Barrier, Mabel Christine

Class of 1893
Commencement Day essay, “Noble Things are Difficult.”

Birth: November 28, 1875, Cabarrus Co., NC
Death: February 2, 1938, Cabarrus Co., NC

Augustus Cicero Barrier (1844-1926)
Rosannah Jane Shimpoch Barrier (1846-1925)

Spouse: Eustice Manardy Dry (1882-1964)
Married: August 6, 1907, North Carolina

E. Julian Dry (1908-1911)
Jane Dry Marco (1910-1999)
Anne Laurie Dry
Max Barrier Dry (1916-1994)

Ernest Edgar Barrier (1871 – 1909)
Hugh W. Barrier (1877 – 1913)
Howard Miller Barrier (1880 – 1970)
Whitfield A. Barrier (1886 – 1943)

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery
Mount Pleasant, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA

Source:, # 30134701.


Daily Concord Standard (Concord, NC), June 6, 1893, p. 1.

[This is the graduating essay of Miss Mabel Barrier, read at the recent commencement of Mont Amoena Seminary]

Difficulties are foes to human endeavors. They hang like thick black clouds along the rugged pathway of life, threatening to break in a storm upon him who is striving onward and upward. They are the Alpine heights which lie athwart the road to fame, and he whose courage enables him to surmount them justly deserves the praise to which he is entitled. But man is not able to come with every difficulty with which he meets. His powers were conferred and are limited. He has no authority whereby he can say – let it be done, and it is done, Though he lay the plans of a work, which, if ever completed, would be the embodiment of noble purposes, still who would wager a fortune upon its success while there is a future pregnant with difficulties which form the rough and rugged crags lying between him and his goal. To us who have hardly as yet faced the stern realities of life, it is no startling tale to hear how and individual’s fondest hopes have perished and his buoyant spirit depressed because of some obstruction which rails out: O, man! vain are your attempts. ‘Tis folly for one to think that he can be a noble and upright man and yet pass through this world on “flowery beds of ease.”

History furnishes no such example, nor will its annals ever be able to produce the like, while humanity grovels in darkness and in sin. A hostile world stands ready with dagger in hand and threatens the timid traveler, and the courage of a hero is necessary for the conflict. Pleasures tainted with vice will surely try their charms upon him, but a giant will can trample them underfoot. Noble lives must be aggressive; both willing and anxious to encounter their direct foes. Carelessness and inactivity are the loopholes through which the enemy will shoot their dangerous weapons. It ill becomes a general not to forbid scenes of revelry and dancing in camp, while near by an enemy, equal in arms and fortitude, lies securely entrenched. So it is an unwise policy for one, who is battling for truth and right, to be concerned about frivolous things when more important matters demand immediate consideration.

A massive structure requires a firm foundation; so, also, must true manhood stand upon principles solid and secure; and if, upon sound principles, man has prudence enough to build his character, noble things lie more nearly within his grasp. Oh, that all high and important positions could be filled by noble-minded and generous-hearted men! The want of them forces greater and more difficult problems upon the few whose efforts to raise man from a lower to a higher plane, are but monuments erected by their own hands.

The children upon whom devolves the duty of carrying forward the work inaugurated by their predecessors, seem now to be reared apart from the injunction of the sacred writer. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” are words of great significance. They are true, or the wisest of men would never have uttered them. To follow the advice given by the sacred writer requires patience and much care. It is, therefore, a difficult, rather than an easy task to perform this duty. But let it be remembered that the more care we exercise in training aright, so to that degree do we make it possible for our country and homes to be blessed with noble men and women, whose influence will pervade the whole social system to the good and happiness of all classes.

Such is the reward consequent upon the faithful performance of duty.

If there is anything that makes the people of any community feel proud and prosperous, it is the establishment of colleges and seminaries for the education of their sons and daughters. And when we speak of people, we do not mean those, who, when they think, it is but to concoct schemes to over throw an enterprise; and when they act, it is in opposition to the progressive element. We speak of the pushing, the energetic men, under whose guidance the country is developing yearly, more and more. Though we can justly boast of great educational advantages throughout the land, yet, how difficult it is to impress the importance of education upon the minds all people. Has education produced no fruits? Or have its results failed to make an impression? Stupid, indeed, must he be who would assent to such. Knowledge is power, for it now wields the scepter of power in a manner that is wholesome to both body and soul. A man may be zealous in a good and just cause, yet if he is not mentally equipped, his work will be imperfectly done; for “zeal without knowledge is fire without light.” Hence knowledge is not to be despised. To acquire it requires both time and labor. It cannot be bought with a price, but the rich and poor alike must rely upon their own individual efforts.

