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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Barber, Joel Allen 1809 - 1881

Definition: lawyer, politician, Congressman, b. Georgia, Franklin County, Vt. He attended the Univ. of Vermont (1829-1832), studied law, and was admitted to the Maryland bar (1834). In 1837 he moved to Wisconsin, settling in Lancaster where he opened a law and land office with Nelson Dewey (q.v.). In the following years Barber held many local offices, including those of village president, member and chairman of the county board, county clerk, judge, and district attorney. He represented Grant County in the constitutional convention of 1846. Originally a Free-Soil Whig, he be-came one of the founders of the Republican party in the state. He served in the state assembly (1852-1853, 1863-1864), was speaker of the assembly (1863), and was state senator (1856-1857). He served in the U. S. House of Representatives (1871-1875), where he was a supporter of President Grant's policies. Barber had a sharp, sarcastic wit, was known for his personal honesty, but was unpopular because of his unbending attitudes. His law and land practice was one of the largest in the region, and through his newspaper and political connections, he exerted a wide influence. Lancaster Grant Co. Herald, June 28, 1881; C. N. Holford, Hist. of Grant Co. (Lancaster, Wis., 1900); M. M. Quaife, ed., Convention of 1846 (Madison, 1919); Biog. Dir. Amer. Cong. (1928).

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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