Footnote in History

Footnote in History

I think it's pretty safe to say I have been obsessed with Albert Farwell for nearly a year now. The infatuation has waxed and waned with my free time, sure, but it's in full-on stalker mode right now. I've exhausted the internet, scoured the four archival options I know of at this point, and read well over 100 newspaper articles spanning nearly a century. And in the process, I'm piecing together the life story of someone who, otherwise, would just be a footnote in history. 

Footnote in history: Albert Farwell appears in Gov. Horace Fairbanks' family tree as the husband of Horace's daughter, Isabel. (Screenshot from Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles. Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897. Boston, MA: American Printing and Engraving Company, 1897.)

Albert Lemuel Farwell was born on July 9, 1860, in Compton, Quebec, to Lemuel and Calista Farwell (née Arms). His younger brother, Charles, died in infancy when Albert was 5 years old. At some point in his teens, Albert enrolled at St. Johnsbury Academy; I need to do some digging into our school archives to figure out what years he attended the school. He graduated in 1878 (a year in which "there were four of the class so alike in rank that they were all given valedictory honors" - and yes, they all gave speeches at graduation, while only Harley H. Prouty of Newport delivered the valedictory address, an "oration entitled 'The scholar in politics.'" (St. Johnsbury Caledonian (St. Johnsbury, VT). "The Graduating Exercises." June 28, 1878.) The paper notes that Sir Thaddeus Fairbanks, "venerable president of the board of trustees," presented the diplomas, and that the "exercises were very interesting and very long, continuing until near midnight." 

In 1888, Albert's name appears in the paper again.

(St. Johnsbury Caledonian (St. Johnsbury, VT). Brief Locals. July 19, 1888. )

(St. Johnsbury Caledonian (St. Johnsbury, VT). Brief Locals. July 19, 1888. )

While I was writing this, I wandered off to look at some more photos, and found this: 

D.D. Patterson, John Rickaby. Albert Farwell, Fred Moore, Hewey Ellis (back); Elwin Silsby and Perley Hazen (front) - at the E.&T. Fairbanks Company office? (Fairbanks clerks. Photograph. George Heon photo collection. St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury, VT.)

The next time I track him down, both in the St. Johnsbury Caledonian and through records on Ancestry, is on his wedding day. 

(Vermont. Caledonia County. Marriage Certificates. “Albert Farwell.”

Mostly, I love the description of their wedding from the front page of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian:

(St. Johnsbury Caledonian (St. Johnsbury, VT). "Farwell-Fairbanks." September 5, 1889.)

Albert and Isabel would make their home at Pinehurst (now the Elks Club). 

(Pinehurst. Image. George Heon collection. St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury, VT.)

More on Isabel and Albert soon!