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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Wentworth Barber

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 496 - 497

Wentworth Barber, an enterprising and successful farmer, residing on section 23, Lyndon Township, is numbered among the oldest pioneers of this community, dating his residence here from December 8, 1841. He was born in the town of Berkshire, Franklin County, Vt., December 28, 1819, and his parents, Caleb and Polly (Crampton) Barber, were also natives of the Green Mountain State. In 1841, they emigrated to the Territory of Wisconsin, where the father followed farming until his death, in 1847. His wife passed away in 1864. The paternal grandfather was one of the heroes of the Revolution. The Barber family numbered five sons and three daughters, of whom the following are now living: Wentworth; Lura, wife of Henry Whitnell, deceased, and a resident of Appleton, Wis.; Gustus, a farmer of California; and Mary, wife of Benjamin Smart, a farmer of Waukesha County.

Upon the home farm our subject was reared, and in the common schools acquired his education. He remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. Having determined to try his fortune in the West, he landed in Waukesha County in May, 1841. The trip was made from St. Albans to Whitehall, on Lake Champlain, thence to Buffalo, and on the steamer "Chesapeake" to Milwaukee, whence he went to Waukesha County, where he remained until the following December. At that time he hired out to William Ashby, the oldest living settler of Sheboygan County, to work in a sawmill at $18 per month. On his arrival here Mr. Barber had only twenty shillings. His entire possessions have been acquired through his own efforts, and he may truly be called a self-made man. In Sheboygan there were only four houses, belonging to Messrs. Moore, Aldis, Joshua Brown and Capt. Brooks. Indians were very numerous in the neighborhood, and there were wild animals and wild game. Mr. Barber worked for the old Indian trader, William Farnsworth, and on one occasion, when he had charge of the "flats," the Indians pitched their tents on that land. They were told by Mr. Barber to leave, but as they did not do so, he threw them into the river. Subsequently, "Little Thunder," an Indian who had taken too much liquor, threatened to kill our subject, but Mr. Barber had in his hand an ox-goad about four feet long with a spike in the end of this, with which he gave the Indian a jab in the hand. The squaws carried him away, and Mr. Barber had no more trouble. In 1845, he entered eighty acres of Government land in Lyndon Township - the first entered in this community - and in 1847 began the development of the wild prairie. His home was a frame house, 18 x 26 feet. There were not many settlers in the township, and the name of Lyndon was taken about the time he came. There were no roads, and the entire county seemed on the border of civilization. Mr. Barber aided in building the first schoolhouse in Lyndon Township, and has been prominently identified with the entire progress and development of this community. He was instrumental in establishing the Baptist Church, and his name is inseparably connected with every work of public improvement.

On the 6th of September, 1847, Mr. Barber married Miss Elizabeth Ashby, and unto them were born three children, two yet living. Whitman Ashby, who was born October 17, 1853, and was educated in the common schools and Ripon College, was a successful teacher for several years, and is now a progressive farmer of Lyndon Township. He married Miss Nina Windel, a native of Wisconsin, and they had a daughter, Mamie, a young lady of sixteen, who will graduate from the Waldo High School in 1894, and is quite proficient in music. Her mother died May 22, 1879, and Whitman Ashby afterwards married Cora Sprague, a native of New York. He is a Republican, is the present Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and is an influential and progressive citizen. He belongs to the Odd Fellows' society of Waldo. Julia, the only daughter of our subject, was educated in the Hingham High School. Mrs. Barber was called to her final rest September 6, 1866, and in April, 1867, Mr. Barber married Mrs. Angeline (Colwell) Conner, a native of Putnam County, N. Y. She has successfully taught school in the Empire State and Wisconsin, and is a faithful member of the Baptist Church.

In early life Mr. Barber was an old-line Whig, and was an enthusiastic supporter of Gen. William Henry Harrison, although he was not quite old enough to vote at the time of the election. Since the organization of the Republican party, he has been a stanch advocate of its principles. He takes an active interest in the cause of education, and in every enterprise or movement calculated to prove of public benefit. He is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of rich land, pleasantly located within a mile and a-half of Waldo. This is a valuable estate, and his beautiful country residence, in the midst of well-kept grounds and good outbuildings, stands as a monument to his thrift and enterprise. As Mr. Barber is so widely and favorably known, we feel assured that this record will be received with interest, and with pleasure present it to our readers.


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