She was Called “Stockade Annie”
by Rev. David T Myers
The woman had run off two surveyors with a shotgun. But one cannot stop the federal government from possessing your land to make it an Army installation, even if your family had owned it since 1835. They took possession of it and in 1942, Fort Campbell was quickly set up and in business on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. Anna Barr may have lost that fight, but eventually she was in control of Fort Campbell! But we are getting ahead of ourselves in this remarkable true story.
Anna Barr was born on this day of November 7, 1875. One of twelve children, she was tutored at home until age twelve, when she transferred to a “public” school. The popular, but headstrong young Southern belle, met and married at age 31, John Christy Barr, of New Orleans. The latter had been called into the ministry and specifically the Presbyterian ministry in his home town. For the next thirty years, both of them would serve the Lord as pastor and pastor’s wife at Presbyterian churches in that town.
While the church experience would sour her on “organized religion,” nothing could take away her love of God and the good news of salvation which she had received in her heart and was desirous of spreading that good news of eternal life around her. And this is where she began to be known as “Stockade Annie,” of our title. Bereft of her husband by death in 1942, and without children, her “family” would be the soldiers of Fort Campbell in either the stockade or hospital for the next several decades.
To accomplish that, she stated to the commanding general that she needed a pass into the installation. When one did not come readily, she demanded one. And eventually she received it, from him and all succeeding commanders. For the next twenty-three years, she witnessed by means of gospel tracts, Bibles, and most of all, by her personal presence beside her military family. It might mean holding the hands of a soldiers all night in the hospital, or reaching through the bars of the jail of those in trouble with the life changing message of the gospel.
When the Vietnam War came upon our country, she stood at the airport handing out Bibles and New Testaments to her “boys” as they headed over to that war torn country. Opposed to the war, she once tried to see President Nixon to influence him to stop the war, but an open door to the White House was not granted to her. Every Fort Campbell commander knew who she was though.
At the ripe old age of 90, Mrs Barr went to meet her Savior and Lord. It was said that a military funeral was granted to her, with military honors, even though she was only a member of the army of the Lord. Today, in the Don F Pratt Museum just outside of the installation, there is a special remembrance of Stockade Annie’s (Anna Barr) ministry to spiritual needy military men and women at Fort Campbell.
Words to Live By:
Calling all mothers of our subscriber list, don’t think that your ministry is gone in your retirement years. Consider Anna Barr’s example. Talk to your pastor regarding any ministry inside or outside your local congregation which needs your loving and faithful service for Christ. Then prayerfully, give of your spiritual gifts and time to that ministry. Far from simply building a remembrance on earth of your time and talents, your loving service for Christ will be remembered in eternity.