Henry Farman, of Knoxboro, is a native of the town of New Haven, Oswego county, N.Y., where he was born March 14,1823. He was the second son of Zadok Farman, who lived in the town of New Haven from the time he was fifteen years of age until his death, which occurred April 9, 1854. Roswell Farman, father of Zadok and grandfather of Henry, came from Bath, N. H., in 1803, to the town of Augusta, where he resided only three years. He then, accompanied by his oldest son, Zadok, went to Oswego county, undergoing much hardship and suffering great distress and loss of property while struggling to establish a home. Roswell Farman died in New Haven October 17, 1839. Zadok Farman, father of Henry, married in 1814 Martha Dix, daughter of Charles Dix of Vernon, Oneida county. She died in New Haven December 23, 1863. They had six children, Henry, the subject of this sketch being the second. The others were Charles Dix (taking the latter name from his mother's maiden name), born November 11, 1820; Elbert Eli, born April 23, 1831; Samuel Ara, born December 6, 1835, and two daughters, one who died in infancy and the other at the age of nineteen.
Elbert Eli Farman is one of the foremost men of our time. He has for years been eminent as a jurist and diplomatist, and has been honored by appointment to some of the most important posts within the gift of the president of the United States. He was formerly diplomatic agent and consul general at Cairo, Egypt, and subsequently judge of the mixed Tribunals or International Courts of that country. Besides this he has served with marked ability in many other State and National offices. The Farmans have an ancestry that goes back in this country to 1674, when Robert Foreman (as the name was then spelled), settled near Annapolis, Md. He was a planter there in the early history of that State. What Henry Farman has accomplished in his life forcibly demonstrates what can be achieved against many discouraging difficulties, when the right sort of metal and character dominates and guides one's course. He attended the common school of his native town and at the age of twenty taught his first term of school at that place. In the spring after attaining his majority he came to Knoxboro and entered the employ of Riley Shepard as a farm hand, the wages being $10 per month, for a period of six months. After completing this service he returned to New Haven and taught another winter's term of school. The next spring found him back on Mr. Shepard's farm where he worked another season. At this early period in this career he resolved to lay by at least one hundred dollars a year, a principle he has rigidly followed through all his life, only the sum increased as his accumulations became larger. Mr. Farman continued to teach for seven winters, the times being those when he "boarded around" and took care of the school house himself.
In the mean time he was acquiring knowledge of books` and business and law, which in face of his struggle to get on required study and perseverance in no small degree. This knowledge has, however, stood him in good stead during the years since that time, for he has been legal adviser for scores of people in his adopted town and has been entrusted with the settling up of numerous estates, many of which have been large and required keen judgment and the most careful management to guard and protect the interest of those concerned. Mr. Farman was also justice of the peace for two terms, and his decisions on cases brought before him were so correct and equitable that no appeal from them was ever taken. Besides all these he has been notary public for forty years. By his energy and industry he has accumulated a large property, not only in realty, but also in bank stocks and various other lines of investment. In the mean while Mr. Farman has never neglected opportunities in the interest of charity. This has been evidenced both in respect to individuals and church societies. He was one of the most zealous supporters of the Methodist Society of Knoxboro and has twice, largely at his own expense, enlarged and improved the Augusta cemetery. He has all through life been an earnest Republican in politics and has been active in the councils of the party both in the town and county. While Mr. Farman has been devoted to business he has also found time for study and travel. He has traveled extensively through Europe and the Orient, visiting Egypt, Pompeii, and many other historic places. He now possesses some rare paintings and alabaster pieces, procured while in Florence.
He married Fanny Shepard, daughter of the late Hon. Riley Shepard of Knoxboro. They have had three sons, two of whom are dead. Samuel H., the surviving son, married, in June, 1892, Lena B. Whitcomb, of Knoxboro. They now reside at that place and have one daughter.