Barrs Family History  
By Al Barrs, Jr. Greenwood Florida USA 32443

Not all Barrs have been farmers but many have tilled the fields and are better people for it…Al Barrs
One Thousand Years
Barrs family history
1000 AD to 2000 AD
By Al Barrs, Jr.
Greenwood, Jackson County
Florida 32443-1839 U.S.A.
Aptly, the Barrs motto was and still is 'FORTITUDE'

Revised and updated March 17, 2005
The Barrs Surname Is The 19,822 Most Popular Surname In The United States of America. Following is a summary of the results of many years of family research as presented in a Barrs surname history book of related historic events and immigrations from the first know use of the Barrs (English translation) surname to the present that follows my Barrs family line. The Barrs Family History and surrounding historic events are covered more broadly in this CD-ROM Book... My line of Barrs first began life in America in what is now Lenoir County North Carolina about 1750 when John Barrs and Sarah Spears emigrated from Warwickshire England.         
Al Barrs' E-mail Address:
©Copyrighted 1999 - 2005 All Rights Reserved. Revised and Updated March 17, 2005

Because official records and the means for verifying facts of specific families and family members get more scarce the farther one travels back into the past single families tend to loose their individualized identify. In many cases only the surname of that and other related family members could be discerned. Because of this genealogical pheromone we have chosen to trace our family surname lineage rather than our precise named ancestors back through time and have looked at historic events of the time to give us a feel for the period and regions in which our ancestors may have lived.   We can only speculate that they may have participated in none, some or all documented historic events in which they would have been in nearby proximity at that particular time in history. Only our family history in the United States of America is verifiable, at this time, to a limited extent. We do now have additional verified English history of my Barrs family line to 1633. So, we have chosen to update our posting and tell an expanded story of our family's surname as to how our family members may have lived, loved, fought and died in a number of countries for the past several hundred years.   Our goal, in this Barrs family history CD Book, is to tell our family's surname history in such a manner and with a story that will interest young and senior family members alike. We hope this will encourage them to read about our family and as a result hopefully become more interested in doing research on their own family line of Barrs, or whatever surname they choose.   Obviously our Barrs ancestors were born somewhere in Europe and migrated to other lands for a variety of personal and family reasons, which we hope to shed some light on here. The fact is, they did survive for many thousands of years somewhere...somehow. We at least know that much about them. Let us go now in search them and learn what they may have been doing throughout history! Al Barrs, Jr.

  SURNAMES: The use of surnames began around 1000 AD in the western countries of Europe. They began when the population increased to a point there became confusion with the use of only Christian, fore or first names. Many parents named their children after themselves causing even more confusion. Adding a surname to the Christian name somewhat alleviated the problem of individual identification and recognition. Our Barrs family was no exception. Andrew and his son Andrew became Andrew Barrs of Toft and just Andrew Barrs, which still didn't totally solve the problem with surnames because Andrew Barrs had a son he named Andrew. Then, various deviations were added to differentiate between individuals without having to use birth dates. John Barrs of Toft, John Barrs, Sr. and John Barrs, Jr. pretty much solved the individual identification confusion. Confusing isn't it?   It appears that our ancestors migrated to old Normandy on the west coast of Europe from a Scandinavian country (Sweden, Denmark, or Finland for example) where the population farmed and were part-time sailors, traders and warriors. They were probably called "Vikings." It also appears that these Viking farmers arrived in Old Normandy sometime before 1000 AD and took up farming in the warmer climate of Normandy. They later appear to have participated in the invasion of Briton (UK) shortly after 1000 AD.   They appear to have remained in England after the invasion to farm and live. The first surnames ever used were generally descriptive of the head of the household, such as his prowess (Hunter), his occupation (Farmer) or where the family lived (Nottingham).   The Barrs family surname began in Old Normandy as de La Barre. It then changed to de Barre and then simply Barre in France today. It was translated into English as Barrs sometime between 1100 AD and 1500 AD. Other derivatives known to have existed were, in England, Bares, Barres, Bars, de Bars, Barr, in Ireland O'Barrs is found and so on. Some historic accounts say that Barre meant "Keeper Of The Gate Or Town." Other accounts say that it meant "Dweller At, Or Near, The Entrance Of A City Or Town." What do you think it meant? What does it mean to you today? The Barrs family motto appears to have been 'FORTITUDE!' And, a number of Barrs family members were allowed to have their own coats of arms in France and England. Several survive today.   We have no information regarding what Barrs family line these coats of arms belonged to. They just make interesting discussion and are colorful.   Following is a historical perspective of my hypothesis on the regions in Europe, England and America in which we find the family surname de La Barre in Normandy, later to become Barre in France and then in Scotland Barr and in England de Bars, Barres and later Barrs, and in the United States of America Barrs.   Why did some Barre or Barres settle in The British Midlands in south central England and become at some point in history Barrs? Let us explore together our long family's surname history, not as individuals but as a relatively small family among many thousands of much larger families. Individual Barrs are important to other individual Barrs but The Historic Barrs Family Surname is important to all Barrs regardless of whether or not we can make family line connections today.   Remember at one time in history there was one person who called himself your surname... Barrs, de La Barre, de Bars, Bares, Barres, Barr, etc. in its derivative form who fathered the first Barrs children with his mate, your ancestral Grandmother.   Because I am a Barrs I will focus my writings on that surname derivative and my line of Barrs family members. You should look for a connection along the way and plug in your direct Barrs family line and build your own family tree.

