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CHILION M. FARRAR, who died on the 17th of April, 1907, was one of Buffalo's most highly esteemed citizens. During the more than fifty years of his residence in Buffalo, Mr. Farrar was prominently identified with the iron industry, and as head of the firm of Farrar, Trefts & Knight, and later that of Farrar & Trefts, he was one of the recognized industrial leaders of the community. Mr. Farrar was a fine type of the American business man, characterized by vigor and concentration of purpose, strong practical acumen, and rugged integrity.
Mr. Farrar was born in Detroit, Mich., in 1829. He was educated in his native city and there he spent his youth and a portion of his early manhood. When seventeen years old he came to Buffalo and entered the old Shepard Iron Works, now known as the King Iron Works, and gained a thorough technical training as a machinist. He was soon advanced to the position of Superintendent, which he held for several years.
In 1870, in association with the late John Trefts and Theodore C. Knight, father of ex-Mayor Erastus C. Knight, Mr. Farrar founded the firm of Farrar, Trefts & Knight. Shortly afterward Mr. Knight retired from the business, and the concern was thereafter known as Farrar & Trefts. Mr. Trefts died about six years ago, his son, George M. Trefts, succeeding to his interest in the business. The firm of Farrar & Trefts prospered from the outset, and in the progress of time became one of the representative iron manufacturing industries of Buffalo, occupying the foremost place in its special field, that of the manufacture of steam engines, boilers and machinery. Mr. Farrar was the patentee of an engine which proved of great value to those engaged in the oil business, and Farrar & Trefts constructed nearly all the engines used in the development of the Pennsylvania oil fields twenty years ago. Within the few years preceding his death, Mr. Farrar advanced the firm to a place which has been aptly described as "one of the highest positions possible in the iron industry in this country," and his far-sighted and progressive management showed its fruits in the steady extension of the enterprise and the development of a very large domestic and foreign trade.
Mr. Farrar was a prominent Mason, and at the time of his death was Treasurer of Hiram Lodge, F. & A. M., an office he held for twenty-five years; he was also a Past-Master of the lodge, and filled other positions of trust and responsibility in the Masonic order. He was a member of the Buffalo Club, and took an active interest in that organization.
In 1845 Mr. Farrar was married to Almira Siver of Buffalo. He is survived by his wife and one daughter.
Mr. Farrar was in eminent degree a man of practical philanthropy. He made no boast of his generosity, and even those who were close in his confidence did not know the number and value of his benefactions. But his gifts were many and liberal, and were inspired by a genuine sentiment of love for his fellowmen, a spirit of helpfulness for all worthy causes, and a true sympathy with the needy and unfortunate. Devoted to his family, a loving husband and father, his domestic life was happy and he found his deepest joys in the home circle. His death was an inestimable loss to the community, and his virtues elicited many tributes from which we quote the following editorial utterance from a leading Buffalo paper:
"Mr. Farrar was an industrial leader, never a seeker for public honors, always on the side of honesty and justice in civic affairs, a good citizen, a kindly, estimable man. 'You could not put your finger on an act of his life that would not bear inspection,' said one who knew him. An honorable, well ordered life like this is an answer to much current pessimism. Death reveals what is overlooked in life. Such men as Mr. Farrar exert an influence for good that lives after them, and the world is better for their living in it."
- Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York, Vol. 1, 1906-1908, pages 223-224