GEORGE BARR is one of the prosperous men of Benton county whose material success has come largely through farming, and he is now living retired after a long and active career in that occupation. He has been a resident of Benton county since 1892 and still owns a finely improved farm of one hundred and eighty acres near Vinton, which is valued at about one hundred and fifty dollars an acre. He retired to his home in Vinton about thirteen years ago, and for the first two years was engaged in the grocery business, but this store is now managed by his son-in-law, Mr. Burt Turner.
Mr. Barr was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, May 26, 1841. The family had lived for generations in the border provinces of what is now the German empire, and Mr. Barr has a copy of the coat of arms which distinguished the family, the figures of a bear and eagles being ,the distinctive features of the design. The parents were George and Salome (Busteter) Barr, both of whom were natives of the province of Alsace-Loraine, formerly a French but now a German possession. They moved to Wurtemberg when young. George Barr, the elder, served for eighteen years as a member of the King's bodyguard in the German army, having twice re-enlisted. His wife died in 1847, when their son George was six years old. The record of their other six children is as follows: Henry, the only other son, who died at the age of nine years; Mrs. Lowerman, who is a resident of Germany; one daughter died in Germany and another in Wisconsin; Mrs. Mary Clockner lives in New York city; Mrs. Margaret Beard lives in Missouri.
George Barr was about eleven years old when he came to Wisconsin, having crossed the Atlantic a short time before. In 1859 he took up his residence in Bureau county, Illinois, which was to be his principal home until he came to Iowa. In the fall of 1860 he made a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, but returned to Bureau county, and in August, 1862, enlisted in Company B, of the Ninety-third Illinois Infantry. His service was for a little more than a year, during which he participated in the siege of Vicksburg, and after being seriously ill in the hospital for several months was discharged for disability and returned home. Until his health was quite restored he lived with a sister in Wisconsin several months, and then returned to Bureau county. He was one of the active farmers of that county for nearly thirty years after the war, and in connection with the usual occupations of the farm he operated a threshing outfit and corn-sheller for a number of years. From Bureau county he moved to Iowa in 1892 and bought a farm three miles southeast of Vinton, and after giving his personal supervision to this place for five years retired.
In politics Mr. Barr has always been Republican. While a resident of Bureau county he served as supervisor. He has held all the offices, including commander of the P. M. Coder Post No 98, G. A. R. He also affiliates with the Masonic lodge, chapter and commandery. He and his wife are members of the Methodist church of Vinton.
Mr. Barr married in the fall of 1867, Miss Rachel Martin. She was born in Warren county, New Jersey, October 14, 1840. Her parents, Henry and Mary (Brown) Martin, both natives of New Jersey, were early settlers of Bureau county, Illinois. Henry Martin died at Maiden, Illinois, in April, 1879, and his widow made several visits to her daughter in Benton county, the last when she was ninety-two years old, and she died shortly after she arrived at her daughter's home. Mrs. Barr has two sisters living in Vinton, Mrs. H. Strong and Mrs. Maria Long. Mr. and Mrs. Barr have two children: Fleeda, who was born March 14, 1870, is the wife of Burt Turner, the grocer of Vinton already mentioned, and they have one daughter, Rachel, aged two years. Henry, who was born October 30, 1874, is a druggist at Clarion, Iowa.