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Timothy Lawrence Barber

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Timothy Lawrence Barber
1888-1918

“He went to France to ease the suffering.”

Richard Andre

Timothy Lawrence Barber was born on March 19, 1888, in Charleston, West Virginia, the son of Dr. Timothy L. and Lucy B. Barber. Timothy had four siblings, two brothers and two sisters.

Timothy received his elementary education in the public schools and graduated from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, after which he enrolled in the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond. Dr. Barber received his hospital training in Richmond and Chicago, and, upon completion of this training, began practice as a physician and surgeon in Charleston.

When the United States entered the war in 1917, Dr. Barber organized an ambulance unit which consisting mostly of men from Charleston. This unit was sent to Fort Meade. In July 1918, Dr. Barber was transferred from the unit and sent to France with the 313th Infantry for which Dr. Barber was a surgeon of the Second Battalion.
Ambulance unit leaving Charleston
Ambulance unit leaving Charleston

In early October, the 313th was near Rupt-en-Woevre in northern France. On October 6, Timothy Barber, then a captain, wrote his mother:

Just a line to assure you that I am all right. Have been on the firing line a week and it was like a lifetime in hell! It was one of the worst and bloodiest battles of the war, and why or how I came through it is more than I can tell.

We have been going from one hill and woods to another ever since being relieved—sleeping in the rain and on the hillsides—no baggage, dirty, no water to wash in and very little to drink, marching 10 to 20 miles every night, the men all tired from the six days of continuous fighting. My mother, you cannot imagine what a terrible life this is! I am 10 years older already, and have seen all my friends and comrades blown to pieces beside me. The suffering has been great. We lost about 45 or 50 percent of our regiment.

Have received a number of letters which I will answer as soon as we stop long enough to get my mind together, and paper enough to write on.

We leave tonight for the front again.

Timothy Lawrence Barber
Timothy Lawrence Barber
Captain Barber and others of his regiment were sent out to locate an advance Red Cross Relief Station. When they came upon an abandoned mine crater which had been camouflaged by the Germans, Captain Barber entered the crater and was badly burned in the ensuing explosion. Although taken to a hospital, his burns were of such severity that he died a few days later on October 10, 1918.

Captain Barber was buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, but he is commemorated by a headstone in Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston. In addition to his mother and several siblings, Timothy Lawrence Barber was survived by a wife and an infant son Timothy.
Marker in Spring Hill Cemetery
Marker in Spring Hill Cemetery

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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