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My Great Grandmother: Jennie Patton Farmer Williams, 1856-1938

by Alonzo Hardy



My great grandmother Jennie (Patton) Farmer Williams, 1856-1938, was a former slave in Jefferson County, Florida who became a midwife for 20 years. She was born in December 1856 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. She was also a member of the Mt. Herman Lodge No. 3517 Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (G.U.O.of O.F.) in Bartow, Polk County, Florida.
Jennie served as secretary during her time with the Order. She is remembered as a strict disciplinarian. Jennie moved to Polk County with her daughter, Victoria Farmer Hadley, at some point after the death of her husband John Williams in 1929. Jennie died October 11, 1938, in Palmetto (Manatee County) Florida. She was the mother of Dr. Alexander Alphonso Farmer, DMD (one of Manatee County's early black dentists), grandmother of then-Unofficial Sepia Mayor of Miami Charles Randolph "Uncle Charlie" Hadley (a school, park, pool, gym are named in his honor in Miami-Dade County) and Howard Hadley, MD (was a Miami medical doctor) and the great grandmother of Howard V. Gary (first and only African-American City Manager in Miami's history (1981-1984). 

The G.U.O.of O.F. Ribbon/Badge Lodge No. 3517 she is wearing is in the photo is a treasured possession of my aunt Alice Hardy of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

The Household of Ruth. This organization was the women’s auxiliary to the African American Odd Fellows order. Household of Ruth was organized in 1857 for the admission of the wives or women related to men in the fraternal order of Odd Fellows.

Photo: Courtesy of Alonzo Hardy