  The Barrs family surname's history began either in a Scandinavian country on the North Sea or in ancient Normandy in Belgium, on the coast of what is now the English Channel, which is now a part of France in Western Europe. Where they came from exactly to Normandy we do not know because families in Western Europe did not begin to use surnames until sometime shortly before 1000 AD.   Here we have to rely on larger identified populations who were know to have settled and lived in these various regions during these ancient time periods. We do know from history that the early Vikings farmers from Scandinavia settled Old Normandy prior to 1000 AD. Were the ancient ancestors of the Barrs family Vikings farmers, traders and warriors too? Perhaps!   We do know that the Barrs surname's appearance in Briton (England in the UK) happened sometime shortly after 1000 AD. Perhaps they came with William The Conqueror to subdue the tribes of Briton in 1066 AD and fought or supported the army in the Battle of Hastings in southern England, which the Norman's won. And, maybe they found the nearby farmlands to be suitable for their farming custom and crops, and never went back to Normandy. That's what I believe. The counties/states of Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Worcestershire, and Lancashire England were and are all beautiful landscapes in which the de La Barre/Barrs of Old Normandy would have felt at home.   In any case, we find a goodly number of Barrs in historic documents in this south central farming region of Warwickshire and other surrounding regions of England from about 1400 AD to the present day. We don't know yet just when the keeping of detailed birth, christening, marriage and death records began in England.   Unfortunately for our ancestors the availability of suitable farm lands, changing (cooler) weather patterns, fertility of the soil, abundant water supplies and opportunity to trade would account for most of the moves the Barrs , who were primarily farmers even until today, made from Scandinavia to Old Normandy to England and finally to America around 1750 AD.

In the mid-1050s a variety of catastrophic event occurred that would have compelled families to migrate from Northern and Western Europe to England and later America. The first of these events may have triggered the decision to move further south and compelled the Barrs to migrate south from Scandinavia to Normandy where they could successfully raise their crops and animals. In those unforgiving days failed crops meant starvation and death to family members and indeed whole families. Then warfare between Norman and Briton kings broke out, people began to be persecution for their religious belief, such as the Huguenots (Methodist today) were in early France, excessive taxes begin being levied against commoners, including farmers, restrictions on religious worship were imposed, mandatory state religion was instituted and cooling climates, which made farming difficult to impossible, drove many families, including the Barrs, to search for better lands in which to live and raise their families, crops and livestock.   Norman feudalism became the basis for redistributing the land among the conquerors. The commoners could claim no land for themselves. This gave England a Norman-French type aristocracy. England turned away from Scandinavian social and political structure towards the French's social and political structure. After the Norman invasion of Briton the 'English Court' spoke French; but conducted business in the local language 'Medieval English' a derivative of Dutch or German-- eventually a friendly and amicable compromise was reached. Rabid extremists of the Anglo-Saxon persuasion point out that the English language overcame the Celtic and Roman influences, while Norman French never fully subdued it.   Then, during the year 1530 AD until about 1640 AD the dreaded Black Plague devastated England's population as it did in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people became sick and died. Entire families disappeared from the pages of history. Whole towns were wiped out. Some way the Barrs family managed to persist during this dreadful period. This may be the period when "FORTITUDE" became the Barrs family motto. Some Barrs at least survived this devastating and challenging period in our family's history. Could it have been that they lived in the country on farms and were not as susceptible to the rats and fleas that were rampant in villages and towns where little sanitation existed and people lived in proximity with animals? Or, did our fore bearers simply destroy the rats and fleas because they put crop and food supplies at risk? In any case it is obvious that some of our Barrs ancestors survived or you and I wouldn't be here writing and reading this family history summary.  

Right on top of the plague come the Potato Famine where many more thousands of UK citizens starved to death or migrated to other countries. Hundreds of thousands picked up 'lock-stock-and-barrel' so to speak and sailed for The Colonies in North America. Poor crops as a result of cooling climates in the northern hemisphere is said to be one cause for the devastating Potato Famine.   Prof. Robert Ardrey (1976 Library of Congress ISBN 0-689-10672-6, pg. 187-189) has speculated, "Through recorded history weather has moved in cycles. Some cycles can be short and some can be long that last for a century or two. Northern Europe, including the UK, fell victim to such a cold cycle around 1250 AD."   He also said, "Even in England, more than a century later (1350AD-1400AD), there stood the remains of abandoned farming villages. We originally assumed that this depopulation was the work of the 'Black Plague,' but it was not. The growing season had become to short for crops to mature because of cool weather."   Another such cycle chilled the northern hemisphere beginning about 1600 AD, in the days when William Shakespeare (In Warwickshire England) was writing his tragedies in London England. Did your Barrs ancestors attend Shakespeare's plays in London? Many Barrs lived in Warwickshire.

