Marcus Barbour, one time president of the Woodlawn Cemetery Association, was a prominent Toledo business man during the later years of the nineteenth century. A native of Vermont, Barbour moved to Toledo in 1872 with William Gosline Sr. to establish the coal firm Gosline and Barbour.
As a respected businessman, Barbour circulated within the thriving social and economic circles of late nineteenth and early twentieth century booming Toledo. For example, he joined the prestigious Toledo Club. In addition to running his coal company, Barbour served as director of the Commerce Guardian Trust and Savings Company. The Barbour family built its home at 2030 Scotwood Avenue, in the center of an area where Toledos most prominent citizens lived. (Toledo Biography Scrapbook (Bargo-Bea), Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library; Toledo Blade, 20 September 1921.)
In 1886, the Gosline and Barbour Company, with headquarters at 160 Summit Street, was recognized as the citys oldest coal firm. (Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of Ohio (New York: International Publishing Company, 1886), p. 57.) Between 1872-1886, the company had extended its trade into Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and by way of the Great Lakes into the Northwest region of the country. Gosline and Barbour owned two large mines in Ohio--the Shawnee Company in Perry County and the Jackson Company--which yielded the two leading grades of coal in the state. The Furnace Mine at Shawnee employed 200 men and the Jackson mine employed about 50. In 1892, each mine produced between 800 and 1,200 tons of coal per day. The high quality of the fixed-carbon coal allowed for its use in steam raising purposes and by the railroads. The company honored a policy to maintain a high quality in all the grades of coal that it handled.
The location of the Gosline and Barbour mines enhanced their productivity and their accessibility to their customers was their location. Both were situated along the lines of the Baltimore and Ohio, the Ohio Southern and Dayton, and the Pittsburgh, Ft Wayne, and Chicago Railroads. These advantageous locations for the collecting and shipping of coal enabled the firm to operate at minimum expense and offer to their customers the lowest possible freight weights. Gosline and Barbour earned an honorable reputation because of keen business practices such as keeping a large supply of coal on hand and promptly filling orders.
In addition to managing their coal company, Gosline and Barbour acted as selling agents for the Reading Coal and Iron Companies, Panders Company, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, and the J. Langdon Company. By the 1890s, Barbour and his partner gained a reputation as men who were interested in the development and growth of this metropolis. [The Industrial Advantages of Toledo, Ohio (Toledo: James P. McKinney, 1892), p. 31.]
Marcus Barbour, leading coal dealer, Toledo booster, and former president of the Woodlawn Cemetery Association, died in Vermont of apoplexy on September 19, 1921. (Toledo Blade, 20 September 1921.)