A Tintype, the only known photograph of Francis Barham, taken around 1860-1870 Mary Lamberson Barham, probably around 1900
Francis Barham Mary Lamberson Barham

Francis Barham was born in the sleepy little country town of Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia, between 1813 and 1816. His father was Bennett Kerby Barham and his mother was Jane Whitaker Lee Barham. We have very little information or documentation regarding Bennett Kerby or Jane.

Bennett and Jane had seven children:
Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 19th Century

  • Robert
  • b: about 1813
  • Benjamin
  • b: unknown
  • Susan
  • b: unknown
  • Francis
  • b: about 1816
  • Dorothy
  • b: unknown
  • Frances
  • b: unknown
  • William
  • b: unknown

    Bennett Kerby Barham died about 1825. Existing records show that sometime thereafter a James Cabiness became the guardian of sons Benjamin and Francis and daughter Susan. From this it can easily be assumed that Jane married James Cabiness. There are no further existing records regarding Jane Whitaker Lee.

    We do know that Francis moved to Luray, in Page County, Virginia, sometime before 1839 and there he met and married Mary Lamberson (Lammerson)in January of that year. Virtually nothing is known of his life prior to that time, nor do we know the reason he left the Tidewater region. While other Barhams migrated south into the Carolinas and then westward it appears that Francis was the only Barham to settle in the Shenandoah Valley. Barhams in Page, Shenandoah and Rappahannock Counties, Virginia, then and now, are direct descendants of Francis and Mary Barham.

    Luray, Virginia, in the 19th Century

    Francis' and Mary's places of residence during his first twelve or thirteen years in Luray is unknown but it must be assumed that he did not buy property since he does not appear on any property tax records. It can also be assumed that he resided either in Luray or, more likely, the small hamlet of Hamburg, two miles west of Luray. In 1853 he purchased a home with a parcel of land in "River Hills", across the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. He and the family remained there for several years and, in fact, two or more of his children were born there.

    Francis and Mary had seven children:
  • Martha
  • b: about 1840
  • Thomas Henry
  • b: February 27, 1852
  • Mary E.
  • b: April 17, 1841
  • Charles Russell
  • b: June 19, 1854
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • b: March 15, 1844
  • Margaret Arbelia
  • b: September 19, 1858
  • William Stanley
  • b: about 1848

    Francis worked in the building trades, usually as a plasterer, throughout his lifetime and most of his sons did the same. Few other details of his life are known. He enlisted for military service on June 22, 1861, in Company M, 97 Regiment, Virginia Militia. He was mustered in as a Private but was discharged on September 9, 1861, with his age listed as 45. In fact, most of the Page County volunteers were released on this date so that they could return to their farms to harvest their crops but Francis was released unconditionally, probably due to his age or health.

    Francis died of "Apoplexy" on October 10, 1877. His place of death was given as "Mauck's Mill" although it was more likely Hamburg. Mary lived for many more years, residing with her son-in-law, Jacob Williams, and her daughter, Margaret Arbelia, on their farm just west of Luray. She was buried in the Sperryville Cemetery in Rappahannock County which leads one to suspect that she was living with her grand-daughter, Luella Barham Dodson, at the time of her death.

    Francis Barham is buried in the Ruffner-Bauserman Cemetery on the Reuben Ruffner farm, almost directly across the country road from where he and his family lived in River Hills.
    Mary M. Lamberson Barham died at 82 on April 26, 1905, and is buried in the Sperryville Cemetery in Rappahannock County.

    Francis Barham's grave at the Ruffner-Bauserman Cemetery Mary Barham's grave in the Sperryville Cemetery

    "Love suffers long and is kind."
    1 Corinthians 13:4

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