|In March of 2006 I was
contacted by a gentleman from Australia who would like to put a
Confederate memorial marker on the gravesite of one Robert
Farmer buried in Oak Grove Cemetery here in Glynn Co., Georgia.
While I am excited at the prospect, one very important fact has put a
damper on the project, that being proof of Robert Farmer's
service during the Civil War.
According to information submitted by Mr. James Gray, Robert
Farmer was born 7 December 1841 in Western Australia to parents
Charles & Margaret (Spencer) Farmer. He was one of 10
children reportedly born to this couple.
Mr. Gray has written an essay on
Robert Farmer that in my opinion has many mistakes about the
ancestors and descendants of Robert and no primary sources to prove the military service
other than "family say-so", which was obtained from people who are not
directly descended of Robert. My hopes in creating this page
is to prevent mis-information from being spread for future generations who
decide to research this family and to hopefully connect with descendants
who can add to the history.
It appears that Mr. Gray is also not adverse to claiming
research as his own and posting it online. Since he takes creative
license with the works of others, I am going to post his article that he
sent to me on Robert
in full here.
Remember, this is HIS article that he has put his "efforts" into
researching. I will give him credit for his work even though
he doesn't give me the credit for supplying him with most of the public
records submitted to him from Glynn County.
The information that I supplied Mr. Gray
has been backed up with primary source documents, those being church,
court, census, and official death records. All of which seems like
it has been overlooked by Mr. Gray; he claims I never provided
sources for my information.
I have pointed out the abundance of mistakes that Mr. Gray has made
in his essay over and over again, and each time he re-submits a "new" essay to me
erroneous facts are still listed. Not to mention there are so many
typos and grammatical errors that I can't believe this article is
accepted by members of his organization. While I understand making note of
discrepant dates, like two different marriage dates or birth dates, you
can not place children with someone who was physically unable to have
them; especially when there is documentation to prove that they are NOT
the parents of the said children.
My biggest "problems" with the essay are
these children being attached to Robert (children whose mother is
listed as Mrs. Rachel Farmer in some places and are found in the
census with William & Rachel Farmer), and the lack of proof of the
military service of Robert Farmer in the Confederate Forces, or any
branch during the Civil War.
In a book titled "The Story of Rock Vale
and Malabaine" by Alfred Lawrence & Lorraine
Eddy (an excerpt of which was sent to me by another researcher), Robert Farmer's family was researched by Australian
researchers who not only found family letters written by Robert
and Nora, but also found family photos! Mr. Gray has
been bandying about a photo of a Robert Farmer in uniform that he
states is the man who settled in Brunswick. However, the book
mentioned above has a photo of Robert that vastly differs from
that of Mr. Gray's photo. Although there is no firm proof
yet of Robert's military service, if any there was, descendants
of his siblings state that he came to America in the midst of the war
not that he served in a military branch during the war.
This is the photo that Mr. Gray states is Robert
Farmer from Australia who lived in Brunswick. It is
likely this photo came from a military gazette or other
publication; I have no idea as it was sent to me without a
Do these men look alike to you?
This is a family photo published in the book titled "The
Story of Rock Vale and Malabaine" that was in the possession
of a descendant of one of Robert's siblings in Australia.
The family state that he fought for the Confederacy but they do
not state in what capacity.
The problem here in this photo is that Robert was a
captain; he was a harbor pilot and boat captain and this is
likely the uniform for his job as harbor master and not for
It appears that Mr. Gray is trying
to attach the military record of a Robert L. Farmer that was born in
Jefferson County, Georgia to the Robert Farmer that was born in
Australia. This other man was born, lived, and died in Jefferson
County and nothing in his military record or public record states he was
from Australia, nor do any family history records. It is possible
that the photo above left is for the Farmer that lived in
Personally, I think Robert Farmer
was most likely a blockade runner since he had no reason to take sides
politically (he did not own or rely on slaves and his writings do not
suggest he was an abolitionist), and he most likely saw an opportunity
to make money to help him make a life for himself in his new country.
This article sounds like an attack, and unfortunately it is; there's just no nice
way to present this case. I am very upset by recent events that
have come to light involving the forging of military records that were
sent to the Veteran's Administration to obtain a Confederate Veteran
tombstone for Robert Farmer buried in Oak Grove Cemetery
here in Brunswick.
I have provided many documents to back up my research so
that Mr. Gray would correct his data. For some reason or
another he has chosen to ignore the facts; facts that I did not create
out of whimsy. It is a sad thing to
have someone alter known facts to make things fit their needs. It
is unknown by me why Mr. Gray is trying to push his version of
history to obtain military markers; I just don't understand the thought
process behind making up information or attaching the wrong info to
people to obtain military markers. Is he making some sort of
profit from this? Who knows?
I have been in correspondence with Mr.
Gray for a couple of years, my name "signed" on the bottom of every
email, yet he can't even manage to spell my name correctly. In his
very first email to me, he is asking about finding info on Robert
and that he has a website and wanted a photo of the gravesite and a
photo of the town of Pellicanville. As you know, you can't stand
on the ground and take a photo of a town :-) I answered his
questions and his next email is a repeat of the first. As if he
never sent the first email. His actions makes one think that he is
suffering from senility or some other type of dementia.
This second email was sent at 9:06 AM and then five minutes later he
sends a third email almost mirroring the second email. I told him
I could provide photos of the gravesite yet he never acknowledged the
emails, not only this, but in his responses he seems to have either
forgotten that I asked a question, or just doesn't care. As our
conversation progresses I noticed that he is basing most of his
knowledge on information supplied to him by an acquaintance of mine.
Her research was in error and when I showed her all of the documentation
she corrected her data. Mr. Gray failed to correct his
After many, many emails trying to sort out the facts and untruths, it
appears that Mr. Gray just gave up and went ahead with what he
wanted to do, truth be damned. When I asked for Mr. Gray's
sources, he just sent me a list of sources, no actual documents.
Mr. Gray continually thinks that I am disputing that Robert
Farmer was NOT from Australia. But that is not the argument.
The argument is that Mr. Gray is attaching a genealogy with
numerous inaccuracies and that he is 100% sure that Farmer was a
Confederate Civil War veteran. His genealogy and the claims of
military service have no documented evidence to support it. I have
tried over, and over, and over again to show Mr. Gray that his
essay has errors and over, and over, and over again he ignores my
statements as if I never made them. There is no talking with this
man, you can not convey a point to him and have him acknowledge said
point. He just ignores.
this arguing was for naught anyways because a few months after he and I
started our discussion, he went ahead and sent an email to our city
operations manager stating he had documented evidence about Robert
Farmer and his Civil War service and requested permission to have a
marker placed. Unfortunately, a military marker was already made
stating our Robert Farmer served in the 27th GA Company B and
this is just UNTRUE. The man who did serve in this unit was an
American by birth and is buried in Jefferson County, Georgia with his
family and ancestors.