Snapshots and Stories:
The Farrington's of Northeast Missouri



Grandma and Grandpa Hays

"Mother’s parents were William and Elizabeth Hays. The story of their marriage was an interesting one that Mother used to tell people all the time."

"Grandmother Hays was watching a parade of soldiers marching off to fight in the Civil War. In that group was my Grandfather, Private William Hays. Grandpa saw a beautiful young woman in the crowd, Grandma Hays, and told his friend that after the war, he was going to come back and marry her. He did, and the rest is history."

Grandma and Grandpa Hays"Grandma and Grandpa Hays lived in Rich Hill, Missouri, most of their lives. They had nine children: Sara Hays-Fowler, Nora Hays-Sanders, Ella Hays-Kirby, Effie Hays-Rice, Frank Hays, Fannie Hays-Wear, Mother (Hattie Hays-Farrington), Anna Hays, Myrtle Hays-Edwards, Horace Hays, and Lucille Hays."

"Grandma and Grandpa Hays were very strict and believed that children should be seen and not heard. Gertrude and I had great respect for Grandmother Hays and Mother. Whenever we asked for something, Grandma Hays would always ask what Mother said before agreeing to anything. She knew we were trying to get her approval for something Mother told us we could not do."

"Mother was not as strict as Grandma Hays, but she demanded that we do as she said. Gertrude and I really loved our Mother and Grandmother" (I).


"Mother was born on July 2, 1881. Her given name, or Christian name, was Hattie Jane Hays."

"Grandmother Hays was stern, demanding a lot from her children. Mother (Hattie) had little time for playing. Much of Mother’s childhood was spent cooking, cleaning, or sewing for her parents and eight siblings. Mother did not talk much about her childhood in Rich Hill. I think because it was so hard for her growing up with all those brothers and sisters."

Elizabeth Hays"On Saturdays, Mother and her sisters would prepare the food for Sunday’s lunch. Grandma and Grandpa Hays hosted a reception/social at their home for the members of the church congregation. Mother and her sisters never knew how many to prepare for, and they often made too much food."

"Mother was very proud of her education, speaking of it often. She began at the District School at Crab Orchard, Missouri. It was a typical one-room school house. Schools in those days did not have grades like we do today, just a bunch of students in one room."

"Mother finished high school at the age of 16 and was qualified to teach all grades. Her first paying job was a teaching position for the Moniteau County school district near Clarksburg, Missouri. She earned $35.00 per month, a pretty good salary in 1896."

Hattie at age of 18"Mother lived with a local family while teaching at Moniteau. Her $5.00 per month room and board included rides to Clarksburg on the weekends for entertainment. Clarksburg is just 30 miles west of Jefferson City. Mother loved going to dances and cultural events in Clarksburg."

"In the summer of 1899, Mother made the trip to Laramie, Wyoming, to visit her sister Sarah, a long-time school teacher.

Something changed mother on that trip. When she returned, Mother resigned her position with the Moniteau County school district, enrolling in classes at Warrensburg, Missouri (now Central Missouri State University). She did not last long, however. I do not know specifically what happened, but Mother got sick and had to withdraw after only three months of school."

"In the fall 1901, Mother enrolled in business classes at Clarksburg College. She graduated in May of 1902 with a degree from the Commerce Department. Mother was pleased to get a position teaching business courses at Clarksburg College. But you have to remember, that was when she met Daddy through his brother, Owen Farrington."

"Mother resigned in December and Married Frank Farrington in St. Louis on December 23, 1902" (I).

For a story on Hattie's birth, please go to the Dear Diary of the Stories section.

For a story on Elizabeth, please go to Dinner Beating of the Stories section.


"Father was born August 31, 1874, to Daniel Wallace Farrington and Mildred Elizabeth Burch-Farrington in Laddonia, Missouri. He had two brothers, Owen and Alvin."

"The Burch family has a rich history, dating back to the Revolutionary War times. Zacharia Burch enlisted as a soldier in the war for American Independence at Baltimore, Maryland on May 26, 1778. Father left me a certificate that lists the inscription on Zacharia’s gravestone:"

Zacharia Burch is the ancestor who assisted in the establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of soldier.

"The Farrington family cannot be traced quite as far as the Burchs, but Father did say that a street in London is named after the Farrington family. The Farringtons originally came to America "seeking adventure" in the seventeenth century."

"Father was a sickly little fellow while growing up. Grandma and Grandpa Farrington did not think Father was going to make it to adulthood. When Father turned seventeen his health took a turn for the better. That was the year he went to college."

Frank Bertie Farrington at the age of 21"Father attended the Normal School at Kirksville (later to be named Truman State University) but became sick before completing his first year. He returned home and in the fall of 1893 enrolled as a student at William Jewell College, taking classes for two years. In 1896 he attended Clarksburg College. Father graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree on May 31, 1898."

"Father’s medical education began in 1898 at Marion Sims Medical College of St. Louis Missouri. He completed a three-year course, earning his way by working as a street-car conductor. After completing his work at Marion Sims, Father moved to Clarksburg, Missouri, to practice medicine with his brother Owen."

"Father really enjoyed working with his older brother Owen. He liked the town of Clarksburg as well, especially after meeting Mother. Their courtship was a short one. Mother quit her job as an instructor at the college and married Father on December 23, 1902" (I).

Frank and Hattie

"Father wanted to continue his medical education after his marriage to Mother. Together, they returned to Marion Sims College which had been bought out by St. Louis University."

"To help pay for school, they boarded nine medical school students. Mother found her life very busy, but was determined to help out as much as possible by cooking, cleaning and sewing for both her husband and the boarders."

