Friday, September 14, 2012

Grandma's Favorite Uncle

Charles E. Farr

My grandma Mildred Farr had a favorite uncle named Charles E. Farr. He sent many postcards to her when she was a child after he had retired to Florida with his wife Albertine (Berta). Charles mother, Jane, had moved in with Mildred's family in Cedar Springs, Michigan so when he wrote he always inquired about how his mom was doing.

Grandma Mildred Farr

Charles wrote with a wit and flair keeping Mildred up to date on his doings. I'm sure she looked forward to all of his colorful postcards arriving in the mail and they must have been special to her because she kept them in an album. After grandma died my mom inherited her postcard collection, so it is cherished to this day.

Postcard from Uncle Farr

"Dear Niece How would you enjoy a ride like this [?] come down this summer and you can ride our poneys"

Charles E. Farr was born July 1851 in Ellisburg, New York.  He was the third born. First came Ophelia in 1846 followed by Lucy in 1848 and William in 1853.  In about 1854 the family moved from New York to Kenosha, Wisconsin. A sister Lucetta was born in 1855 and brother Frank in 1858. Shortly after that they moved to Cannon Township, in Kent county Michigan which is 20 minutes northeast of Grand Rapids. Here were born Herbert, Fred, Mark and Ralph (my great grandfather) - 10 children in all.

1863 map of Cannon

Charles parents, my great great grandparents Henry and Jane Farr, worked hard to raise their large family. In New York, Henry was a stone mason and dug wells. Later, in Michigan he farmed the land.
Jane (Clark) Farr

Henry Francis Farr

When the Civil War came, Henry became a Union enlisted man at the age of 38 in 1st Michigan Light Artillery Battery "E" where he was injured and sent home. He died in 1903 at 77 years old.  Jane lived 10 more years, she was 83

Sunfish Lake in Cannon Township

My mom discovered a mystery while researching this family. There was another Charles E. Farr born in Michigan the same year as my great uncle. Though my Charles was born in New York, it seems a few people on were getting them confused.

One day a man emailed mom to tell her they were related through Charles, but she discovered his Charles had different parents. She began looking into this and saw that his Charles had multiple wives, none named Albertine (although this man had Albertine married to him on his tree).  Later mom found an obituary that gave the other Charles wives names and Albertine was not mentioned. Also the children’s names were different.  This man just had not done his research well.

More postcards to Mildred
It was interesting though to discover that two Charles E. Farrs were born the same year, both lived in Michigan and both died in 1927 - one in January and one in December. Its easy to see how these people had gotten confused.

If it hadn’t been for my grandmother’s postcards from Charles and Albertine all those years, mom may have been a lot more confused. Thanks to that and the census she made sense of it all.

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