Daddy’s family never had much money when he was growing up in Atlanta. My granddad was a printer by trade and had trouble finding work during the Great Depression. After that, he owned his own print shop for a while, and even invented a printing press, but family lore says the patent was stolen from him and he never realized any money from his invention.
Granddad and Grandmother didn’t see a lack of money as a reason to limit their family size, though, and over twenty-seven years had nine children. They kept a big garden, raised chickens and rabbits, and all the kids except the youngest, Beverly, left school after the tenth grade to get jobs to assist with the family finances.
The Farrar children were great story tellers and had a lot of interesting family memories to draw from, so when my Aunt Beverly told me the story of the most memorable family Thanksgiving, it stuck in my mind.
This particular Thanksgiving may have occurred in the 1920’s or 1930’s or as late as the early 1940’s, either before Beverly was born or when she was too young to remember the day herself. Her knowledge of that Thanksgiving was the story told to her by her mother, my grandmother, Raleigh Mae Farrar.
Beverly told me the story a couple of times and small details changed between tellings. This is my version of the day compiled from my recollections and recordings of the events as told to me by Beverly. The quotations are Beverly’s words.
Grandmother had what the family called “the vapors.” Back then, having the vapors were at the very least described as having spells of light-headedness, flushing, or fainting, to the opposite end of the spectrum of hysteria, mania, or depression. It could involve mood swings and loss of mental focus. Having had her last child at the age of forty-seven in 1937, for Grandmother, the vapors may have been menopause. She would have turned fifty in 1940.
During the period of Grandmother’s vapors, she was sometimes bedridden and a woman came in every day to take care of the family. That year when Thanksgiving neared, the family didn’t have money for a turkey and all the fixings.
Grandmother said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do, we don’t have money for a turkey. We’ll just have chicken.”
The woman said, “Oh, no, Miss Mae, don’t worry about that. I’m going to take care of Thanksgiving.”
Soon Thanksgiving Day came and Grandmother said the smells wafting from the kitchen were just absolutely fabulous. The family could hardly wait to get in there and eat Thanksgiving dinner. When the woman announced dinner was ready, they opened up the door and all rushed in to gather around the dining room table.
In the center of the table was a great big possum on a platter. The possum had an apple in its mouth and was surrounded with potatoes cut to look like flowers, with English peas scattered among the potatoes. Everyone sat and stared at that beautiful display and that possum. But just for a moment, before the room filled with laughter.
After composing themselves, my grandfather and all the children told my grandmother they weren’t eating the previous night’s roadkill for Thanksgiving. Then every one of them got up from the table and left the dining room.
In 1909, President William Howard Taft and his family reportedly enjoyed a twenty-six pound possum alongside the traditional turkey for their Thanksgiving Day meal. Maybe the woman who cooked Thanksgiving for my grandparents and their children that year thought that if a Thanksgiving possum was good enough for a U.S. President and his family, it would be good enough for the Farrar family who, that year, couldn’t afford a turkey.
Though the Farrar’s were poor in money, they were rich in family. Family is what Thanksgiving’s all about, isn’t it?
I’d like to think if that generation of my family had been aware of the centerpiece of President Taft’s 1909 Thanksgiving dinner, they might have given that possum a taste.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017
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.
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 Day was proclaimed on October 9 when the Liberty Bell was installed in the Pennsylvania Building at the Exposition.
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.
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.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017
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 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.
On June 10, 1943, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Plant Protection.
By January 10, 1944, she completed the Bell Aircraft Training Course in Police Manual Training.
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.
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.
And a late- or post-WWII era photo:
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.
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
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.
A later Farrar photo that still doesn’t picture all of the Farrar children together does include 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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