From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Barber, Paul Peter

(born: 1850  -  died: February 13, 1929) 

Paul Peter Barber was born in Louisville, KY, the child of slaves. His last name was Smith until he was 4 years old, when Barber was sold to Philetus Swift Barber. On the Barber Farm in Bardstown, KY, Paul learned to train, ride, race, and care for the horses. He went to Ottawa, Canada, around 1885, one of the first African Americans to become a permanent resident of Ottawa. In 1892 he married Elizabeth Brown, a white woman twenty years younger than he. Their marriage is thought to have been the first interracial marriage in Ottawa. They had five children: Paul Jr., John (Jack), Joe, Tom, and Mary. Paul Barber, Sr. supported his family with wages from his job as a horse trainer. When the automobile replaced the horse, Barber worked as a laborer for the city of Ottawa. For more see T. Barber, "The Kentucky gentleman was a pioneer black resident," The Ottawa Citizen (newspaper), 02/05/2001, p. D4; Jolson Lim, "Life After Slavery: how Paul Barber trained horses and charmed Ottawa's elites," Ottawa Citizen, 02/27/2017, p.A7.

Kentucky County & Region

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NKAA Source: The Ottawa citizen (newspaper)

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“Barber, Paul Peter,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-01 16:20:59