Though the statement – “noble things are difficult” – is generally correct, yet, we are not free to conclude that all difficult things are noble. Where law and order reign supreme immoral men can no longer commit crimes with impunity; for justice rules widely and while she keeps vigilance, men fear to commit ignoble deeds. But in all place such a state of affairs is not to be found. Guilty men often go unpunished, because they are able to bribe the men by whom they are tried. The habitual practice of such will eventually sap the life  of the strongest government ever founded. Men form themselves into a government for a noble purpose, but the noble purpose is often lost sight of, therefore, come those troubles and dangers which are only averted by the watchfulness of the true subjects.

Thus, after all it is the right conception of and faithful performance of duty, that works the noble things of life. And that man who slight the duties justly required of him will not be one of whom it can be said, that the world is better for his having lived in it. Our duties are many and varied, and there is no distinct nor particular calling in life that will, in the least, free us from our responsibilities. The increase of immorality is a failure to perform the duties which all men owe themselves, to society, family, state, and their God. A failure to keep the divine law renders it impossible to perform the duties we owe to ourselves and each other. Men of impure lives are found everywhere. The harm they do may not be visible during their earthly existence, but their iniquity may be visited upon the third and fourth generation. Happy, indeed, is that community which has the courage to overthrow the dens of vice which may be established therein. The coming generation which is to take the place of the present must not be reared in an atmosphere of moral impurity.

It is this sentiment of pious and learned men that the world is growing better every year. It is to be hoped that they are correct; for ‘twould be painful to see those dark and dreadful scenes of the middle ages repeated, and the mighty efforts of noble men and women avail nothing. True, at last, is the saying that noble things are difficult. We may not be fitted by nature to be the leading spirit in a needed revolution, or have the power to accomplish so much good as others, yet we are not hereby hindered from assisting in noble undertakings.

Reputation or popularity must  not be our goal. But, if they follow a life full of noble deeds, let them come. “The good that men do lives after them,” and a greater monument than that of stone is to have a name so indelibly impressed upon the mind of men that it will be transmitted to the generation following.

“Twas not the hand of a sluggard that nailed those immortal “Theses” against the church door at Wittenberg; nor the voice of a coward that uttered these words before the emperor and empire at Worms: “My conscience and the word of God hold me prisoner; therefore I may not nor will recant.” Martin Luther lives in history as a man who dared do his duty, though the powers of earth and hell combined against him. The battle still rages on between truth and error; and, when, at last, the victory is complete, noble deeds will crown the efforts of the defenders of truth; while shame and remorse will brood over that defeated host left to mourn their unhappy state. Let us then be up and doing, for noble things are not accomplished in a day.

The deeds of men are not without results. They either work weal or woe to their fellowmen; and what we are capable of doing, let it be done with an earnest desire to assist in improving the condition of life among the dependent and unfortunate classes of society; for even little deeds of love to those around us look for their reward.


The Concord Times (Concord, NC), August 9, 1907, p. 3.

Miss Mabel Barrier, daughter of Mr. A. C. Barrier, of Mt. Pleasant, was married last Tuesday afternoon to Mr. E. M. Dry. The wedding was celebrated at the bride’s home, and the ceremony was performed by Rev. V. Y. Boozer. Mr. Dry is the superintendent of the Tuscarora mill, and is one of Mt. Pleasant’s best young men, and his bride is a most popular young woman. Mr. and Mrs. Dry left at once to visit the Jamestown Exposition.


News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), February 4, 1938, p. 5.


Concord. – Funeral service will be held at Holy Trinity church at Mt. Pleasant, Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock for Mrs. Mabel Barrier Dry, 63. who died at her home in Mt. Pleasant after an illness of several months.

The daughter of the late Augustus and Jane Shimpoch Barrier, she lived in Mt. Pleasant during her entire lifetime and was also well-known in Concord.

Surviving are her husband, E. M. Dry, superintendent of the Tuscarora Mill; two daughters, Janie Dry of Charlotte and Anne Laurie Dry of Winston-Salem; a son, Max Dry of Mount Pleasant; a sister, Mrs. Raymond Shankle of Albemarle, and two brothers, W. A. and H. M. Barrier of Mount Pleasant.