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Hidden Heroes - Dr. H. H. Farley

Farley's is a name which means different things to different people. To some, it is merely a road south of the village of Union Springs. To others, it is an area of summer cottages on Cayuga Lake. Indeed it is both, but so much more. To the residents of Farley's, it is years of treasured memories of a summer way of life shared by many generations of their families. While no early records of summer cottages exist, an 1875 map of Springport shows the residence of H. H. Farley as the only building on what we know today as Farley's Point. By 1904 (map above), twenty one "Farley's Cottages" and "Farley's Station", a stop on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, appear on maps.

Who was H. H. Farley, a man whose vision would affect generations of children and their families? Dr. Horace Hills Farley was born in Springwater, Livingston County, New York in 1813. He was the fifth owner of the property now known as Farley's Point which he purchased in 1841. Farley's Point had been part of the bounty land provided to soldiers of the Revolutionary War as payment for service. These properties were often partitioned off and sold by the soldier/owner making it difficult to track their early ownership. Farley traveled the United States in his younger days returning to Springwater where he married Susan Legore in 1847.

In the 1850 Federal Census, Farley is living with his family in Dansville, NY and his occupation is listed as dentist. In the 1860 census, he and his family resided in Springport where his occupation is listed as farmer. It is no wonder that he made a change in occupations as advertisements for his services, which appeared in Auburn newspapers, describe procedures that would make the strongest person long for the out-of-doors life of a farmer.

Dr. Farley became a noted horticulturist traveling over twenty times to Europe buying planting stock not only for himself, but also for nurserymen in Geneva and Rochester. He served as the United States agent for nursery stock and seeds for noted plantsman Edward Dickinson of Chatenay, France. His stock of pears, peaches and grapes were well known throughout the United States. In later years, Henry Sumner Anderson would join Dr. Farley, not only in his business, but also in his family when he married Farley's daughter, Caroline. In 1885, a delivery of Farley's famous pears would bring tragedy to his family as described in this article from the Weekly Auburnian dated September 25, 1885.

Sadly, this was the second railroad related tragedy to occur in this family. In 1880, Charley Farley, the only son of Dr. and Mrs. Farley and a brakeman for the New York Central Railroad, was fatally run over by a train in Buffalo when his foot became caught in a rail.

Despite these tragedies, Mrs. Farley endured remaining in the area until her passing in 1909. The earliest cottages on Farley's eventually were rented, or the structures purchased, from descendants of Dr. Farley. Today, the Farley and related families continue their ownership of Farley's Point, renting out the land on which these cottages were built. They too return each summer, joining their close neighbors in relishing the many summer memories past and present of a magical place, Farley's Point.


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