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The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 822-823
MICHAEL BARRY is prominently mentioned among the farmers and stock raisers of Union township, where he is also a large property owner. He was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, July 14, 1856, a son of William and Catherine (Brown) Barry, both of whom were born in county Clare, Ireland. William Barry came to the United States when a young man, arriving here in the early '50s and locating first in Pennsylvania, was married there and was employed at railroad bridge work until 1862. In that year he came west by railroad to Blairstown, Iowa, and located in section 16, Union township. He purchased eighty acres of the virgin soil and began at once the arduous labor of preparing his land for cultivation. He was a successful business man, hard working and persevering, and at his death he left an estate of seven hundred and forty acres of Union township land. He died in the year of 1893, when sixty-eight years of age, and Mrs. Barry had passed away in 1890, at the age of fifty-four. She spent seventeen weeks on the ocean when crossing to the United States, experiencing a hard and stormy voyage. Mr. and Mrs. Barry were the parents of four children, Michael, Elizabeth, Thomas and John.

Michael Barry remained in the parental home until his marriage, and at that time his father gave him one hundred and sixty acres improved land, which he has since converted into one of the most valuable farms of Union township, and his estate now contains two farms of four hundred and forty acres, adorned with two splendid residences and farm buildings in keeping therewith. He is a large stock-raiser and feeder as well as a general farmer. During a number of years he has served his township as a school treasurer, and in politics he is allied with the Democracy. On the 2d of March, 1882, he was married to Julia A, Morris, who was born in LeRoy township, Benton county, Iowa, a daughter of John and Johanna (O'Leary) Morris, who were from Ireland. The father, born in the city of Dublin, died in 1889, when seventy-two years of age, and the mother died in October of 1903, also aged seventy-two. Of the ten children which were born to them the four now living are: Jennie M., living in Van Horne; Julia A., who became Mrs. Barry; Winifred, the wife of John Nolan, a LeRoy township farmer; and John, whose home is in Texas.

John Morris came to the United States with his father when eighteen years of age, and landing in the harbor of New Orleans, they made their way to St. Louis, where the son married, and in 1855 he came up the river to Muscatine, Iowa, from whence he drove to LeRoy township in Benton county. There he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land and their first home was a little tent, made from a wagon cover, which served as a habitation until they could build a dwelling. Their nearest markets at that time were Muscatine and Iowa City, and all was wild and primitive. Mr. Morris sold his best pork in those early days for two and a half cents a pound. His name is enrolled among the earliest of the Benton county pioneers.

Six children have blessed the marriage union of Michael and Julia Barry: William, Mary K., Euzella, Thomas, John and Elizabeth. The eldest daughter, Mary K., is a graduate of the Van Home high school and of Mt. St. Joseph's College at Dubuque, Iowa, and she is now teaching school. Mr. Barry and his family are members of the Catholic church, at Van Home. He is one of the representative agriculturists and citizens of Union township.

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