EDWARD HINMAN BARBER
EDWARD HINMAN BARBER was one of the honored pioneers of Eaton county, and it is gratifying to be able to perpetuate in this work a sketch of his life prepared by his son, Edward W., editor of the Jackson Patriot, of Jackson, Michigan, the article having originally been published in a volume entitled: "The Vermontville Colony: Its Genesis and History, with Personal Sketches of the Colonists." For the sake of convenience the article is reproduced without recourse to the customary quotation marks save those appearing in the original text. A "Genealogy of George H. Barbour," of Detroit, 1635 to 1891, prepared by Fred Carlisle, supplemented by other information of a reliable character, shows that Thomas Barber, a pioneer settler of Windsor, Connecticut, was the American ancestor of the Vermontville Barbers. In 1634, an English expedition was fitted out, under the patronage of Sir Richard Salstonstall, to take possession of a grant of land made to him by the Massachusetts Bay Company in the Connecticut valley. Says the Genealogy : "He placed the expedition in charge of Francis Stiles, a master carpenter of London. who, with twenty others, took passage on the ship 'Christian de Lo,' Joseph White, master, March 16, 1634, which reached Boston harbor the 20th of June following. Among the names appearing in the London passenger register was that of 'Thomas Barber, aged 21. " June 16, 1635, after nearly a year's delay, caused by trouble with the established church of Massachusetts bay, the Stiles party went up the Connecticut river, and the early records of Windsor show that Thomas Barber was one of the settlers there in 1635. In 1637' he was enrolled as a sergeant under Major Stoughton and took part in several fights with the Pequot Indians. Later, under John Mason, he participated in an attack on the Pequot fort, an event known in history as the Pequot massacre, in which seventy-seven white soldiers and one hundred Niantic and Narragansett warriors defeated seven hundred Pequot's and captured and destroyed their fort, only five or six escaping. Mason's account of this battle. published in Boston in 1737, refers to the part taken by Thomas Barber as follows: ' ' He had entered the fort, and in going out of a wigwam encountered seven Indians. They fled and we pursued to the end of the lane, but before we could reach them they were met by Thomas Barber and Edward Pattison, who slew the entire seven, their muskets having been discharged." In 1640 Thomas Barber married. His wife's surname does not appear on church records of Windsor. Her given name was Jane or Joan, and there is some evidence that she was the daughter of a Dutch settler at Saybrook. One authority says: "The wife of, or she who became the wife of, Thomas Barber was the first white woman to land in Connecticut." Thomas Barber, a second son of Thomas the immigrant, was born in Windsor, July 14, 1644, and married Mary Phelps. His son, John born in Windsor, November 1, 1664, married Mary Holcomb, and settled in or near Worcester, Massachusetts. According to the Worcester Antique Society's history, "John Barber was granted ten acres of land near Worcester in 1686." Fourth generation: Mathew Barber, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, deacon of Congregational church there as late as 1784. One account says he was deacon of the church for forty years. Fifth generation: Daniel Barber, born in Pittsfield Massachusetts, married Ruth Hinman; moved to Benson, Vermont, in 1783, his family being the first to settle in that town. Sixth generation: Edward H. Barber and Daniel Barber, pioneers of Vermontville, Eaton county, Michigan. Edward H. Barber was born in Benson, Vermont, January 4, 179-1.. He was a man of slender build, fine mental organization, a nervous temperament and was a great reader. His integrity was never questioned. Better than any sermon ever preached was the remark made to me by Michael Monks, an Irishman of Vermontville, one day: "Edward, I hope you will lx as honest a man as your father." Before coming to Michigan he was under sheriff of Rutland county, Vermont. Business was brisk, as imprisonment for debt was a cruel law of the time, and Benson was a common runway to and across Lake Champlain for hard-pressed debtors. Many a good citizen of Michigan left New England between Saturday night and Monday morning because he could not pay his debts. The debtor's cell was a part of every county jail. The whipping post stood in every village, for the punishment of petty offenders. In Benson it stood in front of the school house. I have a souvenir of that time, in a cedar cane made of a portion of that bygone penal institution. Mr. Barber first came west on a prospecting trip in 1836, and purchased about twelve hundred acres of land from the government, mostly in Vermontville township. Among his ancestors Thomas Barber, the second, built the first saw mill in Simsbury, Connecticut; Daniel Barber, his father, did the same thing in Benson, Vermont; and he put up the first saw mill in Vermontville. In 1840 he was elected supervisor, and held the office for six successive years. Of the colonists Jay Hawkins and he were the only heads of families who did not belong to the Congregational church. They may have had more comfort and peace in life for this reason, as they escaped the possibility of church trials. Neither of them, however, was skeptical regarding the truths of Christianity, but my father could not get religion in the usual way. Thoroughly conscientious and with a high ideal of what genuine religion required. he was a Christian on the "silent list" all his life. During a revival, when Rev. Mr. Lord was personally urging him to come out and be a Christian, he said, "I wish with all my heart I was one. If I could only swap sides!" He was too honest to profess more than he saw was attained in practical life, and so never could "swap sides" by merely becoming a member of the church. In politics he was a conservative Whig, but when the civil war came and the first gun was fired on Fort Sumter all his conservatism disappeared and he was earnestly in favor of the abolition of slavery and the putting down of the rebellion. He lived until the struggle ended in the triumph of the cause of national unity and freedom. This was for him a great gratification. In 1826 he married Rebecca Griswold, of Benson, Vermont, whose ancestry has been traced back to the time of the Norman conquest of England. She died in 1838. Four children were born to them, in Benson: Edward W., of Jackson, Michigan; Homer G., of Vermontville, Michigan ; John Carlos, of Battle Creek, Michigan; and Noel A., who died in Marshall, Michigan, in 1551. By a second marriage, in 1839, with Laura E. Root, of Orwell, Vermont, there were five children, all born in Vermontville: Parthena E., widow of Willard H. Dickenson, of Vermontville; Albert hl., of Charlotte; Josiah IV., deceased; Marshall F., of Biwabik, Minnesota; and Vernon N., deceased. Josiah W. was a member of Company H, Sixth Michigan Infantry, in the civil war. He died in hospital and was buried at Carrolton, Louisiana.