Biography of Hon. J. M. Barker
Henry County, VA Biographies

The history of the county offers no parallel to Hon. J. M. Barker of Axton who was born about 1840 and who lived in this county all his active life. He belongs to the order of self-made men.

He was not given the opportunity for an education, but he learned to work with his hands and use his head to the best purpose.

The Civil War ended to find him possessed of just two things brains and energy. He studied how to grow crops and improve his land at the same time and made money growing tobacco all along. He invested his savings in more land and continued this process till he was one of the largest land owners In the county and one of the biggest growers of tobacco in the state. He made It fine and sold It well and here was the secret of his prosperity.

He was elected Supervisor of his district and soon made Chairman of the Board and this position he held for many years. He and W. G. Burgess, the Supervisor from the Ridgeway District, were two of the ablest members that ever graced that body, and during their administrations, the finances of the county were conducted on a business and satisfactory method for the whole county.

Gov, J. Hoge Tyler appointed him a member of the State Board of Agriculture and his acts were so satisfactory that Gov. A. J. Montague appointed him a second time. His whole services were of a high order and redounded to the welfare of the entire state.

He was hospitable, big hearted, appreciative, and a great citizen and at home he was an ambitious father that gloried In the achievements of his family and friends. When he died the county lost one of its big men by nature, made great by human endeavor.

A History of Henry County, Virginia
By: Judith Parks Anerica Hill
Martinsville, Virginia 1925

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