A Presidential Pardon for Prince Farrington?
I read with interest the recent list of people pardoned by President Trump. Among the unknown people who received some form of clemency were an Oklahoma citizen convicted of moonshining in 1952 and a deceased man who received a posthumous pardon for involvement in cocaine trafficking. These last two made me think, “Isn’t it time the government pardoned Prince Farrington?”
Prince David Farrington was a North Carolina native who moved to Central Pennsylvania in the early 1920’s and was an illegal distiller of moonshine for much of his life. Indeed, he was even popularly referred to as “King of the Bootleggers” during his heyday. He served time in county and federal prisons for his activities and passed away in 1956. He and some of his family members are buried in the cemetery at a country church not far from my retirement home in North Carolina. Growing up in Jersey Shore, I met his widow, daughter, and grandchildren, and remain in touch with the next two generations of descendants.
While Farrington operated outside the law, he was both a local Robin Hood figure and recognized champion of societal good in Central Pennsylvania. He was known as a contributor to the local farming community, paying up to double market rates for procurement of supplies during difficult economic times. He was widely reputed to have been generous with his money. Local legends regarding his generosity include funding the re-roofing of a church in Antes Fort, the complete rebuilding and refurnishing of a poor family’s home in Sugar Valley after a fire, donations of bananas to local school children during the depression, and even regular distribution of his own whisky to the area’s ill for medicinal purposes. Despite her father’s profession, his daughter, Gladys won the WCTU’s annual temperance essay contest when she was in high school. Such folk hero stories are widely documented in books and articles about the Prince.
In summary, Farrington is no less deserving of pardon than many on the President’s list and possibly more deserving than some. I hope our elected representatives in Washington will take notice of this and raise the issue to the White House before Jan. 20.
WILLIAM F. WILLIAMS
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Submitted via Virtual Newsroom