The name of Barbeau, so well-known in all Randolph County, was never more honorably borne than by the present head of the family. His ancestors have lived near Prairie du Rocher for generations. His father Henry Barbeau, who died in 1902, was born in the vicinity of the Commons. Both this gentleman and his wife, who lived until 1915, were well known through the length and breadth of the county.
Henry I. Barbeau was born on the farm where he now resides, on February 1, 1863. He attended the parochial and public schools, and after this studied the science of farming under the effective tuition of his father. He remained on his father’s farm and succeeded to the management of it when his father retired. This was in 1882. In the same year Mr. Barbeau was married.
Mrs. Barbeau was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 22. 1861. Her father, whose name was McCaron, died soon after, when she came under the care of relatives in Prairie du Rocher. She received a good education, after which she taught school for three years near Ruma. Here she made the acquaintance of Mr. Barbeau, which resulted in their marriage. Seven children were born to them; Harry J., Frank W., Edward, Louis J., Leo A., George A., and Ella J. Barbeau.
Besides the care of his large farm, which comprises 450 acres, Mr. Barbeau has been deeply interested in public matters. As superintendent of highways of Randolph County he earned the gratitude of all citizens. He is prominent in the affairs of the Democratic Party and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Even these duties leave him some leisure for the pursuit of his favorite hobby, which is automobiling. He must be an able man who can unite in one life such varied interests, and yet pursue each of them so successfully. Some men may be great in one thing, and do that one thing admirably, but it is the versatile man, the character who is large enough to find enjoyment in many things, and at the same time with ability to attain prominence in all of these activities, who may be said truly to stand forth from the multitude and constitute greatness.