CWRU Links

BARR, JOHN

BARR, JOHN (26 Jan. 1804-24 Jan. 1875) Cleveland's first magistrate and local historian, was born in Hartford, Trumbull County, the son of Thomas and Suzanna Barr. The Barr family came to Euclid Township in 1810 when Thomas Barr was appointed the first pastor of the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF EAST CLEVELAND. John came to the village of Cleveland in 1828 and was appointed county sheriff serving from 1830-34. He became an attorney and was a partner in the law firm of Sullivan, Barr & Stetson. When the Ohio legislature established municipal police courts in 1853, Barr was elected Cleveland's first judge. A tireless promoter of Cleveland as a rail center, he compiled and published statistics to demonstrate the city's commercial growth, substantiating the area's need for rail transportation, and served as a delegate to the Nov. 1838 meeting in Harrisburg, Pa. where construction of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad was discussed. A historian as well as a statistician, Barr wrote an account of the early settlement of the Western Reserve ca. 1843 and was a leader in historical preservation, serving as the first secretary of the Cuyahoga County historical society in 1858. He also helped organize the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY in May 1867.

Barr married Delia M. Bush 21 Oct. 1845, and they had a daughter Nellie. He died at his residence in Cleveland and was buried at ERIE STREET CEMETERY.