When Johnson died in 1784 he left the bulk of his money and possessions to Frank Barber; this guaranteed him an income of £70 a year, but over the years the Barbers had to sell most of the items Johnson had left them in order to make ends meet. Johnson’s friends, especially Reynolds and Boswell helped the Barbers also. They moved to Lichfield in 1786, as Johnson had advised, and set up home there; later, in the mid-1790s, they moved to the nearby village of Burntwood, where they started a school. Francis Barber died in the Stafford Infirmary in 1801, and his wife Elizabeth, who moved back to London with their surviving daughter Ann, died in 1816.
Their surviving son, Samuel (1875-1828), on whose education they had spent time and money, became a minister in the Primitive Methodist movement and was well-known in the Stafford region, where direct descendents of Francis Barber still live.