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Rev Oliver C. Barr

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Rev Oliver C. Barr

Birth
Stockbridge, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Death
6 May 1853 (aged 52)
Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial
Aurora, Kane County, Illinois, USA Add to Map
Plot
S3 B5 L95
Memorial ID
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Age at death: 52 years--Parents: John Barr and Mary Cook of Litchfield, Ct. Born: 1762 Married Malinda Griffen 1840. He was a minister in the Christian Church and was killed in a tragic train crash in 1853.He wrote extensively in the Christian Palladium throughout his life.


OLIVER Barr. ( 1853.)—The public life of this bro ther covered a space of some twenty-seven years—from 1826 to 1853. His fields of labor may be classified as follows : The first seven years of his ministry, from 1826 to 1833, he labored in Chautauqua and adjoining counties in New York and Pennsylvania ; from 1833 to 1841, in Conneaut, O. ; from 1841 to in Honeoye Falls ; and from 1843 till 1847, in Aurora, 111. Such is the classification given in the "Palladium," May 21, 1853. The six years from 1847 till 1853, the time of his death, were years of fruitful labor.


All the knowledge I have of the Elder is, a slight acquaintance with the man during life, and what I gather from his and others' writings in our periodicals during a period of some twenty years.


When Elder Barr was converted, the probability is that his family lived in Western New York, and that none of them were members of the Christian Church. In July, 1832, he wrote to the "Palladium" of the baptism, by himself, of his brother and his wife, in Salem, (Conneaut,) 0. He says : "To me, this was a good day, as from the time I united with the Christian Church I became a stranger to all my mother's children. When we got to the water, my brother turned to the paultitude and confessed, that when I united with this people, who are everywhere spoken against, he considered me lost, that my presence was ever painful to him, and when I moved from the town where we had formerly lived, he was rejoiced, as he had considered me a disgrace, etc." .


From this we gather that whatever religious connexion his family sustained they were bitterly opposed to the Christians. In 1837, the Elder joined the New York Western Conference. His progress in the ministry, at first, must have been slow, for it. is generally reported in his early field of labor that he was told repeatedly by the advocates of respectability in the ministry, that if he could earn his living by manual labor he had better try, for it was clear to all that he would never make a preacher.


During his seven years' life in Chautauqua County, N. Y., his labors must have been arduous, but his support was meager ; and yet his disposition wras such that he was never satisfied with half-way measures. Elder E. G. Holland says, in a sermon delivered on the occasion of Elder Barr's death : ' 'Zeal was a property of his temperament, an attribute of his whole •career in life. I once heard him say, 'I expect to meet a sudden death, when I die. The rush of blood to my head and other liabilities of my constitution lead me to think this/ At another time, he said, 'I have regarded myself these many years as a minute man, not knowing at what moment I may be called from duty.'" Speaking on the same subject, Elder D. Fay says : "For twenty years he had breasted such surges of affliction as would have intimidated and subdued a less courageous spirit. Three times he had been nearly killed by accidents, twice completly disabled by epileptic fits, which nearly •cost him his life, and once or twice entirely lost his voice and was driven in silence from the gospel field. For almost a year, In Conneaut, O., he was unable to ascend the pulpit except on his hands and knees,—which he did regularly,—in consequence of a paralysis in his limbs ; and many times he has heen carried from his sick bed to the sanctuary of God that he might pour out the pent up feelings of a burdened and holy heart."


In connection with the preceding, as illustrative of the same subject, I here introduce an extract of a letter written by himself to the "Palladium, March, 1841, when he had lost his voice. He says : "My health is good but my organs of speech have failed. I feel that I am a broken reed, yet I would desire to submit all to the direction of him in whose hand is the breath of life. I can not describe my feelings when I look back upon the imperfection of my past labors in the cause of Christ, and see before me but little prospect for the future. I have prayed a thousand times that I might die in the gospel field. I have a desire with my last breath to proclaim the Lamb of God. Yet it may not be so. If I do not recover my voice I can preach but little. Well, let the storm rage and let the billows roll, let my voice be lost and all my mental powers fail, yet my Redeemer lives, and because he lives I shall live also—yes, though I die I shall live again ; and though I sink in silence, Jesus will be preached, his gospel will triumph, and the church shall be redeemed."


The preceding noble sentiment, expressed by a true^ Christian spirit, man-ward is dark and gloomy, God-ward it is light and triumphant. However, for the Elder there were other and brighter days. Soon after this, we find, through his letters, that his voice is restored, and the same untiring zeal and ambition is expressed. In all his letters, there is a constant appeal made for more laborers in his field. In 1837, he writes that Elders Nutt and McKee had been with him, but as they were leaving to enter other fields there was a territory in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio that had no preacher that he knew of within thirty miles east, fifty miles south, and one hundred and fifty miles west. In this territory, six churches are left destitute of ministerial labor. In the fall of 1835, with all the ministerial calls for scores of miles around, he yet had to work with his hands, preparatory for winter, for self and family. After working hard for a few weeks, he was struck down with paralysis.


