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Lorin Farr

Question: What was Lorin Farr’s occupation when he lived in Nauvoo, Illinois? What position did he hold in Ogden, Utah for twenty-two years?

Answer: Lorin Freeman Farr was born July 27, 1820, in Waterford, Caledonia county, Vermont. His parents were Winslow and Olive Hovey Freeman Farr, and his earliest American ancestor was George Farr, who emigrated from London, England, in 1629, as a ship-builder.

When Lorin was about eight years old, the family moved to Charleston, Orleans County, forty miles north of their former home, where his father bought a farm. In the spring of 1832, when Lorin was eleven years of age, the family heard the gospel preached by Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson. Orson Pratt was instrumental in healing Olive Farr of consumption and other ailments from which she had been suffering for five years. The healing was instantaneous and permanent; she had been an invalid at age thirty-two years of age, but lived until she was ninety-four.

Lorin was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1832, being then eleven years of age. His father and mother and four brothers and sisters also joined. Five years later he removed with his parents to Kirtland, Ohio, and from there to the State of Missouri. He and his brother Aaron walked the whole distance from Kirtland to Far West. This was in the spring of 1838. The following winter he was in the exodus from Missouri to Illinois, and lived some of the time with the family of the Prophet Joseph.

One-story red brick home was situated on Durphy Street just north of his father’s home and south of the Wilford Woodruff home.

While Lorin was a farmer and a carpenter, he decided to turn his attention to school teaching. He taught for a number of years in Nauvoo and vicinity, teaching the children of the Prophet Joseph and those of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor and other leading men of the Church. In the spring of 1842, he was ordained an Elder of the Church. In the spring of 1843 he was called upon a mission, by the Prophet Joseph, to the Middle and Eastern States, with the instruction to go wherever the spirit led him. He was performing this duty when the sad news of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Patriarch Hyrum reached him. Elder Farr remained in the field, comforting and strengthening the Saints, until late in November 1844, when he returned to Nauvoo.

He was ordained to the office of High Priest under the hands of Elder Charles C. Rich. While still at Nauvoo, on New Year’s day, 1845, he married his first wife, Nancy B. Chase. Early the next year he was with the exiled Saints traveling across the Territory of Iowa on his way to the Rocky Mountains.

He remained at Winter Quarters until the summer of 1847. He appears on the roster of the Scoot/Russell company, but was reported to have come with the Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge company. His individual outfit was a wagon, two yoke of oxen, two yoke of cows and provisions to last him and those dependent upon him for eighteen months. His family was then small, consisting of his wife and small son Enoch. He reached Salt Lake valley on September 21, 1847.

After living awhile in the “Old Fort,’ he moved onto a lot north-west of the Temple block. His and Nancy’s first home in the valley was the wagon box, taken off the running-gears and made into a temporary abode; but he and his brother Aaron soon hauled logs from the canyon and built more comfortable homes. Lorin had brought with him from Winter Quarters all kinds of seeds, and these he planted in the spring of 1848. Most of his crop was devoured by the crickets, before they were destroyed by the gulls, but he raised enough to support his family until another harvest time.

In March, 1850, by special request of President Young, Lorin Farr removed to Ogden “to locate and take charge of the northern colonies.”” He, with Charles Hubbard, built the first saw mill and grist mill north of Salt Lake City. In the fall he bought out Mr. Hubbard and conducted the milling business alone for several years, after which he took in his brother Aaron as a partner.

Elected Mayor of Ogden in the spring of 1851, Lorin was re-elected every two years until he had served ten consecutive terms of office. He retired in November, 1870, but in 1876 was again elected for two years, making a total of twenty-two years. From 1852 until 1880 he was a member of the Utah legislature. Meantime, in the summer of 1868, in connection with Chauncey W. West and Ezra T. Benson, he took a contract from the President of the Central Pacific railroad, and did the grading for two hundred miles of that road west of Ogden.

City County Building where Constitutional Convention was held

In November, 1870, Lorin took his first and only foreign mission, which was to Europe. He had done much preaching in his time, but most of his labors were generally at home. “I have labored all my life,”” he says, “to promote religious sentiment and make laws to protect the same. I have tried to do all the good I could, and as little harm as possible.”” Lorin was a member of the Utah Constitutional Convention, which in 1895 framed the Utah State Constitution.

Nancy Farr

Lorin’s wife, Nancy, faithfully followed her husband to settle Ogden and became a wise manager and queenly presence. She received many compliments from leaders who visited their home. It was said of Nancy that she was one of nature’s noblest women–a companion, a leader, a sister, and a student. She was the mother of eleven children, her first one being born in Nauvoo in 1845.

Lorin was the father of forty children, from his first wife, Nancy, and his plural wives, Sarah Giles, Olive Ann Jones, Mary Bingham and Nicoline Erickson. Nancy died September 10, 1892, at the age of 69, and Lorin died on January 12, 1909, in Ogden at the age of 88. He is the grandfather of George Albert Smith through his daughter Sarah.

Source: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p. 749,;

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