W. Martin Barber, a native of Greene county, was born May 6, 1820, in what was then Ross township, but is now Cedarville township, his parents being John and Sarah (Martin) Barber. The father was a native of Pennsylvania and at an early day came to Ohio, settling in what was then Ross township, Greene county. His father had purchased a large tract of land in this township and divided it among his sons. He, too, became a resident of the county, living here for many years, where he was eventually called to his final rest. John Barber served the country in the war of 1812 and throughout the greater part of his business career carried on agricultural pursuits. After the death of her husband Mrs. Barber removed to Cedarville. where she passed away at an advanced age. Both were loyal members of the Associate Reformed church, and in their family were eleven children, of whom W. Martin was the second in order of birth. Only two of the number, however, are now living, the other being- Esther, wife
of James Townsley.
W. Martin Barber obtained his education in an old log school-house in his native township and though his privileges in that direction were somewhat limited, his training at farm labor was not neglected. About 1841 he removed to Cedarville, where he engaged in the operation of a sawmill, continuing in that industry for many years. The mill was situated in the village and he engaged in its operation until about ten years ago, since which time he has lived a retired life, enjoying a well merited rest. In his business affairs he prospered as the result of his untiring activity, his enterprise and capable management. He also owns a farm of one hundred and fifty acres in Cedarville township, which he has managed for a number of years.
Mr. Barber has been twice married. For his first wife he chose Nancy Townsley, their marriage being celebrated February 9, 1848. She was a daughter of Enos Townsley, a farmer and an early settler of Cedarville townsiiip. Her death occurred May 4, 1855, and four children were left to mourn her loss: Emmazetta is the wife of L. J. Bull, of Cedarville, and they have three children—Carl, Frank B. and Ralph. Mary J. is the wife of Charles M. Crouse, who is engaged in the hardware business in Cedarville. Henry M. is the superintendent of the straw department of the paper mill at this place and is a member of the budding committee of the courthouse for this county. Nancy is the wife of James H. Andrew, a retired grocer, of Cedarville. For his second wife Mr. Barber chose Mary M. Mead, a native of Morgan county, Ohio, and a daughter of Holmes aiid Mary Ann Mead. Her father was born in Vermont and the mother's birth occurred in New Jersey. Mr. Mead followed farming all his life. At an early day he came to Ohio and here became identified with agricultural pursuits. His last days, however, were spent in Kansas. The second marriage of Mr. Barber occurred November 20, 1861, and by this union two children have been born: Carrie J. and Lulu. The latter is at home and the former is now the wife of W. L. Marshall, who is engaged in the livery business in Xenia. They have four children: Harry, Arthur B., Mary L. and Alfred L.
At the time of the Civil war Mr. Barber was made a member of the Volunteer Company of Xenia, was stationed at Fort Chase at the time of the Morgan raid, but was only on duty for a few days. In politics he was a Democrat during early life, but for the past ten years has voted the Reformed ticket. For several terms he served as a member of the council at Cedarville, and whatever tended to advance the welfare and upbuilding of the town has proved of interest to him and has elicited his co-operation. For over a half-century he has been a member of the United Presbyterian church and his life has been in constant harmony with its teachings and principles. Mr. Barber is now past the age of eighty-two years, and to him is tendered the veneration and respect which should ever be given to one of advanced years. His life has been characterized by industry, by perseverance, by loyalty in citizenship and trustworthiness in all relations, and therefore his example is one worthy of emulation, and one which should ever awaken respect.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)