What does the Barr name mean? Last Name

What does the Barr name mean? Last Name: Barr
1. Scottish and northern Irish: habitational name from any of various places in southwestern
Scotland, in particular Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, named with Gaelic barr ‘height’, ‘hill’ or a British
cognate of this.
2. English: topographic name for someone who lived by a gateway or barrier, from Middle English,
Old French barre ‘bar’, ‘obstruction’.
3. English (of Norman origin): habitational name from any of various places in northern France called
Barre. See Barre.
4. English: habitational name from any of various places in England called Barr, for example Great
Barr in the West Midlands, named with the Celtic element barro ‘height’, ‘hill’.
5. English: from the vocabulary word barr ‘bar’, ‘pole’, either a metonymic occupational name for a
maker of bars, or perhaps a nickname for a tall, thin man.
6. Irish: from Ó Bairr, Donegal form of Ó Báire (see Barry 2).
. HANS1 BAR was born 1545 in Hausen, Switzerland, and died 1614. He married KATHRINA HUBER.
The Early Barr's
The first Barr who appears to be a family member is Hans Bar. Hans was born in 1545 in the village
of Hausen, which is on the northern side of the present day city of Zurich, Switzerland. There are also
early references to living at Baar, which is located near Zug. Baar is a small town about half way
between Lucerne and Zurich. In Hans day this area of northern Switzerland probably spoke German
and were greatly influenced by the Germans. At that time Switzerland was not considered a strong
military power. They had no standing army as such. Each valley was somewhat isolated and was very
independent. Each region or canton spoke the language of the country they joined or traded with and
generally left each other alone. There is not a significant Swiss language. They generally spoke
German, Italian, French or Austrian depending on their Geographic location.
A key landlocked nation in Central Europe, Switzerland is bordered on the north by Germany, on the
east by Austria and the tiny principality of Liechtenstein, on the south by Italy, and on the west by
France. Its north-south maximum extent is about 137 miles (220 kilometers), while its east-west
stretch is roughly 225 miles (360 kilometers), for a total area of less than 16,000 square miles
(41,400 square kilometers).
--------------------------------------------------------Excerpted from Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia
Copyright © 1993, 1994 Compton’s NewMedia, Inc.
Early Switzerland
Switzerland was inhabited in 850 BC by Celts in the west and by Rhaetians on the east. From AD 101
to 450 Celtics, Rhaetians and Romans lived together in peace. The Romans improved the cities in
which they were located. Numerous limited invasions followed by the Alemannions, Celts, Franks and
Romans. They were again invaded in the 11th century by a German dominated Holy Roman Empire.
By the end of the 13th century the Hapsburgs were the dominate force. They controlled the country
for several hundred years. Switzerland eventually formed a perpetual alliance with each canton and
supported each other under a curtain of neutrality.
The Barr Name
One of the Bar, Barr, Bear, or Barr names has been used in the Zurich area since early times. It is
believed that all of them mean Bear, i.e. a brown bear, etc. Probably because of religious persecution
and perhaps other reasons, some of the family moved to the Palatinate area before emigrating to the
United States in the early 1700's. The Palatinate is the southern area of Germany. It is the Black
Forest, Bavaria, and the Munich area. The Rhine river separates Switzerland and Germany. Zurich
joins the Rhine and probably was the road for the Bears, They probably traveled the Rhine to
Rotterdam, Holland then sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
In The United States
After reaching the United States, the family moved westward across Pennsylvania to Lancaster. This
was a Bear community made up of Bars from Switzerland, Germany, England and Scotland. They
kept records of the Bear family and Eventually a newsletter was published. A newsletter is still being
published and costs only a few dollars a year. (Monta Ray has the address as well as 20 to 30 years
of newspapers). The newsletter has been a valuable source of information in this development of the
Southwest Missouri Barrs.
Moving To Virginia
The family's first major relocation in their new country was to move to the mountainous area of
Rockingham, Virginia. This is still today a remote area in the Shenandoah mountains running along
the Virginia/West Virginia border. At this time in history it was estimated that 20% of the population
of the United States lived in Virginia (1800 population count).
