Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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FARMER, John W., philanthropist, born in 1819; died in Brooklyn, New York, 23 October 1869. Mr. Far mer was a generous and philanthropic resident of the City of New York, who took a deep and practical interest in the condition of the poor and laboring classes. He was active for several years in the organization of cooperative societies in New York and vicinity, and was ever fertile in expedients to help the poor to help themselves. In this good work He was never sparing of his own means, and in the winter of distress that followed the financial panic of 1857 he not only gave out provisions with a liberal hand, but established soup houses for the benefit of the needy. In this way those in want were able to procure nutritious food for less than it would have cost them to prepare it at home, even had the raw material been given them. He pursued the same course during the winter of 1861'2. The example of opening soup kitchens was quickly followed in Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities.
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