Cheap Bob the Banker

I am still away from Altenburg, but I got some help for today’s post.  Fred Eggers was working at the museum yesterday, and he was able to send me a few images from the church records.  He also sent me a few bonus items I am able to share with you today.

We begin with the birth of Regina Lorenz on March 17, 1870.  She was the daughter of Friedrich August and Justine Wilhelmine (Franke) Lorenz.  There is some confusion about the year of Regina’s birth.  Several documents verify her being born in 1870, but her confirmation record says she was born on 1869, and her death certificate says she was born in 1871.  Her baptism record from Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar is found among several other baptisms performed in 1870.

Regina Lorenz baptism record Salem Farrar MO
Regina Lorenz baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

In the same year, the 1870 census was taken, and we find Regina included in that enumeration as a baby.  This gives confirmation to a birth in 1870.  So I think it is safe to say that today would have been Regina’s 150th birthday.

Regenia Lorenz 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We find Regina in one more census before she was married.  That was the 1880 census.

Regenia Lorenz 1880 census Brazeau Township MO
1880 census – Salem Township, MO

Meanwhile, four years before Regina was born, a boy was born on March 15, 1866 in Joplin, Missouri.  His name was Robert Payne Farrar, the son of William W. and Frances Caroline (Abernathy) Farrar.  Robert’s parents had been married at York Chapel near Longtown, Missouri in 1855.  Here is that marriage record.

Farrar Abernathy marriage record Perry County MO York Chapel
Farrar/Abernathy marriage record – Perry County, MO

We find this Farrar couple in the 1860 census for the Cinque Hommes Township in Perry County.  Their first child had been born by then.

William W. Farrar 1860 census Cinque Hommes Township MO
1860 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

This family moved away from Perry County in the 1860’s because we find them in the 1870 census living in Newtonia, Missouri, which is found not far from Joplin.  Robert had been born in 1866, and he was 4 years old in this entry.

Robert Farrar 1870 census Newtonia MO
1870 census – Newtonia, MO

Robert’s father died at about this time.  When the 1880 census was taken we find Robert Farrar living in Dunklin County, Missouri, which is located in the Missouri Bootheel.  His mother had married James Boyd Abernathy, a man who had her own maiden name.  Robert was a 13 year old farm worker.

Robert Farrar 1880 census Freeborn Township MO
1880 census – Freeborn Township, Dunklin County, MO

It must have been about this time that Robert worked his way back to Perry County.  His obituary states that he attended Perryville High School and the Normal School in Cape Girardeau.  Robert became a teacher.  Early on, he was a teacher at the Swan School, a one-room public school located near Farrar, Missouri.  That town prior to 1892 had been called Salem by the local residents, not Farrar.  While Robert was teaching at the Swan School, he opened a store which became known as the Cheap Bob’s Store.  We have this photo of that business.

Cheap Bob Store
Cheap Bob’s Store – Farrar, MO

Several important events took place in the year 1892.  First of all, Robert wanted to open a post office at his store in the town of Salem.  Back in those days, most post offices were located in general stores.  When Robert applied to be postmaster, he had intentions of using Salem as the town’s name, but he was told that Salem was a name already used in the state of Missouri.  It was suggested that he just put his own name on the form for the town.  The name stuck.  Robert became the first postmaster for the town that was now named Farrar.  Below is a document showing Robert becoming the postmaster for Farrar in June of 1892.

Robert Farrar postmaster appointment 1892
Robert Farrar – Postmaster Appointments

Not long after becoming the postmaster, Robert got married.  He married Regina Lorenz on October 26, 1892 at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar.  Thanks to Fred Eggers, I can show the church record for this wedding.

Farrar Lorenz marriage record Salem Farrar MO
Farrar/Lorenz marriage record – Salem, Farrar, MO

We also have the marriage license for this couple.

