Peru Farver


Peru Farver. The Choctaw people are fortunate in having one of their national academies superintended by a young man of the Choctaw extraction. They are doubly fortunate in that the name of Farver is linked with that of Parker in Choctaw education. The destiny of a race depends upon its just and intelligent leaders, and in such men as Gabe E. Parker and Peru Farver the Choctaws have able representatives. When Gabe E. Parker was appointed by President Wilson as register of the treasury, Peru Farver, at that time principal of the academy and right hand man of Mr. Parker, was appointed as superintendent of Armstrong Academy. Add to the names of these men that of the Rev. W. J. B. Lloyd, missionary among the Indians for forty-five years, and there is formed a chain every link of which is the name of a man who has been instrumental in helping the Choctaw youth to tread the new trail of American civilization, as it wends to a greater progress, a higher development, a better citizenship.
Armstrong Male Academy was created just after the close of the Civil war, as a national academy for the education of Choctaw boys. Before and after the war it was located at the Choctaw capital, then called Chatah Tamaha. Here the principal chief came, the council met and the courts convened. Justice was meted out to the accused and the guilty here met their punishment. During the Civil war the academy was converted into a Confederate hospital. Later the capital was removed to Tushknhoma and Chatah Tamaha became Armstrong Male Orphans Academy. Among the early superintendents are found the names of the Rev. W. J. B. Lloyd, a Presbyterian minister and missionary, and Rev. C. J. Ralston, also a Presbyterian, now of Caney. The academy offered courses up to and including three years of academic or preparatory work until 1910, when it was changed to an industrial school, fitting the Indian youth to compete in industry with his white brother, rather than preparing him for a collegiate career. The aim is to prepare those who are to go out into life and earn a living, and at the same time to influence the pupils toward a higher education. Among the graduates and former students of the institution are found some of the most prominent and influential men of Southeastern Oklahoma.
The last name to be added to the list of those who have been superintendents of Armstrong Academy is that of Peru Farver, an excellent representative of the Indian of today–progressive, cultured and refined, with high ideals, a man who would be influential in any community or any body of men. Peru Farver, grandfather of Superintendent Peru Farver, was a full-blood Choctaw Indian, a slave owner, and the proprietor of a plantation on Little River, in what is now McCurtain County. Across the gulf of years that separate him from his grandson there have come many changes into the life and manner of living of the Choctaw people. From a group of isolated and wretched Indians, scattered over the prairies and in the woods of the new home, Indians still bleeding from the wounds of the forced western exodus, to the intelligent citizens of an influential and prosperous commonwealth in the greatest republic of all times, is, indeed, a far cry, and the record, within the few short years it has taken to accomplish this change, is one to stir the pride of any race or people. Slavery abolished, plenty suddenly replaced by want, then the succession of industry, climaxed with the dignity of honorable labor; sparseness in population supplanted by a multitudinous population of thrifty and capable people; the defects of commonalty in lands removed by the allotments in severalty–these all have contributed to the transformation of the Indian. But in the instrument by which all has been brought about, the controlling influence as well as the modifying medium has been education–education as advocated by the venerable Peter P. Pitch-Lynn, “ the Calhoun of the Choctaws.”
It is in this connection that Peru Farver is known as one of the leading men of his people. He was born at Bonton, Indian Territory, February 8, 1888, and is a son of Sim and Helen (Bails) Farver. His father was a full-blood Choctaw Indian; his mother a woman of the white race from Kansas. She was a daughter of William J. Bails, a merchant of Bonton, and was educated in Bonton. There were three children in the family: William J., who is now assistant chief clerk at the Union Agency, Muskogee, Oklahoma; Lulu, who is the wife of Richard C. Denson, of Idabel, Oklahoma; and Peru, of this notice.
Peru Farver was educated at Armstrong Academy, where he was a student from 1902 until 1909, following which he went to the University of Chicago, but returned in the fall to teach in the academy. After three years as an instructor he went to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Oklahoma, where he spent one year and then came back to the academy us principal. In 1913 he was appointed superintendent to succeed Gabe E. Parker, resigned, as before noted. Mr. Farver’s time is devoted unreservedly to his duties as superintendent, and his zeal, energy and intelligent management have combined to make his superintendency a notable one, short as it has been. He is a member of Bokchito Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and a Master Mason, and in religious faith is identified with the Baptist Church.