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Franklin Leonard Farnsworth
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Birth: Sep. 25, 1838
Upshur County
West Virginia, USA
Death: Apr. 16, 1925
French Creek
Upshur County
West Virginia, USA

son of Thomas and Catherine (Simons) Farnsworth.
husband of Martha Jane (Currence) Zickefoose Farnsworth.

He service in the Confederate Army during the War of Rebellion. His first wife, Ann Greer was opposed to him joining the Confederacy and divorced him on grounds of dissertion. He was wounded several times and was confined after the war to Rock Island, IL, for refusing to take the oath of allegience to the United States.

Autobiography/Biography of Franklin Leonard Farnsworth
By his grandson Avis Roy Clark

From the earliest age I can remember I enjoyed listening to Grandpa Farnsworth's "War Stores". I suspect these stories got started during baby sitting jobs and as far as I know he found me more interested in his stories than any of my brothers and sisters before or after me. At least none of them ever recall and reminisce over them as I have.

At an early age I believe about eight nine years I decided to record those stories, accordingly I started writing in a five cent school tablet as Grandpa related. I must have recognized that continuity was important as I started writing about when he enlisted. Imagine, if you can, how laborious it must have been for both of us for one to relate while the other recorded in longhand. I filled the tablet and the recording stopped there. It may have been because I ran out of paper and school tablets were not easy to come by at that time and place. Then again that must have been about the time that World War I became of immediate interest and superseded as I find no later recordings.

When in March 1976 Pat was visiting us at Plant City I came upon this old tablet and was reading it to her. She demanded that I have it typed "exactly as written." This I insisted would be impossible as the recoding itself proves I could not write well, spell well, and has little knowledge of sentence construction or punctuation. If this is difficult to imagine then look at the original copy. I suggested to Pat that I would rewrite it in what I hoped would be a more legible script and without any changes from the original. This I have done with only the following modifications: Corrected some misspelled words, inserted occasional words to provide clarification and a few periods for easier reading. There was no attempt to otherwise punctuate, paragraph, reconstruct sentences or other grammatical changes from the original. Otherwise it is as the old Man told it and the Boy wrote it at that time.

How I wish now that the project had been pursued in its entirety. There was much more told at times that could have been written down and much that was learned about from other sources that put together would have made an interesting story to at least his descendants and probably others.
In his obituary, spoken at his funeral but not printed, it was said he carried fourteen battle scars. I only remember him ever telling much about any of them except the three bullet wounds in his leg received in the battle of Lone Jack. I remember there being a dent in his skull which I seem to remember was caused by a blow struck with a rifle. I remember my father mentioning that he had been stabbed in the side or abdomen with a bayonet or similar weapon.

He received a medal from the State of Virginia but I never knew why it was granted. I do not recall ever seeing or knowing about it until after his death. It was buried with him.


At the age of 23 years in the year of 1861, the same year of the outbreak of the great American Civil War I enlisted under Brigadier General Slack, in the Calvary. At the call for 50,000 volunteers I answered. I started from home on my way to the Army for Chillicothe, Missouri about 25 miles from my home. I stayed there two nights. There were Federal soldiers there guarding the railroad. I stayed in their camp waiting for a fellow who had a brother enlisted in the Confederate Army. This fellows name was Coleman. This fellow was going to see his brother but was coming back.

We started then from Chillicothe. We were joined then by a Jake Wattenbarger who traveled with us. Coleman and him were riding while I was walking. About 4 miles from Chillicothe there was a town by the name of Utica. There was also Union soldiers stationed there. Expecting to be halted by their guards I had got myself a pillow slip and stuck a shirt or two in it so that they would take me for a citizen trudging along. I went through the guards and was never asked a question. Then we followed the railroad for I don't know how long till we came to the town of Richmond the County seat of Clay County. There we left the railroad and I inquired the way to Lexington and found it to be about ten miles. We went to Lexington Where I joined the Army. Wattenbarger who had joined us had got scared out at the talk of war and went back. Coleman visited his brother a few days and then went back and I might here say it was his brothers company that I joined.

