From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Miss Ella Farrell, sho was born here on July 25, 1859, and who has lived every day of her live in the city of Leavenworth, iwll celebrate her 90th birthday anniversary tomorrow at St. John's Hospital, where she has made her home for the last seven years.
Miss Fallell is believed to be the oldest living native of Leavenworth.
She is a life president emeritus of the St. Vincent Sewing circle and has been a communicant of the Church of the Immaculate Conception since she participated in its dedication ceremony in 1864.
Before going to the hospital to make her home in 1942, Miss Farrell lived all of her life in two houses, the one in which she was born at 715 Choctaw Street and a house which she and her sister, the late Mrs. Anna Elizabeth Farrell Dempsey, built about 1890 at 736 Walnut Street.
For many years she and the then Miss Anna Ferrell maintained there one of the best known dressmaking establishments in this section until their retirement on her sister's marriage to Mr. Dempsey, a widely known lawyer, in 1906.
After their retirement the sisters sewed only for themselves and the orphans at St. Vincent's Home, although on a number of occasions they remade wedding dresses of their former clients in order that those clients might again wear the dresses in celebration if (sic) their golden wedding anniversaries.
Miss Farrell's life practically spans the history of Leavenworth.
She is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Farrell. Her parents had immigrated from Ireland to Wheeling in what was then Western Virginia and who came to Leavenworth in the middle 50's because they did not wish to take sides in the pre-civil war controversy which later split Virginia into two states.
Although the parents came west to avoid slavery troubles they often siad they found conditions in and around Leavenworth more bitter than they did in western Virginia.
During her girlhood before the war, Miss Farrell watched the growth of Leavenworth from a teeming jumping-off place into the west to the thriving middlewestern city it is today.
She and Mrs. Dempsey began sewing by helping to prepare their girl friends for emigration into the unsettled west and soon found their services so much in demand they opened the shop in their old Choctaw street home, a shop which at one time employed more than a dozen seamstresses.
They moved the shop to Walnut Street when their new home was built and some years later the old home was sold to the Burlington Railroad, which used it as a toolhouse for many years. It was razed more than 30 years ago.
Miss Farrell and Mrs. Dempsey sold their home in 1942 to Ignatus Klasinski, and moved to the hospital where Mrs. Dempsey died in 1945.
Miss Farrell is an aunt of Edwin J. "Pick" Farrell, agen in charge of the Kansas City, Kas., office of the Internal Revenue Service, Leo A. Farrell of Washington, D. C., and Joseph A. Farrell of Atlanta, Ga.
No formal celebration of the birthday is scheduled, Miss Farrell expects to attend Mass at the hospital, a daily custom and spend the day in her room, listening to the reading of her birthday cards. Her eyesight failed several years ago and she no longer is able to read although she still does a good job of keeping up with the world via the radio..