William W. Garr. - Numbered among the early settlers of Howard County is William Garr, who now owns and operates a valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres in Taylor Township. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to Bavaria, Germany, where Lawrence Garr was born and reared. Determining to seek his fortune in America, he sailed to the New World in 1732, and a copy of the original church certificate and passport, which was given him before his embarkation, is in the possession of our subject. Lawrence Garr first located in Pennsylvania, and afterward removed to Virginia, whence the family has branched out in all directions, having its representatives in many of the states of the Union. Most of the name have followed agricultural pursuits, and have lived industrious, upright lives. The parents of our subject were Benjamin and Nancy (Smith) Garr, the former a son of John and Margaret (Wilhite) Garr. About 1829 Benjamin Garr removed with his family to Kentucky, and purchased a farm, becoming a prominent planter and slave owner of that state. His wife died at the age of sixty-nine years, and his demise occurred at the age of eighty-two. Both were reared in the faith of the Lutheran Church, but later in life became identified with the Primitive Baptist Church. He was a man of limited education, of natural strength of mind and considerable force of character, and his life work was creditable and commendable. His honesty and reliability were proverbial, and he was frequently called upon to settle estates and attend to the business of the courts. His wife was a daughter of William D. and Diana (Yager) Smith, natives of Virginia, and the former of English descent. Mr. and Mrs. Garr were the parents of twelve children: William W., John W., Mrs. Parmelia Smith, Mrs. Mary Shrader, Mrs. Susan Kellar, Winston B., Robert L, Fountain J., Lewis Cass, Diana J., Benjamin F. and Mrs. Priscilla Fenton. Seven of these are yet living.
William W. Garr, the eldest of the family, was born in Madison County, Virginia, on the 30th of October 1815, and at the age of fourteen accompanied his parents on their removal to Kentucky, where he was reared to manhood and acquired his education in the subscription schools. His choice of an occupation was that to which he had been reared, - farming, - and all his life he has followed that pursuit with industry and energy, accumulating thereby a comfortable competence. In early manhood he married Miss Mary A. Garr, a distant relative, who died two years later, leaving one son, Hiram Jefferson, who was an engineer and was scalded to death while serving in the Civil War under General Buckner. Three years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Garr was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Lucy B. Vance, daughter of Abraham Clore, who was then engaged in farming in Kentucky, but was a native of Virginia. He became a very prominent and influential citizen of the former state, and there remained until his life labors were ended. Nine children have been born to the second marriage of Mr. Garr, and in order of birth are as follows: Florence H., wife of W. B. Elson; Mildred S., who carried on farming; Mary E., who died at the age of sixteen years; Abraham and Crawford, who are also farmers; Betty, deceased; Jesse D., a physician; John F., an agriculturist; and Barbara, wife of Arthur B. Kelly, who manages the homestead farm. He is a native of Muskingum County, Ohio, and in his early life followed farming and school teaching. Coming to Indiana, he located in Howard County, where he met and married the youngest daughter of Mr. Garr, and they now have two children, Mary B. and Harry.
Mr. Garr removed to Howard County form Kentucky in 1852, and located on the farm which he yet makes his home. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on which few improvements had been made and with characteristic energy began the development of a fine farm. He extended its boundaries from time to time by additional purchase and at one time had a very large tract, but has since sold some of this, his landed possessions now aggregating two hundred and forty acres. He was made many excellent improvements on the place, and all the modern accessories and conveniences of a model farm are there found. In addition to general farming, Mr. Garr was extensively engaged in the raising of stock and has bought and fed cattle for the markets. He has been very successful in his operations and has acquired a very desirable competence. He always has very fine grades of both horses and cattle and has done much to secure better stock in Indiana.
When he arrived in Howard County, it was largely wild and unimproved, and in the work of development he was ever borne an active part. He gives his support to all measures for the public good, and believing firmly in the principles of the Democracy, he casts his ballot for the man and measures of that party. His wife is a member of the Christian Church and, like her husband, shares in the high regard of many friends.