A self-taught landscape and animal painter, he painted very specific scenes as well as actual animals. He painted locally known price-winning cows, and his landcapes were based on Ohio woods and fields.
Born in Sandusky, Ohio on September 21, 1839, or 1840, he was the son of a dealer in hardware, grain and coal. Barber studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1862, but gave up the law to be a painter, supporting himself as a bank clerk.
His paintings won many awards at Ohio State Fairs in the late 1870s and early 1880s, and from 1881 to 1887 he also exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York.
Barber died on November 27, 1910.
Haverstock, et. al. Artists in Ohio 1787-1900