PIQUA — A descendant of William Robinson Barrington — a Piqua mayor in the 1840s and the owner, editor, and publisher of the first Piqua newspaper — will be bringing an oil painting of Barrington back to Piqua.
Robert Makley of Celina, the great-great-great-grandson of Barrington, will be donating the portrait of Barrington that was painted in 1817 to the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Society to be displayed in the collection at the Piqua Public Library.
“I’ve been doing family genealogy for a while now, and that’s on my mother’s side,” Makley said.
Barrington was born in Philadelphia and was the son of Irish immigrants, according to the city of Piqua’s website. He moved to Piqua in 1819.
The portrait of Barrington was painted while Barrington was still living in Philadelphia in 1817.
“He was 20 years old when the painting was done,” Makley said.
Makley said that Barrington brought the first printing press to the area.
“In Piqua, William would publish the Piqua Gazette,” Makley said. “The first issue was from a small building on the northeast corner of Main and Green streets on Thursday, July 5, 1820. Over the years, he would also publish the Courier and Inquirer.”
The Piqua Gazette was the first local newspaper in the area, according to the city of Piqua’s website.
In addition to serving the community in his publishing role, Barrington was involved in the community as a local militia captain, as a founding parish member and clerk of St. James Episcopal Church, as a township school board clerk, and as the Piqua mayor, according to local history records.
“William’s (Barrington) home was located on the east side of Main Street, between North and River,” Makley said. “In the spring of 1825, he built an addition on the north side of this house and moved his office there.”
Makley noted that Barrington and his wife, Jane, would raise a family of 10 children. Barrington was approximately 48 years old when he passed away in 1844, and at the time of his death, he was serving as the mayor of Piqua.
The painting that Makley will be donating was previously in the possession of other descendants, Guy and Sally Dunan, in Hawaii.
“About two months ago, I got an email from Sally Dunan, which would be his wife, and Guy had passed away,” Makley said. “She said that his wishes were that the painting came back to Ohio because that’s where it belonged.”
The painting will be donated in the memory of Guy Dunan and the Barrington, Dunan, Kite, and Makley families.
For more information relating to the Barrington family and its descendants, visit Makley’s “Kite Family History” Facebook page.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org