Hampton New Hampshire Singer, Dancer & Actor in Silent Movies – Dustin Lancy Farnum (1874-1929)

Dustin Lancy Farnum, the son of Greenleaf D. & Clara Adele (Atwood) Farnum

Dustin Farnum, Star of Fox Film Corporation. From collector's card produced by American Caramel Company, Lancaster & York PA.

Dustin Farnum, Star of Fox Film Corporation. From collector’s card produced by American Caramel Company, Lancaster & York PA.

was born 27 May 1874 in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

By 1879 his parents had moved to Methuen, Massachusetts where his siblings were born. His father Greenleaf was an actor, and a director of silent films. His mother was a singer.

Raised in Maine, Dustin attended the East Maine Conference Seminary, Dustin left school to perform on the stage at the age of fifteen, including vaudeville. This was following by a tour with a stock company, and in the play “Arizona” in New York City (and several other Broadway hits).

Dustin Farnum as he appeared in "The Virginian."

Dustin Farnum as he appeared in “The Virginian.”

His first appearance in films was in 1913, in “Soldiers of Fortune,” that was filmed in Cuba. He became famous when he starred in “The Squaw Man” in 1914. That silent movie was directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

His most popular character was a cowboy. He continued acting until 1926. He retired from films at the age of fifty-two, and, except for a few stage roles, lived quietly with his third wife, actress Winifred Kingston for three years, until his death in 1929 from kidney failure.  He is buried in the family plot, in Bucksport, Maine.

A Bit of Dustin Farnum Trivia
According to Dustin Hoffman’s April 1975 Playboy Magazine interview, he was named after Dustin Farnum by his mother.


Dustin Farnum from 1922 magazine

**Additional Reading**

Obituary of Dustin Lancy Farnum

Movie: The Squaw Man

Dustin Farnum Photo Gallery


Ralph Farnham sailed from Southampton, England, 6 Apr 1635, in the brig “James,” and after a voyage of fifty-eight days, landed in Boston, Massachusetts, 3 June 1635, aged 32 years.  His wife’s name was Alice, aged 28 years.
Children of Ralph & Alice (–) Farnham:
1. Mary Farnham, b. 13 July 1628 in South Hampton England; m. 20 Oct 1650 to Daniel Poor.
2. Sarah Farnham, b. abt 1630 in South Hampton England
3. Thomas Farnham, b. 1631 in England; m. 8 July 1660 to Elizabeth Sibborn. Resided Milford MA and had issue; d. 11 Jan 1687 in Andover MA
4. +Ralph Farnham, b. 4 Aug 1633 in St. Nicholas, Rochester, Kent Co England
5. Ephraim Farnham, b. abt 1635 in Andover MA
6. Alice Farnham, b. abt 1638 in Ipswich, MA, d. 1728 in Andover MA
7. John Farnham, b. abt 1640/41 in Rowley, MA; d. 17 June 1723 in Andover MA [Note: the real E.B. Farnum of HBO: Deadwood is descended from this line]

Ralph Farnham, son of Ralph & Alice (–) Farnham, was b. –. He married 26 Oct 1658 in Andover MA (by Rev. Simeon Broadstreet) to Elizabeth Holt, dau of Nicholas Holt, a fellow-passenger in the brig “James.” Ralph died 8 Jan 1692. Elizabeth died 14 Oct 1710.
Children of Ralph & Elizabeth (Holt) Farnham:
1. Sarah Farnham, b. Feb 1661
2. +Ralph Farnham, b. 1 June 1662 in Andover MA; d. 1738
3. John Farnham, b. 1 Apr 1664
4. Henry Farnham, b. 7 Dec 1666, d. 7 May 1683
5. Hannah Farnham, b. 7 Dec 1668
6. Thomas Farnham, b. 14 July 1670
7. Ephraim Farnham, b. 1 Oct 1675

