Thomas J. Farrar


Thomas J. Farrar. Many of the original Oklahoma pioneers will at once recognize this name, since Mr. Farrar was in old Oklahoma Territory in the Government service soon after the opening in 1889. For more than twenty years he has been a practicing lawyer, though a number of years were subtracted from his profession by his Government service in different capacities, partly in old Oklahoma Territory and partly on the Indian Territory side. Judge Farrar now has a large private practice as a lawyer at Okmulgee. He is a man of wide information, of interesting personality and has a great fund of story and history which he has acquired by personal contact and experience with the white pioneers of this country as well as with the Indian tribes.
It was in Franklin County, Missouri, sixty-five miles west of St. Louis, where Thomas J. Farrar was born August 15, 1861. His parents were Richard and Mary Jane (Thurmond) Farrar, both of whom were natives of Franklin County, Missouri, and never in all their lives went outside the state. The Farrars are of English descent and were Colonial settlers in Virginia. Great-grandfather Farrar served as a soldier during the Revolutionary war and was in the army commanded by Gen. Nathanael Greene in the Southern campaign. Mr. Farrar’s paternal grandmother was Lydia Harrison, and she was born in Virginia and was a first cousin to William Henry Harrison, afterwards President of the United States. Grandfather Richard Farrar came out of Kentucky to Missouri about 1797. That was more than twenty years before Missouri was admitted to the Union and it was still under Spanish rule, shortly afterwards being transferred to the French under Napoleon and still later to the American Government as a part of the Louisiana Purchase. Richard Farrar was one of the first pioneers to penetrate the wilderness of what is now Franklin County, Missouri, and he also lived in St. Louis County of this state. Like many of the early settlers he was a skilled woodsman and hunter and made his living that way as well as by farming. His death occurred in Franklin County in 1879 when past eighty years of age. Richard Farrar, father of Thomas J., died in Missouri January 5, 1908, at the age of seventy-five, and his widow is now living at Chadwick, Missouri. The father was a farmer by occupation, and during the Civil war he was a member of the Missouri Home Guard.
The oldest in a family of eight children, five of whom are still living, Thomas J. Farrar grew up on the old homestead in Franklin County, and lived there until 1890. His early experiences were those of a farm boy, his education came from the country schools, and with three years of college life and besides farming he gained considerable experience in public affairs as an employe in county offices.
His first visit to Oklahoma was made in 1890. He served as clerk of the United States District Court of old Oklahoma Territory for two years until Judge Seay was appointed governor of the territory. Governor Seay appointed him county attorney of Blaine County, and he held that office one year. In the meantime he had been pursuing the study of law as earnestly and rapidly as his other duties permitted, and in 1893 he completed a course in the St. Louis Law School and was granted his degree LL. B.
After finishing his law studies he returned to Oklahoma and took up the practice of law at Kingfisher. That was his home until 1897, in which year he went to Shawnee and was there a year. Eventually he became identified with the Government service as an employe of the Dawes Commission whose headquarters were at Muskogee. For a time he was clerk and head of the contest division at the Cherokee Land Office in Tahlequah. In 1905 he was appointed United States commissioner for the northern district of Indian Territory, and continued in that office until statehood. On leaving office he at once resumed private practice, but on July 1, 1908, was again called into public life by his appointment as district Indian agent at Okmulgee. Somewhat later that position was abolished by law, and he was then appointed field clerk with duties similar to those he had performed as district agent. He continued as field clerk until April 4, 1915.
Thus Mr. Farrar has spent a number of years in the Indian and Government service, where his ability as a lawyer and his broad experience in Oklahoma affairs stood him in good stead.
In politics he is a republican, and is a member of the Episcopal Church. At Shawnee in 1898 he married Miss Elva Allen. Mrs. Farrar was born in Harrison County, Missouri.