Farrar Lorenz marriage license
Farrar/Lorenz marriage license

Before I continue, I want to share a fact that resulted in some confusion for me.  In addition to the Robert Payne Farrar who is a main character in this story, I found another Robert P. Farrar who was born on March 25, 1869 in Perry County.  Not only that, but this Robert Farrar had parents named William B. and Savannah (Abernathy) Farrar.  That Robert Farrar married Anna Leible in 1890.  For a while, I was really perplexed.  Additional problems resulted from people on who included documents from both of these Robert Farrar’s in their family trees.

Robert and Regina Farrar had no children during their lifetimes.  We find this couple in the 1900 census in which Robert is called a teacher, but that is the horrible 1900 census from Salem Township that is so difficult to read.  I choose not to display it.

In 1908, the town of Altenburg began a public school which included both an elementary and high school.  Robert Farrar became the first principal of that school.  The public school building can be seen in this photograph taken from the steeple of Immanuel Lutheran Church around 1908.  I have placed an arrow pointing out the school.

Altenburg aerial photo from Immanuel steeple c.1908 public school

This couple can next be found in the 1910 census for Salem Township.  Robert is described as a public school teacher.

Robert Farrar 1910 census Salem Township MO
1910 census – Salem Township, MO

In early 1911, the public school building in Altenburg burned to the ground.  A new brick building was constructed later that year, and Robert Farrar was the principal when that building was opened.  The photo below is said to be taken when that school opened in 1911.

Altenburg Public School 1911

Robert began another venture in 1912.  In that year, he established a bank in the village of Menfro.  Robert became a cashier at that bank and worked there until his death.  The 1920 census for Bois Brule Township shows Robert as a bank cashier.

Robert Farrar 1920 census Bois Brule Township MO
1920 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

We find this childless couple in two more census records.  First, here is the 1930 census.

Robert Farrar 1930 census Bois Brule Township MO
1930 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Next, we see them in the 1940 census for Menfro.

Robert Farrar 1940 census Menfro MO
1940 census – Menfro, MO

A photo of Robert Farrar working inside the Bank of Menfro is displayed below.  It is the only photo I was able to locate for either Robert or Regina.

Robert Farrar Menfro banker

Regina Farrar died in 1941 at the age of 70, although she would have turned 71 if she had lived for 3 more days.  We have her death certificate.

Regine Farrar death certificate
Regina Farrar death certificate

Regina was buried at the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.

Regenia Farrar gravestone Salem Farrar MO
Regenia Farrar gravestone – Salem, Farrar, MO

Robert Farrar died in 1949 at the age of 82.  His death certificate says he died at the Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

Robert Farrar death certificate
Robert Farrar death certificate

We have an obituary for Robert.  This document allowed me to be more confident about some details in Robert’s life, especially when distinguishing him from the other Robert Farrar.

Robert Farrar obituary

Robert Farrar was buried in the New Lorimer Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He shares a grave site with his half-brother.

Robert Farrar gravestone – New Lorimer, Cape Girardeau, MO

Robert Farrar certainly had an impressive resumé.  He was a farm hand, teacher, principal, store owner, postmaster, and banker.  He also has a town named after him.  Not many people can claim that.  Sadly, there was one title he didn’t have…father.  So, we find no descendants coming from this Robert Farrar.

I will just briefly mention a descendant from the other Robert Farrar.  His son, William P. Farrar, died at Camp Funston in Kansas, which became notorious for many soldiers who were training for World War I who died from the Spanish flu.  You may find researching that disease to be quite interesting with all of today’s pandemic developments.



2 thoughts on “Cheap Bob the Banker

  1. Uncle RP, as we have always known him by, is Doyle’s great uncle. We never knew him, but heard stories about him from Doyle’s mom. For a time they even lived in a small space at the store, Cheap Bob’s, that he owned. We’ve always known that our hometown was named for one of our family members, and that he stated the Menfro Bank, but lots of other things were very interesting to learn about him. And especially to see a picture of him, was really a treat.


  2. Thanks Warren and staff for your wonderful dedication and efforts on these posts. It will help folks survive the isolation.

    Fyi Carla, I hadn’t realized until I subscribed to the website that I would get them every day – which is perfect. Would it be worthwhile to send an email blast to the new big list about signing up to get these nuggets ? Shure helps the days go quicker.

    Ken Craft


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