’s nine children now that are left. I am thankful that Beverly shared this story with me. My grandmother didn’t get the chance to tell it to me herself, not that I remember anyway. She died shortly after my first birthday. Patriotism runs deep in our family and it has its roots in the Liberty Bell.

My Grandmother, Raleigh May George Farrar

My Grandmother, Raleigh May George Farrar

Sources:

http://www.todayingeorgiahistory.org/content/liberty-bell-atlanta

http://www.ushistory.org/libertybell/timeline.html

“Pennsylvania at the Cotton States and International Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia : September 18th to December 31st, 1895” by Clarence M. Busch

Photos:

http://album.atlantahistorycenter.com/cdm/ref/collection/howexpo/id/0

http://atlrailcorridorarchive.org/items/show/187

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Aunt Janet

Janet Farrar Boyt

Janet Farrar Boyt

Carroll and Raleigh May Farrar had nine children spanning over twenty-seven years. Their second child was daughter Janet Mae. Janet was born December 1, 1912, about two and a half years after older sister Nell Geraldine (Gerry) in 1910. Janet grew up to be a headstrong child, earning the nickname “Major” from her father. When she was particularly difficult, he referred to her as the “Major General.”

Amid all the chaos as the household grew – Janet was followed by Carroll Jr in 1916, Dorothy (Dot) in 1919, George (Ed) in 1921, Robert (Bob) in 1925, and Martha in 1927 – Gerry chose to move in with Raleigh May’s sister Ennis and her husband Claude Reeves. Ennis and Claude had children of their own and Gerry became very close to their daughter, Louise. Gerry considered Louise another sister.

Janet was the first of the children living at the Farrar home to earn her driver’s license and took on the task of driving Carroll Jr and Dot around Atlanta in the late 1920’s.

In December 1936, at twenty-four years old, Janet married Atlantan Bob Hunt. According to her youngest sister, Beverly, Janet and Bob lived just around the corner from the Farrar family’s home at 79 East Lake Terrace in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta.

Janet Farrar with first husband Bob Hunt

Janet Farrar with first husband Bob Hunt

Janet was also known as a great shot who could pick off a lizard in the back yard. Her abilities with a gun may have lead to her employment in early March 1943 with the Georgia division of Bell Aircraft in Marietta, Georgia. She was hired as their very first policewoman and began her career at the B-2 information booth.

FarrarFamily-026

On June 10, 1943, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Plant Protection.

FarrarFamily-023

By January 10, 1944, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Police Manual Training.

FarrarFamily-022

On March 13, 1944, Janet received a letter of appreciation for her year of service with perfect attendance with the Guard Force at the Bell Aircraft plant.

FarrarFamily-024

During WWII, Janet became enamored with Johnnie Smith Boyt, a fellow employee at Bell Aircraft in Marietta. Johnnie was five years older than Janet and was a widower. His first wife, Louvinda, had died in 1941, leaving Johnnie to raise their five-year-old son, Donald, alone. Janet divorced Bob Hunt and she and Johnnie Boyt married on August 11, 1945. By the time Janet and Johnnie married, Donald was nine. Janet raised Donald as her own, never having any of her own children.

Left to right: Bob Farrar in his WWII Navy uniform, Janet and Johnnie Boyt

Left to right: Bob Farrar in his WWII Navy uniform, Janet and Johnnie Boyt

And a late- or post-WWII era photo:

Left to right: Johnnie Boyt, Dot Farrar Cobb, Millie Dustin Farrar (Carroll Jr's wife), and Janet Farrar Boyt at Atlanta's MacArthur Cocktail Room at Peachtree and Ellis

Left to right: Johnnie Boyt, Dot Farrar Cobb, Millie Dustin Farrar (Carroll Jr’s wife), and Janet Farrar Boyt at Atlanta’s MacArthur Cocktail Room at Peachtree and Ellis

Although none of these documents explain exactly what Janet’s job with the Guard Force of the Bell Aircraft Corporation actually entailed, the Certificate of Meritorious Conduct she was awarded on August 31, 1945 sheds a little more light on the subject. Her job was with the Auxiliary Military Police of the Army Air Forces of the United States at the Marietta Aircraft Assembly Plant in Marietta, Georgia. She worked as part of the auxiliary military police from March 21, 1943 to August 21, 1945 during WWII. Janet apparently left her job ten days after her marriage to Johnnie. So, in addition to the three Farrar boys – Carroll Jr, Ed, and Bob – one of the Farrar girls was also involved in the war effort.