Monroe County Tennessee
After a few years in Virginia, part of the family plus some of their friends wanted to move on down
the Appalachian Mountains. They resettled to another remote mountainous area in Monroe County
Tennessee. This area is southwest of Knoxville off Highway 411. Grandfather Robert Barr's Father,
John Newton Barr and his Father James A. Barr were born in Monroe County. James A's Father Adam
Barr was born in nearby Jefferson County
On To Missouri
Just a few years prior to the Civil War several Tennessee families moved from Tennessee to Missouri.
Newton Barr stopped for a few years in Lockwood Missouri (About 30 miles northwest of Springfield).
Our Grandfather Robert was born there on December 2, 1879. Newt decided to join Uncle Scott and
some other families, so he moved about 100 miles south to Exeter, Missouri. Newt ran a blacksmith
shop in Exeter. They were joined by Grandfather James A. Barr, plus other friends and neighbors
from Tennessee.
The status of James A. Barr becomes clouded at this time. When did James and Susan arrive in
Missouri? It appears to have been 1857. Winfield Scott was born in Missouri on December 28, 1857.
If Tennessee Lee was born in Missouri in 1855 or Thomas Isaac in 1853 this could put James in
Missouri 5 to 7 years earlier (About 1853). James seems to have left Exeter about 1860 to as late as
1862. James A. Barr is listed in the 1860 Federal Census of Barry County Missouri. James was age 40
and his wife Susan Taylor Barr was 39. Nine of their ten children are listed as follows:
Name (Not part of Census)
W. C.
William C.
E. I.
Elizabeth Jane
Mary L.
John Newton
Columbus L.
Thonas Isaac ( Other list show him as the first born in Missour in 1853)
Tennessee Lee (Other list show her born in Missouri in 1855)
Winfield Scott (Born in Missouri in 1855)
Infant Not Named
Virginia I (Jenny born May 23, 1860 in Barry County
Vestia the tenth child was not born until 1862 in Missouri. The age is recorded under Barry County,
Liberty township, June 29, 1860.
Grandmother Susan Taylor Barr
Susan is listed in the Barry County Census of 1860 as a 39 year old housewife with nine children. The
youngest is Virginia I. born May 24, 1860. Vestai, the tenth child was born in Missouri in 1862. There
isn't much on Susan for the next few years. She is listed on the 1870 census as 47 years old and as
an unmarred head of household. She moved from Liberty Township to Shoal Creek Township. This
was a short move to just east of Exeter. There are six children still living at home: Newton age 22,
Thomas Isaac age 17, Tennessee age 15, Winfred Scott age 12, Virginia age 10, and Vestia age 7 as
of June 30, 1870.
Early Reference to the Barrs
Now that we have seen the overall migration pattern to Missouri we will return to Switzerland and
learn more about the early Bars. There are several early notes of Bars just south of the present city
of Zurich Switzerland. There were several early references to Rifferswil Canton. As an example, the
Romans built a highway called "Albis Strasse" that ran from Zurich to Bar through Rifferswil. This was
in 58 BC when Julius Caesar took land from the Celtics. In 1019 the Bars were again identified with
Rifferswil of Renfried. In 1179 another reference was made to the Bars of Rifferswil. Rifferswil is still
there located about 10 miles south of Zurich and five miles from the town of Bar. Bar is an old but
very well restored city that hasn't changed much since the early days. Bar is reported to be very
rustic and scenic. Nearby is the city of Zug. It is more modern and is reported to have the highest per
capita income in Switzerland.
Middle Ages
In 1339, following the Laupen war against the Hapsburgs, George of Verzliken released his right of
oversight of the estate of Ober of Rifferswil. In 1344 Heinrich Baar of Rifferswil was recorded as one
of the two stewards of this property. In 1412 Rudy Baar gave his nephew Hans Baar, a custodian of
Rifferswill, two acres of land in Dulacher. In 1517 six Baar brothers from Hauptikon (Peter, Hans,
Heinrich, Uli, Oswald and Heidi) were obligated to pay Klosher Chappel a yearly rent consisting of
both money and produce.
