John Wesley Barber, a general contractor of Topeka, Kan., and acknowledged to be one of the most skilled workmen in that city in brick and stone masonry, is a native of Maryland, having been born in the suburbs of Baltimore, Baltimore county, on Jan. 25, 1853. He is the son of William and Hannah (Fronk) Barber, both of English descent and lifelong residents of Baltimore county, where the father died in 1906, survived by his wife, who still resides there and has reached the advanced age of eighty-five years. John W. Barber was reared in Baltimore county, and under the able direction of his father he learned the brick laying and stone mason trade, at which he worked at times until he came to Kansas, in 1880, where he continued his trade and did two years' work on the state capitol building. He had taken a few contracts in that work prior to coming to Kansas and, in 1890, he again began the contracting business, in which he has achieved not only a financial success but also an enviable reputation for skilled workmanship. Among some of the buildings for which he has had the contracts for the brick and stone work are the Topeka Manual Training School; the Topeka Club; the Smith Building on the corner of Ninth and Kansas avenues; the Keith Building; a residence for each of the Crosby brothers, one on Topeka avenue and the other on Harrison street; the Page residence; the Frank Durien residence; the Hardesty residence on the corner of Eighth and Monroe streets; the Ashbury flats; the First Episcopal Church parsonage on Eighth avenue; a twelve-room school building in Lawrence, Kan.; the college building at Hays, Kan.; the dining-room at the State Hospital for the Insane; and other buildings too numerous to mention. While brick laying and stone masonry are his specialties Mr. Barber takes contracts for and builds any kind of a building, and is known as a safe and reliable contractor in all kinds of construction work.
On Aug. 11, 1888, he wedded Miss Nina May Ewing, a native of Steuben county, Indiana, where she was born to Cornelius and Sarah (McCarthy) Ewing, both of whom were natives of Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. Barber have been born two children: Kenneth L. Barber, a graduate of the Topeka High School, who at present is taking a course in architecture; and Hazel R., who also is a graduate of the Topeka High School and of a local business college. Mr. Barber has always given his political allegiance to the Republican party, and affiliates fraternally with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is also a member of the Bankers' Life Insurance Company of Des Moines, Iowa. Mrs. Barber is a member and an active worker in the First Baptist Church of Topeka.Pages 1500-1501 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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