Jesse Quinton Farlow Papers

1918-1985 [bulk 1942-1968]. ½ box (11 folders), 29 items.MSS. COLL. #232

NOTE:  The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


This collection consists of materials relating to Greensboro native Jesse Farlow’s 27-year career in the U.S. Navy. He served from World War II through the Vietnam War, rising in the ranks from seaman to senior chief quartermaster and naval instructor. The USS Rainier, on which he was stationed during World War II, is featured most heavily. Naval researchers may appreciate these materials, which include photographs of ships and their crews, as well as various printed materials such as certificates, a newsletter, and a seamanship book. A few items reveal a more lighthearted side of the Navy, and even a more personal side in the case of the Pacific Theater ink drawings by a crew member. The only Greensboro materials are a high school assignment and an atlas.

Arrangement: This collection is organized into four series and arranged within series by document type or subject. The series are: Drawings, ca. 1942-1944; Maps, 1976, 1985; Photographs, 1942-1968; and Printed Material, 1918-1966.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Jesse Farlow’s daughters, Gwen Farlow and Lynda Bare, in February 2016 and assigned the accession number 2015.58.1.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was prepared by volunteer Ann Koppen in March 2022.


Jesse Quinton “Buck” Farlow (1922-2015) was born in Greensboro to Sally Bean and Joseph Farlow, and raised in the Glenwood neighborhood. After high school, he worked briefly for A.C. Spark Plug in Flint, Michigan, and then embarked on a long career in the U.S. Navy. During World War II, he served on the USS Rainier, which completed five missions in the Pacific. Also a veteran of the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Farlow was an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the early 1960s, and he became an instructor in navigations and operations at the University of New Mexico after completing an instructor’s class at the Naval Training Center San Diego in 1963. During his career, he rose through the ranks from seaman to quartermaster and senior chief quartermaster, and he served on mine sweepers and four other naval vessels. His last assignment was to the Fleet Reserve on the USS Columbus in Portsmouth, Virginia. When not on assignment, he lived in Greensboro, where he also retired. He was a York Rite Mason, as well as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem.

Biographical Sources: The biographical information was acquired from Jesse Farlow’s daughter Gwen, his obituary (News & Record, June 30, 2015), and copies of his military records. These sources and an informal list of ancestors can be found in the folder at the front of the collection.


The types of materials in this collection include maps, photographs, artwork, certificates, and other printed materials. Almost all these items document Jesse Farlow’s experience in the U.S. Navy during wartime, especially World War II, and later as a naval instructor in New Mexico. Those interested in the U.S. Navy will appreciate the creative and even humorous USS Rainier newsletter and certificates (4:2-3), as well as the edition of Reed’s Seamanship (1918; 4:1). A map produced for the 1985 reunion of the USS Rainier crew (2:2) presents a chronology of the ship’s ports and the routes of its missions, while ink drawings by a crew member feature scenes from the ship and Pacific Theater during World War II (1:1). The only items from Greensboro are a high school assignment (4:6) and a 1976 Greensboro atlas (2:1).


1. Drawings.  1 folder (10 items).  ca. 1942-1944.

These ten ink drawings were produced by E.M. Parker, one of Jesse Farlow’s shipmates on the USS Rainier. They depict buildings and landscapes on some of the Pacific islands, as well as part of an interisland ship and shipboard scenes on the USS Rainier.

2. Maps.  2 folders (3 items).  1976, 1985.

This series contains a 1976 atlas of Greensboro (2:1) along with a map and chronology from the 1985 reunion of the USS Rainier crew that details their five trips in the Pacific Theater during World War II (2:2).

3. Photographs.  2 folders (9 items).  ca. 1942-1968.

All of the photographs pertain to Jesse Farlow’s service in the U.S. Navy. He is featured receiving an award and in a group photograph taken upon his graduation from an instructor’s class at the Naval Training Center San Diego (3:1). Also included are photographs of the ships on which he served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War (3:2).

4. Printed Material.  6 folders (7 items).  1918-1966.

This series spans from Jesse Farlow’s student days, with a high school worksheet on rumblings in Europe (4:6), through his tenure as an NROTC instructor in navigations and operations at the University of New Mexico in the 1960s. A newspaper clipping recounting protests in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) over U.S. involvement in Cuba dates from his time as attaché to the U.S. Embassy there (4:4). The most colorful items are from his time on the USS Rainier: a newsletter composed by the crew reporting on the war around the world, lightened by humorous cartoons, articles, and a poem (4:3); and two whimsical certificates, one from Neptune and one from the also mythical Green Octopus (4:2).


11Drawings-- Pacific Theater (Ink Drawings, ca. 1942-1944)
21Maps-- Greensboro Atlas (1976)
2-- USS Rainier (Reunion Map, 1985)
31Photographs-- Farlow, Jesse (U.S. Navy officer, 1963, 1968)
2-- U.S. Navy Ships (ca. 1942-1967)
41Printed Material-- Book (Reed's Seamanship, 1918)
2-- Certificates (1942)
3-- Newsletter (USS Rainier, 1943)
4Printed Material-- Newspaper Clippings (Ceylon, early 1960s)
5-- NROTC Yearbook (University of New Mexico, 1966)
6-- Student Worksheet (1938)