Ralph Farnham, son of Ralph & Elizabeth (Holt) Farnham b. 1 July 1662 in Andover MA; d. 3 Jan 1736/37 in Andover MA. He married 9 Oct 1685 in Andover MA to Sarah Sterling, dau of William & Elizabeth (Short) Sterling. She b. 4 May 1669 in Haverhill MA and d. 13 Apr 1732 in Andover MA.
Children of Ralph & Sarah (Sterling) Farnham:
1. Sarah Farnum, b. 5 May 1686 in Andover MA, m. Henry Lovejoy
2. Henry Farnham, b. 15 Sep 1687 in Andover MA; m. Phoebe Russell
3. Ralph Farnum, b. 25 May 1689 in Andover MA; m. Elizabeth Austin
4. Daniel Farnum, b. 21 Jan 1690/91 in ANdover MA, m. Hannah Brigdon
5. Abigail Farnum, b. 16 May 1692 in Andover MA; m. James Abbott
6. William Farnum, b. 5 Aug 1693 in Andover MA; m. Annah Flint
7. Nathaniel Farnum, b. 25 July 1695 in Andover MA; m. Hannah Preston
8. Barachias Farnum, b. 16 March 1696/96 in Andover MA; m. Hephzibah Harnden
9. Benjamin Farnum, b. 14 March 1698/99 in Andover MA; m. Thankful Frisbee
10. Joseph Farnum, b. 4 Feb 1700/01 in Andover MA; m. Lydia Howard
11. +Stephen Farnum, b. 16 March 1702 ANdover MA.
12. Zebediah Farnum, b. 1705 in Andover MA; d. 5 Feb 1705/06 in Andover MA.

Stephen Farnum, son of Ralph & Sarah (Sterling) Farnham, b. 16 March 1702 in Andover MA, d. 1 Sep 1756 in Dracut MA [or Ft. Edward, Lake George, NY]; He m. 8 Dec 1726 in Andover MA to Hannah Richardson, dau of Joshua & Hannah Richardson. She b. 8 January 1705/6 in Woburn MA.
Children of Stephen & Hannah (Richardson) Farnum:
1. Joshua Farnum, b. 24 July 1727 in Andoer MA, d. abt 1759; m. Millicent Perry
2. Hannah Farnum, b. 17 Jan 1728 in Andover MA, d. 5 May 1804 in Methuen MA, m. Nathan Austin.
3. Martha Farnum, b. 22 Jan 1730/31 in Andover MA, m. Zebulon May
4. Sarah Farnum, b. abt 1733
5. Stephen Farnum, b. 19 January 1734/35 in Dracut MA; m. Kezia Skidmore
3. Mary Farnum, b. 12 February 1736/37 in Dracut MA, d. 7 Apr 1766
4. Phebe Farnum, b. 27 Jan 1739/40 in Dracut MA
5. Abigail Farnum,  b. 22 Dec 1841 in Dracut MA; m. Daniel Clough
6. Benjamin Farnum,  b. 24 March 1742/43 in Dracut MA, d. 19 Apr 1765
7. Rachel Farnum,  b. 4 March 1746/47 in Dracut MA, ? m. — Taylor
8. +William Farnum, b. 23 Apr 1748 in Dracut, Middlesex Co MA; m. Hannah Morse in Pelham NH
9. Eunise Farnum,  b. 1 January 1749/50 in Dracut MA; d. 27 Dec 1754 in Dracut MA

