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Farrar, Missouri and The Store

The Home Town

The children of Henry Eggers, as well as many of later generations, were born in Farrar, Missouri. For the benefit of those family members who have never been there, "What and where is Farrar?"

For starters, get the pronunciation correct! Even though the word has two separated vowels, it is pronounced by locals with one syllable , as "fahr" or perhaps "fahrr" with an extended "r". By members of the (English descendent) Farrar family it is pronounced more phonetically as "fah-rahr."

Farrar is located about 90 miles south of St. Louis, about 10 miles southeast of Perryville, the County Seat, about 3 miles west of the Mississippi River, and about 30 miles north of the larger city of Cape Girardeau. Farrar can be characterized from three different perspectives:

(1) As a political entity, Farrar is best defined as an unincorporated village, part of Salem Township, one of several major geographical divisions of Perry County, Missouri. Since it is not incorporated there are no city limits. Effectively, the village comprises those families living around the triangle from the business district near the store, up the hill to the church, down Route C past the old Henry Eggers farm location, then turning left along the valley road back to the business district (a loop of about 3 miles). This area includes a population that probably never exceeded 100 persons.

(2) Farrar could also be described in terms of the Post Office. Sometime late in the 19th Century, the citizens of the area petitioned for a U.S. Post Office -- and for it to be named Salem after the church. The selected Postmaster rode by horseback to Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri. When he arrived, another town had already been named Salem, Missouri. For expediency, he entered his own name, an intended temporary measure, which became permanent. The Postmaster was a Mr. Farrar! At one time the post office served many families in the surrounding area who collected their mail at the Farrar Post Office, rather than depend upon rural route delivery. By 2005, this had dwindled to a few families in the immediate area, and in 2006 the post office was closed.

Many of the families in the surrounding area once had mailing addresses of Rural Route (RR) Menfro or RR Seventy Six (each served from the respective Frisco railroad station). Now most of them, as well as those in the village of Farrar, have an address of RR Frohna, Missouri.

(3) The broadest perspective of the Farrar Community comprises those who belong to Salem Lutheran Church: as many as 600 individuals or more at one time and currently 323 Communicant Members and 384 Baptized Members, all living within a radius of about 6 miles of the church. This greater community came first, with the organization of Salem Lutheran Church. Salem was not one of the original congregations organized in Perry County by the Saxon Lutheran immigrants (circa 1839), but was organized in 1859. As the writer was growing up virtually everyone in the 6 mile radius belonged to Salem and all their children attended Salem Lutheran School, so that there was no public grade school in the area. In the Family Tree, "Farrar" is listed as the place of birth, death, or residence for anyone in the greater church-based community, regardless of their mailing address.

Despite being small, Farrar fielded baseball teams in Perry County leagues that played on Sunday afternoons. Tom Eggers was a member of the Farrar Ramblers as early as 1915. The team was in and out of existence over the years, and was rejuvenated after World War II with a team that included cousin Dick Mahnken, a pitcher with a wicked curve ball. In the early 1950s Farrar also had a team in the "Junior" league for players under the age of 21, but by the 1960s the Farrar teams and the league itself ceased to exist.

The Store

The Eggers & Company store was an institution in Farrar for many years. It was a true general store that sold groceries, dry goods (dress material, shoes, etc.), hardware, paint, animal feed, and beer, among other things, and purchased from the farmers eggs, chickens, cream, and hides (fox, raccoon, mink, and possum). At peak times in the 1950s the store employed as many as 10 people including family members Tom and Walt, nephews George Keen, Dick Mahnken, and Armin Mahnken, and Walt's brother-in-law (and cousin), "Hubie" Lorenz, as well as providing part-time or summer work for other family members, including the writer. For a time the company also operated a general store and a feed store in Menfro, about 7 miles north of Farrar. The Menfro stores were beset by floods and declining population in the river bottom area and the company eventually sold the Menfro general store and then closed the feed store. For a time Eggers & Co. also operated an outlet in St. Louis (1913 South 12th Street) for the sale of eggs ("Eggers Excellent Eggs") and chickens.

Closely associated with the store were two other business entities. Farrar Cream Association was a cooperative, owned by the farmers, but located in the store. The Cream Association, which was staffed by store employees, bought cream from the farmers (after weighing and testing it) and sold it to Aro Creamery in St. Louis. The farmers who sold cream received "cream checks" -- chits about 4 inches square -- which they applied to their grocery bills.

Farrar Transfer Company was a partnership of Tom Eggers, Walt Eggers, Ernest Steffens, and August (Gus) Sticht, the latter two owners of Steffens and Sticht (later the Farrar Garage) the Auto/Tractor Repair and Blacksmith shop across the street. The Transfer Company owned up to 6 trucks and, in good times, employed two full time drivers, with other trucks being driven by store or garage employees. They made daily trips to St. Louis to take hogs and cattle to the East St. Louis stock yards for farmers, deliver eggs and cream to St. Louis, and return with animal feed and merchandise for sale in the store. The Transfer Company also operated smaller trucks for local delivery and pick up of produce on routes to the surrounding farms and a dump truck for hauling gravel and other bulk material.

After Tom Eggers retired, the store changed hands several times and business gradually declined in the face of changing shopping patterns of the farmers and the presence of large grocery markets and Wal-Mart in Perryville.

As of Summer 2005 the Farrar Post Office was still in operation in the building and the store did a small amount of business under the management of Earl Lorenz, Postmaster. However, it closed in 2006, after Earl's death.

More recently, the building has been purchased back into the Eggers Family by Steve and Ellen Frye. (She is a granddaughter of Tom Eggers.) They plan to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast and as of mid-2007 construction is under way.

Finally, a note on the history of the store. It was build by a Mr. Bueckman about 1900 as mentioned on the following web site:
http://www.qsl.net/k0yah/Vidcom.html

Later it was sold to Mr. Klaus who operated it for about 20 years, and then to the Eggers family.

Aerial Photograph of Farrar

In the photograph accessible from the home page, the Eggers & Co. store can be seen at the left, near the bottom of the picture, as two separate buildings, the main store and the feed store. The Walter Eggers home is to the right of the store, and across the road, mostly hidden by trees. Salem Lutheran Church and School is in the approximate center of the picture, with all but the parking lot obscured by trees. A careful look might reveal the white tombstones of the cemetery, just below the church and to the left of the road. Along the left edge of the picture and about half way up are the house and barn of the old Henry Eggers farm, and just below them is the former Lueders/Keen house.

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