Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
Among the honored names of Barry County that of Walden T. Barber stands prominently as one who has done his
share to give the old county its position in the Peninsular State. He was born July 28, 1823, in Auburn, Cayuga
Co., N. Y. His twin brother, William C., is now in California. These and one sister are all that are left of a
family of ten children. Their parents were Ira and Esther (Bennett) Barber; they were both natives of Vermont,
where they were married in 1813, though Walden’s father traces his origin to Ireland. He was a carpenter and joiner
by trade, and worked at it most of his life, though he owned a small farm, which was carried on by his boys. When
Walden was nineteen years of age, failing to obtain employment there, he conceived the idea of coming West. His
father, having previously traded for the land which he now occupies, made an offer to him of a deed of one-half
of the farm, considering it worthless; he accepted it, and in May, 1842, found himself here, where, instead of
a lake or marsh, as he expected, he found twelve hundred acres of good oakopenings, which he began to improve.
If the eye of man ever looked upon nature in a more beautiful mood or aspect than she exhibited to our subject,
it has not been revealed to the writer to what portion of the earth he must go to find the record of such vision.
The original oak-openings which comprised the greater portion of the township were in the summer indescribably
lovely. One year from the next fall after his arrival his father and mother came also; his mother only lived to
endure pioneer life a brief time, and died June 27. 1855. His father married again, Mrs. Wood, of Middleville.
His father died Dec. 20, 1867, at the ripe old age of eighty-four. Walden T. was married June 11, 1856, to Miss
Clara Keys, who was born in Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., Jan. 16, 1836; she was one of a family of four girls, and is
a daughter of Andrew and Betsey (Walrath) Keys, who were both natives of New York. He was a farmer, and came to
Michigan in 1855, locating in Barry township, where the mother died in 1869, the father living until Jan. 3, 1880,
after the death of his wife making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Barber. To Mr. and Mrs. Barber was given but
one child, Viola E., born April 19, 1857, now Mrs. Cartright, and living at Hickory Corners, though they have an
adopted son, Bertie J., a promising boy of eight summers, whom they took when but two years of age. Mr. Barber
was a Whig up to the formation of the Republican party. Since then he has always been found among the most prominent
men of his party, representing it in all the minor offices of his town, such as township clerk; treasurer, two
terms; justice of the peace, sixteen years, which office he now holds. He is a member of no church, though liberal
with time and means towards anything pertaining to the advancement of Christianity. His advantages for education
were better than most boys had in those days, he having at the age of nineteen acquired sufficient knowledge to
enable him to do any ordinary business. He is what might be termed a mixed farmer, making a specialty of no one
thing. He has a nice farm of one hundred and twenty acres, well improved, within one-half mile of the village of
History of Allegan and Berry Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.