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A J Barkley


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 11:28:42

A J Barkley was born upon a farm in Linn county, Iowa, March 27, 1842. His father was James Newton Barkley, a native of Virginia, while his mother, Lydia Hobson, was a Carolinian. The father, while yet a child was taken by his parents to Kentucky, thence to Indiana. When about twenty-one years old, he came to Iowa in the year 1841, settling in Linn county. He was a carpenter, also engaging to some extent in farming. In the summer of 1856 he removed with his family to Boone county, settling on land in Dodge township, about eight miles from Boonesboro, on the then unbroken prairie. In politics he was a Republican, which in those days preceding and during the Civil war, required much firmness, and in religious faith he was a Methodist. He died April 6, 1866. He was married at Bedford, Indiana, to Miss Lydia Hobson, who was a Quaker in faith, but subsequently became connected with the Methodist Episcopal church. Prior to her marriage and subsequent to the death of her mother, she found a temporary home in the family of the late L Q Hoggatt, of Ames, Story county, Iowa, then a resident of Indian. She died in 1887, at the age of seventy-four years, canonized by her children, respected and regretted by all her acquaintances. To this family the following children were born, Three of who survive: Mary deceased, A J , the subject of this article, Harriet M, widow of Eugene Favre, Levina, Linzy, deceased, Mazzini, and Henry deceased.
The boy Alonzo derived his primary education chiefly by contact with nature and from the Bible, interpreted at his mother’s knee and illustrated by applications tot eh moral questions which arise in the progress of a young life. The schoolhouse at Ridgeport being seven miles from his home, he spent his winters in the woods making rails and posts and hauling them with oxen to the farm. The year 1861 he spent in chopping cord wood, farming and attending school in Boonesboro. In the spring time he returned to the duties of the farm, for the father was mostly away from home constructing habitations for the immigrants. He took a principle in grammar or a problem in mathematics with himself to work and solved it in his own way. The “rule in the book” and its textual explanations were in verbiage unrecognized by him, but behind the plow or while breaking the prairie were melted in the “converter” of his brain, and when reduced the product turned on its trunions appeared in definitions which for conciseness and perspicuity of statement often excelled those of the book and astonished his preceptors. Thus the years passed, from the age of fourteen to that of twenty, in plowing and thinking, harvesting and selling, an experience in common with many of the great men of America.
Then came the great clash between the two civilizations in our country, diametrically opposite, which had thus far in its history struggled to discover some method of existing side by side in peace, but ineffectively. The war tocsin sounded throughout the land and roused the sleeping giant in the bosom of every American youth. Young Barkley recognized the voice, and on August 11, 1862, took the oath as a soldier of the Union, with the members of company D, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in the courthouse square at Boonesboro, and marched away with Captain DeTar to the army. After the regimental organization at Camp Franklin, Dubuque, it received orders to move to front, and a detachment of four companies, A, F, G, and D, commanded my Major G A Eberhart, went to Cape Girardeau, spending the fall, winter, and spring in southern Missouri building fortifications for the Cape and at Bloomfield. The tachment assisted in defeating Marmaduke’s army at Cape Girardeau and driving it into Arkansas, returning in time to Accompany General Davidson’s cavalry division of its famous five-hundred mile march through Missouri and Arkansas to Little Rock, where Price’s army was defeated and driven out. Mr Barkley was one of the sixty men that went up the river from Clarendon to Searcy and burned the pontoon bridge across the Little Red river after a portion of Marmaduke’s army had crossed. These sixty men captured two small steamers, “ The Tom Sugg” and “Kaskaskia, “ and returned to Clarendon, one-third of their number having been killed or wounded before their return to the command. He also took part in the fight at Bayou Metoe, where one of his company was killed and two severely wounded.
The regiment was reunited at Vicksburg and in the spring of 1864 joined in Banks’s Red River expedition. It participated in the skirmishes and battles of that disastrous campaign until Pleasant Hill was reached on April 8, 1864. The next day that fierce conflict raged and Shaw’s brigade, in which was Colonel Scott’s Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, held the center until nightfall, when it was surrounded and obliged to cut its way out. Private Barkley was dangerously wounded and the next morning fell into the hands of Confederates as a prisoner of war, the Union army having retreated, leaving its dead and wounded to the tender mercies of the enemy. A thrilling description of this battle is tat battle is that by Mr Barkley as seen from the point of view of the private soldier, written for and published in “The Annals of Iowa” the organ of the Iowa Historical Department, Vol.III, page 23, wherein this action is duly set forth.
