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Capt Joseph Knox Barclay
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Birth: Sep. 18, 1883
Jennings County
Indiana, USA
Death: May 1, 1919
Virginia, USA

Son of James William and Lydia Anne Ewing Barclay. Born September 18, 1883 in Jennings County, IN. Moved to Monroe County, IN in 1899. He was a lawyer. Commissioned Captain, Second Officers Training School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN. Sent to Camp Dodge, IA, where he was appointed Battalion Commander. Transferred to Officers School at Camp Lee, VA where he was appointed Judge Advocate. Died May 1, 1919 at Camp Lee. He was married to Eleanor Bowles Barclay and they had one son, Joseph William Barclay.

Bloomington Daily Telephone 05/02/1919

Dead as a captain of infantry in the United States army, Joseph Knox Barclay, prominent attorney and Democratic political leader, is on his way "back home" to Bloomington. Capt. Barclay died yesterday afternoon at 2:30 in the base hospital at Camp Lee, Va. His wife, formerly Miss Eleanor Bowles, and his two sisters were with him when the end came and they are now on the way to Bloomington with the body.

Capt. Barclay died following two operations. The first was for umbilical hernia and was performed 3 weeks ago and the second took place last Sunday and was necessitated by a coughing spell which opened the incision of the first operation. The exact details of the second operation and death have not yet been received here. Mrs. Barclay and the Captain's two sisters were with him when he died, having reached Camp Lee Tuesday night. It is thought that they arrived while he was still conscious as the Captain dictated a letter home Tuesday to the Chaplain of the base hospital which was received here yesterday and the party arrived at Camp Lee that night.

When the war broke up Capt. Barclay was stationed at Camp Hancock, Augusta, Ga., and some weeks ago, when that camp was disbanded, he was ordered to a regular army officers school at Camp Lee and Mrs. Barclay and their small son, Joseph William, came to Bloomington. Three weeks ago the Captain underwent the first operation and the word came to Bloomington that he was doing nicely and it was thought there was little danger. Monday the first alarming telegram came to Mrs. Barclay. It was from Gen. Reed, commanding at Camp Lee, and simply stated that the Captain was in a critical condition and that his chances of recovery doubtful. Knowing the army practice, which is not to send out such telegrams until a case is practically hopeless, the friends here realized at once that probably the worst would happen. Mrs. Barclay that afternoon went to Indianapolis, met the two sisters of the Captain and started the long trip to Camp Lee.

Yesterday the letter dictated Tuesday by Captain Barclay to the Chaplain came to the W. T. Bowles home here. From the letter it was evident that the Captain realized his condition and the probable outcome and was facing the situation bravely. He dictated the facts in regard to his second operation and said that he was not getting along very well and asked that his wife come out at once. As Mrs. Barclay reached the camp on the night of the day on which this letter was written it is likely he was able to talk to her.

Capt. Joe Knox Barclay was one of the best known men in Monroe county and easily one of the most popular, having a peculiar knack of winning and keeping friends. The Barclay family moved to this county a number of years ago and the Captain was educated in the local high school and then took the law course at Indiana University. As a boy in high school and in college he was a natural leader and always played a prominent part in both social and athletic events. As a Indiana student, he was a member of the track team during all of his four years in college. In those days he was a tall, slim boy and his specialty was long distance running races and his feats are well remembered to the followers of I. U. athletic events. After leaving college he maintained an interest in the I. U. track team and helped with the coaching for several years. His last athletic stunt was a race against Dorando, the Italian marathon runner, which was staged at Indianapolis.

Leaving college, Capt. Barclay went into the practice of law in Bloomington and from the first took to local politics very strongly and very effectively. He was a Democrat of the old school and believed thoroughly in the Democratic politics. There was no special opening for him to fall into in Bloomington but he at once forced his way to the front in both law and politics. Starting out as secretary of the Democratic central committee, he rapidly became a leader, not only locally but over the second congressional district and was quickly gaining state-wide recognition. Barclay and Attorney John O'Donnell played politics together and were quickly recognized by Judge Miers, Edwin Corr and the other Monroe county Democratic leaders. They made their telling fight against John Underwood of Bedford, for the nomination for Barclay for prosecutor of Monroe and Lawrence counties and while they lost this political battle, they established themselves while making it. Barclay also took a prominent part in the fight against ex-Congressman W. A. Cullop of Vincennes and for four years before the defeat of Cullop had been very actively opposed to him.

When the United States went into war against Germany, it was very natural that Barclay should be among the first to go he was the kind of man who could not be kept out. He attended the second officers training camp at Ft. Benjamin Harrison and came out of the camp with a commission as a captain. He was then sent to Fort Dodge at Des Moines, Iowa, and remained there until he was ordered to Camp Hancock at Augusta, Ga., last spring.

At Camp Hancock, Capt, Barclay was first in charge of the receiving depot, then with an infantry regiment and after the armistice was signed was attached to the judge advocate's office to take special charge of a murder case. For four months previous to the end of the war he had been acting as a major and had been recommended for that promotion and would have gained it in a short time if peace had not come.

One of the big disappointments of his life was not getting to go to France. He was a wonderfully clever officer as he quickly took to the military life and like many another clever officer he was retained in the United States because of his usefulness on this side of the water. However, he could not reconcile himself to the situation and when the war ended he was about to leave the infantry and go into the machine gun branch as a quick means of getting to the west front.