William Farnum, son of Stephen & Hannah (Richardson) Farnum, b. 23 Apr 1748 in Methuen MA; he married 19 Oct 1712 in Pelham NH to Widow Hannah (Morse) Marsh.
Children of William & Hannah (Morse-Marsh) Farnum:
1. Eunice Farnum, b. 15 May 1773 in Dracut MA; m. 27 March 1794 in Methuen MA to Benjamin Baker
2. William Farnum, b. 11 Jan 1776 in Dracut MA; m. abt 25 Feb 1800 in Methuen MA to Rachel Hebberd, had issue.
3. Patty Farnum, b. 7 March 1778 in Dracut MA; m. 28 May 1798 in Methuen MA to Richard S. Messer
4. Hannah Farnum, b. 23 Apr 1781 in Methuen MA; m. Greenleaf Bowles/Boles
5. Polly Farnum, b. 12 July 1782 in Methuen MA, d. 23 Aug 1783 Methuen MA
6. +John Marsh Farnum, b. 9 Dec 1785 in Methuen MA
7. Ezra Marsh Farnum, b. 17 Feb 1791 in Methuen MA; d. 22 Oct 1867 in West Newton MA; m1) Eunice Crossley; m2) Susanna Emerson; m3) Susan Richey; had issue
8. Jacob Marsh Farnum, b. 19 June 1792 in Methuen MA; moved to Boston MA

John Marsh Farnum, son of William and Hannah Farnum, was b. Dec. 9, 1785 in Methuen MA; he m. 28 Jan 1810 in Methuen MA to Phebe Boles/Bowles.  Resided Methuen MA
Children  of John M. & Phebe (Boles) Farnum:
1. +Greenleaf Boles Farnum, b. 9 Sep 1810 in Methuen MA
2. Roxieann Petty Farnum, b. 11 Dec 1812 Methuen MA
3. Dustin Bearit Farnum, b. 28 March 1815 in Methuen MA
4. John Russel Farnum, b. 7 July 1817 in Methuen MA

Greenleaf Boles Farnum, was b 9 Sep 1810 in Methuen, Massachusetts/or Nashua NH, and d. 1 Apr 1856 in Hudson NH.  He married in 1835 in Hillsboro (Township) New Hampshire to Martha Ann Webster, daughter of Daniel Dolbert & Martha Haines (Smart) Webster.  She was b. 3 Nov 1820 in Plymouth NH, and died in 1896.
U.S. Census > 1850 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk > Boston Ward 5
Greenleaf B. Farnum 39 M Carpenter b. Mass [b abt 1811 MA]
Martha Ann Farnum 28 F b. NH
Mary E. Farnum 10 F NH
Harriet Ann Farnum 6 F NH
Greenleaf D. Farnum 4 M NH
Nancy A. Smart 52 F NH
Rosanna Mullen 15 F Ireland
Children of Greenleaf B. & Martha (Webster) Farnum:
1. Mary Elizabeth Farnum, b. 8 June 1840 in Hudson NH, and d. 21 Dec 1903 in Providence RI.  She m. 1857 to William Augustus Blazo, and had children: Augustus William, Harriet H., Mary Lizzie, William Greenleaf, Martha Lucy, and Lillian Hanaford.
2. Harriet Ann Farnum, b. abt 1844 in Claremont NH; she m1st) 22 January 1863 in Springfield, Hampden MA to John H. McIntire, son of Owen & Catherine McIntire.  She m2d) Angus Worchester, and had one child, Delia Worchester / She m. 22 Jan 1863 at Springfield, Hamden Co. MA to John H. McIntire, son of Owen & Catherine McIntire.
3. +Greenleaf Dustin Farnum, b. June 1848 in Boston MA

