Hon. William Jasper Farriss. Among the old and honored members of the Garvin County bar, one who is held in high esteem is Hon. William Jasper Farriss, of Stratford, now retired, who as jurist and attorney has ever been a worthy representative of his learned calling. Judge Farriss was born in White County, Tennessee, December 9, 1829, and is a member of a family which originated in Ireland and early settled in Virginia, his great-grandfather being the emigrant. His grandfather was twelve years old when he came with the family to the United States.
Richard Farriss, the grandfather of Judge Farriss, was born in the Old Dominion, was a farmer and stockman, enlisted in the War of 1812, fighting under General Jackson at New Orleans, and died in Hawkins County, Eastern Tennessee, at a ripe old age. L. B. Farriss, the father of Judge Farriss, was born in Virginia, in 1800, and as a young man accompanied his parents to Hawkins County, Tennessee, later going to White County, Tennessee, where he followed farming until his early death, November 27, 1839. He was a devout member of the Presbyterian Church and in politics a democrat. Mr. Farriss married Hannah Simms, who was born in 1808, in White County, Tennessee, and who died there in 1895.
The early education of William Jasper Farriss was secured in the district schools of White County, Tennessee, following which he attended Burrett College, in Van Buren County, Tennessee, for nearly four years, completing the major part of the senior year’s course. He then studied law in White County under the preceptorship of Colonel Combs and was admitted to the Tennessee bar January 1, 1855. Beginning practice at Sparta, he followed his profession there until 1861, when he enlisted in the Sixteenth Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, and spent three years in the Confederate army, was wounded in the hand at the battle of Corinth, and took part in the battle of Murfreesboro, other noted struggles and numerous skirmishes. After three years of service he was appointed to a lieutenancy in Col. Sidney Stanton’s regiment, but while he was absent on duty at Murfreesboro the regiments were consolidated, and Judge Farriss was given his honorable discharge, as had been promised in the case an officer’s rank could not be given him.
After the close of the Civil war Judge Farriss resumed his law practice at Sparta until December, 1905, and during that period rose to a place of acknowledged distinction in his profession, serving for a time as judge of the courts of his circuit for Judge Smallman. On December 1, 1905, he came to Center, Indian Territory, where he remained for six months, and in 1906 located on the present site of Stratford, although this town had not yet come into existence at that time. Here he followed a general civil and criminal practice until his retirement in 1914. At the beginning of the town he acted as attorney for the board of trustees of Stratford, served as city judge for two years, and for a like period acted as clerk of the County Court. He has never lost his interest in his old army comrades, and at present is adjutant of Stratford Camp, United Confederate Veterans. Judge Farriss is a democrat. While at Sparta, Tennessee, he belonged to the greenback party, and in 1880 was chairman of the executive committee when that party nominated Weaver for the presidency, being himself a candidate for Congress on that ticket. He has written many articles on the currency question which have been widely read, the judge favoring the abolishing of all banks and the Government’s issue of full legal tender greenbacks.
Judge Farriss was married in 1872, in White County, Tennessee, to Miss Martha Southard, daughter of the late Rev. D. M. Southard, a Methodist Episcopal preacher. Mrs. Farriss, who was born in 1849, still survives. There were five children in the family, as follows: Dovie, who is the wife of W. W. Hyden, a justice of the peace at Stratford; Miss Simmie, who is postmistress at Stratford ; Miss Mollie, who is unmarried and resides with her parents; Thomas; and Helen, who is the wife of a farmer and stock raiser near Kingston, Oklahoma.
Thomas Farriss, son of Judge Farriss, was born at Sparta, Tennessee, September 8, 1882, and there attended the public schools, being graduated from the high school in 1901. He subsequently attended Burrett College at Spencer, Tennessee, and taught school in White County for four years, and in 1904 came to Ada, Indian Territory, where for a short time he engaged in fanning. In 1905 he resumed educational work when he became principal of schools at McGee, Oklahoma, and in 1906. at the beginning of the town, came to Stratford, where he soon became city marshal. He later was made deputy sheriff and still later city clerk, edited the Stratford Tribune for several years, and in 1909 attended the Oklahoma State University Law Department and was admitted to the bar in 1910. Since that time he has followed a general law business, his offices being located in the State Bank Building. Mr. Farriss is a democrat, has served as chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee and is now chairman of the Garvin County Election Board. Fraternally he is affiliated with Stratford Lodge No. 119, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Stratford Lodge No. 311, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is past noble grand; and Stratford Camp, Woodmen of the World. He is unmarried.