It was then I found out how green I was. The next day I was put on guard duty with orders to let no one pass when her comes along a big fellow riding along as if he was going to pass. I immediately halted him and said here you can't go past. He replied I'm an officer and have a right to pass. I told him I didn't care my orders were to let nobody pass. He seemed to be tickled immensely and said I'm General Price, Commander in Chief of this Army. I said I don't care who you are, I don't know General Price and orders are to let nobody go through and drew my gun to attention. He seemed to take it in good humor and told me to call the sergeant of the guard. The sergeant came and I found out it was the General. The General said to me you done exactly right, you obeyed your orders, they should have told you to let an officer pass. A few days after this episode I took what I thought was the ague. My comrade suggested that I hunt up a private house to get proper nursing. I selected a house where the people looked well to do. I stopped there and found that the peoples name were Pagget. The old man told me he had nobody to take care of me, that his folks there all had the ague and are in a hurry to eat all the watermelons they can get before the chills and fevers come on them. I asked if I could lay down. He said yes so I laid down and rested a while. I asked him how far it would be till I could get a house. He said I could get one about a mile farther on. I began to get sick so he said he would saddle a couple of horses and let a nigger ride up with me. I hadn't gone but a little piece till I told the nigger to go on ahead and tell them to have a place fixed to lay down. He went on so when I got there the fellow had me a nice little bedroom fixed up. When I got in bed the old man said let me see your tongue. As soon as I showed him my tongue I went delirious and didn't know anything for a week. When I did come to I was in the finest parlor I ever saw. I could hear the people talking but there was nobody in the room. I laid there a little but wondering where I was. The women heard me and come in and talked a little bit. I began asking questions but they wouldn't let me talk until I got stouter. They fixed a stand by my bed with a bell on it so I could ring for my wants. I asked what was the matter and he said I had fever and if the Dr. had been 1 hour later I would have died. I may here dd that the peoples names were Hubbard and the old man had a brother on Col. Hughes staff. I was also in the same regiment.

When I returned to Lexington I found my army had left there and I entered the general Hospital. There one day after that the superintendent of the hospital came in and said boys get to your bunks and get as sick as possible the Feds (are close) I stayed there till I got well. While I was sick we was visited by General Shelby. He was ragged and run down. I asked him what was the matter. He said 12,000 Feds were after him. Right before that he had captured a boat with 40 soldiers, 40 wagons, and 400 sacks of flour, going with only one man. The boat was going up the Missouri. Shelby ran down and told them to stop. They refused. He yelled to Col. Lewis to bring 1000 men down here and blow this boat to hell. The boat surrendered. The soldiers were put under parole, the wagons were given to the citizens. He had captured the boat with the help of only one man.

I told General Shelby how I was fixed and he told me to come to his mothers house just below Dover and he would find me a place to recruit. I was accompanied by 4 other men from the hospital. We got down to Shelbys house and there was a horse with a military saddle in front of it. We hollered and a woman came out. She told me the horse was for me. As there were 4 of us we didn't know what to do but they provided all of us with horses, we were then sent to a private house to recruit up.

By the time we were ready to go our army had went down south. Traveling at night one night we reached Warrensburg. I asked for Dr. Westfall a cousin of mine, but he had left. We went on till we struck the Osage river and from there reached the army. Nothing important happened for a while so we skip a little.

When we got to Springfield in the year of 61 we had 8000 men when we went into winter camp. Along about last of February or 1st of March 40,000 Feds started from Raleigh to attack us and it took every man we had to hold their advance guard. General Price had led them to think we had 3 times that number so that while we ran our train (supply) south we bluffed them into holding back. They fell back to Raleigh to recruit. By the time they had re-enforced their army General Price had run our train south to safety and that was what he was working for. That left us free but with poor rations to act as we wanted to. We went to a place called Crane Creek. There we cleaned off our camp and though we were all right. Along about dinner General Stack came riding up the hill and just as he got to the Division he yelled get to arms. Every fellow got what little grub he had and his arms and then here came the Feds 50,000 strong upon us. We started to retreat south but held them back till we got to Cassville, we thought then they had stopped following us. Some of our infantry had just drawn new shoes and in the forced march their words were not pleasant to hear. Some of them threw their shoes away.

Then Gen. Price came along, although he was our general he treated his men the same as we would treat each other. He yelled come on boys we'll give it to them now. Their advance guard numbered 12,000 while we only had 8,000 but we drove them back.

We went from there to a place called Cross Hollers in Arkansas. There we were re-enforced by Gen. McCullock with about 4 or 5000 men. There we had a fight with the Feds. They had from 12 to 15,000 men in advance. We charged from short quarters and drove them back. From there we fell back to the Boston Mountains. A new general had been put over Gen. Price although he was still Major General over the Missourians. Although Gen. Vandorn was a fine officer we hated to lose Gen. Price.

