Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 43, page(s) 601-602


HEMAN HUMPHREY BARBOUR was born in Canton, Conn., July 19th, 1820. His early years were spent in working upon his father's farm and in attending and afterwards teaching school. His mother was a sister of. the Rev. Dr. Heman Humphrey, late president of Amherst College, after whom he was named. She was a woman of rare mental endowments, of an earnest religious nature, and of great force of character, taking always great interest in the philanthropic and reformatory enterprises of the day, and in all political matters, and was especially noted for her intense hatred of the system of slavery. From his parents Mr. Barbour received careful religious training, and from the schools of his native town and the academy at Amherst, Mass., a good academical education. At the age of twenty he left his home for Indianapolis, Ind., and there commenced reading law in the office of his cousin, Hon. Lucien Barbour, since then a member of Congress from Indiana. After his admission to the bar he commenced practice in Columbus, Indiana, where he remained nine years, and was more than usually successful in his calling. He was, for three years, a member of the Senate of that state, serving on its most important committees, and representing his district acceptably to his constituents of all parties. In 1846, at the commencement of the war with Mexico, he enlisted in the United States army, and was made adjutant of one of the Indiana regiments of volunteers, and received at the expiration of his term of service an honorable discharge. In 1850, in consequence of impaired health from climatic causes, he removed to Hartford, Conn., and resumed the practice of law, and soon enjoyed a lucrative and increasing business. In 1858 he was elected Judge of the Probate Court for the district of Hartford, and held the office for four years. Declining a re-nomination in 1863 he returned to the duties of his profession, and actively continued in the practice of law until his death, which occurred on the 29th day of June 1875.

As a lawyer Judge Barbour brought into the service of his clients a clear and logical mind, reasoning powers of a high order, an active, energetic temperament, and remarkable powers of physical endurance. Among the marked traits of his character was a perfect confidence in the justice of the cause he represented, and unlimited confidence in his client. He first satisfied himself that his client and cause were in the right, and thereafter nothing could change his opinion, and no labor nor sacrifice of personal ease on his part was ever wanting to carry. his cause to a successful result. The intensity of his convictions made defeat exceedingly hard for him to bear. He had no patience with trickery in law. To try a case on its merits solely, with every fact fully and clearly shown, was for him to try a case well. All the duties of his profession were to him solemn obligations, and he was never satisfied until he had done his utmost to discharge them well.

He was a member of the Baptist Church, and earnest and constant in Christian work. He started and organized the Good Samaritan Society in the interest of temperance reform, and was for several years its president, and the most efficient laborer in the organization. He was also deeply interested in the Prisoners' Friend Association, and the year prior to his death was chosen president of the association. As a director of the state prison he was brought in contact with the convicts, and he spared no labor nor sacrifice of time and means in the attempt to assist them to reform and lead a life of honesty and sobriety. It may well be said of him that he was faithful to all his obligations as a citizen; conscientious in the discharge of official duty, true always to the interests of his clients, and in the midst of all furnished in his general life a conspicuous example of Christian benevolence and philanthropy.