Search This Blog

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eugene W. Farrar - First White Person Born in DuPage County Passes Away in 1921

I enjoy reading the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.  There are some fabulous articles written in these volumes. This week I browsed Mocavo @  There are so many digitized volumes of this Journal.  Information right at your fingertips.  History is just so easy to access with Mocavo.
Illinois State Historical Society Journal, Volume 14, accessed 16 July 2014,
Searching for articles that mention DuPage County, I came upon this article:

Farrar, Eugene W. , Editorial, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1921, Volume 14, page 218
How interesting that this man had this honor attached to his name....first white child born in DuPage County.  In 1835, there wasn't much in the way of paved roads, fast food restaurants and bustling suburban life.  More likely, it was dirt paths, prairie plants and a few Indians left over from the aftermath of the Black Hawk War.  The white man had just started purchasing the land from the government and setting up their homesteads.  

Here is an artist's rendering of the Farrar property in Downers Grove, IL, which was found on Ancestry, U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various publishers of County Land Ownership Atlases. Microfilmed by the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Searching the Federal Census reports from Ancestry,, I find that this homestead was located at 48 West Maple Street which was in Downers Grove at the time of the enumerations. However the property is located in what is present-day Clarendon Hills,  IL, a suburb just west of the Downers Grove border.  I found Mr. Farrar and his family listed in the 1870 Federal Census :

1870 U.S. Federal Census, Farrar, Eugene W., Downers Grove, IL,  Ancestry, accessed 15 July 2014
Note that he was an employee of the railroad, had a wife (noted as Jane, which differs from the article that referenced his death) and three small children.  Perhaps Martha was going by her middle name, Jane.  Who knows?  Further images of the Federal census show Eugene in 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 (1890 Census was burned) living at the same location...48 West Maple Street, Downers Grove, IL.

1880 Federal Census, Downers Grove, IL

1900 Federal Census, Downers Grove, IL

1910 Federal Census, Downers Grove, IL

1920 Federal Census, Downers Grove, IL

Ancestry also has Mr. Farrar referenced in a family tree which was posted by one of their subscribing members (omitting the name to preserve privacy), which lists his parents, wife and children :

Mr. Farrar passed away in 1921, according to the article in the Journal, so he should not appear in any further census lists.  When searching for his place of burial, I found him listed as being interred in the Oak Crest Cemetery, situated in Downers Grove, IL.  Here is the memorial placed for him, by contributor BB and Farrar and Related Families...

Farrar, Eugene W., FindaGrave, accessed 17 July 2014
Since Eugene Farrar was born in 1835, he could have been involved in the Civil War.  The article from the Journal indicates that he did participate.   In 1861, when the war started he would have been about 25 or 26.  Searching Fold 3,, because it has the most military records of online databases, I found his pension index card:

Farrar, Eugene W., Pension Index Card, Fold3, accesses 18 July 2014
It appears that Mr. Farrar applied for a pension as an invalid, and his wife applied for her pension as a widow.  The referencing application and certificate numbers can guide you to the proper documentation.  I found him listed in the 1883 List of Pensioners from the State of Illinois, having begun his $8.00 payouts in June of 1882. This I found on the Mocavo website.

Certificate 210,241 Farrar, Eugene W.,  Mocavo,, accesses 18 July 2014

Looking back at the military records of Ancestry,, I find Mr. Farrar listed in the Civil War Soldiers Records and Profiles, 1861 - 1865 :

Farrar, Eugene W., Civil War Soldier Record, Ancestry,, accessed 18 July 2014
Well, it looks as though we have found lots of information on Eugene W. Farrar, first born white child in DuPage County.  But is this all there is?  Heck no!!!  We have not even begun to uncover his life story.  Don't forget that he owned land, which means that there would be records for that and he had to pay taxes.  He could read and write, and there were a few schools in Downers Grove, so he would be listed in those records.  He was a man of stature in the  community, and would have been mentioned in the local newspapers.  He was  probably a man of God, and his records would have been listed within the church registers.  He married Ms. Carpenter, so the record of his marriage would be in the  County of Dupage Marriage records.  Since he served in the Civil War, there are the records of the G.A.R.  which was very active in Downers Grove and surrounding areas. He could have had a will and that would have been on record with the County, or if not, then a probate record could have been recorded with the County.   The list goes on and on.  But, alas, I only have so much time to write about his life story in this blog.

When researching the life of someone you "Stumble Across", be sure to search under every rock and stone.  Stories of the past help to paint a picture of the lives of those who suffered hardships before our time.  Before there were highways, there were forests and paths to explore.  


  1. Hello, great page and info. Are you related to Eugene W. Farrar, cuz he is my G G and maybe another G grandfather. Martha's middle name is Jane, so maybe she didn't like Martha. She is the daughter of Henry Carpenter who was one of the first settlers and had the first store there.

    Would love to chat and get more info.

  2. Oh and I think Eugene fought with Capt. Walter Blanchard who is am also related to. There is a lot on Capt. Walter Blanchard if you just google him.