Florence Fay

Florence Fay Jones was born August 27, 1893 in Hickory County, Missouri, USA. She was the second of 10 children and came to Canada with her parents, who were to operate the Bleriot Ferry in southern Alberta.

At the age of 16, Flora, as she was known, as an unmarried young girl bore her first child, a son, on December 22, 1909 in Hutton, Alberta. With the strict morality of the time, this was considered shameful and a disgrace, not only for her but also for the entire family. She married Evert Sylvester Farnham in March 1912 with whom she would produce another 9 children.

Her life as a young girl and also as a married woman was one of hard work. Her parents homesteaded and she, in turn, with her husband lived in a series of homesteads and also shacks. She was an excellent rider and horses were not only a means of getting to and from work and social activities but also something that fed her soul. She was a hard-working and kind woman, who was appreciated by her immediate family and neighbours. Her devotion to her children was exemplary and brought out incredible resourcefulness. Besides her work on the family homesteads, she also "took in" laundry, worked as a cook for threshing crews, kept chickens and other animals, as working as a cook at local sawmills in the Central Alberta "bush."

Her life was one of continued abuse, abandonment and poverty. This involved frequent moves when all of the household effects would have to be packed and transported to the next small holding or job. To escape her abusive husband, at one time, she kept house for local bachelors, the Brady boys. They requested that she get rid of two of the four children that she had living with her at the time. She sent her 11-year old daughter and crippled younger son to family and, later, her daughter walked to Rimbey to obtain work. Desperation drove her to operate a "still" and, when reported for doing so by her estranged husband, she chose to go to jail rather than return to her husband. Flora died of undiagnosed breast and cervical cancer at the age of 52 years on August 18, 1945, in Calgary with her daughters and her husband by her side.

Her daughter-in-law Dolly Farnham, wife of son Raymond, was also a strong, hard-working prairie woman. In the 1930s and 1940s, she worked as a cook for threshing crews and also doing laundry for various sawmills. The work was back-breaking and the cold water and old scrubbing boards would frequently leave her fingers and knuckles bleeding. She also assisted her husband Raymond in taking care of the local school in Faraway, Alberta.

Read an account of her life and that of son and daughter-in-law Raymond and Dolly Farnham written by her grandson, Wayne Farnham - Discovering Grandmother & Mother.