Greenleaf Dustin Farnum, son of Greenleaf Boles & Martha (Webster) Farnum, b. June 1848 in Boston MA, d. 19 Feb 1912; actor, director of silent films. He married 1st) 15 May 1867 in Charlestown MA to Lorinda Annie Edwards, age 18, of Lewiston ME, dau of Collins & Almira (Dill) Edwards; He married 2nd) 27 March 1873 at Hyde Park MA to Clara Adele/Adelaide Atwood, age 16 of Lynn MA, dau of George Horace [Horace E.] & Nancy M. (Verplast) Atwood.  She b. 22 Oct 1857 in Boston MA. Some biographies state he married 3rd Adele Lagros/LeGrosse, a daughter of Stover & Nancy (Atwood) Gross.  This is incorrect. Possibly Clara used that name for a stage name, as her mother, Nancy married 2nd to Storz/Stover Gross, as shown in the census below.  She died 19 February 1912 in Milton MA and is buried in Silver Lake Cemetery, Bucksport, Maine.  On 4 January 1864 he enlisted in the Union Army as a private, at Springfield, Massachusetts. He served during the Civil War, Co. I, 3rd Mass. Heavy Artillery, mustering out 26 Sep 1865. His US Pension records indicate he lost his right leg, and had an injury to his left one inflicted during the war. His eldest son’s birth certificate in 1867 shows he and Lorinda living at 2 Hawkins Place in Boston MA.  On May 2, 1913 his widow, Nettie L. Farnum applied for his pension. He married 3rd) 21 Jan 1896 in New Orleans LA to Nettie Louisa Baker (age 27), she b. May 1869 in VT. In 1900 he is shown living in Pownal Vermont with wife Nettie. In 1910 they were living in Manhattan New York.
1860 United States Federal Census > Maine > Penobscot > Bangor Ward 3
John Verplast 49 M Farmer 3000 800 Maine
Nancy Verplast 37 F Maine
Stillman Verplast 18 M Farm Laborer
Lydia E. Verplast 12 F Maine
Ambrose T. Verplast 10 M Maine
Nancy Atwood 23 F Maine
Clara A. Atwood 2 F Maine
1870 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk > Boston Ward 10
Gross, Storz P 44 M W Works on ? 600 Maine
Gross, Nancy 40 F W Keeping House Maine
Atwood, Clara A 13 F W Attending School Maine
[clerks and dress makers]
1880 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Essex > Methuen > District 166
Dustin L. Farnum, age 6, b. abt 1874 NH, son, single W M,
father: Greenleaf D. Farnum, MA; b. abt 1848
mother, Clara A. Farnum, ME, b abt 1857
bro, Charles W. Farnum, b abt 1877 MA
sis, Beatrice S. Farnum b abt 1878 MA
bro, Marshall P. Farnum, b abt 1879 MA
1900 United States Federal Census > Vermont > Bennington > Pownal > District 33
Wilcox, Brannell R. Head W M Jan 1858 42 married at age 21 VT VT VT Farmer
Wilcox, Carril A wife W F June 1859 40 married at age 21 4 ch 3 living VT VT VT
Wilcox, Thomas B. son W M May 1881 19 single VT VT VT
Wilcox, Florence L. dau W F July 1883 16 single VT VT VT
Wilcox, Forestion A. son W M March 1888 12 single VT VT VT
Farnum, Greenleaf brotherinlaw W M June 1848 41 married 5 yrs MA NH NH showman
Farnum, Nettie L. sisterinlaw W F May 1869 31 married 5 yrs 0 ch 0 living VT VT VT
1910 United States Federal Census > New York > New York > Manhattan Ward 12 > District 588
Farnum, Greenleaf Dustin Head M W 70 m2x 14 yrs MA MA NH manager & actor
Farnum, Nettie L. wife W F 40 m1x 14 yrs VT MA VT
[several lodgers]
Child of Greenleaf D. & Lorinda A. (Edwards) Farnum:
1. Charles B. Farnum, b. 30 Jul 1867 Boston, Suffolk Co. MA
Children of Greenleaf D. & Clara Adele (Atwood) Farnum:
2. +Dustin Lancy Farnum, b. 1874 in NH
3. Marshall Parker “Ding” Farnum, b. 19 Dec 1879 in Natick, Middlesex Co., MA, d. 19 Feb 1917 in Arizona, while scouting filming locations.  He is buried at Silver Lake Cemetery, Bucksport ME; film director and actor.  He married 21 May 1903 at Boston MA to Louise A. (Lewis) Lewis, divorced, daughter of Theo & Anna (Ernst) Lewis.  She was b. in