FarrarFamily-025

My cousin Nola, my Aunt Gerry’s daughter, has a distinct memory of both Donald and Janet. Nola remembers that “Donald was such a nice boy. He pulled me out of the water once when he saw cotton-mouths (snakes) swimming with me. Aunt Janet shot them with her shot gun. She was a real dead-eye.”

Janet and Johnnie spent most of their married life in Yatesville, Georgia. Johnnie died on December 8, 1966 at the age of 59. Janet continued to live in Yatesville and never remarried. She died August 20, 1990. Both Janet and Johnnie are buried at New Hope Cemetery in Yatesville, Georgia.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016

A Family Reunion

Oh, what a month August was! The first half of the month found me planning a Farrar family reunion. For many of us, the reunion would be a time to remember our childhoods together.  It was also the first time many of us cousins, descendants of the nine children of Raleigh Mae and Carroll Farrar, would meet.

The weekend of August 14 – 16 we gathered at Red Top Mountain State Park on the shores of Lake Allatoona in Cartersville, Georgia. We rented cabins and a picnic pavilion and spent the weekend getting acquainted and reacquainted.

We reminisced about stories of our parents growing up in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta. We guessed which aunt or uncle was the subject of family trivia questions. We ate an abundance of homemade goodies, but filled ourselves up more with family love than food. We hugged and laughed and cried a little at the end when the weekend was over. We also vowed not to wait fifty years for the next reunion.

The reunion was also a time to share family pictures and this one was given to me by my cousin Phyllis, the baby in the photo. It was probably taken in 1941. The only Farrar child not in the picture was the oldest, Gerry.

Standing back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt, Janet, Unknown, Carroll, Jr. Standing middle row, L to R: Martha, Dot holding Phyllis, Raleigh, and Carroll, Sr. Kneeling, L to R: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb, and Denney

Standing back row, L to R: Ed, Bob Hunt (Janet’s husband), Janet, Unknown, Carroll, Jr.
Standing middle row, L to R: Martha, Dot holding baby Phyllis, Raleigh, and Carroll, Sr.
Kneeling, L to R: Bob, Gene, Beverly, Hugh Cobb (Dot’s husband), and Denney Cobb.

A later Farrar photo that still doesn’t picture all of the Farrar children together does include Gerry.

Standing L to R: Janet, Gene, Carroll Jr, Raleigh Mae, Beverly, Bob, and Ed Kneeling: Gerry

Standing L to R: Janet, Gene, Carroll Jr, Raleigh Mae, Beverly, Bob, and Ed
Kneeling: Gerry

After leaving Red Top Mountain State Park and my Farrar family, my trip back home to Atlanta continued for another week. Lunches and dinners with old friends and co-workers, Reunion Part 2 with my sister Nancy and cousin Terry in Terry’s cabin on the Tennessee River, and an important meeting rounded out the visit.

The meeting? A piece of my father’s history turned into my reality when I met the widow and daughter of Bill Henson, the navigator who lost his life in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision between Lazy Daisy and Lead Banana. My father was the waist gunner on Lead Banana that day and the only one of the crew who survived.

William Alvin Henson II

William Alvin Henson II

I learned from Bill’s daughter that my dad visited with her mother after the war and kept in touch with her for some time. And incredibly, I learned that Henson’s widow’s family, the Whisnant family of Summerville, Georgia, lived next door to my grandfather Carroll’s brother, Baker William Farrar, and his family when she was growing up. Even though Bill Henson’s daughter and I are not related by blood, we are related by our common histories and the brotherhood of the boys of the 384th Bomb Group of WWII.

Oh, what a month!

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2015

 

Ed and Bernie Start Their New Life Together

After his marriage to Bernie in Meno, Oklahoma, Ed returned to Chicago to tender his resignation to Neumann, Buslee & Wolfe.  He would then head to Atlanta where his new bride would join him.

