”Honor the Past; Deserve the Present“

Louie C. Farr

(May 11, 1895-January 21, 1998)

Contributor:  Violet Elder

Documentary materials provided in part by
Mildred Lucille Allen,
daughter of Louie and Mildred Farr

Background

  • Born in Webster County, Missouri, May 11, 1895
    • Eighth-grade education

Drafted

  • In 1917, while Louie C. Farr was employed as a farm worker [Mildred Lucille Allen, telephone interview by Violet Elder, 9 March 2011], the farm owners' son, Tony McAndrews, received his draft notice.
    • Sixty-three years later, Farr wrote, "I will always remember that day. I came into the house for some reason and he [Tony McAndrews] and his mother were both crying. He turned to me and said, 'I will make a hell of a soldier, won't I?' I never knew how he got along with army life, or whether he was one of the many that never returned." [L. C. Farr, "Long Ago and Farr Away, A Family History," 1980, TS, p. 80]
    • Note—Farr wrote (typed) his 281-page biography "Long Ago and Farr Away" over about a twenty-year period, ending in April 1980 [Mildred Lucille Allen, notes to Violet Elder, 5 May 2011]
    • After completing his biography, Farr lived another eighteen years but did not add to the biography he had completed in 1980
  • Farr was drafted soon after Tony McAndrews was drafted
  • Farr reported for his medical examination in Marshfield, Missouri
    • He and the other inductees were given a list of supplies and clothing articles they needed to bring to camp, but all proved unnecessary, and "the camp sergeants and corporals swore at the draft boards for making them buy 'all this junk'," since "our good old uncle Sam furnished all our clothes." [Farr, p. 81]

Troop Train to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri

  • In Marshfield, Missouri, Farr boarded a troop train to St. Louis, Missouri, for training at Jefferson Barracks, a few miles from St. Louis.
  • En route, "Every stop the train made, the guys would hang out the windows and yell and whistle at all the girls we saw." [Farr, p. 82]
    • At Rolla, Missouri, en route to St. Louis, they discovered a "real doll" walking with an older woman, perhaps her mother, on the platform
      • Following encouragement from the older woman and the men on the train, she "shook hands with and kissed as many of the guys as she could before the train pulled out. I guess they felt sorry for us and perhaps felt that was the least and maybe the last thing that they could do to cheer us up." [Farr, p. 82]
  • Upon arriving at Jefferson Barracks non-commissioned officers escorted inductees to their quarters
    • They searched all baggage "to make sure we were not carrying liquor or any other so called contraband." [Farr, p. 82]
    • Liquor found in one inductee's suitcase was confiscated. "I am positive they took it off somewhere and drank it themselves." [Farr, p. 82]
  • Troops were each assigned two army blankets and a folding cot and sent to bed

First Day at Camp

  • Inductees were awakened early for their first Army mess hall meal at 7:00 a.m. Farr noted, "None of the stuff looked good to me."
  • Following breakfast some two or three hundred inductees were herded into a large examination room where they "were ordered to strip right down to our birthday suits" for examination and vaccination. [Farr, p. 83]
    • This became an all-day operation, without lunch or anything to drink for the inductees
    • "They must have vaccinated us against every disease known to man. The vaccine made nearly every one of the guys sick." [Farr, p. 84]
    • Later in day Farr was put through additional tests, "such as jumping up and down on one foot for four or five minutes." [Farr, p. 84]
    • Examiners must have discovered Farr's weak ankle; the ankle had been injured in the previous year

Honorable Discharge

  • Farr was issued a "blue discharge"
    • "Blue discharges" denoted physical defects. Farr noted that his blue discharge "stated I had goiter," and no mention was made of the ankle [Farr, p. 84]
    • Fifty-eight years later Farr wrote, "To my knowledge I had never been bothered with goiter before and certainly have not since then. It has always been a mystery to me, just why they stated that on my discharge. But that put an end to my military career." [Farr, p. 84]
    • He was honorably discharged and exempted from military service, though he was advised that, if necessary, he could be called-up in the future
  • Farr remained in camp three or four more days and, to avoid Army meals, ate his remaining meals at the Red Cross canteen
  • Farr and "other rejects" were given train fare home

Employment

  • Farr went to Picher, Oklahoma, where his parents had recently moved
    • He was employed in the mining industry, mining lead, for example, though he never went underground
  • While in Oklahoma Farr met Mildred E. Harbert; they were married on April 20, 1920
    • The Farrs had four children, Mildred Lucille (born in 1921), Maxine (born in 1923), Louie (born in 1925) and Carole (born in 1936) [Mildred Lucille Allen, telephone interview by Violet Elder, 9 March 2011]
      • Note—Louie Farr, Jr., served as a radio operator on the destroyer USS Albert W. Grant during World War II
        • The Grant was badly damaged by crossfire—shelling from both Japanese ships and, accidentally, by an American ship—in the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf; the Grant limped back eventually to Vallejo, California, for repairs at Mare Island Naval Shipyard; following repairs, the Grant, with Louie Farr, Jr., still serving as a radio operator, sailed again, reentering the Pacific war, in March 1945
        • Note—Louie Farr, Jr., died of emphysema at age 59 in 1984
  • In the 1920s Louie Farr, Sr., attended an auto mechanics school in Kansas City, Missouri, worked in a garage, worked as a telephone lineman, and ended up as a clerk in a dry goods store in La Cygne, Kansas, where he and his family were living
    • The Great Depression caused the store to close its doors forever
    • As a result of the Great Depression, the Farrs moved to Missouri and then, in 1939, to Oakland, California, making a permanent home for the family for the next 22+ years
  • Louie held numerous jobs over his working career
  • Louie and Mildred Farr moved to Twain Harte, California, in the 1960s
    • Two of the Farr's daughters had already purchased a cabin in Twain Harte, and their parents wanted to be close to their children
      • "The family was a close-knit group, and usually never lived far from each other." [Mildred Lucille Allen, notes to Violet Elder, 3 May 2011]
    • Louie sold real estate and rented cabins to vacationers

Move to Calistoga, California

  • In 1975 Mildred Lucille and her husband Edward Allen purchased property in Calistoga, California, to build a home (the home would be completed in 1978)
    • They lived on the property in a guest house while Edward built the house he designed
    • Edward acted as his own contractor
  • In 1976 Mildred Lucille's parents Louie and Mildred Farr retired to Calistoga because Mildred and her husband Edward wanted them nearby and in a warm weather area
    • They moved into a Calistoga mobile home park

Death

  • Louie's wife Mildred died in 1992; they had been married 72 years at the time of her death
  • In 1998, at a family party in Contra Costa County, California, Louie fell and broke his hip; the operation was successful, but the trauma of the accident caused him to die of congestive heart failure.
    • He was 103 years of age
    • On June 20, 1998, his ashes, along with those of Mildred, were interred in the grave of Louie's father Noah C. Farr, in the Pleasant Hill Church Cemetery in Pleasant Hill, Missouri
      • His daughter Mildred Lucille Allen notes, "He is at rest in his beloved Ozark Mountains." [Mildred Lucille Allen, notes to Violet Elder, 3 May 2011]
(rev.5.4.11)