Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 29, 2012

Dalton column: The Squire of Andover


When Mrs. Sarah Abbot, a well-to-do widow, came to Farrar in 1827 to ask what she should with her extra money, he immediately responded that she should put in toward building a female seminary. In 1829, the Abbot Female Seminary opened (known casually as the “Fem-Sem”) and Squire Farrar was a founding trustee and treasurer. It later was called Abbot Academy and merged with Phillips in the 1970s.

When the Andover National Bank opened in 1826, Squire Farrar became its first president and held that job for 30 years. Perhaps because of his philanthropy - for example, he donated his treasurer’s salaries back to the institutions he served - he never became truly rich, although he gave to deserving causes and left $12,000 to Phillips Academy at his death.

He was steadfast, intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated his life to Andover and it’s institutions. He was the only founding member of the seminary to survive to its 50th anniversary in 1858, and all those in attendance spontaneously, heartily and at length cheered and stood when he was introduced.

Following Squire’s death at age 91, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a poem dedicated to him. It asked:

Where is the patriarch time could hardly tire

The good old wrinkled immemorial ‘squire?

Bill Dalton writes a weekly column for the Andover Townsman. His email address is

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