Shakespeare was born in Warwickshire. That catastrophic period is commonly known as the "Little Ice Age." It too lasted for approximately a century and a half (1600AD-1750AD). Competent geologists assure us that the growing season in England would have been so shortened, even in the major wheat growing regions, that growing food crops would have been impossible.   Fortunately the "Little Ice Age" had run its course by 1750 AD, when the Industrial Revolution inaugurated our present day population explosion." This is the time that my line of Barrs departed England for The Colonies in North America. They settled in what is today Lenoir County North Carolina (Johnson-Dobbs-Lenoir), bought land and began farming.   Once again the farmers in southern England were devastated by the Industrial Revolution. Forests were cut down to fuel kilns and factories. The air became seriously polluted, as did streams and lakes. This was the last straw for many of England's farm families, such as the Barrs. Many made the desperate decision to immigrate to other countries where they could farm and raise their families in peace, including North America. Those family acquaintances that had preceded them to America wrote of the "fertile and well watered farmlands available for the taking in the southern American colonies." Of course they didn't write about the hostile Native American tribes.   Many English farmers, including the Barrs, took the desperate step and immigrated to America in the 1600 and 1700s. We believe our first ancestor to immigrate to America did so around 1750 and settled in eastern North Carolina in what became Johnson-Dobbs-Lenoir County North Carolina, bought farmland, built a home and outbuilding and began farming cotton and tobacco on the Barrs Family Plantation in what is today Lenoir County NC. And he and his new wife began raising a family of American Barrs.

NOTE: This "Summary" follows the Al Barrs family line thread through our Barrs surname history in Europe, England and America. Just plug-in wherever you make a family connection and link-up your own Barrs family line to mine and grow your own Barrs family tree. Have fun! This edition updated and revised March 17, 2005 by Al Barrs, Jr. (Alfonso or A.F. Barrs, Junior) Greenwood, Florida 32443

Prior to our first known ancestor Robert Barrs' birth sometime in the 15th century (late 1400s) we have found no information as of this revision date about our Barrs family. This was the period in which the Barrs surname went through a variety of spelling changes from the Old Normandy or French spelling of Barre to Barrs. We have evidence that the same family used the spelling Bares, Barres, Barre, Barr and Barrs within several consecutive generations in Warwick County England. Most commoners, which the Barrs were, in the 15th century could neither write or read. We must also  recognize that church scribes wrote names as they interpreted the names as spoken by family members and that they often mis-spelled surnames and Christian names in Church and government records.

Robert Barrs was born around 1495 or earlier in probably England and perhaps Bulkington Village in Warwickshire England in the United Kingdom. We only know the name of his oldest son, William Barrs. William Barrs was born in 1525 in Bulkington Village Warwickshire England. William Barrs was married to Joan in 1545. William Barrs and Joan had several children in Bulkington Village. William Barrs died in 1599 in Toft Hamlet or nearby Dunchurch Village in Warwickshire England and was probably buried in the St. Peter's Parish Church in Dunchurch Village. The oldest son of William and Joan Barrs was named Robert Barrs after his grandfather.

Robert Barrs was born about 1555 in Bulkington Village Warwickshire England. Robert Barrs died in 1595 in Bulkington Village Warwickshire. Robert Barrs and his wife Joan had several children. The oldest son was named Thomas Barrs. Thomas Barrs was born about 1585 in Bulkington Village Warwickshire England. Thomas Barrs married Margery. Thomas Barrs was the first of our Barrs family to move from Bulkington Village and settle in Toft Hamlet, which is located just a few hundred yards south of Dunchurch Village Warwickshire England. We don't know what precipitated Thomas Barrs' move to Toft Hamlet.

Thomas Barrs died in Toft Hamlet and was buried in the St. Peters Parish Church in Dunchurch Village. Thomas and Margery Barrs had several children. The oldest son was named Abraham Barrs who was born about 1610 in Bulkington Village Warwickshire England. Abraham Barrs would become a prominent and prosperous citizen of Toft Hamlet and Dunchurch Village, as well as in the Saint Peter's Parish Church in Dunchurch Village Warwickshire England. In addition to farming and raising livestock on his Toft Hamlet farm he would farm a large portion of the church's land east of Dunchurch Village. In those days the church demanded and received tithing from every citizen in roughly ten percent of their wages or products. Each church built a tithe storage building. Many old tithe building can still be seen today throughout England.  Abraham Barrs would come to be respectfully called and referred to in historic documents as “Abraham Barrs of Toft.” Other children of Thomas and Margery Barrs were Sarah Barrs born November 20, 1613 in Toft Hamlet. Sarah Barrs was the first of Thomas and Margery Barrs' children to be born in Toft Hamlet. Sarah Barrs later married Thomas Dalton in Church Lawford Village Warwickshire.  John Barrs was born in Toft Hamlet on January 5, 1616 but died in 1617 at only 1 year of age. Then Joseph Barrs was born on August 7, 1618 but also died in the same year 1618. Margery Barrs was then born in 1620 in Toft Hamlet. Abraham Barrs of Toft was married to Joan about 1630.  Abraham and Joan Barrs had the following children on their "Strip Farm" in Toft Hamlet Warwickshire England: Thomas born 1631, Abraham born 1633, Nathaniel born 1636, Alice born 1638, Elizabeth born 1641, Ann born 1645 and Margaret born 1651.