Charles William Farnum, brother of Dustin

Charles William Farnum, brother of Dustin

Arcadia, Wisconsin. Her marriage record indicates she is of Minneapolis, MN, actress.
4. Charles William Farnum, b. 4 July 1876 in Boston MA; d. 5 June 1953 in Hollywood,California; silent film actor. Married 1) 1896 in Chicago IL to Mabel Eaton, divorced; m2) in 1906 to Olive Ann White. She b. 6 Jan 1880 in Indianapolis IN, had dau Adele, in 1929 she sued for divorce; m3) 8 June 1932 in Santa Barbara California, Isabel Major. On 10 June 1953 his funeral was held on at the Wilshire Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Pallbearers were C. B. DeMille, Jesse Lasky, Frank Lloyd, Clarence Brown, Charles Coburn and Leo Carillo. The eulogy was read by actor Pat O’Brian.
5. Beatrice Gertrude Farnum, b. 18 Dec 1877 in Boston, Suffolk Co., MA; d. 13 Apr 1885 Boston MA
6. Agnes Farnum–a 1900 newspaper account states she is an actress, who “began her professional career six years ago [c1894] with Mr. Wilson, her first character being that of Carrie in the “Guv’nor.” Wilson was at that time starring through New England. She next appeared in Boston with Wilson in “Uncle Dudley.” Her biggest Boston success was in the original production of Hoyt’s “A Black Sheep,” in which she played Ada Steele, one of the two principal female characters, the other being the Queen of Burlesque, played by Bettina Gerard. Next Miss Farnum went with “The Village Postmaster, which had a long run in New York. Last season she joined the Wilson company and has continued with that company until now.”
7. Mabel Farnum
8. ?Franklin Farnum

Dustin Farnum with signature

Dustin Farnum with signature

Dustin Lancy Farnum, son of Greenleaf D. & Clara Adele (Atwood) Farnum, was born 27 May, 1874 in Hampton, New Hampshire.  He died 3 July 1929 in New York.  Buried in Silver Lake Cemetery, Bucksport, Maine.  Silent Film Actor. 1st) 1898 to Agnes Christine Muir Johnston/Johnstone, an actress, divorced 1908 following accusations by Howard Gould regarding a relationship between Dustin and his wife Katherine Clemmons Gould; He married 2nd) 1909 [license obtained 8 March 1909] in Chicago IL to Betty Carroll/Mary B. Conwell of Cadiz Ohio, an actress. They divorced in 1924.  He married 3rd) 24 Aug 1924 in Los Angeles California to Lavinia Winifred Kingston, dau of Charles & Annie Elizabeth (Sargent) Kingston.  She b. 11 Nov 1894 in England, and died 3 Feb 1967 in San Diego, California. She was an actress.  After Dustin’s death, Winifred remarried — Runyon. [Her mother’s maiden name was Ford].
Child of Dustin Lancy & Winifred (Kingston) Farnum:
1. +Estelle Dustine Farnum, b. 29 May 1925 Los Angeles, California

