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Persis Atherton Farr

(Mill Girl)

Persis was born May 27, 1820 in Dalton, Coos, New Hampshire, one of eleven children of Samuel Atherton and Molly Brown. Molly Brown Atherton died in January of 1835, and later that year, 15 year-old "Perces Athington"and her 24 year-old sister Fanny M. Atherton were baptized by Apostle William E. McLellin on August 10, 1835 in Dalton. With their mother gone from the family, Fanny apparently moved to Lowell and worked in the mills there, appearing in the 1836 Lowell Female Directory, as working in the Lawrence Mill. Fanny M. Atherton married David Harvey Redfield (son of Samuel Russell and Sarah Gould Redfield) on October 26, 1837. Persis then followed her elder sister to Lowell and opened a bank account there in 1838, and at that time was a weaver in the mills. Persis was a member of the Lowell Branch in May 1843. Her older sister, Fanny M. Atherton and her husband David Harvey Redfield (who also joined the LDS Church) disappear after being endowed in Nauvoo in December 1845.

Persis too went to Nauvoo, where she was married by Joseph Smith to Aaron Freeman Farr on January 16, 1844; they were later sealed in 1846. (Aaron Farr, a lawyer born in 1818 in Vermont, had previously fallen in love with Margaret Moon in Nauvoo, not knowing that Margaret had already secretly married her sister's husband, William Clayton, as a polygamous wife on April 27, 1843. When Aaron found out, he was devastated and tried to break up the plural marriage. Farr was unsuccessfull even though Margaret Moon Clayton was deeply unhappy about polygamy and nearly left Clayton on several occasions. But Joseph Smith refused to "revoke" the marriage. Aaron Farr's 14 year-old sister Diantha was also so upset by the Moon-Clayton marriage she threatened to expose the whole situation to the city of Nauvoo and then dramatically kill herself. So Clayton married Diantha Farr as well when she turned 16.)

Aaron and Persis Atherton Farr eventually had five children. Their eldest, Celestia Ann Farr, was born January 3, 1845 in Nauvoo. Persis and Celestia Ann were part of the Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge Company of September 1847, while Aaron Farr was two months ahead in Brigham Young's Company. Once Young's company reached Wyoming however, Young sent Aaron Farr back to help the other companies following behind, and thus Aaron eventually joined up with his family on the trek, finding Persis and baby Celestia driving their wagon hitched to two yoke of cattle.

Persis Anna Farr was born November 25, 1848 in Salt Lake City, as were Aaron Freeman Farr Jr. (1850), and Lucian Coridan Farr (1855). Their last child, Ladornia Gilkey Farr was born in Ogden, Utah (1857), where Aaron was a city alderman. Aaron Farr also married two other women: Lucretia Ball Thorpe in 1855 and Hope Estill in 1870.

Their oldest child, Celestia Ann Farr, later married the controversial LDS Apostle Moses Thatcher, who was a morphine addict and constantly battled with First Presidency member George Q. Cannon over Cannon's administrative ineptitude and mismanagement of church funds in various "mining schemes."

Persis Atherton Farr died in Logan, Utah on December 31, 1906.

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