In 1837, he went on a preaching tour to Michigan ; from there he planned a missionary operation to assist in ^ that new country. During this year, he attended the dedication of the Christian Church in Conneaut, O. Whenever he wrote to our periodicals, he took in a wide field of operation, not only the church or churches where he himself labored, but all the churches and ministers for many miles around ; this shows a large heart and cosmopolitan spirit. ^ ^ 1839,


In 1838, he attended a Union meeting with a Mr. Day, a Presbyterian minister, a man of large heart and catholic spirit. In this operation, Eider Barr's whole soul was enlisted. In we find him making a long trip to Maryland and Vir_ginia for the recovery of his voice. Wherever he goes, however, the same anxiety for the prosperity of Zion is manifested in all his letters. He received much benefit from this trip.


His faith in God never failed. His frequent afflictions served to increase his faith in Providence. He was a warm advocate of the general measures of his own church, and a zealous reformer. The temperance, the anti-slavery, and other such movements found in him a warm advocate.


Such is a brief outline of the life and character of Brother Barr. His sudden death, by the shocking catastrophe at Norwalk, Conn., connected with the noble mission in which he was engaged was a fit sequel for such a man. Feeling the- great need of a Theological School among the Christians, he consented to act as an agent to raise an endowment for the purpose. From the character of the man, and the worthiness of the enterprise, all felt that it would prove a success. After laboring with considerable success in the West, he started on his mission to New England. Having spent a few Sundays in New York city, his former field of labor, he started to Boston on the 8 a. m. train, on May 6, 1853. He parted with his- friends in New York in his usual cheerful manner. On the way to Boston, at Norwalk, Conn., a drawbridge having been left open for the passage of a vessel, and the signals not being understood by the engineer, the whole train, with its valuable cargo, was plunged into the surging waves ; and Oliver Barr, the faithful servant of God, with many others, was ushered to eternity, without a moment's warning. "He died with his armor on," as he had "prayed a thousand times" that it might be so


Humphreys, Evan Williams "E. W." Memoirs of Deceased Christian Ministers; or, Sketches of the Lives and Labors of 975 Ministers, Who Died Between 1793 and 1880. Springfield, Ohio: Republic Printing Company, 1880.


Spouse: Malinda Griffen (1803-1872), married 1840, at Honeoye Falls, Monroe, New York – six daughters (Mary, Adeline, Abby, Mary Jane, Abigail, Antoinette) and three sons (Jared, James, Oliver)


Father: John Barr (1753-1830)


Mother: Mary Cook (1755-1821)

Contributor: Ronald C. Brewer (48104028)

Age at death: 52 years--Parents: John Barr and Mary Cook of Litchfield, Ct. Born: 1762 Married Malinda Griffen 1840. He was a minister in the Christian Church and was killed in a tragic train crash in 1853.He wrote extensively in the Christian Palladium throughout his life.


OLIVER Barr. ( 1853.)—The public life of this bro ther covered a space of some twenty-seven years—from 1826 to 1853. His fields of labor may be classified as follows : The first seven years of his ministry, from 1826 to 1833, he labored in Chautauqua and adjoining counties in New York and Pennsylvania ; from 1833 to 1841, in Conneaut, O. ; from 1841 to in Honeoye Falls ; and from 1843 till 1847, in Aurora, 111. Such is the classification given in the "Palladium," May 21, 1853. The six years from 1847 till 1853, the time of his death, were years of fruitful labor.


All the knowledge I have of the Elder is, a slight acquaintance with the man during life, and what I gather from his and others' writings in our periodicals during a period of some twenty years.


When Elder Barr was converted, the probability is that his family lived in Western New York, and that none of them were members of the Christian Church. In July, 1832, he wrote to the "Palladium" of the baptism, by himself, of his brother and his wife, in Salem, (Conneaut,) 0. He says : "To me, this was a good day, as from the time I united with the Christian Church I became a stranger to all my mother's children. When we got to the water, my brother turned to the paultitude and confessed, that when I united with this people, who are everywhere spoken against, he considered me lost, that my presence was ever painful to him, and when I moved from the town where we had formerly lived, he was rejoiced, as he had considered me a disgrace, etc." .


From this we gather that whatever religious connexion his family sustained they were bitterly opposed to the Christians. In 1837, the Elder joined the New York Western Conference. His progress in the ministry, at first, must have been slow, for it. is generally reported in his early field of labor that he was told repeatedly by the advocates of respectability in the ministry, that if he could earn his living by manual labor he had better try, for it was clear to all that he would never make a preacher.


