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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 589~


Robinson A. Barr

Robinson A. Barr, one of the enterprising business men of the county, residing in West Union, is a native of the Keystone State.  He was born in Mercer County, July 6, 1838, and his parents were Alva and Hettie (Robinson) Barr. His grandfather, John Barr, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and came to America as a British soldier to help crush out the rebellion among the Colonists, but on becoming acquainted with the condition of affairs he and twelve companions deserted the British service and joined the Colonial army. After the war he married and settled in Massachusetts, where the father of our subject was born. On reaching manhood Alva Barr went to Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with and wedded Miss Robinson, a native of Virginia, who during her infancy was taken by her parents to Pennsylvania. The distance of some three hundred miles was made on horseback, they blazing the road as they went. This worthy couple became the parents of six children, two of whom are yet living: Milton F. a resident of Elk County, Kansas.; and Robinson A.  In Pennsylvania, Mr. Barrran a tanyard, and made boots, shoes and harness. About 1839, accompanied by his family he emigrated westward, locating in Aurora, Ill., whence he removed to Chicago, then a mere village and engaged in keeping a boarding house.  His next place of residence was in Indiana, where not far distant from the site of Calumet, on the old stage route, he kept a tavern.  There the wife and mother died in 1843. Subsequently, Mr. Barr went to Brush Hill, Ill., several miles from Chicago and later to Lyons, which is situated within ten miles of that metropolis. About 1846 he married Fannie A. Moore, a native of Vermont, who when a young lady accompanied her brother to Illinois. Unto them were born four children. The year 1855 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Barr and his family in Fayette County, Iowa.  His last days were spent in Oswego, Ill., where he died in 1862, and was ever a faithful citizen.  In politics, he was a supporter of the Whig party and the mother of our subject was a member of the Presbyterian Church. 


The educational advantages which Robinson A. received were very limited. When only fourteen years of age he began teaming and while thus engaged was thrown from a wagon and hurt. His injuries resulted in some good however as being no longer able to work, he was permitted to attend school. With the family he came to this county where he engaged in farming he came to this county where he engaged in farming until 1859, when he returned to Illinois. He now turned his attention to railroading and secured a position as fireman on the Michigan Southern Road and afterward on the Illinois Central, but the war cut short his progress in this direction. Believing it his duty to aid his country, on the 9th of August, 1862 , he enlisted  and was assigned to Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry, Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. The greater part of the time he was engaged in detail service but tookpart in the battles of Dallas and Resaca and Kenesaw Mountain, and marched with Sherman to Atlanta and on to the sea. He particiapated in the Grand Review at Washington, D.C. at the close of the war and was discharged on the 5th of June, 1865.


In July following, Mr. Barr returned to Fayette County





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