We had about 20,000 or more men at this time among which were 5,000 Indians. Orders came for us to advance back. This pleased us for we were all anxious to get at the Feds. Our command then went to Benton Mill where we caught them and very nearly caught their commander. We ran him away from his breakfast. From there we marched to Sugar Creek, Arkansas. There we had the battle called Elk Horn. We fought there for three days and our company had our rations cut off for three days. We fought until we got very near into their camp. In fact we were in full view of them and they were fixing to surrender. We had to send our order to their general, Gen. Cegle through Gen. Price. Our message to Gen Price was We are in full view of the enemy's camp and Gen. Cegle is marching out his men to surrender. Send us a battery and we can hold our position here. Gen. Price went to Gen. Vandorn and asked for the battery and his reply from Van Dorn was General we must retreat which was where he made his great mistake. Price replied to him "General give me command and in 5 hours I will capture them." The reply he got was "General we must retreat". Then for the first time I knew Price to sear and he replied "By God then give me my own men and I'll capture them". We were forced to retreat then and came on down to VanBuren, Arkansas. Our rations had been cut off from us then and we had went 5 days without eating. One day 4 of us went up by a house where we got a little meal. They had skinned some hogs in camp a while before that so we took the hog skins and turned the flesh sides up and dug a hole in the ground and proceeded to bake our bread on the hog skins. One of the boys remarked that we had good seasoning for the skins were covered with maggots. Each fellow got a piece of bread about the size of a silver dollar. Small as it was it gave me camp fever and very near killed me. We all thought for a while it was (?). While I had it I stayed in a farm house. The peoples name were Johnsons. We went from there to Big Springs. The night before I had my horse stolen and I pressed into use an old Mexican pony which I expected would hardly take me there as he was about 20 years old but we got there. We reached a place from there called Kingsville and found a place to camp there. Most of them men went up on high ground to camp but some of us including myself went to sleep along the river bank. Along in the night we woke up in very near the middle of the river. The river had raised during the night, we sure got out of there. We marched from there going north when my old Mexican pony gave out, but a man told me where I could get another one. When we reached Skullyville, Ark. I was riding an Indian pony, a bright cherry red I had purchased for $47.00. We went from there to Greenville, Mo. When we got there a Federal was trying to get the people to join their army. He was in the courthouse telling them you had better join us and save your property. If you are southern people you will never see the southern army here. Then he looked out the window and yelled "By God here they come right now." One fellow was on a mule going it his best and I resolved to catch him and brought him back. I asked him why he didn't stop when I told him to. He said he was riding a mule and couldn't but he was spurring him. I had fired a shot over his head and the mule seemed to understand that pretty well. We started back up north and it was then I got separated from the army. I was leading the rear guard and had stopped to turn off to get some water. When I got back the rest had gone on and left me. I supposed they had followed the road and went on. I hadn't gone but a little piece, when somebody yelled halt. I whirled my horse and took off up another road and cut back in where I had got my water. I had been told there was a Federal camp in the area and they would have scouts out. I came to a farmhouse in the direction I thought our army had gone. I hollered the family out and asked them which was the command had gone. He said they had crossed some fields. I found the command trail then and went on. Later a man told me they had went the Lone Jack road. Just as I came into the road I saw a bunch of Feds coming. They raised a yell for me to stop. I began running and shooting over my shoulder and got away from them and joined our command which had stopped not so far from Lone Jack. It was at Lone Jack I made my first acquaintance with Quantril. It was there he and his men were sworn into the army as independent guerillas. It was there I got acquainted with Cole Younger, a boy about 16 years of age. That night the Federals came close to us but there was no fighting. The next morning while one of the boys was capping his gun it went off. Our captain gave orders then to charge and everybody holler and everyone just about split themselves yelling as we went on the run. We followed them to Independence and went charging into the courthouse square. The Feds had vacated and we dismounted and made for their ammunition as we were short.

