Kansas Collection Books: The Abolitionist, by George W. Schiller

Chapter 13:
The Barrett Genealogy

     The Barrett history is long and illustrious. Many by that name appeared in the history of the original American colonies. The name is found in all early American history. There were 373 Barretts that served in the Colonial Army. The name of Barrett is of French origin, translating as "Bright and Illustrious," and is found in all the original colonies. The French spelling was originally Barrette. It is believed that the family first came to England in the army of William the Conqueror. The name appears in the Domesday Book and it is believed they resided in County Cambridge. Subsequently the family moved to Lincolnshire and Essex counties. Arthur Barrett was born in England about 1680, came to America in 1700, and settled in Pennsylvania. He was a Quaker who left England to avoid the persecution by the English government. His name appears in the Concord Monthly Meetings in Chester county, Pennsylvania when he declared his intentions to marry Lydia Chambers. They were married and lived in East Nottingham, Chester County, where their nine children were born, until 1739. Arthur's transfer certificate to the Hopewell Monthly Meetings in Frederick County, Virginia, is dated March 19, 1739. The reason for this transfer certificate bears explanation.

     Alexander Ross married Katherine Chambers, a sister of Lydia Chambers, and he became a brother-in-law of Arthur. Ross was also a Quaker of Scotch-Irish descent and came to America as an indentured servant at the age of eleven years. In 1733, he was granted 100,000 acres of land from the Governor of Virginia on a stream called Opecan. Arthur and Lydia, along with seventy other families, were included in the patents to the land and formed another Quaker Colony in Frederick County, Virginia. Arthur and Lydia lived on 710 acres of choice land located on the west slope of Apple Pie Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia the rest of their lives.

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     Arthur died in 1745 and was buried in Virginia.

     The lineage from Arthur Barrett, the emigrant from England, to Albert Gallatin Barrett is thus:

Arthur, born about 1680 in England
Thomas, third son of Arthur, was born 1712, in Chester County, Pennsylvania
Arthur, eldest son of Thomas, born 1742 in Chester County, Pennsylvania
David, third son of Arthur, born 1780 in Frederick County, Virginia
Albert Gallatin Barrett, third son of David, born in Cadiz, Ohio in 1815

     This lineage covers five generations from 1680 to 1815 -- 165 years.

     The Barrett name continues from Albert Gallatin. to:

Cyrus McNeely Barrett, born at Barrett in 1852
Albert Gallatin Barrett, born at Barrett in 1883
Albert Barrett, born at Frankfort in 1921
Mark Charles Barrett, born in Frankfort in 1950
Rustin Albert Barrett, born in 1976

     Thus, the Barrett name in America can be traced for 10 generations and nearly 300 years.

     In Kansas, as Albert and Mary reminisced in their later years, they recalled how their little village of Barrett had developed and grown slowly the first few years after the Civil War. It remained sparsely settled until well after 1880. They recalled the painful experiences prior to and during the Revolutionary War and remembered the relatives and friends they lost in the conflict. They recalled the horrors of the war, the guerilla raids, the droughts, floods, fires, tornadoes, and economic depression. It had been a rough ride for Albert and Mary but they had survived and were grateful.

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Barrett family


     As Albert and Mary attempted to tally the number of Barrett relatives who finally came to join them in Kansas, they were amazed at the figures. Some of the relatives came and stayed; others came and left again for other areas far and near. Out of Albert's ten siblings, five brothers and two sisters came from Ohio and settled nearby. As was customary in those days, most had large families. Communications among families was usually by word-of-mouth and not many kept written records. On July 18, 1895, Albert's eightieth birthday, he and Mary could account for twenty-one grandchildren. They could also count forty-five nieces and nephews. As the years progressed, both Albert and Mary remained in good health. Their expanding family was eventually scattered across Kansas and the nation. But they never lost the tendency to congregate at the smallest pretext for fun, food, and fellowship. It was not uncommon to find one hundred or more gathered for the Fourth of July celebration at the Barrett grove. Inclement weather often limited the gatherings during Thanksgiving or Christmas, but there were always relatives coming or going at one or more locations in the area. Often a buggy load of relatives to come and visit for a week or more. The latchstring at the old Barrett home was always on the outside. Mother Mary, as she was referred to in later years, often jokingly said that her family had inherited a generous dose of clannishness from her Scottish McKeever ancestors. The young folks participated in rigorous games while the elders engaged in spirited arguments about politics, religion, or economics.

