Alexander Barr

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Alexander Barr

The First Record

Nothing is known about Alexander until the 1820 census, which is his earliest known record. Based on several records of his children, it is known that he married Lydia Killen sometime before 1820, where he is seen living with her. In 1820, he is living in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which is where the Killen family was seen in the previous census of 1810. Since there are no Barr families from Elizabeth Township, it is most likely that the other household members listed are that of the Killen's. A female above 45 years is listed, which is most likely her mother, Mary Killen. Also, there is one male and two females between 16-25 years of age, which are most likely her siblings.

Pennsylvania Life

By the next census in 1830, he is seen living in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, which is nearby Elizabeth Township. Strangely, three of the individuals listed have not yet been identified, including one male 5-9 years, one male 10-14 years, and one female 5-9 years. It is most likely that these are children of Alexander that either died young, moved away, or married before 1850 (for the female). By 1840, Alexander is seen living back in Elizabeth Township. Two of the unidentified children are still living with him, including one male and one female both ages 15-19. Shortly before the census of 1840, Alexander Barr is seen in a newspaper article describing the formation of a committee of vigilance. He is listed as one of several hundred people who served on this committee, which acted as the law and order of the area.

Westward Voyage

Around 1846, Alexander sold all of his land in Allegheny County to fund the family's journey further west. Initially, they settled briefly in Jefferson County, Ohio, where they stayed for only a few years. Afterwards, they finally settled in Henry County, Iowa, where they would spend the rest of their lives. All of Alexander's known children followed him on this journey, except for our ancestor, William Barr, who stayed in Western Pennsylvania. The reason for this move is not known. It is possible that there were better economic opportunities elsewhere or even cheaper land.

Later Life

According to multiple records, Alexander died in either 1868 or 1869 in Iowa. His original gravestone is not known to exist, but a later gravestone was placed to memorialize multiple people in the Barr family, mostly on his son John Barr's side.