The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966

Notes and Documents

eras Aemoirs of Alidia . karr
Edited by PHILIP GRAHAM
AMELIA BARR, ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC AMERICAN NOVELISTS
of the nineteenth century, with her husband Robert and
their children, lived in Texas from 1857 to 1867. The
first nine years they spent in Austin, the last one in Galveston
during the tragic yellow fever epidemic. All of that happened,
however, before Mrs. Barr had written a single one of her seventy-
five novels.
Amelia Edith Huddleston, born in 1831, was the daughter of
the Reverend William Henry Huddleston of Lancaster, Eng-
land. In order to continue her education she pledged her teach-
ing services to the Wesleyan Board of Education, which sent her
to Glasgow, Scotland. There she fell in love with Robert Barr,
a young businessman of that city, who paid her debt to the
church prior to making her his bride. The couple had scarcely
begun "their years of disturbed happiness" when Robert went
bankrupt.
He planned to recoup his fortunes in India. But when Amelia
in a dream saw Calcutta in flames, their destination was changed
to America, where, against Amelia's "strong premonition," they
began life anew in Chicago during 1853. There Robert entered
an accountant's office, and Amelia opened her first school for
girls. Barr eventually became seriously involved with certain
political cliques that threatened his life and had to leave hur-
riedly. Amelia and the two daughters joined him in Memphis,
and they reached Texas by slave boat.
Barr had hoped to settle in Galveston, where the shipping
business was good. Rumors of yellow fever, however, sent the
family on to Austin. In the young capital city, which was still on
the fringe of the wilderness, Mrs. Barr opened a "charm" school
for young ladies, and by exerting her own charms on Sam Hous-
ton secured for her husband a position as bookkeeper for the
state. For nine years, including the Civil War period, the family
managed to live. Lillie (christened Eliza), the second and most

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed October 22, 2014.