CWRU Links

BARBER, JOSIAH

BARBER, JOSIAH (1771-10 Dec. 1842), the first mayor of OHIO CITY and son of Capt. Stephen and Alice (Cass) Barber, was a prime mover in west side residential, commercial, and industrial development. In 1809, when the last division of WESTERN RESERVE lands was made in Connecticut, Barber, his father-in-law Samuel Lord, and his brother-in-law RICHARD LORD, received the portion along the western border of the CUYAHOGA RIVER to the lake. They arranged for a survey and sale of lands to settlers in the BROOKLYN section through the Lord & Barber Realty Co. In 1818, Barber constructed a log house at Pearl (W. 25th) and Franklin overlooking the river valley, which he later replaced with the first brick house in Cleveland. To entice settlers, Barber operated a store at Pearl and Lorain. In 1840, he and his partners dedicated a large portion of land for an open-air market that was the forerunner of the WEST SIDE MARKET. In 1834, Barber was among the incorporators of the CUYAHOGA STEAM FURNACE CO., the first manufacturing concern in Cleveland. By the mid-1830s, Barber was active Brooklyn Twp. politics. Appointed a circuit judge in 1834, he stepped down to become the first elected mayor of Ohio City. Barber was an incorporator of Trinity Parish in downtown Cleveland and St. John's Parish at W. 26th and Church. As the vice-president of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY COLONIZATION SOCIETY, he favored gradual abolition of slavery and the colonization of blacks in Africa or South America.

Barber was married twice. His first marriage was to Abigail Gilbert; they had a daughter, Abigail G. His second marriage was to Sophia Lord. Together, they had 4 children: Epiphras, Harriet, Sophia L., and Jerusha. Barber died in Cleveland.