Hattie Hays-Farrington, 1903"Mother enjoyed life even more when Gertrude was born on May 14, 1904. This was the only child Mother delivered in an actual hospital. And it was the only time Father did not assist Mother during a delivery."

"Gertrude was a breech baby. Mother said that Gertrude was the most difficult delivery of the four children. She was glad to have delivered her in the hospital."

"Mother and Father made the best of their situation in St. Louis and Father graduated with his Doctor of Medicine in May of 1905. They rarely mentioned Father’s schooling to the children. Everyone in the community said that Father was a good doctor. Everyone called him ‘Doc.’ My parents never discussed Father’s academic performance or grades, so I don’t know what kind of a student he was."

"In August of 1905, the family moved to Greentop Missouri" (I).

Greentop, Missouri

"The town of Greentop, Missouri, dates back to the Florida War (1850), when the fourteenth president of the United States, Franklin Pierce, gave 40 acres of land to Private Elias Raulers. A Southerner and having little use for land in Missouri, Raulers returned the land to the federal government in 1855 through his superior officer, Captain Sutherland. William Landsdals was reissued the land in 1852, and with Oliver Towels, laid out what is now the town of Greentop, Missouri."

"Located just ten miles north of Kirksville, Missouri, Greentop sits on a high ridge that separates the Missouri and Mississippi river drainage. Water flowing west flows into the Missouri River, while water flowing east drains into the Mississippi."

"Greentop was a very nice place to grow up. We had a general store, furniture shop, several churches, and a train station in addition to several small businesses and shops. Unlike today, a member of the community could get everything they needed right in town."

"The forty acres that Mother and Father built their home on was the most prized and expensive plot in town. It was the highest point in town and a beautiful section of land overlooking valleys and rolling hills to the west" (I).

Greentop Home

"Mother and Father were very meticulous planning the house in Greentop. The family, Mother, Father and Gertrude, lived in the back of the drug store until the home was completed."

"Some of the townspeople did not like the fact that Father had a contractor from St. Louis come to Greentop to build his house. He had some black workers and I think that was the main problem at the time."

"Our house was built with the finest northern pine from Wisconsin and Minnesota, the roof shingled with red cedar wood from Northern Wisconsin. Jason Haxton, the man living in the house now, says that the original shingles were still on the house, under several layers of roofing, but were OK when he had them all stripped off a couple of years ago and re-did the roof. Original fish scales are still on the house."

"Father had a well dug close to the house. They had to go down 100 feet to reach water. We were one of the few families in Greentop who had their well lined with bricks."

"Father loved the newest technology and installed "carbide lights" in the home. That was our only source of light besides candles and the sun. I think the carbide lights were the first of their kind in the area."

"When you walk in the front door of the house, you are in the sitting room. Just to the right, through a pocket door, or ‘parlor door’ as Mother called it, is the parlor. On the far end of the sitting room is the staircase leading to the second and third floors. Two archways connect the sitting room and the parlor to the dining room located in the central part of the house. Behind the dining room, in the rear of the home, is the kitchen. The second floor consists of three bedrooms, two with windows facing the front of the house and one facing the back."

Farrington Home in 1905, just after completion"Father built a sandbox for Gertrude and I in the yard. We had a teeter-totter and swing also. Mother liked to have a ‘swing’ once a day. She said it kept her young."

"I remember Daddy having the garage built. I watched the workers and was very curious about the way in which they hammered and moved the big pieces of wood." "Both Gertrude and I have very fond memories of that house in Greentop. We had a wonderful childhood" (I).




Isabelle Farrington, 1907"I was born September 29, 1906, the first child to be born in the Greentop home. I do not have a middle name, just Isabelle Farrington."

"I was a curious child growing up. Some of my earliest memories involve my ‘killing’ dolls and plants (breaking them with a hammer) to see what made them work. Father thought this was a little strange and thought that he could cure me of this stage in my life. He bought me a metal fire truck, thinking that I was not strong enough to ‘kill’ this toy. He was wrong. I just had to get that little man out of that truck."

"I remember always having cats and dogs around the house. I loved petting their fur and was very affectionate towards my animals.

Father was very loving and always bringing Gertrude and I presents. One day he told me he had a present for me an asked me to reach in his coat pocket. It was a very soft and cute puppy that we named Bob."

"Bob was a hunting dog, I don’t remember the breed, but he was very smart. Father spent a lot of time teaching Bob to fetch and do little tricks. Bob was great to have around the house."

"As a child I was a very hearty eater. Mother prepared a wonderful breakfast every morning, but I always wanted more. Often I would eat breakfast at our house, then go the neighbor’s house and tell them that I had not eaten. When the family went to Aunt Mary’s house she always asked Gertrude and I if we were hungry. I always said yes, even if I had just finished a meal at our home."

"One day Mother cooked a wonderful chicken dinner for our family. About an hour after finishing my meal I wanted more chicken. I piled up chairs and climbed up on the counter looking for more. But before I reached any chicken, I lost my balance and fell, breaking some of Mother’s favorite china in the process. I remember being punished a little, but not a lot. Mother was stern, but fair."

"Mother’s famous punishment was sending you to bed, regardless of the time of day. She believed that tired children were more apt to cause trouble and that a nap would help. Mother did not scold or yell at us. Sometimes she would ask Gertrude or myself to go outside and fetch a switch so she could spank us. I remember being told to go out again and find a larger switch because the one I brought Mother was too small. Children are not dumb about these things."

"Mother was stern, but loving. We were never abused as children. When we misbehaved, we were sent to our rooms, spanked on occasion, but never abused. Mother and Father wanted the best for us, and in some instances that meant discipline" (I).

For more information on Hattie's life in Greentop, please go to Hattie in the Stories section.

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A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
By Douglas A. Daubert [mail "at"]
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