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Mrs A J Barkley


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 11:30:04

Mrs A J Barkley, Flora E Spencer, wife of Hon A J Baarkley, was born February 28, 1860, in rice county, Minnesota, about forty miles south of St Paul and Minneaplois. Her father was Wilson Spencer, a native of Herkimer county, New York. Her grandfather John Spencer, served in the War of 1812. Her mother ,whose maiden name was Caroline Beaver Goodykoontz, is a native of Indiana. She traces her lineage through the Beaver family to Pennsylvania, to the immigrant ancestor in Alsace, who came over in 1740, and settled in the Keystone state. The family were leaders in pubic affairs in the great commonwealth and have furnished “food for powder” in every war which America has waged since their accession to its citizenship. One of them was General James A Beaver, for times wounded during his service with the Army of the Potomac, the last received at the battle of Ream station on the Weldon railroad, necessitating the amputation of his leg and his discharge from the military service of the country. He was governor of Pennsylvania from 1882 to 1886.
Mr Barkley was one of f family of eight children, and her youthful years illustrate the fact that “strenuous life” is not confined to the sex which “roams the court, the camp, the field.” When she was five years of age her parents removed from Minnesota to the neighborhood of Waukon, Allamakee county, Iowa, residing on a farm. Here the young child attended the country schools until eleven years old, when the family removed into the town of Waukon. This gave her better educational opportunities, of which she made diligent use, in the high school until the age of seventeen. Thirsting still for knowledge she began to plan and work for the higher planes of educational opportunities, and to this end entered the teachers’ profession, finding occupation in the country schools of her neighborhood. With money thus and otherwise earned, and entirely by her own unaided efforts, she took the course in the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, graduating therefrom July 28, 1880, a date which has ever since been “A Red Letter Day” in her memory.
After a year as teacher in the Valparaiso public schools, she returned to Waukon and took a position in the high school as teacher, which she retained until she resigned to accept a similar position in the high school at Boone, Iowa, in 1887. This she retained for four years, doing most efficient and highly acceptable service in behalf of the young people committed to her instruction.
In 1885 her parents removed and found a new home at Ainsworth, Nebraska. There, on July 28, 1891, she was married to Hon A J Barkley, of Boone, Iowa, and has since presided over his comfortable and hospitable home.
Unlike many ladies, Mrs Barkley did not lay down her activities after marriage. Though children have been denied her she has found, as all who search can find, many avenues of helpfulness for humanity. She was the first president of the Lowell Club, a study club of Boone ladies, the first president of the City Federation of Women’s Clubs, in the same city, in 1891 was elected vice president of the Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs, and made chairman of its library committee. As such she aided very materially in securing the enactment by the twenty-eighth general assembly of the law creating a library commission in Iowa, an act which has been of inestimable benefit to the library cause in this state. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Ericson Library in Boone, has thrice been its vice-president, and is now holding that position. When the Eleanor Moore Hospital was recently instituted in Boone she was chosen as one of its board of directors. She took an active part in securing the enactment of the compulsory education law by the twenty-ninth general assembly of Iowa. These are some of her works known to the public, but her help in times of need, in sorrow and distress, where the general eye is not turned, will not be known save to the Great One who presides over the good acts of his children and to the grateful recipients of her ministrations.
In Mrs Barkley are found strength of intellect and womanly tact, high aspiration and delicacy in the use of means to the end, acute feminine sympathies with that judgment which holds them in due check. While at times her health has not been so good as could be wished, the fact seems never for long to have deterred her altruistic activities. Her home is the abode of hospitality and she delights in the society of her friends. She is found of good literature, and Lowell is her favorite poet. Art, in all its subdivisions, claims her appreciation, and the beauties of nature are to her as the breath of Deity. Her married life has been most happy with the kind husband by her side, who truly sympathizes with and assists in her endeavors as she does with his ambitions. To all human eyes they have many useful years before them, and to all this promise their many friends say, Amen.

1902 Boone County History Book


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