HON. P. C. BARRY, M. D. Few if any residents in Calhoun County have a more interesting history than Dr. Barry, of Hardin, and certainly none have a higher opinion of the citizens of the county. He is proud to have made this his home, as he considers the residents the most industrious and law-abiding in the Prairie State. Though descended from a noble family he is opposed to all hereditary titles and believes with his favorite poet, Robert Burns that
"The rank is but the guinea's stamp, A man's a man for a' that,"
his advancement in life depending upon his education, industry and associations.
Dr. Barry was born in County Waterford, Ireland, July 31, 1841. His father, Edmond Barry, and his mother, Mary (Collins) Barry, were natives of the same county, and his grandfather, John Barry, was born in County Cork. The great-grandparents of our subject were the Barrys of Castle Lyons, County Cork, commonly known as the Lords of Barrymore. Some members of this noble and powerful family were noted for their adherence to English rule and others for their love of liberty and Irish nationality. The father and grandfather of Dr. Barry held large farm interests in County Waterford. Of the parental household, two, Michael and Garret, who were formerly employed in the police department of New York City, are deceased; William now lives in New Zealand; Dr. John C. resigned from the English service and entered that of the United States as naval surgeon during the Civil War, but has returned to Ireland; Julia, James, Mary and Dr. David F. live in the United States; Edward makes his home in England.
After receiving a classical education in the collegiate seminaries of Mt. Melleray and Waterford, our subject entered the University of Louvain, Belgium, in the year 1859. The Irish brigade in the service of the Roman Pontiff, Pius IX, being organized in 1860, Mr. Barry left the university and entered the service, receiving the commission of Second Lieutenant. As he spoke both French and German, he was employed in the transport service, conducting the Irish soldiers to Italy, through Belgium, Germany and Austria. While thus employed he became intimately acquainted with some of the most illustrious families in those countries. After fulfilling his duty in the transport service he visited Rome, where he was well received by the Minister of War, Count Demerode, and being allowed to remain in the city a week, visited the most noted ruins and public buildings.
Lieut. Barry was ordered to Ancona, a seaport on the Adriatic, where he was actively engaged in military drill and maneuvers until war was declared by Victor Emanuel, King of Piedmont, against the Holy See. Ancona was besieged by fifty thousand men under Gen. Chaldini, and ten vessels of war, and surrendered after twelve days obstinate fighting by the garrison which consisted of but ten thousand men. Lieut. Barry and other officers were conveyed as prisoners of war to Genoa, where they were released on parole with the condition they would not take up arms against the King of Piedmont for one year. At Genoa Lieut. Barry met Col. Coppinger, now son-in-law of James G. Blaine, Secretary of State, who had served in the same brigade as Captain and was taken prisoner at Spoleta.
On being paroled Lieut. Barry returned to the University of Louvain, in November, 1860, and continued his studies there until 1863 when he embarked for Ireland. Believing that war would be declared by England against the United States, Lieut. Barry assisted in secretly organizing the revolutionary forces of Ireland. Being placed under suspicion by the British Government, he embarked for the United States in 1864, intending to join the United States service, but commissions not being easily obtained, he located in St. Louis, Mo. There he continued the study and practice of medicine until 1807, when he started for Peoria, Ill. On the boat he met some Calhoun County gentlemen who urged him to locate at Hardin. On their recommendation he landed April 2, 1867, and has made Hardin his home from that day to this.
Dr. Barry has been a successful physician, accumulating a large amount of real-estate by his industry and strict attention to medical practice. He edited the Calhoun Herald the year of its establishment (1872) and was the chief instrument in placing it on a firm basis. This experience he calls ''the battle of his life." He has been County Physician for some years and was a member and President of the Board of Trustees of Hardin. Whatever political aspirations he may have had have been kept to himself as he never solicited a county office. In 1884 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from the Thirtysixth Senatorial District and according to the Legal Advisor, edited at that time by Speaker Haines, he was the most popular member of the House.
In the memorable contest in 1885 between Gen. Logan and Col. Morrison for the position of United States Senator, the Hon. P. C. Barry took an active part. The Democrats and Republicans being equal in numbers in the Joint Assembly, he worked indefatigably for Col. Morrison. The death of Representative Shaw, a Democrat, and the election of the Hon. Mr. Weaver, a Republican, as his successor, insured the election of Gen. Logan. Dr. Barry went on record as voting for Judge Lambert Tree, the Democratic caucus nominee, but preferred Logan to Farwell, the present Senator. A prudent and active member of the General Assembly, Dr. Barry heartily deserved the thanks and consideration of his constituents.
September 8, 1868, the rites of wedlock were celebrated between Dr. Barry and Miss Tersey D. Smith, a daughter of Levi and Mary Elvira (DeLong) Smith. Mr. Smith was a respectable farmer of Calhoun County and Mrs. Smith is a grand-niece of DeWitt Clinton, the first Governor of New York. Doctor and Mrs. Barry have had six children, four of whom are now living, namely: Mary E., James, Edward Standish, and Zita Agnes. Mr. Barry is courteous in his bearing, although plain and unassuming, his manners corresponding with his belief regarding the universal democracy.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 527-529
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