Bernie gave notice to Montgomery Ward in Enid, where she did office work and payroll.  She packed up all her worldly possessions and was excited about her move to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia.

My aunt Beverly, Ed’s youngest sister, remembers going with her mother to the train station to greet her new sister-in-law.  She was instructed to “look for the pretty redhead.”  After Bernie arrived on the train and met her new mother-in-law and sister-in-law for the first time, she was escorted back to the Farrar family home in Atlanta.

Once back in Atlanta, Ed applied for a job with Oakite Products, Inc., self-described in 1949 as “originators of specialized cleaning materials and methods for every industry.”  He travelled to New York City on September 26, 1949 for his final interview.  He was officially hired by Oakite that day and began his training that same day.

Ed Farrar's First Oakite Company Photo (1949)

Ed Farrar’s First Oakite Company Photo (1949)

With his training completed, on November 14, 1949, he was assigned to the Columbia-Spartanburg, South Carolina territory.  Ed and Bernie moved to Greenville, South Carolina and rented an apartment in a beautiful large stone home.  Bernie took a job doing office work with an insurance company as Ed began his Oakite career.

Home in Greenville, SC where Ed and Bernie rented an apartment in 1949

Home in Greenville, SC where Ed and Bernie rented an apartment, 1949 to 1950 (photographed in 2010)

Ed succeeded as an Oakite salesman in South Carolina, but his dream was to move back to Atlanta.  On November 13, 1950, he received a letter from Oakite that told him the news he longed to hear.  He was being reassigned to the Atlanta territory as of December 1.

After only about a year in South Carolina, Ed and Bernie made the move to Atlanta.  Ed was happy to be back home.  Ed and Bernie bought their first home and dreamed of starting a family, but it would take many years before their first child (that would be me) was born in 1957.  Three and a half years later, my sister, Nancy, was born, completing our family.

Over the years, Ed was offered opportunities for promotion that would have necessitated him moving away again, but he would never entertain any offer that meant moving away from Atlanta, Georgia.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Ed and Bernie Marry

On June 30, 1949, George Edwin Farrar and Bernice Jane Chase married in Meno, Oklahoma.  It was a small ceremony with just Ed and Bernie standing in front of the Justice of the Peace.  No family.  No photos.  Even though I don’t have a wedding photo, I do have a photo from early in their marriage.

Bernie and Ed Farrar

Bernie and Ed Farrar

My mother, Bernice Jane Chase, was raised on a wheat farm in Meno, Oklahoma.  She was the middle of three daughters of Louis Albert and Mary Selina Chase.  Bethel was the oldest, Bernice in the middle, and Beatrice the youngest.  Mary Chase called them her “three little B’s.”

Left to right:  Beatrice Chase, Bernice Chase, and Bethel Chase

Left to right: Beatrice Chase, Bernice Chase, and Bethel Chase

At some point in the future, I will explore my mother’s life growing up in Meno, Oklahoma.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Ed Meets Bernie

Sometime in June 1948, or thereabouts, George Edwin Farrar met his future bride and my mother, Miss Bernice Jane Chase of Meno, Oklahoma.  Meno was a wheat farming community twenty miles from Enid.  In the 1940’s, Bernie worked for Montgomery Ward in Enid, doing office work.

Ed’s brother Carroll was married to Bernie’s friend Millie, the former Mildred Dustin of Enid, Oklahoma.  Millie provided a few pictures of Bernie to Ed, they met, and hit it off immediately.

Bernice Jane Chase

Bernice Jane Chase

Ed was a traveling salesman and was on the road most of the time, so much of their courtship was through exchanges of letters and pictures.

Bernice Jane Chase "To Ed with all my love, Bernie"

Bernice Jane Chase
“To Ed with all my love, Bernie”

With the war behind him, and a bright future in front of him, it was time for George Edwin Farrar to take time for love and thoughts of marriage and a family of his own.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Christmas 1945

George Edwin (Ed) Farrar had written to his family in Atlanta, Georgia on December 10, 1945.  He stated in his letter that he would be leaving Chicago, Illinois on the 15th to come home for a family Christmas.  I don’t know his method of travel.  He may have traveled with another person by car, or perhaps by train.  He expected to be home by the 16th of December.  He sounded in high spirits and was looking forward to reuniting with older brother Carroll Jr. on the visit.

