A Brief History of the Barber Family


Charles Barber


Eagle Press

North Java, N.Y.


Re-typed with Anecdotal Notes


Phil Roblee

Barber Descendant

April 1998



The following is a replication of Charles Barberís, "A Brief History of the Barber Family," written in 1895 with the help of his niece, Amy Barber. With the exception of a few explanatory or clarifying notes I have added (in the font you see in this Forward), the paper is copied in the exact text, font and format as the original (including misspelled words). The original document consisted of six type-written pages.

I am the son of Anson Grant Roblee, son of Lura Norine Barber Roblee. As near as I can tell, my relationship to Charles Barber is that of 1st cousin, five times removed.

I came into possession of a copy of the Barber family history in 1997 from my first cousin, Rebecca Roblee, daughter of Merritt Lyle Roblee, son of Lura Norine Barber. As I understand it, Merritt obtained the document from Marion Blanche Brown, mother of Lura Norine Barber and spouse of Luzerne L. Barber, son of Cortland Dewey Barber.

Philip R. Roblee

Columbus, Ohio

A Brief History of the Barber Family.

In consideration of the fact that my fatherís family, of thirteen children, is rapidly passing away, I being the only male survivor, and also, as I am in possession of some facts of which others have no knowledge, but in which our posterity, even many generations hence may be interested, I have been impelled to make this record, assisted by my brother Chandlerís youngest daughter Amy.

In case I should not respond to this impulse, the knowledge of some things which I shall hereafter Mention, in relation to our family history, would pass at my death into oblivion.

As near as we can learn, about two hundred and forty years ago, three brothers named Barber came from England. Their immediate descendants settled respectively in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Connecticut family spelled the name Barbour. My grandfather, a descendant of the Rhode Island family, was named Joseph Barber and not only for two generations preceding him did the name Joseph, and trade of shoemaker belong to the family, but also the name and occupation has been handed down continuously to the present time. Grandfather was born June 3, 1744, and about 1765 he moved from Rehoboth, R.I. wo Warwick, Franklin Co., Mass. Ther he married Lydia Miller who was born March 15th, 1742.

Unto them were born eight children, the first child Benjamin, died when only two weeks old. Next was Hulda, who married Adam Streeter. Mary, who married Benjamin Watts. The next was Lydia, who married Ephriam Goodell. Judah who married Palmer Whitney. Joseph, my father, who married Betsey Conant, Rebecca, who married John Whitmore, a Revolutionary soldier, who belonged to General Morganís famous regiment of riflemen. Next was Parley who married George LeRow.

Grandfatherís second wifeís maiden name was Cushman. Aunt Mary Watts and my father died in 1839. Probably all are dead now but the dates are not known to me. Mother died July 12th, 1847, aged 60 years and 8 Months, Father at his death was 59 years and 4 months old.

History of the powder horn.

Now let us go back to the day of my motherís birth, During the progress of Shay Rebellion in 1786, a company of soldiers stopped one night at my grandfatherís house. The next morning they were suddenly alarmed by news that the enemy were close at hand, and the soldiers, hastily departing, left a powder horn, which had accidentally fallen over behind a large chest, which is now in the possession of my brother Chandlerís family. The horn is large and clear, about twenty inches long, and holds a pound of powder. We consider it quite probable that this horn has been through the French and Indian war as well as through the Revolution.

On the day the soldiers left grandfatherís my father was seven years old and as he found the horn he claimed it as his own. He kept it as long as he lived and at his death he gave it to his son Joseph. He had no descendants, and so a few days before he died he gave the Name Joseph and the horn to my brother Amoryís baby then only a few days old. It is still owned by this same Joseph Barber, who lives in Marengo, Illinois., and its next possesser will be his son Joseph Eugene.

For over a century and a half this horn has done faithful duty for the hunter and the soldier, and it is hoped that it, in connection with the name Joseph Barber, may remain an heirloom in the Barber family.

The two points which render this most interesting to us, are, that my father found it on his 7th birthday and also on the day my mother was born.

