Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

Index to
  CHARLES C. FARMER is one of the most prominent and honored representatives of civic societies in Illinois. For forty-four years he has been connected with the Masonic fraternity and has never wavered in his allegiance to its time-honored principles, of the brotherhood of man, mutual helpfulness, mutual forbearance and mutual charity. In 1853 he was initiated as an Entered Apprentice, passed the Fellow-craft degree and was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Strict Observance Lodge, No. 833, at Hamilton, Canada West. In 1854 he was exalted to the august degree of Royal Arch Mason and has been very active and earnest in the work of the craft. For three years he served as Worshipful Master of Cyrus Lodge, No. 188, of Mount Carroll, and under his able guidance the lodge passed through an era of growth and prosperity which advanced it far on the road to success. In the Modern Woodmen of America he has attained distinctive honors which have made him known to the members of the order throughout the entire country. and of his connection therewith we will write later on.
   Mr. Farmer was born in Peterboro, Madison county, New York, and is descended from New England ancestry from whom he has inherited in a marked degree the industry, enterprise, sagacity and sterling integrity for which the people of that section of the country were noted. His father died when he was only four years of age, leaving the widowed mother with little means to support her children. Thus it was that Mr. Farmer learned to know what poverty meant; but his surroundings developed the self-reliance and force of character of the lad and when only twelve years of age he started out in life for himself. All that he has and all that he is, he has achieved with the initial capital of a good head, a willing disposition and habits of industry. He inherited only the knowledge and memory of an honest parentage and went out into the great world, seemingly inadequately equipped to push his way through the crowding and ofttimes selfish life that surrounded him; but with the dauntless pluck that has served him so well in his career he pushed forward, defying all discouragements, and won. It could have been prophesied at the beginning that he would win, for such boys and men never fail. Always willing to work, never disposed to idle away his time, he found employment, and from 1852 to 1857 was engaged in the construction of the Great Western Railway from Niagara Falls to Windsor, being appointed to the responsible position of paymaster and accountant. He afterward determined to fit himself for professional life and studiously devoted his leisure time to perfecting his somewhat neglected education, and after several years of self-denial and study he succeeded in equipping himself for the practice of dentistry. He followed that business with success until 1880, when he decided to devote his attention to a more active outdoor occupation and became an insurance agent. He mastered this, as a science, with the same studious attention that he had given to this other work and for twelve years was the representative of several insurance companies, gaining in this time a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of the various life-insurance plans.
   It was but a short step from this to his service in Woodcraft. He became a member of the Modern Woodmen of America in 1883 and has since been one of its most zealous adherents. He realized that life would be much easier to widows and their children if some plans could be made through an organized society for their provision after the death of the husband and father. This lesson he had learned from his own hard boyhood. Espousing therefore the cause of Woodcraft and believing its system the most equitable and perfect of all insurance measures he eagerly began his labor; for its promotion and reception throughout the country. He was one of the first to advocate its extension over the entire world. His confidence in its grand principles has never faltered, and his loyalty combined with his ripe experience in insurance circles resulted in his election to the office of chairman of the board of managers of Modern Woodmen of America, which position he held until 1890. He was then elected chairman of the Board of Sovereign Managers of an order known as the Woodmen of the World, with headquarters at Omaha, Nebraska, which position he now holds, although a member of both orders mentioned. His efforts have been the most potent factor in promoting the cause of the orders in the state.
   Mr. Farmer is known as one of the most conscientious and reliable citizens in northern Illinois; as a man he commands the confidence and respect of all; he is ever courteous and genial, is easily approached and is of most pleasing personality. 

Source: Warvelle, George William. A compendium of Freemasonry in Illinois: embracing a review of the introduction, development and present condition of all rites and degrees: together with biographical sketches of distinguished members of the fraternity. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1897, Volume 1, pp. 477-478.


Charles C. Farmer, born at Peterborough, Madison County, New York, October 22d, 1833. Place of departure for Montana, Illinois; route traveled, across the plains; arrived at Virginia City, July 14th, 1863. Resident, Mt. Carroll, Illinois.

Source: Society of Montana Pioneers: constitution, members and officers with portraits and maps. Montana (Illinois): The Society, 1899, p. 141.



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