John Watson Barr
|John Watson Barr|
|Justice of the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky|
April 16, 1880 – February 21, 1899
|Nominated by||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|Preceded by||William H. Hays|
|Succeeded by||Walter Evans|
December 17, 1826|
|Died||December 31, 1907
|Resting place||Cave Hill Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Susan P. Rogers|
|Alma mater||Transylvania University|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Early life and family
John Watson Barr was born in Versailles, Kentucky on December 17, 1826. He was the son of William and Ann (Watson) Barr. His father was a merchant who worked in both Versailles and Louisville, Kentucky.
Barr received his early education from private tutors and private schools in Woodford County. He then matriculated to Transylvania University to study law. Upon his graduation in 1847 he commenced practice in Versailles. In 1854, he moved to Louisville and formed a law firm with Joseph B. Kinkead. After eight years, the two dissolved the partnership by mutual consent, but remained friends. Barr continued in private practice until 1864, when he formed a new law firm with John Kemp Goodloe.
On November 23, 1859, Barr married Susan P. Rogers. The couple had seven children – John W. Barr, Jr., Anna W. Barr, Caroline H. Barr, Susan R. Barr, Josephine P. Barr, Elise R. Barr, and Jason Rogers Barr. The family attended College Street Presbyterian Church.
Barr had begun advocating the gradual abolition of slavery as early as 1849. When the Civil War commenced, he helped organize the Kentucky Home Guard and served as adjutant general of the Louisville brigade. He was also involved in the organization of several Union regiments in Kentucky. After the war, Barr returned to his law practice. In 1868, Alexander Pope Humphrey joined the firm, which continued until Barr's appointment to a federal judgeship in 1880.
Like his father, Barr was associated with the Whig Party in his early life. Following the dissolution of the Whig Party, he joined the Democratic Party. After the formation of the Republican Party, he fervently adhered to that party.
From 1868 to 1870, Barr served as president of the Board of Louisville Sinking Fund Commissioners and served several terms on the Louisville City Council. For twenty years, he was director of the Bank of Kentucky.
On April 9, 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated Barr to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kentucky, replacing William H. Hays. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 16, 1880, and received his commission the same day.
- "John Watson Barr". History of the Sixth Circuit
- Biographical Cyclopedia, p. 37
- Biographical Cyclopedia, p. 38
- Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Chicago, Illinois: J.M. Gresham Company. 1896.
- "John Watson Barr (1826-1907)". History of the Sixth Circuit. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- John Watson Barr at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky