I am recycling a column from August 19, 1998. It follows.
This week I'll dig into the year 1935 for the obituary of a man known as the "Marrying Squire."
Until about 35 years ago, a person could be elected Justice of the Peace for a a township. Some of his duties included presiding over small court cases such as traffic law breakers. He decided guilt and set the court fine and collected same with court costs. He also could perform marriages. My understanding of this man — George F. Barringer — was that he was a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) and commonly referred to as "Squire".
I have read news items of Squire standing near the courthouse in Waverly watching for a man and woman to enter and stopping them to ask if they wanted to marry. Sometimes they were intent on that purpose and he would perform the task at his little shop nearby. He had the reputation of marrying more people in Pike County than anyone else.
Here are excerpts from his obituary dated Nov. 23, 1935.
"Countless friends join with the more intimate members of the family of George F. Barringer in mourning the loss of one, loved and esteemed, whose memory will be cherished for all time to come.
Everywhere and by most everyone, some event or experience it being told, all of which reflect to one central idea of George Barringer, having been a friend to everyone. A man well-respected and revered as a citizen, everyone was glad to meet and a memory which will be a priceless heritage to hand to the future generations worthy of remembrance.
Born of Charles and Emma Gamber Barringer Feb. 24, 1853, he was reared in Waverly and for the exception of a few years in early life, spent his entire life in this city. Starting a modest business in the public square, later to a room of his own in the central portion of the town, he succeeded in serving all classes and clans of people, always rendering service in a way to add to his popularity as a merchant and friend.
Though his long enrollment as a member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, his devotion to its principles and his promptness in attendance was almost a passion.
A member of the German Methodist Episcopal Church gave him touch with many wonderful Christian minds and the acceptance of the cardinal principles of his church were his guiding influence to a life of purity and devotion.
His years of service in matters civic marks a career of 40 years as justice of the peace, his attention being centered in civic marriage, and it is said he counted almost a score of hundred pairs united in the bonds of wedlock as his reward.
On Sept. 1885, he was united in marriage to Miss Lena Rinkliff and four children were born of this union: Charles, died in infancy; Frank of Akron, John of Lynchburg, Va., and Mrs. Nellie Watkins of Waverly. Lena died several years ago and George lived with his daughter Nelle (Mr. and Mrs. Frank Watkins). He leaves on grandson, Richard Watkins.
Note: From my research I learned that George ran a small shoe repair shop and peanut sales at the foot of the Market Street bridge over the canal (see this week's sketch), before moving to a shop close to the courthouse. Mr. Young preceded Mr. Barringer.
This is dedicated to you canal fans and descendants of Mr. Barringer.