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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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EZEKIEL BARBER. Randolph County furnished its full quota of noble men to the rank and file of the Union army, among whom our subject occupied an honorable place. He is now one of the prominent business men of Sparta, where he is engaged in the real-estate business, and has been administrator for many valuable estates. His father, Ezekiel Barber, was born November 22, 1802, in Marietta, Ohio, and was only two and a-half years old when he was brought by his parents to this county, they settling in Ellis Grove.

The father was a farmer by occupation, and by trade a millwright. He received an education such as it was possible to procure in that early day. His death occurred four months prior to the birth of our subject. He was the son of Alexander and Nancy (Dennis) Barber, natives respectively of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The grandparents were married in Ohio, and after coming to Illinois, located in Randolph County. They had started for Missouri, which was the home of Daniel Boone, but being taken sick while en route, returned to Kaskaskia, Ill., where he died. He was a Whig in politics, and served as Justice of the Peace for over half a century, being appointed by Governor Edwards in 1809, and filled the office until 1860.

The great-grandparents of our subject, Ezekiel and Sourancy Barber, were also natives of Connecticut, whence they later removed to Ohio, and from there to Illinois, making their home at Ellis Grove, this county, until their death. The great grandfather was a stone-cutter by trade, and a farmer by occupation, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, being present at the battle of Trenton. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. The Barber family, which is of Scotch descent, was first represented in America about 1700.

Mrs. Jennie (Murphy) Barber, the mother of our subject, was born in North Carolina in 1797. She was a young lady of eighteen years when she came to this county, and was a daughter of John Murphy, a native of Ireland, and a brick-layer by trade, who, while a patriot in the Revolutionary War, participated in the battle of Kings Mountain. He and his wife departed this life in Perry County, Ill. The mother of our subject died in June, 1877, while a resident of Carroll County, this state.

The parents of our subject were married in 1823, and reared a family of two children. Alexander, formerly a resident of Grafton, this state, died in 1888. He married Miss Conway, and they became the parents of eight children, four of whom are living: Francis, Ida J., Horace G. and John. Ezekiel, the second son, was born December 15, 1827, near Ellis Grove, this county. A year later his mother went to live with Grandfather Barber, with whom they continued to reside until August, 1831. Our subject was educated in the old log schoolhouse of pioneer days, and when old enough worked in a grist and sawmill for his grandfather in this county. In 1844 he went to Galena, and after working in the lead mines of that place for one and a-half years, he removed to Wisconsin. After two years spent in that state, he returned to the home of his grandfather, and worked for his uncle, James Barber, in the saw mill for two years. In 1850, having been seized with the gold fever, he crossed the plains to California, where he prospected for gold for two years, meeting with fair success. At the expiration of that time he returned home, and for a twelve month again worked for his uncle in the mill.

In 1853 Ezekiel Barber married Miss Mary J. Frazer, who was born in 1831 in Indiana. She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Smith) Frazer, natives of Pennsylvania and Bowling Green, Ky., respectively. The father of Mrs. Barber was a cabinet-maker by trade, in politics was a Whig, and socially was a prominent Odd Fellow. He died at Rockwood, Ill., January 1, 1845. Mrs. Frazer departed this life in New Albany, Ind., in September, 1847. To our subject and his wife were born six children, of whom Bell, Charlie, Cora and Willie are deceased. Those living are Nellie and Minnie, both highly educated young ladies and school teachers.

The year of his marriage Mr. Barber engaged in the mercantile business at Rockwood, and after disposing of his interests in that line, he became keeper of a wood yard in the same place. He was filling that position when, in 1864, he enlisted, and was assigned to the Fiftieth Illinois Infantry. This regiment then being with Sherman on the march to the sea, he was temporarily with others organized in the Fourth Battalion, in which he participated in the battle of Nashville on the 15th and 16th of December, following Hood’s retreating army into Alabama. Returning to Nashville, he was sent to Newbern, N. C., where he again was temporarily assigned to the One Hundred and Twenty-second New York Infantry, and participated in the battle of Kingston, N. C., March 8, 9, 10 and 11, 1865. He joined the Fiftieth Illinois Infantry, March 25, 1865, and was discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 13 of that year.

Returning from the army, our subject went to Rockwood, and from there to Missouri, it being his intention to prospect in the lead mines in Granby. Soon, however, he returned to Rockwood, and until 1888 was engaged in shipping fruit, grain and cattle to St. Louis. At present he is the proprietor of a fine farm located in township 8, range 6, besides having valuable town property. He is also engaged in loaning money, and is administrator for an estate worth $50,000. In his political relations he is a strong Republican, and is an influential member of Post No. 181, G. A. R., at Sparta. Although not a member of any denomination, he gives liberally of his means to the support of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which his wife is connected.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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