"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Barr
An anniversary of great importance was observed two weeks ago by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barr, who live northeast of Postville, about one mile south of Forest Mills. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with 50 of their friends and relatives honoring them on the occasion. They are both in excellent health and do their own work about their farm home. Mrs. Barr does the cooking and housework, while her husband accomplishes such tasks as mowing and raking the lawn, tending the cook stove, etc. She is 75 years old and Mr. Barr is past 81.
When the Herald reporter called at their home last week he interrupted Mrs. Barr, who was busy with her sewing. But she put away her needle and thread and in the absence of Mr. Barr, who was taking care of business matters in Waukon, she relived the past by answering many questions regarding her life and that of her husband.
As Miss Emma Fish, she was born March 19, 1865, in Benton county, Iowa, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fish. As her parents lived on a farm several miles from Shellsburg, she attended rural school near the Fish farm home. "I wasn't the only child in the family," she explained, "as I had five brothers and three sisters. My sisters have all passed away, but my brothers are all living. Ed Fish lives only a short distance away from this farm, as he is located near Forest Mills; Austin Fish lives near Lansing; George Fish is at Decorah; Louis Fish lives in Waukon, and Isaac Fish lives in Benton county. "When I was eleven years old we left our Benton county farm, moving to Missouri, where we lived for only a year." The Fish family returned to Iowa, locating near Wapello. It was here that the bride of 60 years ago met her husband.
Mr. Barr was born in the state of California on January 6, 1859. His parents, Mr. and Mrs Steven Barr, lived in California until Frank was nine years old. Then they journeyed eastward, also locating in Wapello. Frank Barr obtained an education in the public schools of Wapello and attended high school for a year. He had five brothers, all of whom have passed away. Although still in his teens, he quit school to go to work in a livery stable. "We were married on April 23, 1880," Mrs. Barr continued. "After our marriage we settled down in Wapello for two or three years, but we finally decided to move to Missouri. Here Mr. Barr found work in a saw mill camp before returning to Iowa."
The Barrs purchased a 16 acre farm about two miles north of where they are now living, and they spent ten years on their own property before selling out and moving to a farm near Hickory Creek. Mr. and Mrs. Barr did considerable moving after that. At one time they lived in the home they are now occupying, but they moved away to another property in the Forest Mills neighborhood. "In 1938 we went to Waukon," Mrs. Barr explained, "where we lived until the spring of 1939. As there were two houses on this farm, which is owned by our son Guy, we decided to move in. And we have been here ever since."
Mr. and Mrs. Barr became the parents of eleven children. Two have passed away: Fred Barr and Mrs. Maude Robinson. Nine are living today. They are: Eunice (Mrs. Doald Taylor) of Waukegan, Ill.; Mrs. Mae Edwards of near Maquoketa; Minnie (Mrs. Vernaus Ames) of LeCrescent, Minn.,; Artie (Mrs. Fritz Berg) of Waukon, Grace (Mrs. Albert Evans) of near Forest Mills; Guy Barr (on whose farm they are now living); Chester and Harry Barr, who live in the Forest Mills vicinity, and Albert Barr of Cedar Rapids.
Mr. and Mrs Barr took a granddaughter, Hazel (Mrs. Willis Schlitter), into their home shortly after the death of Hazel's mother, Mrs. Robinson. They consider her their daughter as she stayed with them until her marriage. "How many grandchildren do you have?" the Herald reporter asked Mrs. Barr. "Oh, my," she answered. "We must have at least 38 grandchildren. Good lands, I never thought of them" she replied. "Let's see, there must be a few." Then she did some mental calculating. Finally she decided that there are "at least 17 great grandchildren, maybe more."
During their many years of married life, they have seen many changes and watched a continous development. "I can remember when ox teams were used by the men in hauling logs and doing farm work," she reminisced. "When my husband worked in a saw mill in Missouri after we were married, oxen were used a great deal. The men would put yokes on them and put chains to the logs. Then by using whips and doing a lot of 'hollering' the oxen would pull the logs into the correct positions. They could pull an awful load. "When I was a girl I used to do housework in homes of various people. I can remember that candles furnished the only light in many of the places I worked. I can well remember my first automobile ride. It was shortly after our son-in-law, Albert Evans, purchased his car. He gave me a long ride over dirt roads, as it was before there was much pavement. I enjoyed it very much, but in recent years I haven't had much desire to go riding. I've never been up in an airplane, and I don't think I'd care about it."
Mr. and Mrs. Barr enjoy living on the farm of their son. Their house is just north of the Guy Barr farm home. "when we lived here years ago, Frank quite often walked nine miles to Waukon, but he doesn't go for those long hikes any more," she stated. "He gets his exercise now doing odd jobs around the house. It's too bad that you missed him, as he could explain some mighty interesting things that happened during his younger days."
~Postville Herald, May 8, 1940
Friends on the Acres' index