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Jesse H. Farwell

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Jesse H. Farwell, photo from William Stocking and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, volume 5 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 1051.

Jesse Herbert Farwell was born to George Farwell and Aurilla (Brownell) Farwell in North Charleston, New Hampshire, on January 22, 1834. The Farwell and Brownell families are long-time residents and well-established families of New England. Farwell was related to the descendents of Henry Farwell, Benjamin Allen, Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Dudley, and of John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower.1

Business

Farwell came to Detroit in 1855 and went into the undertaking business with Marcus Stevens and Samuel Zugg. In 1867, he dissolved the partnership with Stevens and Zugg to enter the paving business with Smith, Cook & Co.Road Contractor who controlled the Nicholson Paving Patent. In 1873, he left this firm to continue in the paving business with Eugene Robinson. He seems to have left paving in 1885.2

Between 1872 and 1880, Farwell was an investor in the Clough & Warren Organ Company of Detroit. He was also an investor, then president of the Dominion Organ and Piano Company of Bowmanville, Ont. He led both of these firms to become leading producers of pianos and organs.ManufacturerMusical Instruments

In 1873, Farwell started the Farwell Transportation Company, which owned and operated a fleet of twenty ships mostly large steamers and sailing ships. Shipping

He was part of the contracting partnership of Collins & Farwell, which built, among other engineering projects, the Croton Aqueduct, EngineerTunnelCanalthe Poe Lock of the Soo LocksSoo Locks, a tunnel under the Niagara River at Buffalo, and the New York City Subway. In 1888, he opposed the construction of bridges over the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers preferring, instead, the construction of tunnels under the rivers. He was persuasive enough to lead to the construction of the St. Clair Tunnel in 1891. Farwell was a strong advocate of shipping canals and waterways. He spoke at many conventions for the expansion of the canal network, including an Atlantic-Pacific canal and the Nicaraguan canal.

During 1884, he bought up the failing stock of Detroit Journal (or the Detroit Evening Journal) for about $6,000 and sold it all later that year to a syndicate of William Livingstone, John B. Corliss, and J. B. Moore for a $4,000 profit.3 Newspaper

He and his wife were independent investors in real estate in Detroit. In 1911, Farwell and his wife incorporated a real estate concern known as Farwell Estates, Ltd.Real Estate

Social life

Farwell was member of the Democratic Party and favored women's suffrage. He was elected a trustee of the Detroit Unitarian Society and President of the Michigan State Unitarian-Universalist Association. He also supported the Detroit Universalist Society.

On April 24, 1859, he married Emma J. Godfrey of Detroit, daughter of Jeremiah Godfrey. They had three children: George Farwell, Jerry G. Farwell, and Emma Farwell.

Farwell died on September 19, 1904, at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Emma Farwell died on September 30, 1916, at Detroit. They lived on Bagg Street, facing Cass Park, and moved among the best of Detroit's social circles.

Sources

Clarence M. Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, vol. 5 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 1050-1054.

Additional Resources

Access Genealogy, "Biography of Jesse H. Farwell", (2013) has an extensive article on Farwell which reprints and extracts "from Merrimack and Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire Biographies." The article also seems to have extensive reflections and quotes from Farwell.

Images of his home from Early Detroit Images from the Burton Historical Collection.

Notes

1 Clarence M. Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, vol. 5 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 1050.

2 This and the remaining paragraphs from Clarence M. Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, vol. 5 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 1053-54.

3 George B. Catlin, "Adventures in Journalism: Detroit Newspapers Since 1850," Michigan History Magazine 29 (July-September 1945), 368.

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Jesse H. Farwell," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2019), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on May 06, 2018, at 05:10 PM EST