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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Farrell

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 544-547 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The family name of Farrell, like the name Farrar, is traced to two derivations, and may be from "Pfarrer," in German, a minister, or it is considered a corruption of farrier, the name of a trade.

(I) James Farrell was the first of this family line to come to America from Ireland, stopping first in New York City, and then removing to Albany, New York, where he settled on a farm of some size in the rich country land of Bethlehem township, Albany county. It was a few miles below the Capital City, and on the west bank of the Hudson river. He married Winifred McGoewey, and they had four children. The only son was John Henry, see forward.

(II) John Henry, son of James and Winifred (McGoewey) Farrell, was born on the Abbey farm on the west bank of the Hudson, just south of the city of Albany, in Bethlehem township, September 1, 1839. He received his education in a private school, and later went to St. Charles' College, Baltimore, Maryland. He was hardly more than a lad, however, when he commenced his association with newspapers, which career was to be so wonderfully successful, even if the result were the outcome of much worriment and requiring great acumen when embarking for himself. In 1855 he entered the employ of the late Luther Tucker, who was both proprietor and editor of The Cultivator and Country Gentleman, remaining associated with that publication for fifteen years. During this period he frequently contributed to the columns of The Argus, Express and the Albany Evening Journal, and also at the same time editing the telegraphic matter coming from the front, for in 1863 he had accepted the appointment of editor of telegraph for the Associated Press, which supplied reports to all the Albany papers. Throughout the civil war he found this work much to his liking, and it incidentally broadened his mind. On January 1, 1870, he became city editor of The Argus, succeeding Hon. Daniel Shaw. About this time he considered forming the Sunday Press in conjunction with the publication of The Knickerbocker. On May 1, 1870, the first issue of the Sunday Press appeared, published by Myron H. Rooker, James Macfarlane, E. H. Gregory, John T. Maguire and James H. Mulligan, who were severally city editors of local dailies; but in September the last three sold their interests to Mr. Farrell. On June 1, 1871, he retired from The Argus to devote himself to the Sunday Press, and to secure the freedom to publish a daily in connection therewith. When Messrs. Farrell, Rooker and Macfarlane failed to secure The Knickerbocker, they organized the Daily Press, and its first issue appeared February 26, 1877. Mr. Farrell, however, was able on August 11, 1877, to purchase The Knickerbocker and consolidated it with the Daily Press. In March, 1891, after twenty-one years of partnership, Mr. Farrell sold his half interest in the papers to his partners for $50,000, and he forthwith purchased the Evening Union, as also, that same summer, The Evening Times, and the Albany Daily Sun, combining all three under the title The Times-Union, perceiving a great opportunity and field for a penny evening newspaper which could present the best news in more attractive style than before, dealing with interests of all classes impartially, and conducted on independent lines in politics. His plant at the starting was on the south side of Beaver street, about midway between Broadway and Green street; but the quarters were exceedingly cramped even for a paper beginning its career, and leaving no room for expansion. His paper commenced growing in popularity from the very first, for unquestionably he published the most satisfactory newspaper in the city and section, and shortly he acquired the property at the southwest corner of Green and Beaver streets, formerly used by the Albany Morning Express, at that time secured by the Albany Evening Journal and once occupied as lodge rooms.

Mr. Farrell's ability as an editor who perceived what the public wanted and understood just how to present it in most modern, attractive dress without lowering the standard, was only surpassed as a proprietor who could so plan his campaign in all its details so as to bring as well as merit success, was indicated more and more as each year passed, by its rapidly increasing circulation. His success was all acquired, not given to him by inheritance, by dint of close, persistent application to practical principles which he was capable of evolving. He was known to give as much attention to all the details, whether a matter concerning the press or engine room, with the compositors, or affecting the editing of news, taking a hand in the work of almost every department daily. Thus he knew his tools, which were his men, most thoroughly, which was accomplishing its full intent. For twenty years his name appeared in the legislative red book as the senate reporter for the New York Associated Press, back in the days of the Old Capitol (removed in 1883), and during all that period he never missed doing his duty, except when sickness prevented attendance.

He was one of the founders of the United Press, and for many years its vice-president. During its first year of existence he and Mr. Jenkins, of Syracuse Herald, managed its affairs. He was elected president of the New York State Press Association at its annual convention held at Lake George in 1895, by the unanimous vote of over three hundred editors. He was a Democrat, ever anxious to see his party win, and both his support and counsel were matters much to be desired. Mayor Swinburne appointed him a park commissioner, at the time when its affairs were controlled by a board of citizens instead of by a city department. In financial circles he was an active associate on a number of boards, as director of the Albany City National Bank, vice-president of the Home Savings Bank and director of the Commerce Insurance Company. He was a trustee of St. Agnes' Cemetery Association, and invaluable as such, taking the work of its larger affairs upon his shoulders and bringing about an increase in its size, value and beauty. As a trustee of the Albany Hospital for Incurables he rendered service never to be forgotten, and served also as trustee of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He was a charter member of the Fort Orange Club, and a life member of the Catholic Summer School at Cliff Haven, on the shore of Lake Champlain, an institution whose interests he advanced materially on its inauguration. He was a trustee of St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum of Albany and of the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, and member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Albany Institute and of the Eastern New York Fish and Game Protective Association. St. John's College, Fordham, conferred on him the degree of A. M., in 1891.

