Is Your Name LaBarge?
Author Unknown
circa 1960s

[The following article is from an old newspaper clipping of uncertain origin. The reference to my great-grandfather, Anthony LaBarge, and his brothers, John and Arsenne, suggests that the source is most likely the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. The first paragraph's information on the derivation of the surname is largely inaccurate. The biographical information, however, appears to be reasonably accurate. - Craig LaBarge]

Do you know that:

LaBarge, an old and honored surname is of French origin. It admits of at least two derivations. In its simplest form it is obtained from the French "a barge or sailing vessel." In its first instances of use it was spelled "de la Barge," but subsequently the "de" was dropped and the surname became LaBarge. There is also good reason to believe that LaBarge is a transformation of the popular French surname LaBerge. Berge signified "slope of the land," and in this case the surname LaBarge was applied to those whose homes were on a slope or hill.

Among the distinguished bearers of the name LaBarge was Joseph LaBarge (1815-1899), a fur trader and perhaps the most widely known of the Missouri River boatmen. His working life spanned the whole era of commercial steamboating on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and he earned a fortune as a fur trader but subsequently lost it in business ventures. Mr. LaBarge was born in St. Louis and is described by his biographers as one of the most distinguished looking men of the West in his time. His brother John LaBarge also achieved fame as a boatman.

Ernest H. LaBarge (1888-1955) was trustee of the Village of Hudson Falls, N.Y., for a number of years. Incidentally, Hudson Falls is the home town of a relatively large segment of the LaBarge Family for the latest telephone book has 17 listings of persons by the name of LaBarge who are residents of that community and nearby.

According to the Northampton directory for 1896-1897, Anthony LaBarge and John LaBarge of Leeds were laborers, and Arsenne LaBarge, also of Leeds, was a teamster for the Nonotuck Silk Co.

Members of the LaBarge family have achieved success in Canada. Charles Henry LaBarge of Ottawa is known widely as an executive of the dairy industry. He established a number of dairy organizations and eventually sold his interest in them to the Borden Co.

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