Abraham Barrs of Toft is known to have died in Toft Hamlet, which is located just south of Dunchurch Village in Warwickshire England around 1682. Apparently the Barrs family of Toft Hamlet became a prosperous family in Warwickshire and the St. Peters Parish Church in nearby Dunchurch Village. We have learned that early English families were taxes according to the number of "hearths" (fireplaces) they had in their homes. The Barrs were taxed for 3 hearths in a time when most families had none or only one hearth in their thatch roofed stone houses. Only three families in the village paid the Hearth Tax for 3 hearths during the entire period of the tax from 1662 to 1674. Abraham Barrs of Toft named a son Abraham Barrs, which I will refer to as Abraham Barrs, 2nd.  Abraham Barrs, 2nd died in 1715.   Abraham Barrs, 2nd and his wife Joan had eight children. One son, which they named John Barrs (He also become known as John Barrs of Toft). John Barrs of Toft was born about 1678  in Toft Hamlet. John Barrs of Toft married Mary in Warwickshire England. One of John Barrs of Toft and Mary's sons was named John Barrs. John Barrs was born March 5, 1727 in Toft Hamlet. John Barrs married Sarah Spears on February 19, 1749 in the St. Peters and St. Paul's Parish Church in  Aston Juxta Birmingham which is in Warwickshire England. John Barrs' father had been willed his father's estate even though he was the youngest son and his father's actions went against common English custom. Apparently there was a dispute within the St. Peters Parish Church congregation and the son who should have inherited his father's estate, Abraham Barrs, left the church, which probably caused great stress in the elder Barrs. John Barrs' father, John Barrs of Toft, deeded his Toft Hamlet estate to his youngest son in 1746. John Barrs of Toft died in 1748 and was buried in the St. Peters Parish Church cemetery in Dunchurch Village. In 1749 John Barrs sold his inheritance in Toft Hamlet and left, probably because of the continuing family feud over the father's estate. John Barrs went to Birmingham Warwickshire and married Sarah Spears in the St. Peters and St. Paul's Parish Church in February 1749. They then boarded as ship in either Liverpool or Bristol and sailed for America. They settled in Johnson County, later divided to become Dobbs County and finally Lenoir County North Carolina.

After John and Sarah Barrs arrived in America and settled in Johnson-Dobbs-Lenoir County North Carolina he bought farmland with the proceeds of the sale of his inheritance in England. John Barrs started farming operations and raising his and Sarah's family in America. We believe they disembarked in Virginia, Charles Town South Carolina or Wilmington North Carolina in 1749 or 50. John Barrs was first documented in America when he sold land to a William Thomason in 1755-56 in Dobbs County North Carolina. This may partially validate the date he and Sarah's arrived in America. We believe they arrived in the year 1749 or 1750.

John Barrs set to work clearing land, building housing, acquiring livestock and planting suitable crops in the fertile farmland of Dobbs County North Carolina. This would have taken several years work and account for his activities up until the recorded land sale to Mr. Thomason in 1755-56.  In the years following, John and Sarah Barrs had a number of children...all daughters, perhaps seven daughters. Then in about the year 1758 their first son was born. They give him the name John Barrs, Jr. And it was at this time, John Barrs then become John Barrs, Sr. in America records.

John Barrs, Sr. and Sarah Spears then had a number of additional children. Among them was John Barrs, Jr., my ancestral grandfather, and perhaps Leonard Barrs, Jonathan Barrs, Caleb Barrs, and Clarel Barrs. John Barrs, Sr. then appeared next on the "Tax List of Dobbs County NC" in 1768. John Barrs, Sr. then enlisted during 1776 in Charles Young's Regiment of Dobbs County, NC Militia during the American Revolutionary War for Independence. He returned to Dobbs County NC in 1777 after serving honorably with The Colonial Army of General George Washington. He received land instead of money for his service in the Dobbs County Militia. John Barrs, Jr. also served during 1777-78 in Captain Kennedy's Company of Dobbs County, NC Militia. John Barrs, Sr. appeared in the first USA Federal Census Report of 1790 in Dobbs County North Carolina. His surname was misspelled as "Bars."

In John and Sarah Barrs' household were 2 males age 16 or older, probably himself and John Jr., 1 male under 16 years of age and 8 females. The other sons, even though younger than John Jr. had left the Barrs Family Plantation for jobs elsewhere by 1790 and/or had become heads of their own households and moved to other counties of North Carolina.  John Barrs, Jr., the oldest son, had stayed on the Barrs Family Plantation, lived with his parents and was probably operating the farming enterprises after his father had probably become to old and perhaps to ill to carry on their extensive farming operations. Between 1800 and 1810 John Barrs, Sr. died and was buried in Lenoir County North Carolina, which had been divided from Dobbs County in 1791.  John Barrs, Jr. had built his own home, married and become the head of his own household by 1800, but we believe he was still living on and operating his father's original plantation. In the 1800 Lenoir County North Carolina Federal Census Report he and his father are heads of their own separate households in the same county district.

