NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


Previous section

Next section

Hon. John Richard Barret.

JOHN RICHARD BARRET was born August 21st, 1825, in the town of Greensburgh, on Green River, Kentucky. William Barret, his grandfather, was a respectable planter in the Old Dominion, and, though but a youth at the commencement of the Revolutionary war, soon became one of his country's defenders, and, when almost a boy in years, was made a captain in a Virginia regiment. Dorothy Winston, whom he afterward married, was of one of the ancient families of Virginia, and first cousin of Patrick Henry, the illustrious orator and patriot. His son, William D. Barret, the father of the subject of this memoir, was a man of sterling worth, remarkable industry, and unimpeachable integrity. He held the highest positions of trust in the state of Kentucky, and on his removal from Kentucky to St. Louis, in 1839, he associated himself, in the grocery and commission business, with Messrs. Blaine & Tompkins, and died in 1844. His wife, who is the daughter of General James Allen, of Kentucky, still survives.

John Richard Barret, the subject of this sketch, had all the advantages of an early education which the country schools of Kentucky at that time afforded. His father, though a self-made man, was always anxious for the mental culture of his children, and endeavored to instil into their minds a passion for learning. Directly the petticoat was shifted for the "round jacket," John Richard was sent to the little log school-house, and there became familiar with the rudiments of the English branches. When not at school, he frequently assisted in work upon the farm, and went regularly to mill in the old primitive manner, sitting on a well-filled sack of corn balanced on a horse's back. If the rider's attention is withdrawn for a moment to other things, down goes the sack; and to this day Colonel Barret is fond of relating to his friends his little mishaps when he went to mill.

After reaching the age of thirteen, John Richard was sent to Centre College, where he remained until he passed through the freshman course, and was then called to St. Louis by his father, who had but shortly removed to that city, and had experienced such a considerable loss by fire, that he thought it a part of prudence to remove for a time his children from school, to curtail expenses. However, the president of St. Louis University, understanding his motives, insisted that he should send his children to that eminent institution, and remain a debtor for their education until his pecuniary circumstances were in a prosperous condition. This generous offer was accepted, and John Richard graduated at the university with the highest honors of his class, in 1843, and delivered the valedictory.

-- 453 --

He then commenced the study of the law, but his father dying, he was compelled to take out a license to practise before he had completed the time which he had set apart to thoroughly qualify himself for his profession. From the very first he was successful; nature had done much, and his own efforts were not wanting. He was moulded into a form which a knight of the middle ages might have been proud to possess, and had an energy, combined with his natural and intellectual attainments, which injured success. Upon him devolved chiefly the care of his brothers and sisters, younger than himself, and five in number.

In 1852, he entered upon the political arena, and since that time has been one of the favorite champions of the Democratic party, and has never been defeated. He was elected in 1852 to the Missouri legislature, which position he held for four terms, and was a most efficient representative. In 1858, while absent from the state, he was nominated for Congress, and party excitement running very high, the election was a most exciting one in the coming August. Colonel Barret was elected by a considerable majority; he was the Democratic candidate.

In November, 1847, Colonel Barret married Miss Eliza P. Simpson, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of the Hon. James Simpson, now chief-justice of the state of Kentucky. In 1852, he lost this amiable woman, who had blessed his home for five years, and been the chief source of his happiness.

Colonel Barret has that magnetism of character, so rarely possessed by the human family, which attracts toward him his fellow man without any apparent effort. He appears to have been formed by nature for public life; and his frankness of manner not only conciliates regard, but successfully woos the most friendly feelings. In politics he is known by the appellation of "Missouri Dick;" and as a champion of the Democratic party he has been most successful, and never been defeated upon the political arena.

While a member of the legislature, he obtained the charter of the Agricultural and Mechanical Association. He has been its president since its incorporation, and the fame of its lovely "Fair Grounds," and its widespread salutary influence over agricultural and mechanical pursuits, is known and felt throughout the Union. In politics, he has always been for the union of his party, and stood for the union of the states. He is in the prime of manhood, and will gather fresh laurels in the legislative halls of his country, in which he will soon commence his useful duties.

-- 454 --

Previous section

Next section


Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
Powered by PhiloLogic