Biography of Oscar Elmond Barber

Town clerk at Carolina, Rhode Island, for almost a quarter of a century, Oscar Elmond Barber has given most of his active career to the service of the people of the community. He has filled this and other important offices with the greatest efficiency, to the complete satisfaction of the electorate and his own great credit.

Mr. Barber was born on April 10, 1865, in Carolina Village, Richmond Township, a son of Eason and Rachel (Pollard) Barber, old and highly respected residents of this place. On the maternal side he is a grandson of James and Mary Pollard, natives of England.

Oscar Elmond Barber received his educational training in the public schools of his birthplace, and at Perry’s Commercial College, in Providence. At the completion of this course he began the business of life in the employ of the Carolina Mill Company. But it has been Mr. Barber’s services in the public interest rather than his activities as a business man which have won him his place in the community at Carolina. Since early youth he has been extremely active in local affairs. In the year 1890 he was elected to the town council of Richmond and served continuously in that body for six years. Then, following an interval of several years, he was again elected to the Council, and on this occasion served consecutively for twelve years. During this period Mr. Barber also held the position of tax assessor and was moderator of the town. In 1908 he was proposed as a candidate for the office of town clerk, to succeed the incumbent who was resigning after many years of service because of increasing age. Mr. Barber’s candidacy won ready support, and many fine tributes were paid to him, indicating the high place which was his in the community esteem. The following lines are typical of many endorsements received.

He must be a competent man, careful and reliable, and one who has had experience in public affairs, and has some knowledge of legal matters. He must be a man in his prime, one with many years before him, for we trust he may hold the office as long and as successfully as his predecessor. To be able to discharge the duties of the office with fairness and without partiality is one of the utmost importance.

It is with no small degree of pleasure that we are able to point to one who would make an ideal successor to Mr. Clark and that gentleman is none other than Oscar E. Barber, of Carolina. He is a young man who has had experience in town affairs, having served as moderator and councilman for a number of years. He has the confidence and respect of the community and is one in whom the taxpayers could make no mistake in selecting for the position. Mr. Barber has been approached by his friends and asked to accept the trust and he has signified his willingness to serve the townspeople to the best of his ability, and we bespeak for him the endorsement of each and every voter in the town.

Mr. Barber was elected to this important office on June 2, 1908, and has continued to serve therein continuously ever since. He has amply measured up to the best standards of the public service, and has discharged the duties of his office with the greatest efficiency, disinterestedness and success. In addition to this connection Mr. Barber has also served for more than ten years as trustee of the Carolina District Schools, Nos. 2 and 8, and for an equal period as clerk of the Board of Assessors. For many years he has held the position of justice of the peace, and since 1913 has been authorized to issue warrants and accept bail. Mr. Barber has also been entrusted in recent years with the settlement of a large number of valuable estates.

In the support of worthy civic and benevolent causes Mr. Barber has been equally active. Since its organization he has been treasurer of the Pawcatuck branch of the Westerly Chapter, American Red Cross, and during the period of the World War he rendered valuable aid to his country’s cause as chairman of the Fourth Liberty’ Loan and captain of team No. 8 for the War Fund Drive in Richmond. He was also a member of the Legal Advisory Selective Draft Board. Since 1913 he has served as agent of the American Surety Company. Mr. Barber is a member of the representative committee from Richmond, on the building of the Pawcatuck steel bridge at Shannock, and was a member, with the late Ellison Tinkham, on the committee for the construction of the steel bridge over the Pawcatuck River at Carolina. He is also connected with a number of important organizations at Carolina and elsewhere, including the Pawcatuck Council of American Mechanics, and the Carolina Business Men’s Club.

On August 2, 1902, Oscar Elmond Barber married Edna Winnifred Bates, daughter of the late Albert E. and Mary H. (Perry) Bates, old and respected residents at Carolina, and the father a veteran of the Civil War. Mr. and Mrs. Barber now reside in the old homestead formerly in the possession of his grandfather, from whom it passed into the hands of Mrs. Barber’s grandmother, the late Mary A. Perry, and eventually reverted to her.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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