  John Barrs, Sr., in the 1800 Lenoir County NC census report, had in his household 2 males younger than 10 years of age, 1 male between the ages of 10 and 16, 1 male between the ages of 26 to 45 and one male over 45 years of age. He also had 2 females under the age of 10, 1 female between 10 and 16 and 4 females between the ages of 26 and 45.   John Barrs, Jr., was in the 1800 Lenoir County NC census and had in his household 1 male under the age of 10 and 1 male between the ages of 26 and 45. He also had 1 female between the ages of 16 and 26 and 1 female over the age of 45. It appears that John Barrs, Sr. had died by the time the 1810 census was taken. John Barrs, Jr. appeared in the 1810 Lenoir County NC census. In his household were 2 males under 10 years of age (probably Dempsey Barrs and James Barrs), 2 males between the ages of 10 and 16 (probably Arthur Barrs and Gideon Barrs), and 1 male between the ages of 26 and 45 (probably John Barrs, Jr. himself). 

John Barrs, Jr. also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 10 and 16, 1 female between the ages of 16 and 16, 1 female over the age of 45 and 1 slave.  John Barrs, Jr. appears again in the 1820 Lenoir County NC census. In his household was 1 male between the ages of 10 and 15, 1 male between the ages of 26 and 45 and 1 male over 45 years of age. He also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 10 and 16 and one female over the age of 45. He also had 3 'forieners not naturalized' (Spelling is original) in his household. These may have been indentured servants or family members from England. We believe his wife had died at an early age because no female of comparable age appears in the census unless he was married to an older woman, which does appear in the census reports. That person may have been John, Junior's mother-in-law. Consequently we do not know who the wife of John Barrs, Jr. was. We are still searching old Lenoir County NC history records for her name and lineage.  Dempsey Barrs appeared as the head of his own household in the 1820 Lenoir County NC census. He had in his household 1 male between the ages of 10 and 15, and 1 male between the ages of 26 and 45. He also had in his household 2 females under the age of 10 and 2 females between the ages of 16 and 26. One of Dempsey Barrs sons was named James M. Barrs.  A Betsy Barrs also appears in the 1820 Lenoir County NC census. In her household there was 1 male between the ages of 10 and 16 and she appears between the ages of 16 to 26. We don't know if her maiden or married surname was Barrs. And, we don't know what her husband's name was. She may have been married to a Barrs who had been killed or died.

  It is believed that all of the sons of John Barrs, Jr. moved to the state of Georgia after the death of their father in Lenoir County North Carolina between 1820 and 1840. We believe John Barrs, Jr. remained in Lenoir County NC, died and was buried there with his parents between 1830 and 1840.   It appears John and Sara Barrs' family lived in the Lenoir County North Carolina region for about 100 years, between 1750 and 1850.  Arthur Barrs (My G-G-G Grandfather) appeared as the head of his own household in the 1830 Twiggs County Georgia census. In his household were 2 males between the ages of 5 and 9 (probably my G-G Grandfather James C. Barrs b. 1821 and William W. Barrs b. 1824), 1 male between the ages of 10 and 14 (probably Isaac L. Barrs b. 1820) and 1 male between the ages of 30 to 39 (Arthur Barrs). He also had in his household 2 females under the age of 5 (we don't know their names), and 1 female between the ages of 30 and 39 (G-G-G Grandmother Nancy Elizabeth Campbell-Barrs). Arthur Barrs also had in his household 23 male slaves and 27 female slaves.

  Dempsey Barrs also appeared as the head of his own household in the 1830 Twiggs County Georgia census. In his household was 1 male under age 5, 1 male between the ages of 5 and 9, 1 male between the ages of 10 and 14, 1 male between the ages of 20 and 29. He also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 10 and 14. Apparently his wife had died before the 1830 census. One of his sons was named James M. Barrs who was wounded in The Battle of Gettysburg during the War Between the States.  James Barrs appeared for the first time as the head of his own household in the 1830 Twiggs County Georgia census report. In his household were 2 males under age 5, 1 male between the ages of 5 and 9, and 1 male between the ages of 20 and 29. He also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 15 and 19 and 1 female between the ages of 20 and 29. One son was named George Grandberry Barrs, one John Barrs and one was named King Barrs. The name of his first wife is unknown but believed to have been a Grandberry. 

Gideon Barrs appeared as the head of his own household in the 1830 Pike County Georgia census. Pike County GA is located just to the northwest of Twiggs County GA where his 3 brothers (Arthur, Dempsey and James Barrs) had settled. In his household were 1 male under the age of 5 and 1 male between the ages of 30 and 39. He also had in his household 1 female under the age of 5, 1 female between the ages of 5 and 9, 1 female between the ages of 15 and 19, and 1 female between the ages of 20 and 29. He also had in his household 7 slaves.  Arthur Barrs did not appear in the 1840 Twiggs County GA census as the head of his household.  Arthur Barrs may have been seriously ill or bedridden for some unknown reason. Nancy Barrs, Arthur's wife, was listed as the head of their household by 1840. And, the majority of their 50 slaves appear to have been transferred to the household of Arthur's youngest brother James Barrs.  

