Person Page 151

Robert Steele Barr1,2,3,4,5,6

born 19 February 1797, died 24 September 1852
Painting of Robert Steele Barr attributed to George Caleb Bingham. (Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis)

Family: Mary Munden Duncan (born 29 September 1802, died 22 April 1881)

Facts and Notes

  • Birth: 19 February 1797; Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USABGO3,1,7,2,4,5
  • Anecdote: Between 1821 and 1851; See person note7
  • Marriage: 18 March 1823; Mary Munden Duncan2
  • Residence: 1840; Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USABGO; In 1840 Robert Steele's household consisted of four white males (one under five, one between 15 and 19, one between 20 and 29, and one between 40 and 49 years old), four white females (one under five, one between 10 and 14, one between 30 and 39, and one between 60 and 69 years old), four male slaves (one under nine, two between 10 and 23, one between 36 and 54 years old), and four female slaves (one between 10 and 23, two between 24 and 35, and one between 36 and 54 years old).6
  • Residence: 1850; District 8, Boone County, Missouri, USABG; Age: 52. The 1850 Slave Schedule indicates that Robert Steele Barr owned 3 slave: one male, age 18, and two females, age 18 and 205,8
  • Occupation: 18 September 1850; farmer5
  • Death: 24 September 1852; Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USABGO; Age: 553,2,4
  • Burial: After 24 September 1852; Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USABG3,4
  • Note: According to a biography in "The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham," Robert Steele probably came to Missouri before 1820, settling in Franklin, Howard County, where he began his business career. In July 1821 he formed a commission firm for the export of farm produce to new Orleans in partnership with William Lamme. Not long afterward he and a number of other Franklin citizens moved to Boone County. He was one of the original thirty-five stockholders of the Smithton Company that founded the town of Columbia. A successful drygoods merchant of the town, He was also one of the leaders of the community from the start. He was a member of the group that acquired the Missouri Intelligencer in Dec. 1835, changing its masthead to the Columbia Patriot and its political affiliation to the Whig party. A great supporter of higher education, he was one of the first trustees of Columbia College in 1833, one of the original incorporators of Christian College in Columbia, and helped provide funds to secure the location of the University of Missouri in Boone County in 1839. Realizing the importance of good roads, he was a charter member of the Columbia and Missouri River Turnpike Company in 1849, which sought to build a turnpike from Columbia to the Missouri River. In April 1851, he was a delegate from Boone County to the convention, held in Danville, Montgomery County, Mo., to consider laying a plank road from Glasgow to St. Louis by way of Columbia. He was also one of the early advocates of a railroad in Boone County.


  1. [S405], Web: Missouri, Find A Grave Index, 1812-2012
  2. [S439] McNaull, Margaret, Personal Family Tree, McNaull, Margaret. Personal Family Tree. Privately held by Marianna Cobb, Arlington, Virginia, 1993.

    These are copies of three separate genealogical records and a personal letter that were sent by Margaret McNaull to Marianna Cobb in Virginia in 1993. The copies were on file in the home of Mary Jane and Robert Reyes of Lorton, Virginia, as of 2014., Margaret McNaull Genealogical Records, Copies sent to Marianna Cobb on 11 May 1993.
  3. [S403], U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, Record for Robert Steele Barr
  4. [S743], Boone County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1800-1965, Ellsberry, Elizabeth Prather, comp. Cemetery Records of Boone County, Missouri. Volumes 2, 5-8. Chillicothe, MO, USA: Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry, c1965., Cemetery Records of Boone County, Missouri Part I Volume II; Volume: II, Record for Robert Steele Barr
  5. [S507], 1850 United States Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 8, Boone, Missouri; Roll: M432_392; Page: 379B; Image: 301, Record for Robert S Barr
  6. [S427], 1840 United States Federal Census, Year: 1840; Census Place: Columbia, Boone, Missouri; Roll: 220; Page: 110; Family History Library Film: 0014855, Record for Robert S Barr
  7. [S433] Bloch, E. Maurice, The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham, Bloch, E. Maurice. The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonne. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1986.

    I have photocopies of a few pages dealing with George Caleb Bingham's paintings. I need to verify that they are in fact from this book., page 144; section titled "Robert Steele Barr, 1792-1852"
  8. [S601], 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432, 1,009 rolls.