About John Barbour, Jr., U.S. Senator
John Strode Barbour, Jr. (December 29, 1820 – May 14, 1892) was a Representative and a Senator from Virginia. He is best remembered for taking power in Virginia from the short-lived Readjuster Party in the late 1880s, forming the first political machine of "Conservative Democrats", whose power was to last 80 years until the demise of the Byrd Organization in the late 1960s.
Barbour was born at Catalpa, near Culpeper, Virginia, the son of John S. Barbour. He attended the common schools and graduated from the law department of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He was admitted to the bar in 1841 and commenced practice in Culpeper.
Barbour served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1847 to 1851, and was president of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad Co. from 1852 to 1881. He was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-seventh, and the two succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1881 - March 4, 1887). There he served as chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia (Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Congresses). He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1886.
In the late 1880s, Barbour is credited with taking on the Readjuster Party, a coalition of blacks, Republicans, and Conservative Democrats led by Harrison H. Riddleberger and William Mahone, forming the first political machine of "Conservative Democrats", whose power was to last 80 years until the demise of the Byrd Organization in the late 1960s.
Barbour was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1889, until his death in 1892 in Washington, D.C.. He was interred in the burial ground at "Poplar Hill," Prince George's County, Maryland.