During his seven years' life in Chautauqua County, N. Y., his labors must have been arduous, but his support was meager ; and yet his disposition wras such that he was never satisfied with half-way measures. Elder E. G. Holland says, in a sermon delivered on the occasion of Elder Barr's death : ' 'Zeal was a property of his temperament, an attribute of his whole •career in life. I once heard him say, 'I expect to meet a sudden death, when I die. The rush of blood to my head and other liabilities of my constitution lead me to think this/ At another time, he said, 'I have regarded myself these many years as a minute man, not knowing at what moment I may be called from duty.'" Speaking on the same subject, Elder D. Fay says : "For twenty years he had breasted such surges of affliction as would have intimidated and subdued a less courageous spirit. Three times he had been nearly killed by accidents, twice completly disabled by epileptic fits, which nearly •cost him his life, and once or twice entirely lost his voice and was driven in silence from the gospel field. For almost a year, In Conneaut, O., he was unable to ascend the pulpit except on his hands and knees,—which he did regularly,—in consequence of a paralysis in his limbs ; and many times he has heen carried from his sick bed to the sanctuary of God that he might pour out the pent up feelings of a burdened and holy heart."


In connection with the preceding, as illustrative of the same subject, I here introduce an extract of a letter written by himself to the "Palladium, March, 1841, when he had lost his voice. He says : "My health is good but my organs of speech have failed. I feel that I am a broken reed, yet I would desire to submit all to the direction of him in whose hand is the breath of life. I can not describe my feelings when I look back upon the imperfection of my past labors in the cause of Christ, and see before me but little prospect for the future. I have prayed a thousand times that I might die in the gospel field. I have a desire with my last breath to proclaim the Lamb of God. Yet it may not be so. If I do not recover my voice I can preach but little. Well, let the storm rage and let the billows roll, let my voice be lost and all my mental powers fail, yet my Redeemer lives, and because he lives I shall live also—yes, though I die I shall live again ; and though I sink in silence, Jesus will be preached, his gospel will triumph, and the church shall be redeemed."


The preceding noble sentiment, expressed by a true^ Christian spirit, man-ward is dark and gloomy, God-ward it is light and triumphant. However, for the Elder there were other and brighter days. Soon after this, we find, through his letters, that his voice is restored, and the same untiring zeal and ambition is expressed. In all his letters, there is a constant appeal made for more laborers in his field. In 1837, he writes that Elders Nutt and McKee had been with him, but as they were leaving to enter other fields there was a territory in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio that had no preacher that he knew of within thirty miles east, fifty miles south, and one hundred and fifty miles west. In this territory, six churches are left destitute of ministerial labor. In the fall of 1835, with all the ministerial calls for scores of miles around, he yet had to work with his hands, preparatory for winter, for self and family. After working hard for a few weeks, he was struck down with paralysis.


In 1837, he went on a preaching tour to Michigan ; from there he planned a missionary operation to assist in ^ that new country. During this year, he attended the dedication of the Christian Church in Conneaut, O. Whenever he wrote to our periodicals, he took in a wide field of operation, not only the church or churches where he himself labored, but all the churches and ministers for many miles around ; this shows a large heart and cosmopolitan spirit. ^ ^ 1839,


In 1838, he attended a Union meeting with a Mr. Day, a Presbyterian minister, a man of large heart and catholic spirit. In this operation, Eider Barr's whole soul was enlisted. In we find him making a long trip to Maryland and Vir_ginia for the recovery of his voice. Wherever he goes, however, the same anxiety for the prosperity of Zion is manifested in all his letters. He received much benefit from this trip.


His faith in God never failed. His frequent afflictions served to increase his faith in Providence. He was a warm advocate of the general measures of his own church, and a zealous reformer. The temperance, the anti-slavery, and other such movements found in him a warm advocate.


Such is a brief outline of the life and character of Brother Barr. His sudden death, by the shocking catastrophe at Norwalk, Conn., connected with the noble mission in which he was engaged was a fit sequel for such a man. Feeling the- great need of a Theological School among the Christians, he consented to act as an agent to raise an endowment for the purpose. From the character of the man, and the worthiness of the enterprise, all felt that it would prove a success. After laboring with considerable success in the West, he started on his mission to New England. Having spent a few Sundays in New York city, his former field of labor, he started to Boston on the 8 a. m. train, on May 6, 1853. He parted with his- friends in New York in his usual cheerful manner. On the way to Boston, at Norwalk, Conn., a drawbridge having been left open for the passage of a vessel, and the signals not being understood by the engineer, the whole train, with its valuable cargo, was plunged into the surging waves ; and Oliver Barr, the faithful servant of God, with many others, was ushered to eternity, without a moment's warning. "He died with his armor on," as he had "prayed a thousand times" that it might be so


Humphreys, Evan Williams "E. W." Memoirs of Deceased Christian Ministers; or, Sketches of the Lives and Labors of 975 Ministers, Who Died Between 1793 and 1880. Springfield, Ohio: Republic Printing Company, 1880.


Spouse: Malinda Griffen (1803-1872), married 1840, at Honeoye Falls, Monroe, New York – six daughters (Mary, Adeline, Abby, Mary Jane, Abigail, Antoinette) and three sons (Jared, James, Oliver)


Father: John Barr (1753-1830)


Mother: Mary Cook (1755-1821)

Contributor: Ronald C. Brewer (48104028)



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