My father and mother were married in Warwick, Mass. In 1804. Brother Amory, their oldest child was born June 29th 1805. At the age of 23 he married Alzina Potter. Of this union were born 6 children, two of whom are still living. He died in 1890. The names of Amoryís children are Betsy Marion Elliot, Myron, Emily, Infant, Joseph. The two surviving members of the family are Elliot and Joseph.

Brother Humphrey was born Nov. 11th 1806. he married Maria Potter in 1834. They had nine children, viz: Lester, Lucinda, Lucius, Amanda, Alzina, Mernilva, Rosalie, Amory and Humphrey. Of these children Lester, Amanda, Rosalie and Amory are living, Brother Humphrey died in 1874. Sister Asenath was born Oct. 8th., 1808. She married Reckard Reed in 1829. They had four children, namely, Eliza, Lucena, Juliette and Charles. Only Lucena is now living, Asenath now lives in Thompson Illinois.

Sister Diane was born Dec. 8th 1810. She married Alonzo Taylor in 1831, They had ten children, viz: Laura, Melissa, Katherine, Joseph, Susannah, Fred, Almon, Infant, Alonzo and Ida. Of these, Melissa, Susannah, Fred Almon and Ida are still living. Diana died in or about the year 1871.

Brother Benjamin was born Dec. 9th., 1812. He married Eliza Carroll in 1834. They had seven children, viz: Infant, James, Elon, Edson, Ruth, Judson, and Irene. Of these all are living excepting the infant and James. Benjamin died Dec. 9, 1893.

Sister Tryphena was born Oct. 5th, 1814. She married Alonzo Willey in 1836. They had eight children, viz: Edwin, Caroline, Mary, Ellen, Edgar, two infants and Jane, Of these Caroline, Ellen and Jane are living. Tryphena died in June 1857.

Sister Philana was born Sept. 28th, 1816. She married Thomas Burnham in 1842. They had six children, viz: Maria, Luthera, Emily, Besey Dwight, and Charles. Of these Maria, Emily, and Betsey are living. Philana died in 1882.

Brother Joseph was born Feb. 11, 1819 and died of consumption June 26th 1841.

Sister Jerusha was born March 28th, 1821. She married Van Ransalaer J. Lowe in 1846, they had seven children, viz: George, Emorette, Lydia, Betsey, Infant, Vesper, and Clara. All are living excepting Emorette and Infant. Jerusha died in April 1895.

Brother Chandler was born April 17th, 1823. He married Alma Bolkeom on Oct. 20th 1844. They had five children, viz: Mary, Alice, Willard, Ellis and Amy. Of these Mary, Willard, and Amy are living. Chandler died June 14, 1895.

These ten of my fatherís children Just Mentioned, were born in Warwick Mass. On the day Chandler was five months old, father sold his property in Warwick, packed a load of thirty-five hundred pounds on a stout, heavy wagon drawn by two good yoke of oxen, and with his wife and family of ten children, the powder horn full of powder, two guns, and eleven hundred dollars in fifty-cent pieces, in the old cast-iron kettle (tea), commenced the slow journey toward --- what was then considered --- the far west.

The wagon was covered with sole leather which cost forty dollars, and which after we got to our destination, father made boots and shoes, which he sold. We also had with us a horse, drawing a wagon, in which rode grandfather Barber, who was then seventy-nine years old and totally blind. He died in three months after we reached Java, and was buried in the old cemetery at Strykersville where his bones now lie.

Fatherís plan was to settle in China, Genessee County, (now Java, Wyoming Co.), a distance of four hundred miles from Warwick. His chief incentive was, that One Palmer Whitney who had moved ther from Warwick six years previously, repeatedly wrote him to come to this new country, in order that more land might be secured for fatherís growing boys to cultivate. As has already been mentioned, on Sept. 7th, 1823, the family with the household goods, etc. left Warwick, but as some unfinished business had to be attended to, a man named Templeton was hired to drive the oxen, while father and Humphrey remained behind to complete this business which delayed them three days after the family started. ON the morning of the fourth day father and Humphrey started on foot from Warwick, and walked forty miles on that one day, overtaing the family at night, thus it will be seen that the family with the oxen traveled only ten miles a day during the first four days, but gradually increased until they were able to make 25 miles a day. The entire journey was completed in 21 days.