We followed them across the river where they made a stand, they had sharpshooters behind a bunch of hay and Cap Clark fired it but got killed in the attempt. The greatest loss in this battle was the death of Colonel Hughes who was shot during the battle. Shortly afterward the Feds surrendered and we moved our camp out on the prairie. One day I had been out on a scout and when I came into camp I told my bunkie, Henry Bowman I had a feeling I was going to get wounded somehow. A feeling came over me there was no God, no Heaven or no Hell. I tried to banish the thought from my mind for I knew better. I asked Henry where there was water. He asked me why. I told him I was going to get wounded and I wanted to wash up and wanted some water. I got my canteen of water. Henry made fun of me. We went into campy that evening. My company was held as calvary to guard the streets. Henry and I laid down to go to sleep when somebody came along saying mount your horses. We then supposed by them blowing the bugle that they were on us and I knew that I was go get wounded. We mounted and then as the bugle blowed I knew they were not attacking us. We traveled all night and went to Lone Jack and got there just at day. Henry told me that if I got killed he wanted my hat. I told him I wasn't go get killed. I got my horse killed with a cannon ball that put me on foot. We had it hard for a little while but they were stationed in a corn field. We were ordered to charge them on the double quick and hold our fire till we were in 20 steps of them. When I felt an impact in my left leg it felt like a bullet had hit my left leg and bounced off. It seemed just a few seconds till I was shot in the same place two more times right at one shot above the other. I set my gun down and leaned on it when along came Col. Bowhanan and said, "What the hell is the matter with you, wounded?" I said it felt like it. He told me to pull up my pants leg. When I pulled it up he said he reckoned by God I was. He called the surgeon and told him to take me off the field. They took me out of danger and set me down. The Colonel who was from Virginia said as they took me off "I want you to take damn good care of that man. He is a Virginian and he's fighting like hell." As they were taking me off the field I heard about 15 of Quantrills men coming yelling "We'll have Fed liver for dinner, We'll have Fed liver for dinner". That settled the battle. The Feds ran. They supposed all of Quantrills whole force was coming. These men had been out on a scout and heard the fighting and come up. Those 15 men settled the battle. I lay there and bled for a while till some citizen came and got me. Then some of Quantrills came up and said they would take care of me. I was taken to a house and was kept there for a night. I was taken to Quantrills headquarters in a big cave in Jackson Co. Missouri. I was kept there a week and was moved to a widow womans house by the name of Martha Dillingham. I was from there taken to the house of one John Curl in Cass County my leg from this time being able to travel on. From there I was taken to a family named Berry up on High Blue. Old man Berry was a Kentuckian. There was in the neighborhood one Union man named Deeds. I had been cautioned against him. He was always wanting me to come and live with him. One day while talking to him he said he had seen me at Lexington then asked me to take a walk. He went down and then up a hallow and came to a ledge of rock we went along until we came to a crevice. He pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to me. It was a discharge from the Confederate army. He said he was discharged on account of his health. From that place I went to John Jackson, a fine fellow but given to drink. There was a fellow came to see one of his girls. His name was John Snyder. Every time he came he would get me out and offer to steal me a race horse and a rebel uniform from the camp but I insisted I was from Iowa. My wound was still running and if I had been caught it was enough to convict me as a spy. One day a girl whose father was a Federal soldier came to Jacksons. She wanted somebody to get her a horse. She was frightened of her brother in-law who had come to her house drunk and was going to kill them all. I knew of a man who wanted a hired girl so I borrowed a horse and took her down.

The above incompleted sentence concludes all the original recordin that I have at this time. Obviously, there must have been at least one more page that has been lost. This rewrite causes my memory to recall other instances related at one time or another but nothing that helps in finishing either the last sentence or what may have followed. I do remember that after recovery from his wounds and being unable to immediately rejoin the army he spent some time with the Quantrills guerillas. I remember very little of what he may have related to me while he was with them. He was a staunch defender of Quantrill and fiercely denied him and his command of being guilty of the deeds attributed to them. According to him that was all Union propaganda. He was with Quantrill when Quantrill attacked and burnt the town of Lawrence, Kansas. He always defended this on the basis that the Kansas Jayhawkers committed similar acts in Missouri. I remember nothing related about the Lawrence episode except that when ordered with another soldier to drop back and burn a farmhouse just passed. Finding only women at the house they fired only an out building instead.

He described Quantrills cave as a large cavern with several entrances and one large enough to take horses inside. It was stocked with food, ammunition and horse feed.

*Stories recalled by my memory and notes made when specified instances were told in more detail.

In the preceding story it is mentioned where he stayed for a period of time with a family by the name of Berry and an incident in which a man by the name of Deeds was concerned. I have another note that tells an entirely different story that incurred while he was with this family and concerned the man Deeds. This following story I recall very well from memory and cannot explain the contradiction unless there is some confusion in name on my part or possibly his.