He was a man of unbounded energy, resourceful and progressive in spirit. No man was more companionable, and persons found him ready to discuss topics of the day with rare perspicuity and acumen, especially as concerned great policies. He was kind to a fault in others who were weak, zealous in safeguarding interests committed to his care. As he was beloved and held as an idol by his immediate family, it is little wonder that others spoke well of him. His acts of charity were conducted unostentatiously, with frequency and humane kindliness, by a hand which never seemed closed to the worthy in distress. It is a fact to be recalled by those who knew him best, that he frequently made it a point in his daily life to seek ways in which to bring joy to those in need of cheer, regardless of whether such appealed or not, and in this way he is remembered by many of the hundreds who worked under him. His success was abundant, and due to consistency of method and steadfastness of purpose which he ever kept in view. If he was ever guilty of the natural indiscretion of losing his temper or being ruffled by unpleasant contact with anyone, he concealed the fact with a self-control which never prevented him from continuing the work in hand under low pressure and avoiding all hindrance by friction. Naturally warm-hearted and polished in his manner, his suavity and kindly word counted much in preserving each acquaintance as a friend.

About a month before his death, a sudden and not entirely unexpected sickness occurring at his office obliged him to abandon attending to business at his establishment, and alarmed by the serious nature of his illness, for several weeks his family had the best physicians constantly in attendance; but on the evening of February 2, 1901, the long and fruitful life was ended. He was buried from his residence, No. 598 Madison avenue, with a public service held in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and laid to rest in St. Agnes' Cemetery.

John Henry Farrell married Mary Veronica Gibbons, at Fordham, New York, June 3, 1869. She was born in New York City, November 10, 1840. Her father was John Gibbons, born in Ireland, a prominent contractor in New York City, concerned in the erection of the old reservoir on Forty-second street and Fifth avenue, and died in that city. Her mother was Mary McLoughlin, born in Ireland, died at Fordham, New York. They were married in Ireland. Children born in Albany:

  1. James Charles, March 24, 1870, see forward.
  2. John Francis, October 30, 1871; married, New York City, June 29, 1898, Kate Engel.
  3. Mary Veronica, October 10, 1873; entered the holy order of Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Vincent, in September, 1898, under the name of Sister Mary Chrysostom.
  4. Joseph Augustan, November 10, 1875; entered the holy order of Society of Jesus, in September, 1902.
  5. Winifred Agnes, January 9, 1878; married, Albany, July 3, 1901, Lieutenant William Nafew Haskell.
  6. Regina Mary, March 6, 1881; residing at No. 60 Willett street, Albany, New York, in 1910.
  7. Eleanor Mary Teresa, October 15, 1883; residing at No. 60 Willett street, Albany, in 1910.

(III) James Charles, son of John Henry and Mary Veronica (Gibbons) Farrell, was born in Albany, New York, March 24, 1870. His early studies were pursued at both the Albany Boys' Academy and the Christian Brothers' Academy in Albany, and later at St. John's College, Fordham, New York. After the completion of his education he took up the newspaper business, commencing with the old Press and Knickerbocker, because of his father's heavy interests as publishing proprietor, and when his father assumed control of the Albany Evening Union he went with him, continuing in the same line and displaying great alertness in his interesting rivalry with his confreres connected with opposition newspapers. When the paper was consolidated as The Times-Union, he was made its business manager, and in a broader field of effort was indefatigable in advancing its circulation. In 1896 he accepted the management of The Albany Argus Company. He reorganized the entire plant and made this paper a power for the Democratic party. In whatever field he applied himself, it was always with earnestness for that enterprise with which he associated. At the end of three years he relinquished active newspaper work, and to better his health made an extended European trip, in company with James H. Leake, treasurer of The Times-Union. On his return he accepted the position of treasurer of the Helderberg Cement Company, with office in Albany and the works operated on a large scale at Howe's Cave, Schoharie county, New York; but still retaining his place on the directorate of The Argus Company. At various times he has been officially connected with insurance companies and financial institutions, and one of the board of managers of the Albany Hospital for Incurables. He belongs to the Fort Orange, the Albany, and the Country clubs, and is a member of the Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society. He has always been a staunch Democrat, and belongs to the National Democratic Club. He is fond of outdoor athletics. His home is on Thurlow Terrace, overlooking Washington Park, in Albany. Mr. Farrell married, in Albany, April 5, 1893, Margaret Ruth Brady, born in A1bany, New York, October 30, 1872, daughter of Anthony N. Brady, of New York City and Albany, who was born in Lille, France, August 22, 1843, and Marcia Anne (Myers) Brady, born in Bennington, Vermont, July 10, 1849. Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Brady were married in Bennington, Vermont, July 22, 1869. Children:

  1. Anthony Nicholas Brady, born at No. 60 Willett street, Albany, New York, April 4, 1900;
  2. Marcia Anne Brady, born at the same place, November 11, 1902.

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