Nancy Barrs appeared in the 1840 Twiggs County Census as the head of their household. In the household were 2 males between the ages of 10 and 15 (G-G Grandfather James C. Barrs born 1821 and William W. Barrs born 1824), 1 male between the ages of 15 and 20 (Isaac L. Barrs [I believe G-G Grandfather James C. Barrs middle name was Campbell after his mother's family surname.] and 1 male between the ages of 40 and 50 (This person may or may not have been Arthur Barrs, Nancy's husband. He could have been a relative of Nancy Barrs. She was Irish, was born in America and her parents were both Irish. She also had in her household 1 female between the ages of 10 and 15 (Julia or Julian Barrs born in 1838), 2 females between the ages of 15 and 20 (we don't know their names) and 1 female between the ages of 50 and 60 (Nancy Elizabeth Campbell-Barrs). She also has 2 male slaves and 1 female slave in her household. G-G-G Grandmother Nancy Barrs eventually went to live on the farm of her prosperous and youngest son William W. Barrs in Lowndes-Brooks County Georgia where she lived to the age of 87 and died in 1880 in The Nankin District of Brooks County Georgia.

  James Barrs was also in the 1840 Twiggs County GA census. In his household was 1 male under 5 years of age, 1 male between the ages of 10 and 15, 1 male between the ages of 15 and 20, and 1 male between the ages of 40 and 50. He also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 30 and 40. He also had in his household 57 slaves. We believe these include about 45 or 46 of Arthur Barrs' former slaves, which were transferred just before or after Arthur Barrs' death. 

Dempsey Barrs appeared in the 1840 Houston County GA census. In his household were 2 males under the age of 5, 1 male between the ages of 5 and 10, and 1 male between the ages of 50 and 50. He also had in his household 1 female between the ages of 10 and 15, and 1 female between the ages of 40 and 50. He has no slaves in his household. He was probably working for a farmer as an overseer. With Arthur Barrs' death in 1843 in Twiggs County Georgia the new generation of Barrs sons (Isaac L. Barrs, James C. Barrs and William W. Barrs) decide to again move further south.

They, along with their mother Nancy Elizabeth Barrs and youngest unmarried sister Julia Barrs, moved to Lowndes County GA and all appeared in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census report, with the exception of Isaac L. Barrs who died at age 30 in August 1850 one month before the census was taken. Isaac L. Barrs left a wife, Elizabeth Hinson-Barrs and 4 children.  James C. Barrs appeared in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census. Appearing in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census with G-G Grandfather James C. Barrs age 30 (actually 29) was his wife Martha Elizabeth Land age 30 (actually 29) born in North Carolina and their first 3 children: Henry (James H. L.) age 6, William T. age 3 and my Great Grandfather Isaac Newton Barrs age 1. We believe James C. Barrs middle name may have been 'Campbell' since that name appears in later generations of my line of Barrs. My aunt Mollie C. Barrs-Fielding's middle name was  'Campbell.' I believe G-G-G Grand Mother Nancy Elizabeth Barrs' maiden name was Campbell and Aunt Mollie Fielding was named after her Grand Father James C. Barrs since she was the oldest of my Grandparents Oscar Marion and Bertha Lee Barrs' children.

  William W. Barrs also appeared in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census. Appearing in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census with William Barrs age 27 was his young wife Lauraney Wood born 1836, his youngest sister Julian or Julia Barrs age 15 and his Mother Nancy Elizabeth Barrs born 1793 in North Carolina.   Isaac L. Barrs did not appear in the 1850 Lowndes County GA census but his wife, Elizabeth Barrs appears with their 4 children: Joseph age 4, Francis age 3, James T. age 3 and Martha age 1.  James Barrs failed to appear, to our knowledge, in the 1850 Federal Census. He reappears first, after having been in the 1840 Twiggs County GA census, in the Pulaski County GA census of 1860. We believe his first wife was of the Grandberry family.

His oldest son George Grandberry Barrs was married to Elizabeth Cole in 1852 in Pulaski County GA so we assume he may have moved to Pulaski County GA when the Barrs families began to leave Twiggs County GA between 1840 and 1850. We believe he may have been living in Pulaski County GA from about the mid to late 1840's. His first wife's name is unknown, but she gave him 3 sons born in Twiggs County GA: John Barrs born 1823, George Grandberry Barrs born 1825 and the youngest son King Barrs born between 1836 and 1839.  George Grandberry Barrs married Elizabeth Cole in 1852 in Pulaski County GA. George Grandberry Barrs died in 1866 as the result of having been stabbed in the back at Coley's Station in Pulaski County GA. (It is rumored that he was stabbed in the back by a 'shoe-carver' over a dispute about a woman at Coley's Station Pulaski County Georgia.) He is buried at Coley's Station Pulaski County GA. 

James Barrs then married Ann E. Pipkin of Pulaski County GA and his grandsons James Grover Barrs and William Joshua Barrs, were living in his household after their parent's, George Grandberry Barrs and Elizabeth Cole, had passed away.  James Grover Barrs married Sarah Eleanor Manning.

