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Biographies E-G

Farnum, Edward J.

Sudden Death of One of the Makers of Wellsville

A resident of This town for Forty seven Years – Prominent and Respected in Business and Social Life – Civil Engineer, Lumberman and Banker


The blow which, though it has for two years been more or less feared by the family and friends of Edward J. Farnum, fell very suddenly this morning at about 8 o’clock, when Mr. Farnum passed away.

Mr. and Mrs. Farnum had retuned on Tuesday afternoon from an overland trip into Potter county, looking after some of Mrs. Farnums varied business interests.  Tuesday night, however, the doctor was summoned for what was thought only a trifling illness.

But this morning soon after rising and without any warning, Mr. Farnum dropped away, having attained the ripe old age of 85 years.  A robust constitution and reserve strength born of exemplary habits, had given him wonderful resisting power to disease, but the heart, the mainspring of human mechanism, could not keep up the contest and so the end came.

Forty eight years ago an ambitious civil engineer, then 38 years old, came through this town engaged on the preliminary line work of the Erie railroad. With rare foresight and unerring judgment, this engineer in the person of E. J. Farnum, purchased the wealth of pine forest which covered this section and moved from Bath here in 1847.  Known through life as the largest landowner in town, it is said that he was possessed at one time of a thousand acres of land in the town of Wellsville.

On Mr. Farnum’s advent into Wellsville, the village was but a mere settlement.  There was really no business.  Aided by the transportation facilities offered by the Erie railroad which came through here in 1851, Mr. Farnum cut, sawed and marketed his pine timber and associating with him his brother, Carlton L. Farnum, who came here in 1848, became the foremost builder of Wellsville.

Mr. Farnum’s death recalls the names of our prominent early citizens of whom only Carlton L. Farnum and John B. Clark are now living.  Ephraim Smith, Zenas Jones, Lewis Foster, Ephraim Proctor and Dwight Goodrich are passed away.

In addition to his farm and lumber business which kept him closely occupied, Mr. Farnum was actively engaged in several other enterprises.  President of the First National Bank for a number of years and at the time of his death vice president and director in that institution, his career has always been closely in touch with the business history of Wellsville. Very little inclined to accept office, he was prevailed upon by friends to go as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1867 and 68.

Edward Judson Farnum was born in Oxbridge, Mass., March 16, 1809, the third child of Caleb Farnum.  There were ten children in all, five girls and five boys.  On Feb 1, 1829, at Pittsford, NY he married Lucy L. Goff, who died Oct 12, 1876.  Five children were born to them.  Antoinette Farnum, Mrs. E. B. Hall) W. Carlton Farnum, Louise Farnum (Mrs. Alfred S. Brown) Miss Frances Farnum, deceased, and Miss Sylvania Farnum.

On June 30th, 1881, Mr. Farnum was again married to Miss Loretta Wildman who survives him and mourns his death.

The life of Mr. E. J. Farnum – in all its varied experiences, in time of trial and of crises – was in its entirety honest, earnest and sincere.  Our business and social community sustains a serious loss in his death, but his example of the success of a rigid integrity, remains a memory for the guidance of us all.  He has been a prominent member of the Congregational church.

So large a land owner, he had the opportunity to legally make much money by foreclosing mortgages on the countless little homes for which he had sold lots on time.  But it was not so with Mr. Farnum, he was the poor man’s friend, ever ready to renew the time and give a hard pressed fellow every opportunity.

The funeral services will be held from the residence at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon.

Laid To Rest


WDR July 14, 1894

The last rites over the remains of our late townsman, Hon. E. J. Farnum were sadly witnessed by a very large concourse of friends and acquaintances at the family residence on State street at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

It was one of the largest funerals ever held in Wellsville and people were present from all the surrounding country to pay a last tribute of respect to one so well and honorably known to his fellow men.  All places of business along Main street were closed during the hours of the service, and the business men attended in a body.  The bearers were W. F. Jones, Lebbius Sweet, Samuel Earley, George E. Brown, A.J. Applebee and E. B. Tullar.

Rev. E. A. Leeper DD. Pastor of the Congregational church of which church deceased was a prominent and consistent member, conducted the services, assisted by Rev. F. H. Cowman, of the Methodist church.  Dr. Leeper paid a fitting and touching tribute to the strong and useful man who for forty seven years was so prominent a figure in the welfare and development of this community. Three beautiful selections of song, favorites of the deceased, were feelingly rendered by the choir, and prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Cowman in his usual impressive manner.

Many signs of the deep sense of loss experienced and grief felt were manifested as the assembled people passed the casket, viewing for the last time the familiar face.

Interment was made in the family plot in the beautiful Farnum cemetery, with only short, but appropriate services at the grave.

 

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