Farr, Louis Lee, Sr. (1865–1930)

By: Nonie Green

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Louis Farr, county surveyor, rancher, banker, and businessman, the third of six children of James and Laurena Finney (Stevens) Farr, was born in Greenville, Texas, on August 19, 1865. He attended schools in Greenville and then went to Add-Ran College (now Texas Christian University). In 1884 he moved to San Angelo, where he surveyed for C. D. Foote. The San Angelo Standard subsequently employed him as a typesetter, after which he worked in the county clerk's office and for Frank Lerch's land firm. When Edgar P. Sawyer came to Texas to seek land for his family's firm Farr helped him secure acreage to start the Bar S Ranch, which eventually grew to 269 sections.

In 1889 Farr became San Angelo's first city engineer. He was twice elected county tax assessor but declined to run a third time. In 1905 he and others purchased the buildings and surrounding land at Fort Concho and started a corporation called Fort Concho Realty Company. That year Farr helped raise $50,000 for the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway to bring its main line through San Angelo. In 1906 he was elected mayor. In 1907 he was vice president of the Park Land and Cattle Company, the townsite company that developed the Mertzon area. The cornerstone of the new First Christian Church building names him chairman of the finance committee. He became chairman of the church board.

Farr served as director and vice president of the Wool Grower's Central Exchange Storage Company, which he had helped organize in 1909. He was secretary-treasurer of Eldorado Townsite Company and a partner in Broome, Farr, and Lee Real Estate and Insurance. He managed the Sawyer Cattle Company's Bar S Ranch in Irion and Reagan counties and became a director and secretary in the firm. With the 1919 Central National-Western National Bank merger, Farr was named Central National Bank vice president; he became board chairman in 1927. On October 29, 1926, one of the largest oil strikes in the nation was made at the Yates oilfield. Ira Yates chose Farr as his business manager and attorney. The two had been business partners and friends since 1885.

Farr was a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Rotary Club, and the San Angelo Country Club. He enjoyed spectator sports and card-playing and almost never missed the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth. He married Ellen Osmer (Nellie) Johnson on March 7, 1887. They had three sons and a daughter. Nellie died on February 17, 1907, and Farr married Mattie C. Pistole on August 23, 1907. He was working at the warehouse of Wool Grower's when he became ill. His doctor and friend Ira Yates took him to a Temple hospital, where he died on June 10, 1930. He was buried in Fairmount Cemetery, San Angelo. Many memorials honored Farr, including the donation of land and construction of a building near Mertzon for the Boy Scouts called Camp Louis Farr.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 10, 1930. Joe A. Gibson, Old Angelo (San Angelo: Educator, 1971). San Angelo Standard Times, June 10, 1930.
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Nonie Green, “Farr, Louis Lee, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/farr-louis-lee-sr.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995