With the coming of peace Capt. Barclay had the chance to stay in the regular army and it is likely that this would have been his course if he had not died. He was recommended for a commission as a captain of regulars by Gen. Oliver Edwards, commanding Camp Hancock and was attending a regular army school at Camp Lee when his death took place. If he had not stayed in the army, he had decided to come home to run for congress on the Democratic ticket. After the defeat of Mr. Cullop many of the leading Democrats over the second district wrote him and urged him to get in the congressional race, all of them seeming to agree that he was the one man who could unite the Democratic faction.

Bloomington Daily Telephone 05/05/1919

Bloomington yesterday buried Capt. Joseph Knox Barclay. On a brilliant Sunday afternoon his "home town," paid the final respects to one of its best loved sons and with full military honors the remains of the Captain were taken to the final resting place. Hundreds of people attended the funeral, line the streets and were at Rose Hill Bloomington's farewell to Barclay was in keeping with Barclay's splendid career. There were not many dry eyes in Bloomington as Capt. Barclay was taken to Rose Hill.

The funeral party consisting of Mrs. Barclay, the two sisters of the Captain, and Major Dixon, a brother officer and personal friend of the dead Captain, arrived at Indianapolis Saturday night at 10:45 over the Big Four and was met there by Mrs. Barclay's father, W. T. Bowles, and Edward Showers, Capt. Nat U. Hill, William Graham and Blaine Bradfute. Mrs. Barclay and the sisters were at once driven to Bloomington by Mr. Bowles and Mr. Showers while the body was kept in Indianapolis during the night and accompanied home by Major Dixon, Hays Buskirk, Capt. Hill, Mr. Graham and Blaine Bradfute Sunday morning, arriving here at 8:40 over the Illinois Central. The train was met by Capt. Claude Malott, the law partner of Captain Barclay; Phillip Hill for twenty years his personal friend; Robert H. Harris and a large number of other personal friends. It was taken to the McDaniels Undertaking parlors where the army casket was changed to one of mahogany and then to the W. T. Bowles home on north College avenue. There until 3 o'clock floral tributes poured in and scores of friends passed by the casket and shed silent tears.

Everyone was shocked at the appearance of Capt. Barclay as he lay in his casket. His face was drawn and his fine form was much shrunken. His looks told that his death had been a hard one. Capt. Barclay always a fighter had died fighting when he knew that his case was hopless.

Rev. Plymate of the First Presbyterian church of which Capt. Barclay was a member, had charge of the services. His tribute to Barclay as a man and a gold star was a fitting one. Wallace Pauley accompanied by Mrs. George Henley, sang, "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" and "Face to Face." Then the casket was closed and the sad trip made to Rose Hill. The funeral procession was headed by Company F, the Bloomington Home guard company, and veterans of the world war and the streets were lined with people as it moved to the cemetery. At Rose Hill hundreds of people friends of Capt. Barclay every man, woman and child of them surrounded the mausoleum in which the body was placed.

Rev. Plymate said the final words, Company F fired the three volleys, a bugler sounded "taps" the soldier's farewell and the big crowd drifted back to town not to forget Joe Knox Barclay, but to treasure his memory always as a bright spot.

Major Dixon and the relatives brought the first news back to Bloomington of how Capt. Barclay died. He was first operated on for umbilical hernia, an operation which was regarded as a light one but which was necessary if he wanted a discharge from the service and he had about definitely decided to come back to Bloomington to his law practice and politics. He did not get along well from the first and peritonitis set in; then a second operation became necessary and was performed and pneumonia developed. The best army specialists of the eastern camps were summoned to Camp Lee but there was never any hope after the complications started. When pneumonia gripped him, Capt. Barclay knew exactly what he was facing.

"I have one chance in twenty-five," he told Major Dixon and asked that his wife be sent for.

Another day and his case became hopeless and Barclay knew it and flinched not at all. Tuesday night Mrs. Barclay and his sisters arrived and remained with him at the hospital until the end came Thursday afternoon. For some reason after they arrived he was perfectly conscious although he talked with considerable effort. He told them he had no chance and that he was going to die, he talked of some of his close friends of "Nat" and "Phlp" Hill, "Bill" Graham, "Jim" Blair and Blaine Bradfute and asked that they take part at his funeral, he also cautioned them about how hard railroad reservations were to get and his constant worry was about how hard his death was going to be to his wife. He knew in a language that he might have used that he was coming back to Bloomington "feet first" and that did not prey on his mind at all but constantly he was troubled about the pain it would cause to others. The last hours before his death he was delirious. No man ever met death braver then did Capt. Joe Knox Barclay.
Family links: 
  James W. Barclay (1834 - 1914)
  Lydia Ann Ewing Barclay (1841 - 1907)
Rose Hill Cemetery
Monroe County
Indiana, USA
Created by: Jim Bohn
Record added: Jul 24, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39823173
Capt Joseph Knox Barclay
Added by: Jim Bohn
Capt Joseph Knox Barclay
Added by: Jim Bohn
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In memory to my third cousin twice removed.
- Scobee Family Member
 Added: Feb. 8, 2014

- Tom Black
 Added: Dec. 10, 2013
Thank you, Captain Barclay for serving your country.
- linda sharp
 Added: Sep. 29, 2011

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