In his own words
Any genealogist would be delighted to find a will written like that of Henry W. Farris, which is recorded in Lincoln County Willbook No. 3, page 140. It is presented here, whole:
"Henry W. Farris' Will — Crab Orchard, Ky. March 12th, 1884.
"On the 14th day of August 1809, I was born near the Walnut Flat in Lincoln County, Ky., and on the 14th of April 1814, Jane Elizabeth Farrar was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. On the 7th of June 1832, I married her in Mecklenburg were she was born, making 51 years that we have lived happily together having eight living children and one son, William Dabney, who died quite young. Out of our eight living children, we have five daughters and three sons, Alexander Scott, Ann Elizabeth, Laura, Alice, Mary, Duncan Kenner, Hattie, and Henry Bacon.
We have 18 living grandchildren. Scott has two, a son and daughter, Elizabeth Guest has three sons and two daughters, Laura Moore has four sons and one daughter, Alice Dobbin has three sons, Mary Hoskins has one son, Hattie Ewell has one son and one daughter, making the 18, and two adopted grandchildren, Calvin and Betty Hoskins, making even 20 living grandchildren, all of which I dearly love, and know no difference between them.
We have had a great many ups and downs in life. In 1835, we settled in Crab Orchard, built the greater part of the brick comer house which we occupied as a hotel for many years. In 1836, I opened what is known as the Spring Hill Race Course, which has been used as such ever since. We have lived at Crab Orchard ever since, except six years that we lived at Woodlawn near Louisville.
Wanted wife to assume control
From the time I laid out the course, I have spent a considerable amount on the premises, and what I want to come at, is myself and wife have a deed recorded in the clerk's office at Stanford which shows for itself, and my wish is that my wife take full charge of all the premises and effects that I own, and manage to the best advantage as long as she lives and to add as much as possible to the value of the property as she thinks proper, and as the property is not susceptible of being divided between our children, it is my request that she make such arrangements that after her death to have everything sold that we possess to the highest bidder.
And after paying all our just debts, divide the remainder equally between our eight children, all of them having been kind and dutiful to me, consequently I don't wish to make any difference between them. My reason for requesting my good wife to keep the property in as good shape as possible to add to its value, is from the force of circumstances having two daily trains each day both ways from Louisville to Knoxville and the hearty location and prospect of a boom at the Springs, makes me believe that property and particularly this description of property will increase in value greatly.
I am not forgetful of constantly breathing on humble prayer to the Lord for the many blessings bestowed upon me and family — and have full faith that my prayers are answered. Henry W. Farris."
The city of Crab Orchard would do well to remember Henry W. Farris and his family's impact on that community throughout the middle 1800s. Farris's unique will has ensured that he and his family will not be forgotten. Farris was a fine writer and historian. We wish he had written even more about his life and times.
Allen Leach is a native of Turnersville in Lincoln County, now living in Ellisburg in Casey County. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, a historian and genealogist. He serves as president of the Lincoln County Historical Society and director of the Fort Logan Foundation.