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John Barry 1818-1900

John Barry, one of the justly esteemed citizens, has been a resident of the county of Ogle since 1844, and was born in Ireland in the County Cork, in March 1818, where his younger days were passed. He was reared to the calling of a farmer, and obtained his schooling in a Subscription School. He was 19 years old when he left the Emerald Isle to come to America, sailing from Queenstown April 8, 1837, and, after an ocean voyage of seven weeks and three days, landed at Quebec. His father died in Ireland, and his mother had married a man named John Hogan, with whom she had come to this country in 1827. He was left in Ireland in charge of an uncle and his grandmother, with whom he remained until the year named, when he accompanied his uncle to this country.

He had not known the care of a mother after the first of his life, and rejoined her in Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., when he reached the United States, where she and family were living. He obtained employment as a farmer, and remained in that part of the Empire State two years, going thence to Geneseo, in Livingston County, where he remained until the fall of 1843, continuing the vocation of a farmer. At the date mentioned he came to Illinois, and passed the winter ensuing in Chicago, coming in the following spring of 1844, to Byron, where he worked a farm on shares, which was located on section 26, and continued its management three years. During this time he made a claim on section 27, and, as opportunity served, had made a beginning of the work of breaking the prairie, which until then had never known the plow. He broke 40 acres and in 1848 secured his claim by entering his land at the land office, on which he built a log house, which was the humble abode of his household until 1875, when Mr. Barry built a commodious and convenient dwelling of modern style and finish. The other structures on the place are of good and suitable character. The farm is also increased in value and attractiveness by the addition of fruit and shade trees, and also trees for ornamental purposes, the estate containing 284 acres of excellent land. The first crops raised by Mr. Barry on the place were marketed at Chicago, whether he went with ox teams, and usually spent about nine days on the route, sleeping on, or in his wagon in good weather.

The marriage of Mr. Barry to Rachel Smiley took place March 26, 1843, his good wife being a native of the County Antrim, Ireland, where she was born June 7, 1820. She came to America in 1831 with her parents, and located in Livingston Co., N.Y. Their children number seven, living - John H., married lives in Byron; Andrew D., married, and a resident of that place also; George P. and William D. are married and are the youngest; Rosalie, James and Agnes J. are the oldest three; the first-born child, Hannah D., was born February 22, 1844, and died Sept. 11, 1882; she was the wife of James Shields, and died in Winnebago Co., Ill. Leaving six children. Rebecca died at the age of 5 years and nine months, Rachel died when she was three years and six month of age.

Mr. Barry is a Republican in his political preference and during the late war he was a devoted Union man. He makes a specialty of farming and stock-raising, in which he has been very successful, and by his industry he has carved out a competency for himself and family, and has given his children the benefit of a good education, and he ranks as one of the leading agriculturists in Byron Township and one of its best citizens.

From old issue of Byron newspaper, submitted by Randi Wilmarth Marcos

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