Estelle Dustine Farnum, daughter of Dustin L. & Winifred (Kingston) Farnum, was b. 29 May 1925 in Los Angeles California; briefly she was an actress using the name “Dustine” Farnum. She changed her name to Dustine RUNYON following her mother’s remarriage.  She married 20 Dec 1947 in Los Angeles California to Louis John Bitterlin, son of Georges Ulric & Maria Amparo (Ynigo) Bitterlin. He b. 7 May 1914 in Mexico, and d. 20 Jan 2003 in San Diego, California. Stanford Unversity Staff page shows: Louis J. Bitterlin, ’37, MA ’49, of San Diego, Calif., January 20, at 88, of complications from a stroke. He was a political science major and member of Alpha Delta Phi. After teaching and coaching at the California Military Academy in Los Angeles, he became headmaster of Brown Military Academy in Pacific Beach, Calif., and, in 1958, co-founded the San Diego Military Academy in Solana Beach, Calif. He served as president of the Western Association of Private Schools and published The Four Academies (1996), a history of private military education in San Diego. Survivors at his death were five children and 8 grandchildren.
Children of Louis J. & Estelle D. (Farnum) Bitterlin:
1. Gretchen Amparo Bitterlin, m. Jamshid Azari, son of Mrs. Ebadolah Azari, a teacher of Persian history at University of Teheran.  She attended The Bishop’s Schools and graduated from Point Loma High school. She attended Scripps College for Women and received her BA degree in political science and her teaching credential from UC-Berkeley. She was teaching in the adult education programs of the San Diego City Schools.
2. Victoria Anne Bitterlin, m1); Christop R Madruga; m2) Joseph Michael Guidi
3. Markdustin “Mark” J. Bitterlin; married in 1976 to Anita K Sharp, daughter of Joseph F. Sharp.  Owner of Bitterlin Companies Inc.
4. Christopher George Bitterlin, attorney, associated with Bitterlin Companies Inc.
5. Joseph F. “Jody,” Bitterlin

[updated March 1, 2013]

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7 Responses to Hampton New Hampshire Singer, Dancer & Actor in Silent Movies – Dustin Lancy Farnum (1874-1929)

  1. Pingback: Will Cressy’s Humorous History of New Hampshire (1925) | Cow Hampshire

  2. Marilyn Goodwin Soper says:

    Phebe Boles, who married John Marsh Farnum, was the sister of my ancestor Greenleaf Boles. Greenleaf and his wife Hannah Farnum moved from Methuen to Hudson, NH. Their son Lewis married Eliza Whorf and lived in Londonderry, NH. Lewis and Eliza’s daughter Caroline Whorf Boles married John Goodwin of Londonderry. John and Caroline’s son Elmer Daniel Goodwin (1866-1963) was orphaned and came to live with his Boles grandparents in Londonderry. Elmer eventually founded the Goodwin Funeral Home in Manchester. I have not been able to find any ancestral information for Phebe or Greenleaf and wondered if you or any of your readers had been able to do so. I have always thought Phebe must have admired her brother to name her son for him.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Marilyn, I hope you discover your Boles ancestry. I can say that over time the Boles name was Bowles, Bowls, Boles, Bolles. When Greenleaf died in 1871 he is listed as BOWLES. In the 1820 census of Salem NH he is BOWLS. In the 1840 Hudson census he is BOWLS. By 1850 he is BOLES. If you look back to Methuen MA, in the 1770s there was a William & Rebekah (Elliot) BOWLES living there and perhaps there is a connection. The gene pool was much smaller then.

  3. Lucy Kevis says:

    Winifred Kingston was born Lavinia Kingston 11th November 1888 in Bromley, Kent, England and not in 1894 as recorded in US documents. She was already a 21 year old actress in the passenger list of ‘Baltic’ when she emigrated to the US in 1909. Her father was Charles Kingston (born 1849 in Hull, England) and mother Anna Maria Sargeant. They married in 1886. Charles Kingston had a previous marriage and daughter Lily (born in 1875 and from whom I am descended). I don’t believe he and his first wife ever divorced.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Thank you Lucy for this information. Winifred would not be the first actress to offer a different birth record. I simply used the primary evidence at hand. Your comment here acts as additional information in her biography.

  4. Debbie Callahan says:

    This is great information.I just discovered that I am very, very distantly related to this family. Clara Atwood (wife of Greenleaf D.) was my 7th cousin 2x removed. Coincidentally, After being born in Massachusetts, then living in Florida for 37 years, I ended up moving to Maine. We live in a town randomly selected for it’s beauty, great people, and because it is within a 30 minute drive of my husband’s job. That town is Bucksport, the town where some of this family has a burial plot at Silver Lake cemetery, and some of the people mentioned on this page are buried. This has been a fun discovery.

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