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BARBE, John S.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
III, page 372, 1923.
BARBE, JOHN S. has been a resident of Daytona Beach, Florida, since 1914, and is a former
mayor of that city.
He came to Daytona Beach with a successful business record, but has not been satisfied to
retire, and has gone ahead in a constructive program of enterprise that has been reflected
to the advantage of the community.
Mr. BARBE was for many years on the road as a commercial salesman. From the time of their
marriage Mrs. BARBE has been his active associate in business, and an important element in
their success was due to Mrs. BARBE's enterprise in looking after a growing commercial
establishment while her husband was on the road.
Mr. BARBE was born on a farm in Lewis County, West Virginia, May 17, 1862, a son of PHILLIP
E. and JUAN FERNANDEZ BARBE. His father was born near Morgantown, Monogalia County, West
Virginia, and his mother near Buckhannon, Upshur County, West Virginia. His father died
July 11, 1890, at the age of fifty-three, while his mother passed away April 14, 1921, at
the age of seventy-eight.
PHILLIP BARBE was a farmer and railroad contractor and helped build the Clarksburg and Weston
Railroad and also did construction work for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in West Virginia.
He served in the Southern army as a soldier, participating in the battles of Rich Mountain,
Cheat Mountain and Bull Run, and was a prisoner for a short time. He always voted as a
Oldest in a family of twelve children, JOHN S. BARBE attended school in Lewis County, West
Virginia, until he was seventeen, and soon after that went on the road as a commercial traveler.
For eighteen years he handled the business in many states for the Herb Medicine Company of
Weston, West Virginia, and Springfield, Ohio, an organization owned by Rhul-Koblegard Company
of Clarksburg, West Virginia. In the meantime, Mr. And Mrs. BARBE decided that some additions
could be made to their income and provide profitable use for their savings and for the spare
time of Mrs. BARBE. Thus while he was for the greater part on the road Mrs. BARBE established
a little store that grew into a thriving and prosperous business at Lightburn, West Virginia.
Almost the entire management devolved upon her while Mr. BARBE was traveling. This business
grew so rapidly Mr. BARBE quit the road to help take care of the business, and after ten years
they sold out and come to Florida for Mr. BARBE's health.
At one time Mr. BARBE served as postmaster at Lightburn, also as notary public. He and Mrs.
BARBE acquired some valuable oil and gas properties in West Virginia.
October 15, 1891, Mr. BARBE and Miss MINNIE KEMP, of Topeka, Kansas, were united in marriage
and as partners in business as well as in their home. Her father, WILLIAM KEMP, was born near
Baltimore, Maryland, June 24, 1824, and died May 3, 1917. He came to Kansas in 1857, and was
one of the pioneers of the state. Her mother, MARY WILLIS RICE KEMP, was born in Kentucky in
1850 and migrated with her parents to Kansas in 1854, setting near Topeka, Kansas, near the
Pottawatomie Indian Reservation. Mrs. Kemp can relate many encounters with this tribe of
Indians. Mr. And Mrs. BARBE have two children: MYRTLE KEMP, wife of GEORGE C. SMITH, who
is in the banking business at Daytona Beach, Florida, and WILLIAM KEMP, a successful young
business man at Daytona Beach, who married MARGARET McCLEOD, of Newberry, Florida. Mr. And
Mrs. BARBE have three grandchildren: DOROTHY MYRTLE SMITH, aged five, MARY FRANCES SMITH,
aged fifteen months, and MARGARET KEMP BARBE, aged six weeks.
Mr. And Mrs. BARBE are members of the Methodist Church. Mr. BARBE was elected mayor of Daytona
Beach in 1916-17, and served as a member of the Council in 1930-21.
Since coming to Daytona Beach they have been buying and selling real estate. Mr. BARBE is
a stockholder and director of The Atlantic Bank & Trust Company of Daytona Beach, and a stockholder
in the Peoples Bank of Janelew, West Virginia.
Daytona Beach in the opinion of Mr. BARBE is the choicest spot of the world's circumference.
He has expressed his faith in and for the town by a constant exercise of public spirit.
Successful in his own affairs, he has derived that additional satisfaction of seeing his
individual efforts accompanied by some degree of public welfare. He and Mrs. BARBE are both
active socially, and they have had the fortune of more than thirty years of mutual planning
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