03/23/11 524 W - + 8 - 7 Meet Charles Farmer, 1937

Here's another Library of Congress find, from The Statesville Record on July 30, 1937, a profile of Raleigh's second career Fire Chief and first person to lead the State Highway Patrol, Charles Farmer.


A Brief Biography Of The Head Of The State Patrol

By WALTER DUSTMAN - United Press Staff Correspondent.

Raleigh, N. C., July 29 (UPI) —Major Charles Farmer, burly head of the North Carolina highway patrol, theoretical chief of the Raleigh fire department as well, It was learned today.

Farmer, known familiarly to thousands as "captain", his title before the 1937 General Assembly conferred on him the rank of major, recounted today his 18 years experience as a Raleigh fireman, which included four years as head of the department.

“In 1918 I was given two weeks leave to try out the job of organizing the equipment division of the highway department," Farmer explained. "When I left I handed the city my resignation as chief of the city fire department, but they refused to accept it, and, although I remained to organize the equipment division, so far as I know my resignation has never been accepted."

The major, who began as a correspondence school gas fitter and became the organizer of the first state highway patrol in 1927, said the patrol is "comparable to any in the nation."

Between August 1 and 15 it will place in operation a $600,000 statewide radio patrol system rated as the finest anywhere. There will be a central office in Raleigh, five strategic stations throughout the state and each patrol car and motorcycle will carry a receiving set.

When organized in 1927, the patrol had a complement of 27' privates, nine lieutenants and Major Farmer. Its equipment consisted of 10 cars and 27 motorcycles.

Today the department has expanded until its personnel has 121 privates, three lieutenants, 12 sergeants and 12 corporals. It has 103 motorcycles and 100 automobiles.

Farmer was born in Raleigh on Nov. 13, 1882. After finishing at the local grammar and high schools, he took two correspondence school courses, one In steam engineering and the other in heating and ventilation.

The major then worked five years with the Raleigh Gas Company as a gas fitter. He organized the Farmer, Coleman Plumbing Company of Raleigh, meanwhile gathering experience with the Raleigh Fire Department as a volunteer.

In 1900 Farmer joined the fire department, becoming its chief in 1914.

"I was the first fireman in Raleigh to drive a motor fire truck," he said. "I also used to drive horses to a lot of fires."

Another first of which the patrol major is obviously proud is that of first plumbing inspector for Raleigh many years ago.

Farmer married Miss Ada Virginia Wren of Goldsboro on August 29, 1904. They have two children, Louise Elizabeth, 23, and Martha Ann, 19, both of whom work in Raleigh.

Besides regularly attending Christ Episcopal church here, the major is a Sudan Shriner, Oddfellow, and past master and grand, exalted ruler of the Elks.

Admitting a palate partial to peanuts and citron custard, Farmer added he likes football and baseball and hugely enjoys umpiring for the revenue building's softball team when it goes into action.

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