In his association with Quantrill he mentioned the name of Frank Berry often and apparently there was a close friendship. The other story follows:


After a time in Quantrills cave after being wounded in Lone Jack I had got so I could walk around without limping and decided I should get out in the open. I decided I should find some private home where the people were loyal to the south and recuperate as quickly as possible and get back with my command. A fellow told me he knew a preacher on Blue Hill who would take me in and he took me to the home of Preacher Berry. Mrs. Berry was a fine motherly woman who insisted on making me as comfortable as possible. They had one son named Frank, a rather unhealthy looking and quiet young fellow. He was seldom around the house and talked only when necessary. These people told me I would be safe in the community although some of the people were loyal to the Union they wouldn't cause any trouble. They warned me I should beware of one man named Deeds who was supposed to be friendly with the Jay Hawkers. Some days later while Mrs Berry was washing and dressing my wound this man Deeds walked in the house before anyone knew he was around. Although he seemed very pleasant and did not refer to my wound I felt uneasy the rest of the day. When evening came I told the family I was going to sleep out in the woods. Young Frank then got his rifle and mine and a couple of blankets and some food and took me over the hill to a small cave and said he would stay with me. Some time during the night we were both awakened by faint sound of shots. A glow in the sky showed in the direction of the Berry house. We ran to the top of the hill where we could see the house in flames and a bunch of men around the fire. We sneaked down close to where we could recognize Jim Duncan, a notorious Jawhawker and neighbor Deeds our good friend of the afternoon. We didn't see Franks parents and as the men rode off without them we assumed that they had escaped. We did not approach the house that night as we feared they had set up a trap knowing that would be attracted by the fire. The next day we carefully approached to see a gruesome sight. Preacher Berry was hanging in the woodshed and his wife was dead from several bullet wounds. The sight sickened me and the sorrow and agony Franks face showed made me turn away. We cut the body down and buried them together. By that time Franks action were mechanical and without any show of emotion. However over the grave he swore and oath of vengeance that almost made me shudder. We left and Frank asked me to take him to Quantrill so he could join his band. As we went down the mountain Frank turned and led the way toward neighbor Deeds house. It was empty but as we turned down the road I noticed two men watching from a field who then disappeared in the woods about 400 yards away. I didn't mention it to Frank until we were out of sight of the spot. Frank insisted that I wait there while he slipped around to see if he could see them again. After about half an hour I heard a rifle shot and a yell. Supposing that Frank had run into trouble I went as fast as I could in that direction. When I came up neighbor Deeds was laying dead and Frank was standing over him leaning on his rifle and crying bitterly. Frank afterward did join Quantrill and became associated with the James, the Youngers, and the Morgans as a dead shot and an unmerciful foe. In my mind he was fully justified.


One day Jesse James hit me up to trade horses with me. We were just starting out on a scout of the country side and as his horse appealed to me we worked out a trade. We then separated and I soon learned that the horse was blind. I knew he would tell everyone about how he had beat me in the horse trade and I would be laughed at. Later in the day we came to a farm where there was a horse somewhat similar to mine and I convinced the farmer that we should make a trade. Late in the evening as we returned to the point where we were all to meet it was in the woods and there was a quite a but of fallen timber. I supposed Jesse was already there and had told about the trade. I put my horse to a run jumping over the logs and fallen timber and dashed into camp. I insisted that the horse I had was the one Jesse had traded me and knew nothing about a blind horse.


I don't remember any of the circumstances but remember him telling about once when he was wounded he was staying at a house and that some of the neighbors were Union sympathizers. As some of them kept coming around it was supposed they were trying to find out if he was a confederate soldier and would turn him in to some of the Jayhawkers bands that roamed through the country side. He decided one day to move to another home where he was told he could stay for a few days. Believing he was being watched closely he decided to travel at night. He set out on foot without any arms on a road that ran through woods. He finally decided that someone was trailing him to one side of the woods. When me moved they moved, when he stopped they stopped. Finally he felt around on the ground and found a couple small rocks. He rapped the rocks together to sound like he was cocking pistols and said "whoever you are I'm going to blow your heart out". He heard no one following him after that.


I remember him speaking of Wild Bill Hickok. I do not remember that he ever knew him but do remember him telling the story of how he got his name. History tells us that Bill Hickok served the Union as a spy. Granddad says the he served the Confederacy as a spy. So he probably was a counter spy and where his loyalty lay who knows. "Bill Hickok while spying for the confederacy was captured but later escaped. He was pursued into some swampy wooded country and being hard pressed hid in a large hollow tree that had fallen. Two union soldiers searching for him stopped to rest and sat on the tree. One of them asked what the name of that fellow we are after. The other replied that he didn't know except that they called him Bill, the other soldier then said He's a damned wild Bill. Hickok escaped and after telling the story became known as Wild Bill.


