by Wilma S. Smith and Randall A. Smith

On June 15th, 1850, Winslow Farr Sr., his two wives (Olive & Almena) & Winslow Farr Jr., embarked, by wagon train with Captain Gardner Snow, for their westward journey to the Great Salt Lake Valley. The Farr's traveled with the second fifty wagons, under the leadership of President Joseph Young's Company of 100 families. Winslow Sr. served as one of President Young's counselors. Thirteen year old Winslow Jr., walking barefoot, or at times wrapping his feet in burlap, drove a team of oxen across the plains and Rocky Mountains. The company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 30, 1850.

Winslow Jr., his mother and father, held a joyful reunion with brothers Lorin, Aaron and sister Olive Farr Walker. His older siblings had journeyed to the Utah valley three years earlier, in 1847. The Farr family also bowed their heads with sadness in remembrance of their deceased 21 year old sister, Diantha Farr Clayton. Diantha, the plural wife of William Clayton, died on September 11, 1850, after giving birth to her third child.

Brigham Young sent surveyors along the Wasatch Mountain Range to plot sections of farm land near creeks and streams to be channeled for irrigation. Aaron Farr and William Walker, the husband of Olive Farr Walker, joined a group of Saints, led by John Holladay in 1849, to build several cabins southeast of the Salt Lake Settlement along the Big Cottonwood Creek. The first homes built between 1848-1860 were log cabins with dirt floors and sod roofs. Rattlesnakes were such a problem they were eventually abandoned.

According to a report written by Dean McLeod for David J. Farr, John D. Lee was allotted 112 acres of farm land in the Holladay-Cottonwood Settlement in 1850. The report goes on to state that the following year, when John D. Lee was called to a colonizing mission in Southern Utah, Winslow Farr Sr. acquired 106 1/4 acres of John D. Lee's property.

Church records also indicate that Winslow Farr Sr. maintained a home in the Salt Lake Settlement.

There is no indication in Winslow's diaries whether the original home built on the farm was log or adobe. We do know that the early pioneers built adobe homes.

Winslow Jr. left his descendants a number of diaries. The first diary began May 1,1856 and concluded with the final entry on July 10,1910. There are several gaps in these diaries of a few weeks to several years; however, whenever possible we will use Winslow's own words to tell his life story. Each article in this series will quote portions of his diaries.

The first entry in the Winslow Farr Jr. journal reads:

"Winslow Farr Junior was born May 11, 1837. I now at the age of 18th and in my 19th year I do commence a brief sketch of my life beginning at May 1, 1856"

Early entries from his diaries are written in brief statements about his daily activities, with an occasional comment about the weather. Winslow wrote with more detail in his later years. His diaries give us a sense of the hard physical work and dedication the early pioneers had in their efforts to cultivate farms, build, homes and establish successful settlements. The pioneers also took time for social gatherings such as picnics, dances and weddings. Winlsow wrote in his diaries about playing his violin for many of these special occasions.

A common thread throughout his diaries, is his love of family and dedication to the principles of his religious beliefs.


"May 1, 1856 I worked at clearing land and at night I went to a May party it broke up about one oclock.

May 3rd it rained some through the day. I spent the evening to home

May 5th I worked at piling up brush from amonst the Cotton woods I spent the evening to home

May 8th I furrowed some ground for corn in the forenoon and in the afternoon I plowed for Br Bingham I spent the evening at brother Gibson

May 11th I was to my mothers and spent the day there it being my birthday I returned back to Cottonwood in the evening I being the age of 19 I haveing spent my life in traveling from place to place and I spent the evening to Br Thomas"  

[Winlsow, born in Vermont, moved to Kirtland, Ohio as a baby. Thereafter his family moved to Far West, Missouri; Quincy, Illinois; Commerce, Illinois (now called Lima); Nauvoo, Illinois; Sugar Creek , Iowa (1846); Winter Quarters (Missouri River); Salt Lake Valley, Utah Territory.

Winslow Jr., born premature, was the smallest of his five other siblings. His sister Diantha was 9 yrs old, his sister Olive 12 yrs old and his brother Lorin was 17 yrs old & Aaron 19 yrs old at the time of his birth. Family tradition states that his mother's wedding ring would slide completely over his hand. When fully grown he was the largest and tallest of his family, standing 6'4"].

" May 15th I spent the forenoon in hunting my Oxen and in the afternoon I harrowed for Br Bingham"

[Barb wire was not invented until 1873. The early Utah pioneers built fences with wooden stakes, poles and brush. Most fences were built to protect crops. Cattle, horses and oxen were turned loose and allowed to free range for feed].

"May 20 I plowed for Br Bingham and James Andrus returned home from a trip to the flathead country &c"  

[Winlsow as a young man was always willing to help his neighbors with heavy chores such as plowing, harrowing & harvesting].

Thursday 22 Father and Lorin and Br Kessler started for Big Cottonwood Kanyon along with President Young and Asociates I work at hoeing the weeds from amongts the wheat Father and Lorin Br Kessler returned from their trip to the Kanyon in the evening

May 27 I work at water some wheat the weather was very hot today Father and Br White work on the canal Wheat crops look as well as common Corn does not look as well as common &c

May 28 I spent the day in the forenoon looking for the cattle and in the afternoon I hauled up a load of wood and I fix my shoes I spent the evening to home &c

May 29 I went up to the city with a load of wood for my mother Almena went with me I returned in the evening

June 2 I work at watering wheat looks very dry it is Parch up with the sun &c to day a lot of men from the city came to work on the Canal and Clean it out for the purpose of carrying water to the City for irigation &c the President and Ferymorez Little Also Br Fox the Surveyor pass by and so forth our news from the States that theys is 150 hand carts has startted from the States for G.S L City &c

June 4 In the morning went to Br Thomson to brand some Cattle &c of A. F. Farrs to send to the herd a disrcription of said Cattle one White face cow 3 4 years old red sides branded F on the Left side of the rump &c in the afternoon I watered corn night is considerable cool"
Winslow Farr Jr Diaries