Biography of Charles V. Barr of Morris, Illinois

Charles V. Barr. To those in the least familiar with Plainfield’s industries the name of Mr. Barr is well known. He is junior member of the firm of Whipple & Barr, and has the personal oversight of the firm’s business at this point, Mr. Whipple having charge of their elevator at Caton Farm. They have built up a large business in grain, and also deal extensively in coal and lumber. By their reliability and energy they have gained the respect of acquaintances and the confidence of business men.

Mr. Barr was born in Morris, Grundy County, Ill., June 28, 1864. His father, John, a native of County Antrim, Ireland, learned the weaver’s trade in that country and in 1851 came to America, settling in Albany, N. Y. After a short time he proceeded westward, establishing his home in Morris, Ill., where he embarked in the grain business, and became the owner of an elevator. His death occurred in that town when he was fifty-eight years of age. In personal qualities he was a man to attract and retain friends, possessing a genial nature and great energy. He did not confine his attention to the grain business, but had other interests, being a large cattle feeder and also the owner of a distillery which he operated until it burned in 1871. He then erected a flour mill on its site. His success was all the result of his own efforts, as he had no means when starting out for himself. In religion he is a Presbyterian. The Democratic party received his allegiance, and he was active in its support. He was several times elected treasurer of Grundy County, for two terms held the office of mayor of Morris (a town of four thousand people) and for years served as supervisor.

The wife of John Barr was Elizabeth Smith, who was born in Fulton County, N. Y., and now makes her home in Los Angeles, Cal. She is a member of an old family whose history in the United States is traced back to the landing of the “Mayflower,” being directly descended from John Howland and Daniel Wardwell. In her family there were six children. The oldest, Nellie O., is the wife of R. E. Mason, of Los Angeles, Cal. The second-born, Robert, died when twenty-five years of age; Charles V. was third in order of birth. Francis E. is principal of the Episcopal Seminary at Portland, Ore. Alice C. is the wife of Bert Smith, of Springfield, Mass. John C., the youngest of the family, is a letter carrier in Los Angeles, Cal.

The boyhood days of our subject were spent in Morris, and his education was obtained in the common schools. When he was thirteen he began working as a messenger and office boy with William Young, a grain dealer in Chicago, with whom he continued for several years. When he was twenty-one he bought a membership in the board of trade in Chicago, where he continued as a broker uutil September, 1890. Then, in connection with his brother-in-law, Levi Whipple, he leased the elevator at Plainfield, which they afterward bought. They have also built and now own the elevator at Caton Farm.

In politics Mr. Barr is independent. He is connected with Plainfield Lodge No. 472, K. of P., in which he is past chancellor. His marriage, August 23, 1886, united him with Miss Kate Stone, of Morris, a well-educated lady and an active member of the Congregational Church. They are the parents of two sons, Allan Stone, born May 23, 1896, and John Raymond, born October 17, 1897.


Genealogical and biographical record of Will County, Illinois : containing biographies of well known citizens of the past and present. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1900, Pages 395-396.

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