Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: December 1949 Volume 7 Number 2, Pages 29–30

Dr. Walter Burwell Farley

As told to Sarah Farley by Miss Martha Farley

Dr. Walter B. Farley was born in Philadelphia on May 17th, 1868, the son of the late William Farley and Sarah Ann Finnic Farley. His father had emigrated to this country at the age of twenty from a small town northwest of Dublin. His mother was a resident of Delaware County. After the birth of three sons - Robert, John, and Walter - and a daughter, Martha, the family moved to a farm at New Centreville in Tredyffrin Township.

Dr. Farley graduated from Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in March of 1891 and in June of that year succeeded to the practice of Dr. Adams who lived in the property of Mrs. Harry Lawrence on Main Avenue, Berwyn. Also in June of the same year he married Minnette Beale Ritner, daughter of Isaac Newton Ritner. The couple had four children; three sons - Walter, Chester and John D., all of whom died in early infancy; and one daughter, Jane Elizabeth, now Mrs. Earle Potter who has lived in Los Angeles, California, for the past twenty-six years.

For about eight years Dr. Farley maintained a country practice largely in Berwyn, but also having patients in Newtown Square and as far east as Radnor. He found time from pressure of his professional work to act as Superintendent of the Sunday School of the Great Valley Baptist Church. An early recollection of him by one of the older residents of Berwyn, is high up in the bell tower of the chapel of that church at Berwyn, at the head of a bucket brigade successfully attacking a fire of over fifty years ago.

In 1898 Dr. Farley's health broke and he went to the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. George Miles, in Montana. Finding recovery to be impossible, he returned to his mother's home, then on Warren Avenue, Berwyn, and died in May of that year at the early age of thirty-one years.

Page 30

The doctor is well recalled as a man of tall, robust figure often to be seen riding his bicycle along the rough country roads of his day. Little did it seem that his great energy and usefulness would be brought to so sad and quick an end. He was of genial disposition and kindly heart and beloved by those whom he served.


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