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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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