FARRELL, FELIX GRUNDY , (deceased), merchant and banker, Jacksonville, Ill., was born in Cumberland County, Ky., October 13, 1829, a son of John and Abigail (Turley) Farrell. While he was yet an infant his parents started for Illinois, where they intended to locate permanently, and in 1832 while at Beardstown, Ill., his mother was stricken by Asiatic cholera and died. His father soon afterward proceeded westward upon his journey to Iowa, leaving his son in the care of relatives. The last intelligence received from him was to the effect that he had reached Burlington, and it is supposed that he died during his journey further into the territory. Sometime after the death of his father, young Farrell was taken to Iowa, where he was cared for by his maternal grandmother until he was placed in the charge of his uncle, Neil Turley, who finally brought him back to Illinois. During his childhood and youth he attended the country schools of "Cracker's Bend" whenever the opportunity presented itself, but his early educational advantages were meager. During most of the time until he had reached the age of eighteen years he was a farm laborer. In 1847 he began learning the trade of a brick maker and burner, and was thus employed until he became of age, when he entered the general store of Link & Powell, at Arcadia, Morgan County, in the capacity of clerk and general helper. During the summer season he drove a peddling cart throughout the surrounding country for that firm, and in this way became acquainted with many men of all classes and conditions. The knowledge of human nature thus gained proved of incalculable benefit to him in his future undertakings, and doubtless enabled him to avoid many a pitfall in his later career.
In 1852 Mr. Farrell and an uncle, Thomas Turley, purchased the business of Link & Powell, Mr. Turley supplying the necessary money and Mr. Farrell the experience. The partnership was an ideal one, as Mr. Farrell had thoroughly familiarized himself with the custom, and knew the demands of the community. In March, 1853, they removed to Pleasant Plains, Ill., where they continued the business for several years. In February, 1857, the partners removed to Jacksonville, where they established themselves in the same line of business, but upon a larger scale. After seven years of successful enterprise, or in the summer of 1864, Mr. Farrell and others who appreciated the need of additional banking facilities in Jacksonville, organized The First National Bank of Jacksonville. Of this Mr. Farrell was Cashier from 1867 until January 2, 1899, when the bank relinquished its charter and the private house of F. G. Farrell & Company began operations. Mr. Farrell, who had owned a majority of stock in the national bank, and his son, Felix E. Farrell, became partners in the new enterprise, which was then operated by them until February 1, 1901, when Edgar E. Crabtree was admitted into the firm as an equal partner. The firm continued under this arrangement until the death of Felix G. Farrell, which occurred December 29, 1901, after which the business was continued as before.
The financial foundation upon which the private banking enterprise established by Mr. Farrell rested, was his real estate holdings, which consisted of more than 2,000 acres of valuable farming land, situated in Morgan County, Ill., and Jackson County, Mo. Besides this he possessed other valuable city property, all of which was accumulated entirely by reason of his own individual effort.
Mr. Farrell was always deeply interested in all well-considered efforts put forth for the promotion of the general welfare of the community. He took a great interest in educational matters, and for many years served as a Trustee of the Jacksonville Female Academy. An active member of the First Presbyterian Church (now the State Street Church) for many years, he served as an Elder therein from 1872 until his death, and for a long period was also Treasurer of the Society. He was also a most useful supporter of the work of the Passavant Hospital. For many years he was a member of the Jacksonville Board of Water commissioners, and one of the staunchest advocates of the best obtainable water supply. His sole entry into political life was his service in the Illinois State Legislature in 1867 and 1868, to which office he was elected as the nominee of the Democracy. Fraternally he was identified with Urania Lodge, No. 243, I.O.O.F., having been initiated into the order in 1857.
Mr. Farrell was first united in marriage September 18, 1855, to Mary Jane Dunlap, daughter of the Hon. Stephen Dunlap. She died in February, 1864, leaving four daughters: Mary Abigail, deceased wife of Walter Ayers; Nellie Frances, deceased wife of Harry E. Wadsworth; Dicy Elizabeth, wife of Edward A. Nixon; the second daughter, Leonora Althea, died at the age of seven years. On May 30, 1866, Mr. Farrell married Anna Epler, of Pleasant Plains, Ill., a daughter of Jacob Epler. Of this marriage two children were born, namely: Felix E., and Anna, wife of Edgar E. Crabtree.
Mr. Farrell's mind was broadened and his personality cultured by extensive travel, which included two journeys to the Old World. The first of these was made in 1878, when, accompanied by his three grown daughters, he visited Europe, Palestine and Egypt. In 1884 he spent several months on the Pacific Coast and in the Yosemite Valley; in 1888 he visited Mexico and some of the countries of tropical America, and in 1892 returned to Europe in company with his youngest daughter and three of her friends. Mr. Farrell's life was molded after high ideals, and good fellowship and delicate consideration of the rights of others were cardinal principles of his creed. He was constantly reaching out a kindly, helping hand to others less fortunately situated than he; but in the midst of his numerous beneficences he shunned everything which might be regarded as ostentation. His high and unselfish public spirit was frequently in evidence; for no appeal in behalf of a timely and well considered effort to advance the material, moral or spiritual welfare of Jacksonville was ever submitted to him in vain. He was, in brief, one of the most substantial, kindly, benevolent and progressive citizens of Morgan County, a man whom all delighted to honor, and one whose life was the source of much inspiration to others.