Oscar R. Farris

OSCAR R. FARRIS had an active experience as an educator for a number of years in the State of Indiana, where he was born, and about eight years ago he came to Kansas and has been a factor in vitalizing some of the schools of this State. He is now superintendent of the city schools system of Eureka. That is one of the best equipped public school organizations in Kansas, and his responsibilities and capable administration make Mr. Farris one of the leading educators of Kansas.

He was born in Knox County, Indiana, January 16, 1881. His Farris ancestors came from England and were early settlers in Kentucky. Mr. Farris in the maternal line is of German descent. His father, Milton Farris, was born in Martin County, Indiana, February 26, 1844, and grew up and married in that county. In 1861, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the Twenty-first Indiana Infantry, and was in the army until mustered out in 1866. He saw some severe fighting and very arduous campaigning. He was with General Butler in the south and assisted in the taking of New Orleans. In the battle of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was seriously wounded with a gun shot in the hip, and was incapacitated, in fact the wound nearly costing him his life. After the war he returned to Martin County, Indiana, was married, and then removed to Knox County, where he became a farmer. In 1885 he moved to Daviess County, Indiana, where he is now living retired. He is a republican, a member of the Christian Church and is affiliated with the Odd Fellows. Milton Farris married Alwilda Porter. She was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, February 26, 1845. Their children are: John, who for many years was in the service of the Rock Island Railway Company, and died at Kansas City, Kansas, in October, 1916; Will, who is vice president of a railroad company at New Orleans, Louisiana; Porter, manager of the extensive plant of the Hydraulic Brick Company of St. Louis at Brazil, Indiana; Clifford, a farmer in Daviess County, Indiana; and Oscar R.

Oscar R. Farris spent his early life on the farm, attended the district schools of Daviess County, and for three years was a student in the high school at Elnora, Indiana. Before reaching his majority he was at work as a teacher. He spent the years 1901-02 and 1902-03 in the rural schools of Daviess County. In 1903-04 he taught the eighth year of departmental work in the Brazil, Indiana, city schools, and for three years after that was principal of a ward building with eleven assistant teachers. In the meantime he was furthering his individual education, and in 1909, after the full four years course, he received a life teacher's certificate from the Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute.

The fall of 1909 found Mr. Farris as teacher of history in the high school at Fort Scott, Kansas. He held that position three years, and in the fall of 1912 became principal of the high school at Parsons. Two years later he was called from that place to the superintendency of the city schools of Eureka. Mr. Farris has under his direct supervision four schools, a staff of twenty-three teachers and 700 scholars.

His home is at the corner of Third and Maple Streets in Eureka. Mr. Farris has made some investments in gansas, and finds it a splendid state to live in. He owns eighty acres of farming land eight miles northwest of Fort Scott.

He is a republican in politics, a member of the Methodist Church, is affiliated with Fidelity Lodge No. 106, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was formerly a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and takes an active part in the Southeast Kansas and the Kansas State Teachers Associations. In 1906, at Elnora, Indiana, he married Miss Maud O. Price, who was born in Randolph County Indiana. They have two children: Helen, born March 17, 1907, and Marie, born May 10, 1909.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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