William Joshua Barrs married Susan Coley and then later her sister Malinda Coley. William Joshua Barrs named one of his sons James Colquitt Barrs, born on November 23, 1880. Many of James Colquitt Barrs descendants still live today in and around Bleckley County Georgia. The James Colquitt Barrs Family Reunion was held in St. Simons Island GA on July 28, 2001.  James C. Barrs traveled through Taylor County FL from Lowndes County in the mid-1850s with his family and a number of slaves to operate a Salt Works on the Gulf of Mexico in Wakulla County FL. The Salt Works was located at the mouth of the St. Marks River. We believe it was on the east side of the St. Marks River because the Wakulla River is only a few miles long. It begins only a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico at Wakulla Springs where it emerges from an underground Florida aquifer spring.

One son, Henry (Andrew) J. Barrs was born in Wakulla County FLorida in 1857. James C. Barrs et al probably used the St. Marks River and the 'Old Salt Road' to Georgia to transport salt to market, and bring supplies and people from The Nankin District of Georgia to Wakulla County FL until Union gunboats destroyed all of the Salt Works on the Gulf of Mexico during the War Between the States in the early 1860s. Then James C. Barrs enlisted at Quitman GA in 1863 with Captain Wiley W. Groover's 11th Georgia Calvary, Georgia State Guards Company "D" CSA for a regular 6-month enlistment. He then re-enlisted and served "for the duration" in 1864-65 with Company "E", 1st Regiment (Symon's), Georgia Infantry State Reserves CSA and was appointed 4th Sergeant. He was captured along with the entire garrison at Ft. McAllister, Georgia "at twilight" on December 13, 1864 defending against the attack of Union General Sherman's army on their infamous "March to the Sea." He was first hospitalized with typhoid fever and then sent to the Union Military Prison at Fort Delaware. 

G-G Grandfather James C. Barrs was released on June 16, 1865, from Ft. Delaware Union Military Prison, after taking "The Union Oath" (Not to ever again take-up arms against the United States of America). His family, in The Nankin District of Brooks County GA, was surprised to see him arrive back home in 1865 because they had given him up for dead. One of his sons, John Wesley Barrs, said later, that his Dad refused to go into their house even though he had walked 16 miles from Madison FL to Nankin GA, before he took a hot bath, burned his old ragged clothes and put on clean clothing.

Within 5 years he would migrate again. This time he would settle in the south end of Columbia County Florida and begin farming, build a large general store and found Barrsville Florida with a USA Post Office.  James C. Barrs, born 1821 in Twiggs County GA, was in the 1860 Brooks County GA census (Brook County was divided from Lowndes County in 1858). In his household, located in The Tallokas District, were his wife Martha Elizabeth Barrs, born 1821 in North Carolina and their children: James Henry L., born 1845 in Lowndes County GA, William T., born 1848 in Lowndes County GA, my Great Grandfather Isaac Newton Barrs born in 1849 in Lowndes County GA, Francis Marion born 1852 in Lowndes County GA, John Wesley born 1853 in Lowndes County GA, Henry J. (Andrew and “Ander”) born 1857 in Wakulla County FL and Parmelia (Amelia ) born 1859 in Brooks County GA. 

William W. Barrs, at age 46 and born 1824 in Twiggs County GA, was also in the 1860 Brooks County GA Census. In his household also located in The Tallokas District of Brooks County GA, was his wife 'Raney' Luraney Wood age 30 born 1836 and Isabella Florence born 1859 in Brooks County GA. Also in his household were two hired hands John Robinson, 19 'Hireling' and G.B. Vickery, 27 'Hireling.' Isabella Florence Barrs would marry Francis Marion Land in Brooks County Georgia. 

James C. Barrs was still in Brooks County GA at the time of the 1870 census. He had in his household the following family members: His wife Martha Elizabeth Land and their children: (James Henry L. had left his parent's household by the time of this census and had settled in west central Florida where he became a citrus grower and helped found a town) William T., Isaac Newton, Francis Marion, John Wesley, Henry (Andrew) J. and Parmelia (Amelia) Barrs. 

William W. Barrs was also still in Brooks County GA at the time of the 1870 census. He had in his household the following family members: His wife Lauraney (Raney) and their children Florence (Isabella), John, William, James and his mother Nancy Barrs. James C. and Martha Elizabeth Barrs and part of their family moved to south Columbia County FL around late 1870, cleared land for farming, built a home and outbuildings, started a general store, established Barrsville and incorporated a United States Post Office.

In 1872 there was a fatal shooting in James C. Barrs' general store in Barrsville. During the shooting he was wounded in the 'breast and arm' by a shotgun blast and a cousin Jno (John) Barrs who was visiting his cousins James C. Barrs, from South Carolina was fatally wounded with a pistol. John Barrs was a farmer in South Carolina.   The murder trial of Jno (John) Barrs of South Carolina was held in Lake City Columbia County FL in August of 1887. James C. Barrs' brother had arrived from Brooks County GA prior the death of his cousin Jno Barrs and consequently testified at the trial as to what Jno Barrs had said to him before he died in the home of his cousin James C. Barrs. We are told that Francis Marion, John Wesley, William T. and Parmelia Barrs had been sent to Columbia County Florida the year before to clear farmland and build a house and that their father, James C. Barrs, their mother Martha Elizabeth Land-Barrs and sister, Parmelia Barrs accompanied their parents from south Brooks County GA to south Columbia County GA by way of the Withlacoochee, Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers to the area of the Ichetucknee River, which flows from a spring into the Santa Fe River, on a cotton barge. We believe they settled in the vicinity what is today the Wire Road (Old Military Road) and about 8 miles northerly from the Santa Fe River and 14 miles southerly from Lake City FL. A Mr. Ellis had originally settled the area in 1845, but he had abandoned his town called Ellisville when the expected rail line was never built.

