Barr township is located in the northwest part of the county and is bounded on the north by Scottville, on the
west by Greene county, on the south by Western Mound and on the east by South Palmyra townships. Its soil is a
rich clay and in the western portion along Taylor's creek is found some timber. The northern portion is mostly
prairie, except in the extreme northwest corner, where it is rough and broken. The township is afforded good drainage
by Solomon's. Joe's, Taylor's and Watts' creeks and their tributaries.
Joseph Elliott was the first white settler in the township. He "squatted" on land on section 21, in 1828
or 1829, and thereon built a log cabin and cultivated some land. He later sold to William Handlin.
John Markham settled here in the year 1830 and in 1835 was followed by Benjamin and Hugh Barr, for whom the township
was named, a Mr. Kennedy, Silas Drum, and a man by the name of Wiggins. Other early settlers were James B. Steidley,
Hampton Bates, John Barnett, John Parks, Adam James, William Taggert, Thomas Coddle and Michael Buchanan.
The first marriage in the township was that of John Rummons and Mrs. Fanny Markham, the ceremony being performed
by John Barnett, justice of the Peace.
The first birth in the township was that of Martha Ann Steidley, daughter of James B. and Rachel Steidley, February
The first death in the township was that of John Markham in January, 1835.
The first religious services in the township were conducted by Joseph J. Gray, a Presbyterian minister, in a schoolhouse
on section 20. Rev. James Corrington organized the first church society, which was a Methodist. They built the
first church on section 20 and called it Asbury chapel. Charles Maxfield and wife, and Nathan Henderson and wife
were among the first members. Soon afterward Samuel Rees and wife, J. B. Steidley and wife. John and David Henderson,
with their wives, and William Taggert and wife also became members of this organization.
The first school in the township was taught in a private residence by Miss Elizabeth Ann Steidley.
The first schoolhouse was built of logs on section 20, in 1836. and was taught by J. B. Steidley.
A steam flour mill was erected by Shane & Henderson in 1863.
The first mill in the township was a horse power sawmill. operated by J. B. Handlin.
Barr's Store is the only village in the township, and is located on section 9. It was laid out in 1865 by John
B. Staidly, receiving its name from the Barr family. Benjamin R. Barr conducted the first store here and was also
the first postmaster of the village.