Franklin Leonard Farnsworth was the son of Thomas Farnsworth who was born in 1796 at Staten Island, N.Y. In 1821 Thomas, with his father Daniel and Grandfather also named Thomas along with his four brothers and their families moved to Buckhannon, West Virginia (just Virginia until the Civil War when the western half of Virginia broke off to be Union). The move was made by ox train. The trip took forty seven days and the total miles has been estimated as 442 miles.

Franklin was born in 1838 at Buckhannon. His mother was Catherine Simons. He was one of eleven children. It is interesting to know that his grandfather at one time owned a considerable portion of the lower half of Staten Island and considerable land in Middlesex, N.J. Why he chose to move to W.VA and how he disposed of his N.Y. and N.J. properties is unknown to me.

Being born in Buckhannon, W. VA, how did it happen that he joined the Confederate Army in Missouri. Uncle Floyd has told me that in the late 1850's a wagon train left Buckhannon destined for the California gold fields. Granddad was with the train. The train laid over for the winter at Independence, MO. While there he met a local girl named Ann Greer, and when the train moved on in the spring he stayed behind and married her. To them was born two children, James who died while an infant and David. David survived and became a merchant living in Laredo, MO. Uncle Floyd visited David, perhaps more than once and in doing so met and talked with people who knew his father. Some of them his neighbors. In this way he learned considerable about this part of his life.

The Greer family and the area in which they lived were strongly pro-union. For some unknown reason Granddad was pro southern. It is hard to understand why he favored the southern cause. The Farnsworth family back in Buckhannon were pro-union as was the Buckhannon area. His brother Thomas served in the Union army Medical Corp. The story goes that some of the local people so strongly disapproved his pro southern attitude that there was talk of man handling of some kind. On learning of this Granddad left and joined the southern army as related to me. For this his wife obtained a divorce. There is in his papers a letter from an attorney informing him of the divorce without payment of alimony. I do not remember the date. I seem to recall that at the same time father and son saw each other after his enlistment of the Army.

Another facet never mentioned by Granddad to me was that at the close of the war he was a prisoner of war at the Rock Island, Ill. Arsenal. I have never known when and where he was taken prisoner. I have wondered if there were existing government records that would give that information but have never tried to find out. There is in his papers a "Paper" issued by the U.S. Government bearing his signature stating that "In consideration of F.L.F. having taken an oath of allegiance to the U.S. and in payment of $27.00 is pardoned and released from prison". The pardon is dated several months after the war ended. The story goes that he stubbornly refused to take the oath of allegiance and remained in prison until his brother Tom visited him and with persuasion and probably paying the $27.00 cost obtained his release. Presumably then he returned to W.Va. and later remarried. His second wife was Martha "Currence" Zickefoose the widow of a union soldier who was killed in the war. She had one son John by her first marriage. To this marriage was born my mother, Emma, and her brother Floyd. I know very little about my Grandmother's family (Currence). One time when visiting Aunt Mary Clark at Mill Creek she informed me that my great, great, grandfather Currence was buried in the cemetery near her house. We visited the cemetery and found the grave. There was a rather imposing monument stating that he had emigrated from County Ulster, Ireland and had been killed by Indians. There is a picture of Pat, Don, and the gravestone.

As mentioned elsewhere during the time he was with Quantrills command he became acquainted with the James boys and some of the Younger brothers. From his stories it appears that he had closely associated with Frank James and Cole Younger. I also remember him mentioning others who in later years associated with the James Boys in their outlaw activities. He was with Quantrill in the battle of Lawrence, Kansas. Some of my Kansas friends who consider that a most dastardly deed have been quite shaken when I have told them Granddad participated. I remember him telling that when they were marching on Lawrence, he and another soldier were ordered to drop out and burn a farmhouse. They didn't and they burnt the barn instead. Uncle Floyd in his boo "Saga of a Country Doctor" relates that when we was very small a stranger came to their home and stayed some time. While there he and Granddad spent much time in the woods and my grandmother was quite disturbed over the visitors presence. Later in life he saw Frank James and was convinced that he recognized him as that visitor. Sister Ina tells of when she was a young girl Granddad received a letter about which he was very secretive to the point of creating some discussion between the rest of the family. Having seen him put the letter in his trunk and it unlocked she looks as it one day when he was away. She remembers nothing about the letter except that it was from Frank James. She then unfortunately, teased Granddad about having seen it and he then burned the letter. Granddad always insisted that Jesse James was not killed by Bob Ford. He never supported this with any evidence other than flatly stating that if true Frank James would have killed Bob Ford. He could have had other evidence. I always believed that he did. In later years when several people professed to be the real Jesse James I corresponded with some of them. I asked questions related to incidents that Granddad had told about that involved Frank and Jesse James and Quantrills command. None of them came up with the right answers. But ? ?

