WINSLOW FARR JR. DIARIES - PART 1
by Wilma S. Smith and Randall A. Smith
The first entry in Winslow's journal reads:
"Winslow Farr Junior was born may 11, 1837. I now at the age of 18 th and in my 19th year I do commence a brief sketch of my life beginning at May 1, 1856."
Winslow Farr Jr., born on May 11, 1837, was a baby in his mothers arms when his parents, Winslow Farr Sr. and Olive Hovey Freeman Farr, sold their family farm in Charleston, Orleans Co., Vermont. The Farr family, including older brothers' Lorin and Aaron with sisters Olive and Diantha began their westward trek to join the Mormon Saints in Kirkland, Ohio.
The Mormons, including the Farr family, moved to Far West, Missouri. When persecutions drove the Mormons from Missouri, the Farr family first moved to Quincy, Illinois, then further north to Lima, Illinois and in the spring of 1849 moved to Nauvoo. With persecutions mounting, the Saints were once again forced to flee "Nauvoo the Beautiful". By the summer of 1847 the Farr's were situated across the Missouri River at the settlement of Winter Quarters which is now known as Florence, Nebraska.
Departing on June 15, 1850, the Farr family traveled by covered wagons with the President Joseph Young Company for the westward journey to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Thirteen year old Winslow Jr. drove a team of oxen across the vast plains and rugged Rocky Mountains. The Company arrived in Salt Lake Valley on September 30, 1850.
Winslow Jr.'s father established a farm southeast of the Salt Lake settlement near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Winslow Jr. helped his father clear and cultivate the land. The westward sojourns affected Winslow Jr.'s ability to regularly attend school. Nevertheless, he left his descendants a number of diaries. The first diary began May 1, 1856 and concluded with a final entry on July 10, 1910. There are gaps in his diaries of a few weeks to several years.
In 1974, Wilma became aware that a friend, Mr. Dennis Rowley, had been appointed Curator of Manuscripts and Documents at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. Mr. Rowley advised her if Winslow Jr.'s diaries were donated to the BYU Library archives, the journals would be transcribed and preserved as a part of the library's Historical Collection. Wilma's mother, Mabel Farr Decker, had two volumes of Winslow Jr.'s diaries. Mabel and Wilma contacted other members of the Farr family who also had original journals in their possession. After explaining the benefits of having the diaries, in one collection at the Harold B. Lee library archives, all parties agreed to the donation.
We wish to personally acknowledge the following cousins, all of whom are now deceased, who readily agreed to donate their journals. Each of the following persons received a transcribed and hard back printed copy of the complete collection.
Mrs. Mabel Farr Decker (granddaughter of Winslow & Emily Jane Covington Farr);
Mr. Leo Hurst (grandson of Winslow & Melvina BinghamFarr);
Mrs. Evelyn Farr Mower (granddaughter of Winslow & Emily Jane Covington Farr);
Mrs. Arthella Farr Eckersly (granddaughter of Winslow & Melvina Bingham Farr).
We wish to acknowledge Mr. Eldon W. Payne, husband of Lucy Farr Payne (daughter of Winslow & Melvina Bingham Farr) both now deceased who in 1950 loaned two volumes of Winslow's diaries to BYU for transcription. Volume 1 includes the years 1856 to 1881. Volume 2 includes the years 1884 to 1889. Transcriptions were made for the Harold B. Lee Library and the LDS Church genealogical library. Copies of the volumes, donated in 1974, are available in the archives at BYU for review by the defendants of Winslow Farr Jr.
The collection is missing the journals that cover the time from June 1881 to September 1885. We would appreciate any information about the existence and location of any of Winslow's diaries or other documents and letters. In his writings, Winslow kept a record of the many letters he sent and received. Joanne Bar Farr generously donated a copy of two letters written by Winslow to his daughter, Lettie Farr (daughter of Winslow & Matilda Halverson Farr). A copy of a letter Winslow wrote in 1871, to a Brother Barnes in England, was donated by Inez Cazier Farr. Three letters written to church authorities while serving on his mission in England, were donated by Pam Bott. We will share these documents in a later edition of the Winslow Farr Sr. Family Organization newsletter.
Ode to Spring composed by Winslow Jr.
And now the dreary winter is past
The sun displays its morning breeze
And brings us good news at last
With the buds upon the trees
When but a month or two ago
The hills in snowy garb was clad
And the grass has now put forth
The birds have now arrived
From their long and southern home
In these peaceful vales to live
And no more now to roam
The meadowlarks are happy and doth sing
And echoes warbling notes so shrill
It seems to say it now is spring
And now will sing its fill