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Harry Prince Farrar. The spirit of enterprise which had stimulated and had produced a development that now makes Arkansas City one of the most important industrial centers of Southern Kansas had no better representative than H. P. Farrar, who came out to this then frontier post on the Southern Kansas border in 1872 and had ever since been closely identified with the town’s upbuilding and growth. Mr. Farrar is known among his associates as a man of remarkable personality, energy and capacity for business, and while absorbed in the management and direction of his private affairs had at the same time taken upon himself a concern with the larger life and activities of Arkansas City and Cowley County.
Several prominent men in this section of the state go back to the old Pine Tree State of Maine as their place of nativity. Harry Prince Farrar was born at Phillips, Franklin County, Maine, September 28, 1851, a son of Byron and Mary (Howland) Farrar. In both his paternal and maternal lines his ancestors went back to early Colonial days, and the names were represented in their respective communities and states as leaders in commercial affairs, as soldiers in the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars, and in various lines of achievement. Byron Farrar was born in Buckfield, Maine, and for many years served as postmaster and as a justice of the peace at Phillips.
His wife, Mary Howland, was a daughter of Isaac Howland, who was descended from one of the first settlers of Maine. In 1890 Byron Farrar retired from active business and spent his last years with his son in Arkansas City, where he died in 1906. He and his wife had four children: Harry Prince; Fred W., a merchant at Pawhuska, Oklahoma; George B., a banker at Edmond, Oklahoma; and Ora, wife of Arthur M. Heard, president of the Amoskeag National Bank at Manchester, New Hampshire.
Mr. H. P. Farrar was just twenty-one years of age when he came out to Kansas. In the meantime he had lived the years of his youth in his native state, had attended public school at Phillips, and had taken a course in the Bryant and Stratton Business College at Portland. His first employment was as bookkeeper with firm of Plummer Brothers, founders and machinists at Portland.
Coming to Kansas in September, 1872, Mr. Farrar entered the general merchandise business at Arkansas City. This was a town then on the extreme frontier, the Indian Territory to the south being restricted from the advance of improvement and civilization for many years afterwards. Nevertheless, Arkansas City even at that time had magnificent prospects, and it was due to the presence of a group of capable and farsighted men, including Mr. Farrar, that these resources were not allowed to go to waste or serve a competitive community. In 1874 Mr. Farrar sold his store and became cashier in the Cowley County Bank of Arkansas City, one of the first banking institutions of the county. In 1885 this bank took out a national charter as the First National Bank of Arkansas City and from the first Mr. Farrar demonstrated forcefulness and ability as a financier and executive. In a few years he had become recognized as one of the keenest financiers in Southern Kansas.
In 1885 Mr. Farrar became active in organizing the Johnson Loan & Trust Company of Arkansas City. He became its president and when the original firm was liquidated in 1892 he organized in its place the Hill Investment Company with a capital of $325,000. Mr. Farrar had since been president of this company, which in point of resources and scope of business connections is one of the largest real estate, mortgage and loan organizations in the Southwest. Those chiefly identified with its organization were Mr. Farrar, A. D. Prescott, J. P. Johnson and other capitalists from Concord, New Hampshire. The company operates over Southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and while its record had always been on the side of conservatism the company had done as much perhaps as any other similar organization to maintain and uphold stability of values and promote general development of large sections of agricultural lands. As the controlling owner and executive head Mr. Farrar had realized a substantial fortune and at the same time effected a constant steadying influence on Kansas finance.
Those in close touch with the business history of Cowley County recognize in Mr. Farrar a man whose connections have been greatly varied and have been interlaced almost continuously with every forward movement. He is also vice president of the Arkansas City Savings, Building & Loan Association and vice president of the Land and Power Company of Arkansas City. He was connected with the Arkansas City Gas and Electric Light Company and the Arkansas City Water Power Company until they were taken over by the Kansas Gas & Electric Company. With a multiplicity of business interests, sufficiently varied and extensive to demand his constant vigilance, he had, nevertheless, identified himself with every movement and enterprise affecting the development of this section. He is a broad minded and liberal business man, and while he had not considered it his duty to mingle in politics, he had exercised many opportunities to promote public welfare. He is a strong republican and at different times had wielded considerable influence in the party. Mr. Farrar is a Knight Templar and Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Wichita, and belongs to Arkansas City Lodge No. 956, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Besides his home at 200 North A Street in Arkansas City, he owned a number of farms in Cowley and Sumner counties, Kansas, and in Kay County, Oklahoma, and associated with the estate of the late A. D. Prescott he is interested in about 40,000 acres of land in Western Kansas. He personally owned much of the valuable real estate in Arkansas City.
On March 18, 1875, Mr. Farrar was married in his native state to Miss Celia H. Foss. Mrs. Farrar was born in Maine in 1853, a daughter of James A. Foss, a well known citizen of Portland, Maine, and member of the prominent Foss family of New England. Mr. and Mrs. Farrar have four children: Caro Pearl, still at home; Arthur H., who graduated from the Thornton Academy at Saco, Maine, in 1900, and is now in the abstract business at Pawhuska, Oklahoma; Foss Farrar, secretary of the Hill Investment Company; and Lucile, who is a graduate of the Principia School of St. Louis, and is now the wife of L. D. Mitchell, a dentist at Arkansas City. Mrs. Farrar had long been a leader in social circles at Arkansas City, and is an active member of the Church of Christ Scientist.
Foss Farrar, son of H. P. Farrar, was born at Arkansas City November 17, 1887. He was educated in the local grammar and high schools and attended into the junior year the State Agricultural College at Manhattan. Leaving school in February, 1909, he became assistant cashier of the Union State Bank at Arkansas City. In February, 1910, he took the post of assistant cashier of the Home National Bank and had a thorough training as a banker. He resigned from the bank in May, 1911, and since July 1, 1911, had been secretary of the Hill Investment Company. He is one of the most capable of the younger element of business men in Arkansas City. He owned considerable local real estate, including his home at 225 North A Street.
Mr. Foss Farrar is a republican, is a member of the Beta Theta Pi college fraternity and of Crescent Lodge No. 133, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite and Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Wichita; Arkansas City Lodge No. 956, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Inaugural Camp No. 867, Modern Woodmen of America; and Arkansas City Lodge No. 89, Ancient Order of United Workmen. Foss Farrar was married May 1, 1911, at Wellington, Kansas, to Miss Fannie Hunter, daughter of Senator George H. and Frances Hunter. Her mother is now deceased and her father is a prominent miller at Wellington. Mr. and Mrs. Foss Farrar have one daughter, Helen Frances, born July 14, 1914.