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FLAVEL CLINGAN BARBER
1830-1864
GALLANT MAJOR OF THE THIRD TENNESSEE


Flavel Clingan Barber was born on January 30, 1830 in Union County Pennsylvania, was an unlikely individual to join the Army of the Confederate States of America. While the family line did include a group of Virginians (who spelled their name "Barbour"), most of the Barbers were from New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, the latter descended from Robert Barber, who came to America from Yorkshire, England, in about 1699 as an apprentice shoemaker. He joined his uncle, in Chester, Pennsylvania, and upon the elder's death inherited a considerable part of the family estate. Flavel Clingan, of the fifth generation of Barbers, was the eighth child of Thomas Barber (1785-1856) and Elizabeth Clingan (1787-1872), a niece of Flavel Roan.

Flavel was attracted to and attended Giles College, an institution of higher learning in Pulaski. By 1860, he was established as a teacher in Bryson, a community near Elkton. Barber taught at Bryson School until the war broke out and it was here that he met his future wife, Mary Paine Abernathy. Barber helped raise a company of what became the Third Tennessee Infantry, and in May 15, 1861, before the company left for Pulaski, Mary & Flavel were married.

Flavel was Capt. of Co. K, in command and present at Battle of Donelson, captured, imprisoned at Camp Chase & Johnson's Island, Ohio; exchanged Sept. 16, 1862. Reelected Capt. of Co. A at reorganization Sept. 1862, absent from Springdale on recruiting service; in command and present of Chickasaw Bayou; promoted Major at death of T. M. Tucker, Dec 29, 1862; present at bombardment of Port Hudson; present Battle of Raymond; present of siege of Jackson, Mississsippi; absent from Battle of Chickamauga (home on furlough); present Battle of Missionary Ridge; severely wounded during the charge of May 14, 1864~Battle of Resaca, Georgia; Barber died the next morning.

On the empty page of the Bible taken from the major's jacket, his friend Col. Clack wrote that Barber's last words spoken after being shot were that he knew the Third would do its duty.

The pages of the Bible, stitched tightly, open easiest to Ecclesiastes, the third chapter, "To everything there is a season….A time to be born…and a time to die…"

When Mary Paine Abernathy learned of the death of her husband, she made inqiries and found that the Federals had recovered his body. she journeyed to Nashville to obtain it from the provost marshal and returned to Pulaski where she arranged for his burial in Maplewood cemetery. After the war she married Hilton A. Carter. Mary died in 1870 and was interred in Maplewood Cemetery not far from her first husband, the gallant major of the Third Tennessee.

The above is excerpted with permission from the book "Holding the Line, The Third Tennessee Infantry, 1861 - 1864" written by Flavel C. Barber.

Submitted by: Judy Fox