Left to Right:  Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. and George Edwin (Ed) Farrar. May 8, 1941 Carroll enlisted in WWII 3 months later, on August 13, 1941

Left to Right: Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. and George Edwin (Ed) Farrar.
May 8, 1941

Carroll Sr. and Raleigh Mae Farrar had nine children, four of them boys.  Carroll Jr. was the oldest and had also served with the Army Air Forces during WWII, but in the Pacific theatre.  My dad, George Edwin, was the middle child and second son.  Younger brother Bob was the third Farrar son to serve in WWII, in the Navy aboard the USS Intrepid.  The youngest boy, Gene, was too young to join the fighting.

Raleigh Mae was excited about having most of the family home that year to celebrate Christmas and to celebrate that her three sons in WWII had all made it back home alive.  Carroll Sr. was very ill and bedridden, but was anxious to see his boys back together again.

Left to Right:  Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr. and Raleigh Mae Farrar Date Unknown

Left to Right: Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr. and Raleigh Mae Farrar
Date Unknown

Youngest daughter, Beverly, who was only eight years old at the time, remembers that Christmas to this day.  Bob and Carroll Jr. had arrived home first.  Carroll Jr. decided the house needed some sprucing up and took to painting and wallpapering the interior.  There were no decorations, presents, or even a Christmas tree, so instead of a festive holiday atmosphere, the house was a wreck with Carroll Jr’s paint and wallpaper supplies scattered about.

Six of the Farrar children gathered at their parents’ home for the holidays – Janet, Carroll Jr., Ed, Bob, Gene, and Beverly.  Only three – Geraldine (Gerry), Martha, and Dorothy (Dot) – were absent.  Ed was the last to arrive.

Carroll Sr. had been waiting to see his boys all together, home from the war.  He had been holding off the business of dying, waiting for his sons to arrive.  A few days after their arrival, Carroll Sr.’s condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital.  Beverly was sent to a neighbor’s house, the Patterson’s, while the rest of the family gathered at her father’s hospital bedside.  Carroll Sr. died at Grady Hospital on December 20.

Beverly remembers Carroll Jr. coming to the Patterson’s very late to take her home.  He told her their father had died.  She would spend her eighth Christmas, just five days away, without her father.  Instead of planning a joyous holiday, the Farrar’s would be planning a funeral.

Christmas Eve came with no Christmas tree and no presents.  After Beverly was sent to bed, older brother Gene, fourteen years old, walked over to North Kirkwood in search of a Christmas tree.  The tree lot was closed, but he found a tree he liked remaining and brought it home.  When Beverly arose on Christmas morning, she was surprised to find a decorated Christmas tree and a Christmas present for her, a pair of skates, under it.

Carroll Farrar, Sr. didn’t live to see that Christmas, but he did live to see what was much more important to him.  He made death wait to take him until he saw with his own eyes all three of his sons who had survived WWII come together again for a family Christmas.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Other Crew

Normally, Mr. Buslee was the letter writer of the Buslee family, but today John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother took the time to write to George Edwin Farrar’s mother.

April 9, 1945
Park Ridge, Ill.

My Dear Mrs. Farrar: –

We have received your letter telling of the good news of hearing from your son, George, it is, and must be wonderful for you to know he is alive and well, at least I imagine that’s all he could say or they wouldn’t pass it if he would say he was ill or hungry which I’m sure he is. I understand all prisoners would really be in a bad way if it weren’t for the Red Cross. I hear each fellow gets certain rations from them each week which should help a little, altho, their life must be almost unbearable there in those camps.

Just a day or so before we received your letter I noticed in one of our papers where a boy who was a prisoner in Stalag Luft 4 B – Germany had notified his people he’d be released, so we are in hopes your son is also free again. We are so happy to know that George at least is alive and that he may some day be able to tell us all about the rest of the crew. Isn’t it strange the nothing has been heard of the other two boys?

