Background info (David)

Hi Don

More stuff for your files.
John Farmer b1813
Julia Palmer
My own info about John (that comes from my dad) says that John  came from a fairly well to do family and was sent off to “the colonies” never to return for some “family disgrace” and became a “remittance man”, being regular sent a stipend from home to keep him away. He became an officer in the NB militia, Justice of the Peace (and one did not rise to those levels in those days without some kind of family influence) etc and when his mother died in England whereupon he inherited a quarter of the estate, (consistent with John having 3 other siblings) and it took a shipload to bring his share of the furniture over. That furniture was sold over the years to pay for a lavish lifestyle for John and many parties for his officer friends. He spent it all, and there was nothing left when he died. But much was lost in a home fire and I have one of the few items that survived, a sterling silver soup ladle with John’s’s initials engraved (probably 150 years old), plus his military sash. Half the island of Campobello was furnished with John’s furniture. LOL. John treated most of his children shabbily. In fact, my Grandfather, Spencer Palmer Farmer was put on a train to Winnipeg at the age of 15, given $50, and told to “go forth young man”. The only child John took exception to was Rowena, who, at a young age, John took to New York to be educated at Columbia University (the only one) where she met and married a Dr Oscar Schloss who became the head of cardiac surgery. About 15 years ago, I found Rowena’s granddaughter in New York, a Joan Long who lived quite well on the upper east side, and had no children, was a bit of a recluse and quite aged at that time (probably dead now). I never met her and only spoke to her on the phone once.
My dad always believed that John claimed he came from a little town in Llangollen, Wales. But the various censuses state his birthplace was England – so a mystery.  Perhaps he grew up there, or lived there. But there is no record of his birth there and which caused me no end of confusion. In one of the censuses, it states that John’s date of emigration to Canada was 1836 (age 23) which is consistent with the “family disgrace” theory. Your website where he leaves England at age 15 is the first I learned of that, so maybe he emigrated twice, or there are more holes to fill in. The Admiral Owens relationship is consistent. He is a photograph of the Owens given to John by them. These were expensive in those days and weren’t passed out willy nilly. Same for the original photos I have of him and Julia. They were expensive back then so John did indeed have money. I always wondered if there was a family connection with Admiral Owens somehow but have no evidence of such.
I myself, am happily enjoying retirement after working 45 years. I was born in Montreal, started working when I was 17, and eventually was transferred to Toronto at 35 in 1988. Did my schooling at night and got my MBA. Worked for various organizations and spent the last 15 years as a Bank of Montreal executive from where I retired in 2016. My Dad, Ronald Allerton Farmer died in 1999 (then 86) and is buried in Montreal  with my mum (97 in 2014). There are no other living relatives on my father’s side that I know of so it was somewhat of a “shock” to find you.  My wife and I enjoy travel a lot and are taking a trip to Jerusalem, Luxor and through Suez this fall. So life is good.
Anyway, sorry for the info dump. I hope you find it interesting and helpful. I think both of us have John’s “ears”. lol. Let me know what you think and hopefully we can get together and meet each other. Your uncle, John Farmer (b 1920 and son of Spencer) was asked to be my Godfather when I was born, said “yes”, and my Dad said that he never met him again after that. lol. It seems we are first cousins, one time removed. And we didn’t even know it!

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