Biography - JAMES BARR

Among the many successful men noted for their fair dealing with the public and their uprightness in character, who have made the city of Newman famous, none deserve more credit than James Barr. Our subject was born in Clermont county, Ohio, April 7, 1839, and in 1852 moved with his parents to Charleston, Coles county, Illinois, where he was reared and schooled. At the age of sixteen he began the trade of a tinner, which he mastered and has continued to follow through life. When he was but a boy his father died, leaving him to do for himself. His educational advantages were, as was the case with many of the pioneers, very limited, although he received a fair business education. Being of a mechanical turn of mind, he soon became an expert workman. During the first call of the Civil war he enlisted in the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and remained out until the end of his term of service, after which he returned to Charleston.

In 1864 Mr. Barr married Miss Eliza E. Harmon, of Clermont county, Ohio. In 1865 he started in business at Oakland and continued until 1887, when he moved to Kansas and entered into partnership with his brother, W. W. Barr, under the firm name of W. W. Barr & Brother.

His wife passed away April 2, 1878, leaying two children, Stella and George H.

In 1879 he started in business in Newman and one veer later sold his interest in the store at Kansas to his brother and bought the latter's interest in Newman.

In 1881 he married Miss May W. Curd, of Newman, and to this union one son, Clayton C., was born.

In 1890 he sold a half interest in his business to W. F. Summers. They conducted the business under the name of Barr & Summers until 1893, when Mr. Barr bought Mr. Summers' interest. On the 8th of October, 1895, our subject's son, George H. Barr, died at the age of twenty-one years, four months and fourteen days.

In 1896 he sold a half interest to I. M. Mulliken, of Charleston. The firm runs under the head of Barr & Mulliken. They own two of the largest stores in the city, one, hardware, stoves and tinware, and the other, furniture and undertaking, where a full line of each can always he found on hand. James Barr is a stanch Republican and has been elected mayor of Newman three times, always making a good executive officer. He is a great believer in secret orders and is ever ready to further their interests. He is a prominent Odd Fellow and Mason; is a Knight Templar, being a member of the Melita Commandery No. 37, at Tuscola. He is Eminent High Priest in Newman Chapter, No. 72, and is the president of the Odd Fellows Benefit Association of Douglas county. He is the son of Samuel and Sarah (Wise) Barr. The former was born in Steuhenville, Ohio, in 1800, and died in 1856. The latter was born in Pennsylvania in 1803 and died in 1880. Mr. Barr's present wife is the daughter of Daniel and Evaline Curd, of near Frankfort, Kentucky. Daniel Curd was born in 1808 and Evaline in 1801.

Mr. Barr is a member of the M. E. church and his wife is a member and worker in the O. E. S. and Rebekah lodges of Newman, and is a leading worker in the Christian church.

Extracted 25 May 2019 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 181-182.

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