Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Farr & White: Waynesville Businessmen

Frank H. Farr, the son of Atkinson Farr, was a businessman in Waynesville, Farr’s 5 & 10 Cent Store (located in Cadwallader Hall, northwest corner of Miami and Main Streets) and a newspaper publisher. Above is a copy of the “Waynesville Hustler” dated December 1891 that has an ad for “Farr & White, Groceries, Hardware and Qweensware”. The "Waynesville Hustler" was a monthly paper edited and published by Frank H. Farr. Another paper started by Frank was "The Waynesville Enterprise" in 1902. His partner in this endeavor was Newton L. Bunnell.

Photograph taken from the
1903 Centennial Atlas of Warren County, Ohio, p. 64

J. William White, 1855-1941, (know as Will White) was a son of a clergyman who grew up in Waynesville. The history of the Farr business is detailed in the article below beginning with Frank's father, Atkinson L. Farr (1829-1907). Mr. White had worked for Atkinson Farr and then became a partner with him (see obituary below). J. Will White built a beautiful Queen Anne style home in 1901 in Waynesville located on Fourth Street, which still stands see photographs below.

The following is an article found in the Special Homecoming Edition of the Miami Gazette dated December 1905:

FARR AND WHITE, GROCERS. “Industries come and go,” and a gentleman recently, “but the firm of Farr & White moves along as surely and steadfastly as ever.” The business of this old and successful house was established by Mr. A. L. Farr in the year 1868. With a small stock of groceries, and a good large capital, not of cash, but of American energy, he laid the foundation for the splendid business enjoyed by this firm.

In the year 1878 Mr. J. W. White, who had held the position of salesman, became a partner and during all the years that followed, the firm of Farr & White has maintained its reputation for first class goods and honest prices and have been enabled to always retain a large patronage.

Their storeroom built in the year 1886, is one of the largest in the County devoted to the business of retailing groceries, hardware, Queensware and notions. Some very kindly suggestions were made by good friends when the location was chosen for this establishment. “A Little too far from the business center,” some said then, but twenty years has brought the center of business very much nearer this firm. “Too large a building for the size of the town,” others said ~ but the best investment they ever made was in the new storeroom.

It contains over 6,000 square feet of floor space devoted to merchandise, and their large and comprehensive stock comprises a fine line of the best brands of teas, coffees, spices, flour, canned goods, vegetables, fruits and oysters in season. Also, a line of shelf hardware, nails, steel goods; as well as English and American china and glassware. Portland cement, lime and salt are also on their list of specialties.

A blind business man once entered this store and after spending a little time caught the spirit of activity and industry, so easily recognized by those who even pass that way, said, “You have a fine stock of goods and certainly enjoy a fine business.”

Mr. White who has had charge of the business since Mr. Farr
retirement from active business life is thoroughly posted in theis line of trade and by giving his personal attention to the business insures the utmost reliability and satisfaction.

The Farr & White store is now
My Wife's Antiques on Main Street

Frank Farr's sister Amelia married his father's business partner J. William White. Their son Horace Fred White married Bessie A. Cook (1880-1944), the sister of Dr. Mary L. Cook of Waynesville, a physican and founder of The Mary L. Cook Public Library. Bessie and Horace had two children: Geraldine (March 29th, 1905-June 12th, 1968) and Horace (b. December 8th, 1908).

Old Postcard of the Will White home on the northwest
corner of North and Fourth Streets.
The house was built in 1901.
The interior of the Will White home.
From left to right: Amelia White, 1857-1944 (mother),
Horace "Fred" White, 1880-1962 (son),
and J. William "Will" White, 1855-1941 (father).
Obiturary of J. Will White
(Western Star, January 30th, 1941)

Frank Farr
Frank Farr home on Third Street
Frank Farr (rocking chair)
Mabel P. Farr, his wife (on his right)
Thomas L. Pierce, his brother-in-law (sitting on steps)

Patsey Baird Creech remembered Frank and Mabel Farr. this is what she wrote in Waynesville's First 200 Years (Published by the Waynesville Historical Society, 1997), p. 221:

For some reason, I distinctly remember Frank Farr, who lived on Third Street, playing a musical insturment while sitting on the concrete retaining wall at the station (now Pat's Gas). Often, other gentlemen would join him in a serenade.

Frank Farr's wife, Mabel, taught Sunday School at the Methodist Church. Mabel was a dear lady, short in stature and always dressed complegely in black ~ hat, dress, shoes, stockings and purse.

We also know that Frank Farr was the postmaster of Waynesville, see photograph below in front of the post office. Frank was the postmaster from 1906 till 1914. His father, Atkinson, had been the postmaster from 1874-1881. Frank was also a member of the Waynesville Lodge, No. 163, Free & Accepted Masons.

From left to right: Frank Farr, George Mills, Jesse Molatt Robitzer,
Up White, Curt Hisey, Joe Mendenhall and Fred Henderson.


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