One month ago I wrote about the Rev. Solomon Gleason Barber who raised my 2nd Great-Grandfather, his nephew, as his own son. Since this week’s 52 Ancestors theme is about farming, this post belongs to the younger Solomon.
Many of my American ancestors either farmed as a profession or lived on small family farms while practicing another vocation. I know of most of their farms from their records, such as censuses and wills. I know some of my 2nd great-grandfather’s life on the farm through a biography written by someone I believe was his grandson.
Solomon Gleason Barber (sometimes known as Sam) was reportedly born to Timothy Barber and Ann Benson in 1843 in Bennington, Vermont. By 1850 he was living with his Uncle Solomon and Aunt Nancy in Massachusetts. They moved with him to Blendon Township near Columbus, Ohio where young Solomon lived until the Civil War. He joined the Union army in 1861 and served with the Co. E, 31st Ohio Volunteer Infantry through 1862.
In 1867 he married Sarah Ann “Sadie” Green and they had three boys, Clyde, Byrd, and George, and one daughter, Bessie, who died young. In 1876, Solomon and his immediate family pulled up stakes and got on a train to east Texas. The destination was supposed to be the town of Troup, but after a wait in Jacksonville, Texas for a change of trains, they decided to stay there.
After spending four years working for others, Solomon finally got the chance to start his own farm. He purchased 170 acres east of Jacksonville, erected a modern cotton gin, and raised peach, pear, apple, and cherry trees along with cotton. George L. Barber in his biography cited below called him “a progressive farmer” and said that he invented a mechanical cotton planting device to replace hand planting.
In 1899, Solomon applied for and received a military pension for his Civil War service. He died in 1907 at the age of 63. His grandson Newell (one of my great-uncles) applied for a special military headstone for his grave. The regiment number is incorrect – it should be 31 instead of 1.
“31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1861 – 1865),” Ohio Civil War Central, (https://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=597 : accessed 5 October 2018).
George L. Barber, “Solomon Gleason Barber,” Jacksonville: the Story of a Dynamic Community, 1872-1972 (Jacksonville Centennial Corp., 1972), 82-84.