In a history of the agricultural development of Ford county mention should be made of Joel Emery Farley, who has now departed this life but who, when an active factor in the world's work, was closely and honorably associated with the farming interests of this part of the state. He was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, March 5, 1833, and was of Scotch descent.
His parents were Samuel Chandler and Jane Ann (Walker) Farley, natives of Canada and of Pennsylvania respectively. The father was a preacher of the Mormon faith but while believing in their principles of religion he did not endorse the plurality of marriages. He walked all the way from Erie county, Pennsylvania, to Salt Lake City, Utah, and on the way crossed the farm in De Kalb county that later became the property of his son Joel. On the trip he sold notions and thus met the expenses of the journey. Later he returned to Pennsylvania and then brought his family to the middle west, settling in Kendall county, Illinois, while afterward he became a resident of De Kalb county. He next removed to Rogers township, Ford county, in 1864, and upon this place he continued to make his home until called to his final rest at the age of seventy-four years. His wife survived him for about two years and was also seventy-four years of age at the time of her demise. Her mother came from Ireland with her parents when a little maiden of twelve years. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. Farley were four sons and two daughters, as follows: Isaac Perry, who in early life followed farming and afterward took up the study and practice of medicine but is now deceased; James Decatur, who made farming his life work and died at the age of fifty-three years; Mrs. Hannah J. Bullock, deceased; Joel E. of this review; Dr. Benjamin F. Farley, a physician of York, Nebraska; and Mrs. Sarah Margaret Bogg, also of York, Nebraska.
Joel Emery Farley spent the first fifteen years of his life in the east and acquired his education in the public schools there. He then accompanied his parents on their removal to De Kalb county, Illinois, and remained at home up to the time of his marriage, which was celebrated on the 24th of November, 1855. He then continued to reside in De Kalb county until 1865, when he removed to Norton township, Kankakee county, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of land near the Ford county line. He further developed and improved that place, which he sold in 1879, prior to purchasing eighty acres of land in Mona township. To this he afterward added one hundred and sixty acres, thus becoming the owner of a valuable farm property of two hundred and forty acres, which he successfully cultivated for many years. He brought his fields into a high state of fertility and annually gathered good harvests, continuing to improve his farm until about three years prior to his death, when he took up his abode in Kempton, living retired there until he was called to the home beyond on the 1st of January, 1897. He possessed considerable mechanical ingenuity and also worked at carpentering in addition to farming. His life was one of intense and well directed activity and the success he achieved is attributable entirely to his own labors.
Mr. Farley was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda Hall, who was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, December 4, 1839, a daughter of Amasa and Mercy (Mead) Hall, likewise natives of the Keystone state. They journeyed westward in a covered wagon when their daughter, Mrs. Farley, was five years of age, their destination being Sandwich, Illinois, but their last days were spent in Virginia, where the father died when about seventy years of age, and his wife when a year younger. He was of English parentage and Mrs. Hall was of Holland descent. Their family numbered nine children, including Mrs. Farley, who from the age of five years remained a resident of De Kalb county until after her marriage, when she came with her husband to Ford county.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Farley were born eight children. Emma Jane, the eldest, is the wife of C. E. Gifford, of Cabery. Frank C. is a carpenter and mechanic living with his mother and carrying on the farm. George is a resident farmer of Mona township. Cora is the wife of A. L. Love, of Los Angeles, California. William C. is a resident farmer of Livingston county. Lucy May is the wife of J. R. Stuart of Kempton. Perry is a carpenter and builder of California and Ada L. is the wife of William Watts, of Cabery. All of the boys have inherited their father's mechanical skill and ingenuity and are efficient in carpenter and like work.
Mr. Farley was a stalwart and inflexible advocate of the temperance cause and in politics a stanch prohibitionist. At the time of his death he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He believed more firmly in the principles and doctrines of the Christian church but as there was no organization of that denomination in his neighborhood he allied himself with the Methodist people and took an active part in both temperance and church work. In fact, he did everything in his power to promote the moral development of the community. He served as clerk and assessor in his township and for several terms was justice of the peace, discharging his duties with a fairness and fidelity and in the justice court rendering decisions which were strictly fair and impartial. His life was actuated by high principles and characterized by upright conduct and to his family he left not only good farm property but also an untarnished name. Mrs. Farley and her son Frank reside together in Kempton in the fine home which was built by Frank Farley, who is a carpenter and builder, one of the reliable business men of Mona township.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 820-824.

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