The Bars apparently took a very strong position on the Anabaptist movement. The final struggle
against the Anabaptist occurred in Zurich canton between 1633 to 1645. The Anabaptist faith
originated in Switzerland in 1522. Anabaptist do not believe in infant baptism. They practice baptism
only for adults. A second baptism is required if the child was baptized as an infant. Anabaptist means
"Baptism Again". The Anabaptist were considered to be radicals of the Reformation period, both for
their views on baptism and because they rejected the involvement of the Church in government
matters. Church groups today that trace their roots back to the original Anabaptist were the
Mennonites and the Amish.
The 1633 Rifferswil census listed 182 adult Anabaptist. The 1634 census named 263 and gave the
ages of the children. Eleven of the 54 families had the surname Bar as the family head. This included
4 Jacobs, 2 Heinrichs, and 1 each; Conrad, Felix, Hans, Peter, and Rudolf. In the next census in 1635
there were no Anabaptists listed in Rifferswil. This probably meant that all Bars listed as Anabaptist
moved to a safer area and probably was the push to start the migration of the Bars to America. This
type of family move apparently was not uncommon to this period of history. GF-3 Hans was 22 years
old at this time. There were several Bar families moving through Pennsylvania. There were two major
routes west. The northern route west through Ohio and Indiana, somewhat along today's I-70
highway. The southern route was selected by our family. It basically followed the Appalachian
mountains through Virginia and Tennessee, somewhat along what route I-40 takes.
The early Bar history for the northern group centers about the ancestors of Christophel, Melchion, and
Johannes Bar. They were referred to as the Phoenix immigrants. Several of the early pioneers are
buried at Schlossers church cemetery in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
Fifty-eight Swiss Mignonettes were deported to Amsterdam in March 1710 to be taken by force to
North Carolina. They escaped and returned to Palatinate. In 1717 at a Mignonette conference the
decision was made to migrate to America. Three ship loads came to Philadelphia and moved to near
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The passenger list was lost without any record being made. A letter from
Alsace listed 30 Anabaptist prisoners which included a Ulli Bar, Katherine Bar, Hans Heinrich Bar,
Jacob Bar, and Hans Bar.
Five thousand acres were warranted to land agents November 22, 1717. Much of it was surveyed in
March 1720 to recent immigrants Hans Bar, Jacob Bar, Martin Bar, and Jacob Hooker. This land joined
the land of Samuel Bar. These Bars were probably the sons of John Jacob Bar whose name was on
the list of land transfers on the Conestoga in 1721. "Old Henry" Bar warranted 424 acres on the
Conestoga river September 27, 1717. Jacob had 600 acres surveyed west of Hans Graeff the same
month. Martin Bear was on the 1721 tax list. These notes were recorded from Jane Evans Best "Three
Bears of Earl Township, Lancaster County, PA" and Pennsylvania Mennonite records.
The following notes were taken from Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette 17-28 August 1748.
He who careth not from whence he came, careth not whither he goeth.
We live in the present, We dream of the future, we learn eternal truths from the past.
Jacob Bear, Sr. offers reward for the recovery of mare strayed or stolen from his plantation.
Tracking the Bears
Tracking the Bears was greatly assisted by the ship records at the port of Philadelphia. A large
number of the Bears passed through the Port of Philadelphia between 1730 and 1740. There may be
some variations in spelling based on the language of the recorder or the ship steward. Apparently
most of the Bears spoke German. Some of the ship logs noted as having "Bear" passengers are as
follows: The ship Francis and Elizabeth docked at Philadelphia August 3, 1743 with Johannes and
Jacob Bar and their families. The ship Dragon docked September 30, 1732 with Hans Bar, George Bar
and Ulrich Bare. The ship Molley arriving from Rotterdam September 30, 1727 lists Samuel and Jacob
Bare. The Ship Joyce landing November 30, 1730 lists John Bare age 40, Hans Jacob Bare age 11,
Hendrich Bare age 6, Anna Maria age 43, and Maria Barbra age 16. The ship Priscilla arriving
September 11, 1749 had Rudolph, Henry, Johanna and Jason. The Britanica landed in 1731 with
passengers Elizabeth Kern age 55, and Katherine Kern age 22. The Plaesana listed Medley Bear age
20 and Frena Bear age 18. In 732 the Phoenix arriving September 30, 1743 had Michael Bar,
Phillopus Bar, Johannes Bar, Melchoir Bar, Melchoir Jr., and Christaple Bar. The "Phoenix Four" will be
noted in both Rochingham, Virginia and in Ohio and Indiana.
