Sunday, November 7, 2010

William Mills Wood Farmer (1840-1883)

William Wood Farmer, Jr. was born the son of William Wood, Sr. [A Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana.  The town of Farmerville, LA was named for him.] and Pamela Ann Mixon Mason Farmer. His original middle name was Mills in honor of his father's father, but in 1861 he changed it to Wood in memory of his father. He never married. He apparently dated an Emily Tew but it didn't work out. Sallie Garrett [daughter of Isaiah and Narcissa] wrote a letter to her brother dated September 9th, 1860 in which she said, "I believe Emma Tew's and Mr. Farmer's attachment has ceased. I think as he generally does he was only coqueting with her." When he died, William was buried in the Monroe Cemetery. His grave is not marked. On an 1886 Plat Map for the Monroe City Cemetery, the W.W. Farmer plot was plot #80, which was located where the two avenues in the cemetery meet (near the Purvis/Stevens marker and flag pole).

W.W. Farmer Plot, Old City Cemetery

The Monroe Bulletin
Wednesday, April 18, 1883
Page 3, Column 1
Judge Farmer's funeral took place Sunday evening at 4 o'clock from Grace Episcopal Church to the Monroe Cemetery. The church was filled with friends. Rev. Mr. Prosser officiated. The pall bearers were L.D. McLain, Dr. T.O. Brewer, W.G. Kennedy, Dr. T.Y. Aby, F.Y. Dabney, W.T. Atkins. The floral tribute was beautiful and plentiful.

The Monroe Bulletin
Wednesday, April 18, 1883
Page 3, Column 2
Judge W.W. Farmer.
Judge William Wood Farmer died at his residence in Monroe, at 3 o'clock a.m., last Saturday, the 14th of April. Life's fitful fever is over at the early age of 43 years and 15 days.
Judge Farmer was the only son of ex-Gov. Farmer, and was born in Union parish on the 29th of March, 1840. He graduated at Centenary College in 1858 with first honors. He read law with Morrison & Purvis and was licensed by the Law College of New Orleans in 1861.
The war found him an ardent sympathizer with the South, and he joined Dreux's battalion [Co. D, 1st Special Battn.] and served the first term of his enlistment as a private. In 1862 he was chosen captain of a company that became a part of Morrison's regiment [Co. H, 31st LA Inf.]. He was engaged in all the battles preceding the investment of Vicksburg and was among the prisoners of that memorable surrender.
He formed a law partnership with Col. C.H. Morrison [note: This is William's brother-in-law Charles Henry Morrison, married to his sister Fannie] in 1865 and continued it with great success until Morrison died and his health failed in 1875. He was a member of (t)he lower House of the State Legislature in 1880 and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He was chosen by that assembly Judge of the Second Circuit and resigned. In 1881 he gave up the judgeship and resumed the practice of the law.
Judge Farmer's mind was large, his perception quick and his reasoning bordered upon intuition. There was no plodding — a case stated was covered by an opinion. His reading was extensive, his memory tenacious and the collation of the authorities was all that was necessary to confirm his conclusion. He was honest and had a supreme contempt for Quirk, Gammon & Snap practice. Whenever a client had a case to make he found in Farmer a lawyer unremitting in his exertions to secure his rights. He never made an effort to mislead a court by suppressing evidence, garbling authorities or toadying his views to judges in private. He rested upon the law and the evidence as they were written and his urged them with a force that every adversary dreaded.
As Judge of the Second Circuit he was laborious beyond his strength. He heard argument patiently, examined evidence closely, read authorities carefully and decided conscientiously. We have it from him that he made no law while in the ermine; that he was merely its interpreter, no matter at times of its distastefulness.
Judge Farmer never married, and a name that will ever be remembered in Louisiana with honor is now extinct. His nearest relation is Farmer Morrison, a nephew and an orphan, a lad of eight years. "Gone forever! Such men always die too young; but their example lives after them, and so molds and shapes coming events that the order of affairs is tending ever to a higher and a more just public control, is carving a pathway through the darkness of the past to a brighter, more hopeful and peaceful future. In losing him the State has lost an able defender, and good men an admirer, and ourself one of the best of friends and the safest of advisers."

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