Hilarious anecdote, and totally believable , especially in the backwoods of the south where endogamy is a way of life.
I've done exhaustive research on the pronunciation of my surname.It varies from community to community, state to state, region to region.
I don't know to phonetically display all of the variations.
I received this from a wealthy English kinsmen, albeit very distant kin,
apart from obvious regional accents I would argue there are two main pronunciations here in the UK; the differences are probably slightly class based and whether you view the name as aristocratic/french in origin or common/english
they two variations would be:
Faar-raarh or faar-reer with emphasis on the vowels
fa-rerr or fa-rarr with short guttural stops and emphasis on the er or ar at the end
I pronounced it Fairer when I lived in the south, but Far Rar in the north, with pronunciation of the final R, not the slurring of ah, uh or ow as you might hear in Massachusetts or the south..
In the military it is pronounced FarRar (again the final R has a definite R sound). My Dad was a Marine, retired from the service, and though born and raised a Fairuh, he pronounced the name the way that he used and heard it in the Marines.
This tends to be the way the name is pronounced in the North (South of New England) and on the west coast..
I always answer to anything reasonable, and when asked how to pronounce I reply"your choice".
Anway sorting through census and legal documents in pursuit of a paper trail can be frustrating, and if a sense of humor, entertaining.
So many variations of spelling of all kind, but the simplest of names.
In 1780's Pittsylvania County, VA there is an Indenture in which members of my family sold their inheritance, one of the members, the oldest was tutored before his father died, and thus could read and write, his younger siblings were not and thus were illiterate.
This document has the parties and witnesses spelling their names Farrar and Farrow, and in two cases the same person spelled two ways.
In subsequent documents the name was spelled Farrow until they reached Alabama and filed Homestead claims, apparently aided by an educated cousin, (the son of the educated older brother of their father) they filled out the paper work by spelling their names Farrar.
One needs an understanding of the culture, the times, the region to make sense of it all.