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Posted By: Volunteer (email)
Date: 6/3/2005 at 13:54:47

Biography reproduced from page 286 of the History of Kossuth and Humboldt Counties, Iowa published in 1884:

Dr. James Barr was born July 25, 1836, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. At nine years of age he was apprenticed to the weaver trade. His health failing, at the end of three years, he was placed on a farm. When seventeen years old he came with the family to this country, working in a coal mine a short time near Sharon, Penn. In 1854 he went to Trumbull Co., Ohio, and worked on a large dairy farm till the spring of 1856, when he moved to Iowa, locating in Fayette county, and spending two seasons on a farm. When twenty-two he attended the district school, up to that time not having had more than one year’s schooling and was not able to do the most simple example in multiplication or division, being principally self-educated. In a short time he entered Upper Iowa University, then recently located at Fayette, and dilligently pursued his studies till the Civil war commenced. During this time he had no means of support except the earnings of his own hand. In September, 1861, he enlisted as a private in the 12th Iowa Infantry, and soon after the battle of Shiloh was appointed hospital steward, in which capacity he served three years. During the year 1865 the surgeon of the 12th regiment was absent most of the time on detached duty, when he had charge of the regiment, and in September of that year was commissioned assistant surgeon, serving until mustered out in February, 1866. Returning to Fayette, he read medicine with Dr. C. C. Parker, surgeon of the 12th Infantry, and attended lectures at Rush Medical College, graduating in February, 1868. After spending a short time in Mindoro, Wis., Dr. Barr located in Clermont, Iowa, practiced there till May, 1869, when he settled in Algona, where he has a large and lucrative practice. He is a modest, quiet, unassuming gentleman, attending to the duties of his profession with the utmost assiduity. In 1871 Dr. Barr was appointed United States examining surgeon for pensions, and still holds that office. In February, 1876, he became a volunteer weather reporter for this immediate section of the State, and still makes his daily observations, reporting to Prof. Herrick of Iowa City. In March, 1880, he graduated in the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, after attending lectures during the winter. Dr. Bass has always voted the republican ticket and is a staunch supporter of the temperance cause. He is a Master Mason. He married, June 15, 1871, Selina M. Bradshaw of Davenport, Iowa. They have four children—Bertram J., Arthur E., Emma N. and Mary A. Mrs. Barr is a graduate of the high school and training school of Davenport, was a teacher there for several years, and is a woman of no small degree of intellectual polish. They are both active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and active in the Sabbath school. Dr. Barr’s experience in the army hospital as steward and assistant surgeon was an excellent school to him, and aided him in laying a good foundation on which to build in medical science, of which he is a very close student. When he entered the army he took some books with him, and at first pursued his studies when not busy in the hospital. He fitted himself for a surgeon’s duties by studying two hours before any one else was astir. Industry in so noble a direction has been amply rewarded.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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