Frances Farmer

Birth Name: Frances Elena Farmer

Date of Birth: September 19, 1913

Place of Birth: Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Date of Death: August 1, 1970

Place of Death: Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, one quarter Cornish, around one eighth Dutch, smaller amounts of German, distant French and Scottish

Frances Farmer was an American actress and television hostess. She starred in the films Too Many Parents, Border Flight, Rhythm on the Range, World Premiere (1941), The Party Crashers, and Among the Living, and hosted the show Frances Farmer Presents. She is also known for her mental health issues, and the horrendous treatment and commitment to psychiatric hospitals that she endured involuntarily.

Frances was the daughter of Cora Lillian, a boardinghouse operator and dietician, and Ernest Melvin Farmer, a lawyer. She had deep lines in the U.S., except for her maternal grandmother, an emigrant from Cornwall. Frances was raised in Chico and Los Angeles, California, as well as Albany, Oregon, and Bremerton, Washington.

Frances’ paternal grandfather was John Quincy Farmer (the son of Hiram D. Farmer and Selina J. Snow). Frances’ grandfather John was born in Vermont, and had mostly English ancestry. Hiram was the son of Benjamin Farmer and Sarah Lipinwill. Selina was the daughter of James Snow and Abigail Farr.

Frances’ paternal grandmother was Susan C. Sharpe (the daughter of Jacob Van Alstine Sharpe and Mary Chatfield). Susan was born in Ohio. Jacob was the son of Jacob Scherp and Harriet/Arriaantje Van Yeveren/Yveren, who were of mostly Dutch descent, though Jacob also had German ancestry. Mary was the daughter William C. Chatfield and Susannah Coy, who were of mostly English descent.

Frances’ maternal grandfather was Zacheus Van Ornum (the son of Henry Harold Van Ornum and Maria Marsh). Zacheus was born in New York. Henry was the son of Hendrick Van Ornum, who was of Dutch and English descent, and of Lois Sawyer, who was of English ancestry. Maria was born in Massachusets or New York.

Frances’ maternal grandmother was Elizabeth Jane Rowe (the daughter of John Pearce Rowe and Jemima Lavinia Skewes/Skews). Elizabeth was born in Cornwall, England. John was born in Kenwyn, Cornwall, the son of Hannibal Rowe and Elizabeth Pearce. Jemima was also born in Kenwyn, the daughter of Peter Skewes and Mary Elizabeth Williams.

Sources: Genealogies of Frances Farmer –

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