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
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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