We have never had a word from the McManns altho Mr. Buslee has written them several times, the Peluso’s have promised to let us hear as soon as they hear anything, and the family of Lt. Brody who was the other pilot haven’t heard any other news than missing, either, and according to some of the other eye witnesses he was in the most dangerous spot, so you see we never can tell so we hear are still hopeful because each day we see where someone who had been reported killed has been found to be alive. I do hope our prayers will be repaid with good news soon.

We are so sorry to hear your other son is ill in the hospital, please let us hear how he is, we are very much interested in you and your family. Hope good luck follows your son in China, and that you will continue to hear good news of George often. Wish we could get something to him to lighten his burden in camp. Mr. Buslee has written him, it must have been a terrible blow to him to have them tell him all his crew were gone – but we heard tell that the Germans like to break down the hopes of the boys by telling them all sorts of lies.

We hear the Henson’s are enjoying a trip to Florida, they seem to be such grand folks, nice that you live so close to each other in Atlanta.

We have had such nice letters from so many of the wives and mothers of the boys and we do appreciate them so much.

We hope you and Mr. Farrar are in perfect health and try to keep up your spirits until your sons come home again and thank you so much for all your kindnesses, and write again soon.

Sincerely,
Mrs. John Buslee

Lots of interesting information for me in this letter.  From this one letter I have learned:

  1. How uninformed the folks back home were about conditions in Germany.  Most of the boys were out on the road marching, not sitting in a prison camp.  They weren’t receiving those Red Cross rations either.  Most of the boys were slowing starving to death.  Don’t know how or what kept them going.
  2. Mrs. Buslee must have meant Sebastiano Peluso of the Buslee crew and James Brodie of the Brodie crew as the “other two boys.”  From reviewing letters, I believe all of the Buslee crew next-of-kin except the Pelusos had heard word of their sons.
  3. I don’t have any letters from the McManns, and apparently other familes had not heard from them either.
  4. The families did know the identity of at least the pilot of the other crew as Mrs. Buslee references Lt. Brody (meaning James Brodie).  This is the most interesting piece of information in this letter to me.  It does let me know that the families knew that their boys were involved in a mid-air collision that involved two flying fortresses and did know about the other crew.
  5. My Uncle Bob, George Edwin Farrar’s (my dad) younger brother, who was injured in a kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in November 1944 must have still been hospitalized.
  6. My Uncle Carroll, Dad’s older brother, was still serving in China.
  7. The Hensons were the parents of the crew’s navigator, William Alvin Henson II.  Mrs. Buslee may also have been including Henson’s wife and infant daughter.
  8. “Mr. Farrar”, my dad’s father, was not in good health.  He was bedridden and very ill and the family hoped he would live long enough to see the three of his four sons that were in WWII come home from the war.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

Bob Farrar Injured in Kamikaze Attack on USS Intrepid

Robert Burnham Farrar

Robert Burnham Farrar

By late 1944, Raleigh Mae Farrar would have more than one son in the war to worry about.  George Edwin Farrar’s younger brother, Robert Burnham Farrar, known as Bob, had enlisted in the Navy on May 8 the year before, just a few months after turning eighteen.  His parents were against it, thinking him too young to go to war, but he had made his mind up that he was going to serve his country like his older brothers Carroll and Ed.

Bob was serving on the USS Intrepid when it was attacked by two Japanese kamikaze pilots within five minutes on November 25, 1944, the day after Thanksgiving.  Six officers and fifty-nine crew were killed, while about a hundred men were wounded.  Bob survived the attack, but was injured, possibly from smoke inhalation from the resulting fire.  He required later hospitalization.

The fire was reportedly extinguished in two hours.  Still able to sail, Intrepid headed to San Francisco the next day, November 26, for repairs and arrived there on December 20.

A slide show of photos of the attack on the USS Intrepid on November 25, 1944 can be seen on YouTube.

Bob and older brother Ed as children in Atlanta, Georgia:

Left to right, George Edwin (Ed) Farrar and younger brother Robert Burnham (Bob) Farrar

Left to right, George Edwin (Ed) Farrar and younger brother Robert Burnham (Bob) Farrar

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014