For more than two months he was a prisoner of war, and then selected for parole, as one who could never be of farther service to the enemy, was sent down the Red river to its mouth and turned over to the Federal army. Surgeon Sanger, surgeon-general of the Nineteenth Army Corps, dressed his wounds on the battlefield, and meeting him when paroled on the boat nearly three months afterward, again performed this service. It is a coincidence that nearly twenty years since the war this same medical gentleman again discovered his former “army lad,” had a photograph of his arm taken, showing the uses which it was capable of, and incorporated the “interesting case” in a medical work which he published at his home, Bangor, Maine. At Benton Barracks, while yet a paroled prisoner, Mr Barkley was given a discharge and arrived home on Christmas, 1864, opening the door of his father’s farmhouse without notice---a happy holiday for all.
In March 1865, he went to Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa and made industrious use of its advantages until the death of his father in April 1866, then came home and herded cattle on the prairies with his arm in a sling, until autumn, meanwhile having been place on the Republican ticket for the office of county recorder and elected at the November poll, taking the office in January 1867. He was re-elected in 1868. During this official term he wrote a set of abstract books for the real estate in Boone county, doing the labor out of hours, and devising his own system, having never before seen a set of abstract records, the result being as complete a set as any in Iowa, and now in use by Moore & Crooks of Boone.
At the close of his office as recorder, he entered the real estate business, was the local agent for the Iowa Railroad Land Company, the Blair Town Lot and Land Company, and on his own account continuing in this business until 1882, when he sold out. In 1889 he constructed for his own use a telephone line from his office to the courthouse. In 1891 he organized the Boone county Telephone Company, started the first telephone exchange in Boone county, and as president of the corporation, sold out in 1882 to what is known as the “Bell” or “Old Line.”
In February 1884, he was one of the organizers of the Boone County Bank, a private institution, in which the first officers were R J Hiatt, president, A J Barkley, vice president, and Oscar Shleiter, cashier,. Six years later Mr Schleiter and Mr Hiatt left eh state and the bank was reorganized, with Mr Barkley as president, which position he still holds. It has always been a conservative bank and ling in good repute and successful in its affairs. He has also served two terms as a member of the city council of Boone. In 1899 he was elected a member of the house of representatives in the twenty-eighth general assembly to represent Boone county and two years thereafter was returned in the same capacity. During the first term he was a member of the library committee, assisted in preparing the bill creating the Iowa library commission, which became a law and has proven to be of much service in promoting this educational feature of our state, and in his second was a member of the ways and means and other important committee. His bill became law consolidating the associate and traveling library with the Iowa library commission, increasing the former appropriation from two thousand dollars to six thousand dollars.
Mr Barkley is one of the trustees of Cornell College. He has long been a member of the Masonic orders and served his brethren of the blue lodge at Boone for four terms as its master, and is a member of the chapter, commandery and Mystic Shrine, also is a member of J G Miller Post, G A R, of Boonesboro, and never forgets that he was one of the boys who went down into rebellious Dixie.
As might be inferred from his southern ancestry. Mr Barkley is hospitable and social, delighting in association with his fellowmen, and his home is the center of much geniality. He is large in person and with a leonine face, in mind, not rapid to arrive at conclusions, but certain, and a position once assumed, cannot be shaken, save by new evidence. He is humorous, can enjoy the jokes of others and delights in perpetrating one himself to the extent of prolonging the luxury of it. Children love him, and the domestic animals about the place know he is their friend.
Mr Barkley has been twice married, his first wife was Miss Henrietta Trickey, to who he was united November 6, 1866, in Boone county, She died in 1889. On July 28, 1891, he was married at Ainsworth, Nebraska, to Miss Flora E Spencer, who had been for a number of years a successful educator in the high school of Boone. Their home her is a haven of rest to them and a magnet which attracts a large coterie of pleasant friends. May they live long to enjoy both.

1902 Boone County History Book


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