Granddad had a violent temper. I remember him only as an old man but vividly remember some temper tantrums when one wondered if it wouldn't provoke a stroke. I remember times when he would get mad and his face would be fiery red which along with his white whisker and full head of still dark hair made quite a color combination. Once the chickens got into his newly planted tobacco patch and scratched up some plants. He got the shotgun and vowed to kill ever chicken on the place. When he couldn't find any shells he reared back and cut loose with the old rebel yell. We knew what it was because he had demonstrated it to us in good humor. I never heard him swear or use a vulgar word. It was my understanding that at some period he had been a minister in the United Brethern Church. I suspect his ministry was that of what we now call a lay minister. I do not know if he was ever ordained. He liked to discuss the bible with me and although I was more interested in his war stories some of his interpretations stand out in memory. He firmly believed that God would destroy the world by fire and that World War 1 was the biblical war of Armageddon.

Granddad was a dedicated democrat. Uncle Floyd described him as an "Unreconstructed rebel without a gun". What a blow is must have been to have his son choose the Republicans for his political party. Uncle Floyd tell that he was a candidate for the House of Delegates he asked if Granddad voted for him. The answer was "No". He then asked him why not, and the answer was "I forgot". Uncle Floyd believed him. Upshur County was overwhelming Republican and there wasn't even a Democrat in the area to suffer with him. But he never missed voting. I remember one election when my father was away. It became a question of how could he get to the polls, a neighbor who owned a car refused to take him because his car wouldn't haul Democrats. Mother put him on the one horse available and walked beside the horse with him. It was probable four miles to the polls but he voted. It may have been the last time. As mentioned previously Uncle Floyd visited, perhaps more than once, his half brother Dave who lived at Laredo, Mo. Apparently Laredo was in the vicinity of where Granddad resided during his first marriage. Uncle Floyd once mentioned that he had talked to people who knew Granddad while he was married and before he joined the army. He never clarified whether these were friends or whether they were those who opposed his pro southern sympathy. Anyway someone told him a story of how it came about that he was associated with the Quantrills command for a time. His story was that Granddad joined the army and was assigned to a mess group. At that time a mess group had to do their own cooking and the attendant duties. In the group to which he was assigned one member had bullied and cowed the others in the group into doing all of the dirty work. He tried the same and when Granddad refused started to beat him up. To defend himself Granddad got hold of a club and in turn beat him until the fellow died. Then Granddad in fear of reprisal deserted and joined the Guerillas. In light of his terrible temper it could have happened. However, I do not believe the story. If true Granddad would have invented another reason and story. He would have avoided any discussion on the subject and around that period of time. Neither did Uncle Floyd place any credence in the story. I am sure he learned many more interesting things about him, truthful or not, and I regret that I never pressed him for more.

At this point there is little more I can think of to write about Granddad, other than perhaps some comment on his life with our family.

A description of him would be difficult although I seem to remember him well but only as an old man, stooped and always using a cane. I would guess that in his prime he was probable about 5 ft 7 inches in height and weighed approximately 140 pounds. He had a full head of dark hair always but a full white beard. I can remember trying to persuade him to shave so that I could see what his feature were like. One time when I was trimming his beard I cut to about an inch in length. It didn't reveal much to me and he was pretty mad about it. According to Uncle Floyd he was never a compulsive worker and turned his hand from one thing to another. He could do carpenter work and had a full chest of tools, some of which are still in the family. He carried mail once by horseback over some pretty rough country. I remember that he had to ride late at night and can remember him relating incidents but only dimly. I vaguely remember a story about when he was riding late at night in an area called Painter Fork, so called because of the painters (panther) that has been seen in the area. Something dropped out of a tree overhanging the road onto his horse behind the saddle. I suppose it was concluded to have been a panther or wild cat but then they are not supposed to attack people.

