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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



CHARLES A. BARLEY, Insurance Agent and Notary Public of Leroy, is also engaged in the real estate, loan and collecting business, of which he has a thorough understanding, and is meeting with success. Mr. Barley is a native of the Buckeye State and was born in Wayne Township, Champaign County, March 19, 1845. His father was George Barley, of Frederick County, Va., and his grandfather, John Barley, was a native of Maryland but of German ancestry and parentage. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits the greater part of his life, and spent his last days in the Old Dominion.

George Barley, the father of our subject, was reared on a farm in his native county and was there married in the fall of 1834. A few days afterward, accompanied by his bride and equipped with one horse and a spring wagon, he set out overland for Ohio. They located in Greene County and thence, after two years, removed to Champaign County. Here the father bought a tract of heavy timber land near Urbana. There was a log cabin on the place and half an acre was cleared. He immediately set about its improvement and cultivation, and established a permanent home, where he spent the remainder of his days, his decease occurring in January, 1883. He had cleared the greater part of his land and erected a good set of frame buildings. In addition to the affairs of his own family and his homestead he was always interested in the welfare and prosperity of the community around him, and materially assisted in its development and progress. He filled various offices of trust in his township, and with the exception of two years was Trustee from 1854 until his death, a period of twenty-nine years.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Julia A. Spicknel. She also was born in Frederick County, Va., and was the daughter of Clement Spicknel who, with his wife, formerly a Miss Frazier, was a native of New Jersey, and the latter of French descent. Mrs. B. died in July, 1886, in Champaign County, Ohio. Of this union there were born seven children, as follows: John W. served in the late war as Captain of Co. F, 134th Ohio Vol. Inf.; he is now Register of Deeds in Washington County, Kan. Noah F., formerly a teacher of penmanship in the city schools of Lexington, Mo., died there Aug. 10, 1860; Isaiah N. is a farmer and stock-raiser near Lawrence, Kan.; Mary, Mrs. Morecraft, lives in Champaign County, Ohio; our subject was the next in order of birth; Martha A., Mrs. Hallowel, lives in Leroy, Ill., and Sarah, in Champaign County, Ohio.

Charles A. Barley was the fifth child of his parents. His childhood and youth were spent upon the farm and he received his early education in the district schools. He also attended the High School at Urbana for two years and remained a resident of his native State until 1868. In the meantime he had graduated from Oberlin Commercial College [ed., probably Oberlin College, a private institution], and during the war served in the army as a member of the 134th Ohio Infantry. He taught school for a time in Ohio, and after coming to this State continued this occupation near Leroy until 1870. He was then appointed Principal of the Leroy schools, which position he held for four years and then was compelled to resign on account of ill-health. He soon afterward established his present business, and in 1879 associated himself in partnership with D. L. Moorehouse, loan and real-estate agent. They operated together until September, 1886, when their business was closed up without any outstanding indebtedness.

The manner in which the affairs of the firm were conducted by Mr. Barley is a fair indication of his tact and ability as a financier. He is a thorough business man, and his straightforward methods of conducting his affairs and his promptness in meeting his obligations have gained him the and respect of the business community. In his handling of half a million dollars there has never been a shadow of a loss or fraud, and he retired from the firm with a clear conscience and the good will of those with whom he dealt. He has been prominently identified with various public enterprises in the city of Leroy and has held various offices of trust. He was one of the Executive Committee of the company organized to build the Narrow Gauge Railroad from Leroy to Fisher, in Champaign County, and also Secretary of the same, and one of five who organized the Leroy Library Association in 1875. He has been City Clerk, with the exception of two years, since the city was incorporated, and was a member of the School Board from 1877 until 1886, and then declined to serve longer. He was Clerk of Empire Township six years and has been Notary Public since 1874. He was elected Secretary of the Empire Loan and Building Association in 1874, and continued in that office while the company existed, a period of eight years. In 1882, when the Leroy Loan and Building Association was organized, he was elected Secretary, and has been re-elected each year. He is a member of Leroy Lodge No. 221, A. F. & A. M., being Master two years. He is also a member of Thomas Riddle Post No. 230, G. A. R.

Charles A. Barley and Miss Matilda Dempsey were united in marriage in Ohio in October, 1868. Mrs. Barley is the daughter of Jefferson and Jane (Bailey) Dempsey, natives of Pennsylvania, who removed to Ohio at an early period in the settlement of Champaign County, being among the pioneers of that section. Of this union there have been born five children Inez, Frank C., Jessie, Camby A. and Lloyd B.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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