Francis Barber, the negro servant and friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson, born in Jamaica, probably about 1741, died Feb. 13, 1801. He was taken to England in 1750, and sent to a boarding school in Yorkshire. In 1752 he entered Dr. Johnson's service, in which he continued till Johnson's death, with the exception of two intervals: in one of which, upon some difference with his master, he served an apothecary in Cheapside; and in another he took a fancy to go to sea. This last escapade occurred in 1759, and through Dr. Smollett's interference with John Wilkes, one of the lords of the admiralty, procured his discharge (in June, 1760), without any wish on the part of Barber. On returning, he resumed his situation with Dr. Johnson, who sent him to school for a time. It was owing to Barber's care that the manuscript of Johnson's diary of his tour in Wales in 1774 was preserved. Dr. Johnson gave Barber in his will an annuity of £70, and after the payment of a few legacies made him residuary legatee. Barber's whole income from this bequest amounted to about £140, on which, at Johnson's recommendation, he retired to Lichfield, and passed the rest of his days in comfort.
Francis Barber, an officer in the American revolution, born at Princeton, N. J., in 1751, died at Newburgh, N. Y., in April, 1783. He graduated at the college of New Jersey in 1767, and in 1769 became rector of the academy at Elizabethtown, N. J. He gained a very high reputation as a teacher, and had among his pupils Alexander Hamilton. At the commencement of the war he enlisted with his two younger brothers. In February, 1776, he received a commission as major of the 3d battalion of the New Jersey troops, in November of the same year was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 3d Jersey regiment, and in 1777 was named assistant inspector general under Baron Steuben. He served with his regiment under Gen. Schuyler in the northern army, and participated in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In the last-mentioned action he was severely wounded, and compelled to retire to his home at Elizabethtown. There he made himself useful in obtaining intelligence of the enemy's movements.
In 1779 he served as adjutant general in Gen. Sullivan's campaign against the Indians, and was wounded in the battle at Newtown. He was engaged in the battle of Springfield, and in 1781, when the mutiny of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey troops broke out, he was selected by Washington to suppress the revolt. He was present at the battle of Yorktown, and at the close of the war was with the army at Newburgh. On the day that he was invited by Washington to be present at a dinner to hear the news of the peace he was killed by a falling tree.