I do not know when my grandmother died but my brother in 1896 can barely remember her. At that time they lived in Upshur County in the area of the Cutright Chapel church. After her death Granddad lived with our family. Later the family moved to Braxton Co. on little Birch River. I am told that Granddad spent much of his time fishing and done very little work after that. Until he died he always planted and maintained a tobacco patch sufficient for his own use. In 1912 we moved back to Upshur County near Alton. I was four years old at that time and about then is when my memory of him begins. As often predicted Granddad did die from a stroke but it happened at night on April 16, 1925. I was sixteen years old. My mother woke me saying that Grandpa had fallen out of bed and to help lift him back in. The funeral was conducted according to the custom of country funerals at that time. The undertaker came from French Creek and embalmed the body at the house. Neighbors gathered the first night for a wake as was the custom. The body was then take by a horse drawn hearse to the Cutright chapel church for a funeral service conducted by a preacher Foster who had been a close friend of the family in early years. The weather was rainy and cold and the roads muddy. Only my mother and I accompanied the hearse to the church. As I remember it the trip took most of a forenoon. She and I rode horseback.

Due to weather conditions and distance neither Uncle Floyd or any of his family attended the funeral. My older brother and sisters were too far away to attend. As only two horses were available we were the only ones from our family at home that attended. I remember there were perhaps only a half a dozen people at the church service. He was taken to the Queens cemetery possibly some four or five miles farther for burial along side my grandmother and my sister that had died shortly after birth. Mother and I arrived home late at night wet and cold.

In the same year we moved to Akron, Ohio and it was many years before I first visited the cemetery. At the time it was with my family and my mother. Uncle Floyd had a stone similar to one at my grandmothers grave placed at his grave. The next time I visited the grave was in April, 1975 when my wife with our children and all grandchildren visited the cemetery. It was cold and there was snow. I remembered what the weather was like when I was there on another April day fifty years previous. Among those visiting his grave that day were two bearing his name part. A great grandson "Donnel Franklin" Clark and a great, great grandson Andrew Farnsworth Crocker. That would have pleased him. And this reminds me Granddad disliked my first name so much that in the sixteen years I knew him he never once referred to me by other than my middle name. I often wished that others would do likewise.


In the preceding story there is an instance where F.L.F. was cut off from the command was pursued but escaped from some Federal soldiers. Other notes differ in the details of the instance as follows.

On our march from Greenville I was with the rear guard of about a dozen cavalry. I turned off the road to get some water and when I returned I supposed they had followed the road. I proceeded at a fast pace when someone yelled "Halt Reb" and five Feds rode our of the woods into the road ahead of me. The road was bordered on one side by woods and on the other by a low rail fence with a farm house and some out buildings back in the field ways. They must have expected me to raise my hands and come up to them as they stopped their horses and appeared to wait for me. I turned my horse and spurred him to jump the fence and let out the rebel yell hoping that some of the bunch I had been with might hear me and come to my aid. They came after me shooting and yelling. I made for the buildings to get them between me and the Feds. I rode around a building right into a bunch of six or eight more Feds who were evidently party of the same bunch and were trying to flank and surprise me. I spurred my horse and rode right through the middle of the bunch. I guess I surprised them and they couldn't shoot for fear of shooting each other. I got another building between me and them but they were after me and had me cut off from the road. I got into some woods with guns cracking behind me. I rode deeper into the woods and soon evaded them. I wandered around in the woods until night not venturing out in the open. I saw several squads of the enemy in field and on the road. It appeared they were swarming all over the area. When night came I cut back into the road some distance from where I had been surprised. I intended to follow the road to a farmhouse and get some trace of the command. All of the people were southern and I felt I could trust them. I met a farmer who was out possum hunting and after convincing him I was southern he told me the army was in camp about the miles away. He directed me to a road which took me into camp without any further trouble from the enemy.
Family links: 
  Martha Jane Currence Farnsworth (1846 - 1899)
  Floyd Forney Farnsworth (1869 - 1946)*
  Emma Catherine Farnsworth Clark (1873 - 1954)*
*Calculated relationship
Lanham Cemetery
Upshur County
West Virginia, USA
Created by: Ryan Hawk
Record added: May 03, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19202628
Franklin Leonard Farnsworth
Added by: alwaysmeliah
Franklin Leonard Farnsworth
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Leon Lane Sr (Rocky)
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