History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 570
A well improved farm of one hundred and twenty-two acres on section 7, Marshall township, is the home property of Walter R. Farnham, and he also owns another tract of seventy-seven acres situated on section 8 of the same township.  He was born near Green Bay, Brown county, Wisconsin, August 18, 1861, one of six children born of the marriage of Horatio and Anna (Harmer) Farnham.  The former was born in Genesee county, New York, and was there reared to farm life.  He then went to Wisconsin and for a time worked in the lumber woods of that state, while for ten years he was a pilot on the Wisconsin river.  In the meantime his parents had removed to Durant, Illinois, and the son spent several summers with them at that place.  He was married near Green Lake, Wisconsin, to Miss Anna Harmer, who was a native of England and was a maiden of thirteen years when she accompanied her parents to this country, the family home being established in the Badger State.  Following his marriage Mr. Farnham lived at Wrightstown, on the Fox River, for several years, during which time he carried on farming and lumbering.  He later sold out and for some time traveled with his wife for the benefit of the latter's health.  In 1877 he came to Taylor county, Iowa, and for several year operated rented land in Marshall township.  After a time he took up his abode in Sharpsburg and still later removed to South Dakota and there spent his last years, passing away July 8, 1893, when he had reached the age of seventy-six years.  His wife preceded him to the home beyond, her death occurring in Taylor county, July 8, 1885.  Their family numbered four sons and two daughters: E. D., now a resident of Holyoke, Colorado; Ethan, who was reared in Taylor county and later went to Routt county, Colorado, where he served as sheriff and also won a reputation as a detective but died June 8, 1908; Horatio, who after reaching mature years had an arm shot off and on the 28th of December, 1904, passed away while undergoing  a surgical operation; Lilly, the wife of Dr. Fred Farnsworth, at one time a practicing physician of Sharpsburg; and one daughter, who died in infancy.
Walter R. Farnham, the other member of the family, was reared in Wisconsin to the age of sixteen years, when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Taylor county in 1877.  He remained with his father until he reached mature years when he started out to make his own way in the world, first working at farm labor for fifty cents per day.  He also worked on the railroad for a time, and when he attained his twenty-first year he went to Nebraska and homesteaded a claim in Holt county.  He broke the wild prairie and in due time placed his fields under cultivation.  He also operated a threshing machine for a number of seasons in that state as well as in Taylor county.  After two years spent in Nebraska he returned to Taylor county and purchased eighty acres of land which constitutes a portion of this present farm.  The buildings were in a dilapidated condition and the soil was also run down.  Mr. Farnham at once set to work to put his land in a state of cultivation and put up good buildings, thus making the place more attractive as well as valuable.  From time to time he added to his holdings until he now has two hundred acres, in the midst of which stands a fine country residence and ample barns and sheds for stock and grain.  He does a general farming and dairying business and also fattens about one hundred head of hogs annually, and in each direction in which he is bending his energies he is meeting with substantial success.
Mr. Farnham was married in Taylor county in May, 1886, the lady of his choice being Miss Nettie Johnson, who was born and reared in Henry county, Iowa.  Their union has been blessed with a son and two daughters: Earl L., who farms a portion of the home place; Nellie, a young lady at home; and Fern.
Politically a republican, Mr. Farnham has never been active as an office seeker but is identified with the school board.  He is a Master Mason, belonging to blue lodge at Gravity.  He has never been slow in lending his aid and influence in the cause of any good movement and with the improvement and progress of Sharpsburg he has been especially interested and helpful, so that no man of the county deserves more prominent mention in its history than does he.