The first few nights the beds were unpacked, but after a time, as it was so much work to unpack the goods at night and pack them in the morning, father hired beds at 25 cents each, per night, and in order to be economical the children were packed in crosswise and lengthwise to the number of 5 or 6 in a bed. Amory and Humphrey slept in the wagon to guard things, after we ceased to unload the goods at night. On night before this time father and mother, each supposing the the other had attended to the money in the old tea-kettle, left it in the wagon all night. In the morning, very much to their suprise, father saw the old tea-kettle there in the wagon. Of course he feared for its contents, but upon investigation, he found the valuable treasure undisturbed.

In going down the Green Mts., where the inclination was very great, sometimes they would unhitch one yoke of oxen and hitch them behind the wagon to help hold back. At other times they would cut a pine tree, trim it and sharpen the knots, and then hitch the top of it to the wagon so as they went down the mt. The knots would plough into the ground and hold the wagon back,

We crossed the Hudson River at Albany, then quite a village, and so pursuing our way, we finally, on the 8th day of Oct. reached Uncle Whitneyís house which stood on the present site of Java Village, but at that time ther were not more than a half dozen families living there- the place being occupied by woods, mud, bears, deer, Indians, etc.

Father traded one yoke of oxen for sixty acres of land, which still remains in the family, its present owner being a great grandson of my father.

Father also bought one hundred and twenty acres more, on, and near the present site of Java Village, also a half interest in a grist mill, and a half interest in a tannery. He also opended the first shoe shop in Java Village, in which he and brother Amory worked, while Humphrey worked in the tannery and Benjamin in the grist mill. Besides this they worked in the woods, great numbers of forest trees falling before their axes, until the forests filled with wild animals have given place to rich meadows, orchards, etc.

On the 6th day of January, 1826, Charles Barber, writer of this history was born, being the 11th child in his fatherís family and the first one born since their arrival in Java. He married Fidelia Stockwell Aug. 8th, 1847. They had seven children namely:: George, William, Alta, Frankie, Joseph, Charles, and Dora,, Of these George, Frankie, Charles and Dora are living.

I, the only survivor of seven brothers, now live near Java Village, N.Y. My only surviving sisters are Asenath B. Reed, now 87 years old, and living in Thompson, Illinois, and Lydia E. Smith, the youngest of the family, living in Stewartville, Minn.

On Aug. 18th, 1827, brother William was born, and at the age of two years and nine months, he died.

Sister Lydia was born March 21st, 1830. She married William Smith. they had eight children, viz: Olive, Minnehaha, Ella, Vernon, Cora, Eldred, Merton and a little boy. Of these Olive, Ella, Vernon, Cora, Eldred and Merton are living.

Ther are no less than 240 families who have descended from my grandfatherís two children, Father and Aunt Judah Whitney, who settled in Java Village. Their descendants, known to this writer, have settled in ten or twelve states, and no doubt many, inknown to the writer, are living in other states.

I am proud to know that the sons of my broyhers and sisters, did their whole duty to the government during the late war of the Rebellion. The writer also was over three years in active service, in the 104th N.Y. Volunteers, CO A. He was in thirteen battles, marched over 8000 miles, was wounded severly in the battle of the wilderness, and now, at the age of 70, is a cripple from the effects of service and is drawing a liberal pension.

One of our distant relatives, who is something of a historian, claims that every battle field of the late war was stained with Barber blood.

It is with a good degree of satisfaction that we are able to say, in looking backward from my grandfatherís time, as far as we have any history, or forward from that time, even to the 6th generation from him, some of whom are now living in Java Village and its vicinity, that the high moral and religious element running throughout the entire line, is a family characteristic.

Charles Barber


Eagle Press

North Java, N.Y.