This is the location where James C. Barrs established Barrsville FL about 1871. James C. Barrs survived his shotgun wounds of 1872 and was in the 1880 Suwannee County FL census with his wife Martha Elizabeth and their daughter Parmelia Barrs. Suwannee County adjoins Columbia County FL and several Barrs families live in both of the adjoining counties. Some may even live on the farm that James C. Barrs established in 1870. In his household was his wife Martha Elizabeth Land-Barrs and their only daughter and youngest child Amelia (Parmelia) Barrs.   This is the last we know of G-G Grandparents James C. and Martha Elizabeth Barrs. We speculate that they are buried in the old Methodist Church's Ichetucknee Memorial Cemetery where their son John Wesley Barrs, his wife Laura Elma Martha Sandford-Barrs and a young daughter are buried. We expect that they were probably buried with wood markers on their graves, which have long since rotted away. We hope to obtain permission to research the old Ichetucknee Methodist Church records to see if there is any reference to their funeral.

  Isaac Newton Barrs, my Great Grandfather, born 1849 in Lowndes County GA married Mary Elizabeth Boyet, born in Brooks County GA, in 1873 in Brooks County GA (Brooks was divided from Lowndes in 1858). They moved to Day Lafayette County Florida around 1875. They lived there for the rest of their lives.  Mary Elizabeth Barrs died in 1925 from blood poison as the result of a chicken spurring her that she was preparing for a meal. He lived until 1933. Both are buried in the Day Baptist Cemetery.

In 1904 Isaac Newton Barrs built a 'large general store' in Day FL. Isaac (Ike) and Elizabeth had 5 children while living in Day Lafayette County Florida: Mollie Campbell Barrs-Fielding born 1875, William Newton Barrs born 1877, my Grandfather Oscar Marion Barrs born 1879, Eddie Julius Barrs born 1881, Illa Effie Barrs-Evans born 1884, and Gilley Orel Barrs-Parker born 1887. 

Oscar Marion Barrs, by Grandfather, born 1879 in Day Lafayette County FL married Bertha Lee Newman, born 1885 to George Cross Newman, Sr. who was born 1832 in Tallapoosa County Alabama and Lucy Virginia Grissman who was born 1844 in Richmond Virginia, in 1900. In 1905 Grandfather Oscar bought 80+ acres of 1820 Federal Homestead land northeast of Day Town Florida and began tobacco farming. In 1907 he and a partner built a General Store and Livery Stable in Day Town FL. He died in 1940 and Grandmother Bertha died in 1970 in Day FL. Oscar and Bertha Barrs had 7 children:
Virgie Mae Barrs born 1902 but died in 1904
Ethel Phylessia Barrs-Fielding born 1904
Bessie Mae Barrs-Buchanan born 1907
Oscar Denard Barrs born 1911
my Father Alfonso Barrs, (Sr.) born 1917
Homer Tasso Barrs born 1921
Hazel Vivian Barrs-Duberly-Rine born 1924. 

Alfonso Barrs (Sr.), called 'Fonso' by relatives and friends was born in 1917 and married Evia Adetha Bell in 1936. Fonso and Adetha had 4 children:
Evia Loye Barrs-Stateler born 1937
Alfonso Barrs, Jr. born 1939
Marion LaVern Barrs born 1944
Wayman Franklin born 1947. 

I, Alfonso Barrs, Jr. called 'A. F.' by relatives and friends and 'Al' by business associates was born on Grandfather Oscar Barrs' farm on March 11, 1939. Dad had built a small board-n-batten house and he and Mom settled down to farm and raise a family. Unfortunately, Grandfather Oscar died in 1940 when I was 1 year old and Grandma Bertha decided to sell their farm to Mr. Driver, whose family still owns it today, and move into Day. Locals today still call where we lived 'The Old Fonso Place'. I began elementary school in Tallahassee Leon County Florida, attended the Day Junior High School in Day Town Lafayette County FL, the Umatilla Junior High School in Lake County FL, and attended and graduated from the DeLand Senior High School in DeLand Volusia County FL. I attended and was awarded a BS degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a BS degree from the University of Central Florida and a Masters Degree from Florida State University. He was certified by the Florida Department of Education as a Teacher of Technical Subjects and a Director of Vocational Training Programs/Centers. My wife, Priscilla Lee Jones (Sue) of over 43 years and I are retired now and live on our farm in Jackson County FL. We have 3 daughters and 11 grandchildren.

Footnote: Anyone desiring more information and specific dates, i. e. months and dates of births, deaths, etc, or if you would like to request a copy of my family tree or a copy of my Barrs Family History CD Book titled, One Thousand Years of Barrs Family History: 1000 AD to 2000 AD is welcome to send me an e-mail message at

Al Barrs
Alfonso Barrs, Jr.
By Al Barrs, Jr. ©Copyrighted 1999 - 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Updated and Revised March 17, 2005

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