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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sailor, gold miner, merchant, hotel keeper, farmer, village trustee and alderman


William Barber III was born September 4, 1832, in Naperville Township, Cook County, Illinois, the son of William Barber Jr. and Lucetta Stevens.

Lucetta was the daughter of John Hosmer Stevens and Mary Polly Taylor.

William Jr. passed away one month after William III was born and Lucetta then married Michael Hines.

William III was baptized July 15, 1834, in the First Congregational Church of Naperville. It is believed that he was the first male white child born in what is now DuPage County.

William Barber III

He led an adventurous early life. William sailed on the Great Lakes in 1849 during the sailing season. He then traveled to California in 1850 with the Stephen J. Scott expedition to mine gold for about two years. While he was in San Francisco, he saw signs advertising that gold had been found in Australia, so he and a companion made the grueling journey of 64 days to Sydney. After working in the gold mines at Bendigo, he and his companion, Robert Bruce, purchased a half share in a general store there and operated it for about a year.

William sold his share of the general store and then traveled to Lima, Peru, where he became sick with yellow fever. He made his way back to Naperville via the Isthmus of Panama and New York City in July of 1854. Shortly thereafter he moved to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and was engaged in the boot and shoe business with his uncle.

He married Martha Adelaide Crossett, his cousin, on October 24, 1855. They were the parents of ten children: Frankie, William Solon, Heber Bingham, Anna Victoria, Charles, John, Winfield Scott, Walter Crossett, and twin boys who died shortly after birth.
He served two terms as township collector in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

William then kept a hotel in Juneau, Wisconsin, until 1868 when he and his family returned to Lisle Township. He farmed for about three years and then moved to Naperville where he operated a nursery.

William served as Naperville Trustee in 1874 and 1881, and as 3rd Ward Alderman in 1893 and 1894.

In 1903 William and Martha moved to Downers Grove to be closer to their only surviving child, Walter.

He affiliated with Euclid Lodge November 17, 1874, from Solomon Lodge No. 86, Juneau, Wisconsin.

William Barber III died May 30, 1912, in Downers Grove, DuPage County, Illinois. Funeral services were held at his home and at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Naperville with Rev. Crisman of Downers Grove conducting the services. Members of Euclid Lodge No. 65 oversaw the funeral at the grave in the Naperville Cemetery, and performed the simple Masonic funeral ritual.

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Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.


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