Historical records matching Sylvester Farrell
About Sylvester Farrell
Sylvester Farrell was born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, August 2, 1833, and was the eldest of three sons and a daughter but was only ten years of age when left an orphan. He and his younger brothers lived upon a farm and educational opportunities accorded them were extremely meager. When but a boy Sylvester Farrell became clerk in a grocery store in St. Thomas until he responded to the call of the rapidly developing west and went to San Francisco, where he learned and for three years followed the miller's trade. In 1867 he arrived in Portland and after serving as an employe with various concerns formed a partnership with Richard Everding and purchased the business of the firm of Everding & Beebe, the firm style of Everding & Farrell being then assumed. From that time until his demise he was continuously active in the conduct of the wholesale produce and commission business of this firm, which in the course of years also broadened its interests to include connection with logging and with the salmon packing industry, owning canneries at Pillar Rock, Washington, where their output amounted to thirty thousand cases yearly. They operated as loggers at Deep River, Washington, selling timber directly to the mills. It was in 1879, in association with George T. Myers, that Mr. Farrell built the first salmon cannery, on Puget Sound. Later he sold to his partner and developed his interests at Pillar Rock on the Columbia, becoming president of the Pillar Rock Packing Company. His commission and grain business, too, assumed extensive proportions and Mr. Farrell long occupied a prominent place in the business circles of the city. It was a current saying that "Mr. Farrell opened Front street every morning," for he was usually at his place of business between six and seven o'clock. A few moments after entering his offices there on the morning of January 11, 1909, he passed away. A contemporary biographer has written of Mr. Farrell as follows: "While Mr. Farrell held membership with the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the United Workmen and a number of other fraternal organizations, he seldom attended lodge, invariably spending his evenings at home with his family, to whom he was most devoted. His kindly spirit was always manifest in his treatment of dumb animals and a pet dog, horse or cat was almost invariably his companion. In his office for seven years he had a large Maltese cat and each Sunday and on holidays he would go to the store with milk and food for his pets. A nature that thus responds to the needs of the dumb animals is sure to have a heart warm with kindness for all humanity and the spirit of helpfulness was manifest in all Mr. Farrell's relations with his fellowmen. He was one of the founders and for many years a trustee of the Boys and Girls Aid Society of the state of Oregon. He was never neglectful of the duties of citizenship and gave hearty and generous response when his aid was needed to further any public project that promised to be of value to city, state or nation. He figured prominently in state and county politics, for several terms represented his district in the general assembly and for six years was a member of the city council. He served upon nearly all of the city commissions and up to the time of his death was a member of the state board of pilot commissioners."
The Oregonian of January 13, 1909, published the following tribute from
the pen of one who had known him long and well: "The lives well spent, the good names well earned, are not so numerous as to be overlooked. The passing over of Sylvester Farrell deserves public recognition. Commencing his business life in this city forty years ago in a little, old, ramshackle shed of a warehouse on the river's brink, near the foot of Madison street, with nothing but willing hands and honest hearts, he and his still remaining partner built up a profitable and enduring business which defied the storms of adversity, brought them an ample fortune and placed their names at the top of the list of honest, successful and absolutely trustworthy merchants. No man ever trusted the word of Sylvester Farrell and was disappointed. His word was as good as his bond and passed current for ready cash. Not only in private life, but equally so in all his business transactions, he was a just man and loved mercy. Many is the man whose account has been carried by his firm through the stress of hard times and until the clouds had rolled by, bringing relief. Whether he was a member of any church, I know not, but in his intercourse with his fellowmen he manifested the vital principle of Christianity and never forgot the Golden Rule. As a citizen Mr. Farrell was a model man. Willing to serve wherever he could render useful service, he most efficiently served his city and state in many positions and without self-seeking in any form. Public- spirited to the extent of his ability, he rendered valuable aid in developing the resources of the state and building up this city. He was one of the directors of the company that proposed and constructed the Dayton, Sheridan & Dallas Railroad, which was the foundation of the second railroad system of the Willamette valley, and rendered great and effective support to that enterprise. He also gave great aid to the railroad development of the timber resources of the Columbia river region. And taking the man in all his relations to his fellow citizens, his city and his state, he is among all the hundred thousand citizen voters of the state most worthily to be ranked the one in a thousand. Good friend, true man, hail and farewell! The machinery of an iron constitution suddenly stopped. The light of his lamp has gone out, and Sylvester Farrell, the junior member of the oldest living firm in the city of Portland, has crossed the great river, there to await those who will follow." The family of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Farrell numbered five children, of whom Ida became the wife of Dr. W. W. Youngson.