Land Holdings
The Bar brothers were reported once as living at Brocks Gap. This is about 20 miles west of Lithia
Springs. "Whiskey Jacob" bought the farm from John Michael Brock who was one of the Valley's first
settlers. The "Baron" signed as one of the three witnesses. The land records state in part "Henry
Brock and his wife Mary, sell to Jacob Bear for 60 lb. 400A in Augusta County, on ye south fork of ye
north river of Shanando above thee gap in yea mountain". (At this time, 1752, Jagley Jacob's son
Jacob is 28 and John is 26. Jacob is our GF-5 from our start point of Hans Bar.
Adam Miller
Adam Miller was probably the first to settle in the Rockingham County Virginia area. He and his family
settled near the present city of Elkton in 7126. Adam Miller was born in Germany in 1703. He spent
his early life dreaming about the new world. Adam's dream became a reality when he and his young
wife Barbara and his sister Catrina came to America in the summer of 1720. They landed at
Philadelphia then spent some time near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Adam was dissatisfied with the farming lands there. When he heard that there was better land in
Virginia he decided to go see for himself. He left the womenfolk at home and made his way to
Williamsburg, Virginia. In a tavern he met some men who spoke to him of a great valley which lay
between two mountain ranges. They told him of a smooth flowing river, fertile land and an abundance
of game. Going westward he came to the valley (Some say he found it by climbing a tree-I guess it
doesn't matter). When he reached the valley floor he staked out a section (640 acres) to settle on. He
returned to Lancaster to fetch his wife and sister. Little Henry was born and Barbara Ann was soon on
the way.
This location proved unhealthy for his family. Adam then purchased 820 acres to the south along the
Shenandoah river. This tract included a large spring of bubbling water. Adam built a cabin near the
spring. Adam then began clearing land, planting crops and building out buildings from the trees he
cut. A few years later Adam built a new cabin near the area where Elkton is today. He selected the
logs with the greatest care. Adam was happy and proud of his new home. He called it Green
Adam and Barbara Miller had not lived an easy life. The threat of Indian attack was always near. John
Rhodes, a neighbor, and his wife and five children were all killed by Indians just over the hill from
Adam's cabin. A few days later Adam's son, Adam Jr. was killed by Indians.
Adam and Barbara Millers two daughters had married the Bear brothers, Jacob and John. The Bears
still lived in the Brocks Gap area. Adam began a plan to transfer his land, to include the springs, to
his daughter Barbara. The agreement between him and Jacob Barr is noted in a later paragraph.
Daughter Catherine and John Bear settled at Mill Place which is near Staunton. Adam's son Henry
married Elizabeth Coogler and they settled near the homeplace. As a result of the marriages between
the Bear and Miller families they became closely interwoven. Some of these families moved on to
Tennessee then to Missouri. Some of the Miller/Bear descendants such as the Kempers, Gibbons,
Yanceys, Hopkins, Mauzys and the Harnsbergers still live in East Rockingham.
In the fall of 1764 Adam became tired of the strain of living on the frontier. Adam was 61 years old.
He said he had spent the last 40 years looking for greener pastures, staking out garden plots,
building houses, raising crops, hunting for food and generally just staying alive. He decided he would
take things a little easier and retire. He offered Jacob Barr his 240 acres if Jacob would let him live in
the new house for the remainder of his life. Jacob was also to provide him a current supply of:
Two Cows
One Horse
Barley and Wheat
33 Gallons of Whiskey a year
Jacob accepted the offer on September 28, 1764. He may have been swayed by his wife Anna
Barbara Miller Barr, who is Adams Daughter.
John The "Baron" Barr
John remained at Brocks Gap. Historian Harry Strickler wrote that John Barrs "was on Fort Run, about
a mile west of the village of Timberville, on the road to Raders Church". This is about six miles east of
Brocks Gap and 18 northwest of Jacob's new home. In the 1789 "John Waylans history of
Rockingham County Virginia", John Barr is listed as owning 836 acres of land. He was listed as one of
the largest landholders in the county. John "The Baron" bought 616 more acres on the north
Shenadoah river on June 6, 1769. He added 630 more acres in 1770