Jeff Harvey

Continuing our look at the history of the families of the Bluestone River Valley courtesy of William Sanders II’s book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV” (1994 McClain Publishing), we come to Louis Farley’s stint in elective office.

Farley’s lumber operations employed many county residents during the time that the original timber was being cut.

His business success led to his being elected Mercer County Sheriff in 1904. He served his one term as was dictated by state law then.

Farley could have gone even further in government. His grandson Robert Simpson recalled to Sanders that he was “off limits” at the sawmill one Sunday afternoon when a couple of men in a limousine drove up to the family home and wanted to talk to Farley about running for Governor. Farley asked who he’d have to answer to as governor and upon receiving the answer, replied, no thanks.

Simpson owned a Rolls Royce dealership in West Palm Beach, Fla. His brother, James, was a semi-retired attorney there. Their mother was deserted by their father after she contracted tuberculosis and had to go to the Beckley Sanitarium for treatment. Her parents had to support the family.

Two other daughters, Pearl Sibert, was still living in her 90s when the book was published. She suffered meningitis at age six and required special care. Blanche, another sister, died in 1983.

Farley was one of the first car owners in the county. He garaged it across from the house until the garage caved in, with the car still buried along the river.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Time. Contact him at

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