     Albert engaged in many civic activities that dealt with enhancing the lifestyle of the village. He was a great civic booster for the village, pushing for better schools and other activities to heighten the image of Barrett. Although he had been reared in the Quaker church

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and had been voted out of the church for marrying Mary McKeever, he never actively participated in any particular religion or church after the break-up of the Ohio Town Company and his move to Kansas. He had a keen sense of humor and often passed out his sage advice with quips such as, "The best exercise for those who would like to lose some weight is the exercise they get from pushing themselves away from the table."

     There were painful thoughts along with the joyful ones. Perhaps the most painful thoughts were those of the guerilla warfare and the long years of Civil War. Albert's strong position as an abolitionist nearly cost him his life on several occasions. However, not once did he regret his stand on slavery and his fight to make Kansas a state free from slavery. In his later years he tempered his fiery speech and let his early Quaker teachings lead him towards a more moderate lifestyle. All through the years Mary was Albert's stabilizing standby and he learned to seek her level-headed, no-nonsense approach to problems when major decisions needed to be made. She had been at his side all through the years to help him decide the best courses to follow. As they basked in the warmth and adoration of their five living children, they were indeed a contented and happy couple.

     Jane McKeever Barrett, the eldest Barrett daughter, was born in Cadiz, Ohio, and was nine years old when the Barretts came to the Kansas Territory. She carried her mother's maiden name of McKeever and when the family moved to Barrett's Mill, she became her mother's dependable helper to perform the arduous household tasks required in the large and busy Barrett household. She loved babies and became Mary's babysitter and nursemaid to her little siblings. She mourned the loss of Mary's three newborn babies. Little Phoebe became her special delight and she spent many hours playing with and entertaining her little sister. At eighteen she began dating the young fellows in the neighborhood. Among them was

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a young man named Everett Blackwell Love. Everett was one of several young men who worked at the Barrett store. They dated for several years and were married in 1866. Everett eventually took over and operated the country store. They were the parents of nine children, five of them born in Barrett. The last four were born in California. The advent of the trans-continental railroads enticed the Loves and other settlers around Barrett's Mill, to move westward to California. The Love children were named:

Horace Thomas Love, born 1867
Albert Gallatin Love, born 1869
George Swan Love, born 1871
Mary Barrett Love, born 1873
Charles Waterman Love, born 1875
Winifred Holtham Love, born 1877
William Barrett Love born 1879
Jessie Raymond Love, born 1881
Cyrus McNeely Love, born 1883

     Nearly all of them settled in or near Caliente, Hollister, or Bakersfield, California. They would return on occasion to Barrett to renew their family ties and friendships. However, most of the Love children remained in California. Both Everett and Jane Love are buried in California.

     William Barrett, second child of Albert and Mary, was also born in Cadiz and was six years old when the family moved to Kansas Territory. As a young man, he operated his father's mills for a number of years, later became engaged in farming, and still later operated a mercantile business. In 1886 he married Lorena Ann Montgomery from Knox County,

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Illinois. Their first home was a farm in Wells Township near Barrett. Their farming operations were considerable in size, consisting of several hundred acres, since William was farming several of his father's farms. One day, as the couple was riding in a wagon, the team ran away and upset the wagon. The couple was thrown out and Lorena, pregnant, was injured. She was taken to the Barrett home where she gave birth to her baby. The doctor was concentrating on Lorena's condition and placed the newborn baby in box under the bed. William's sister Winifred (Aunt Fred) discovered the baby was alive and ministered to the infant. The baby survived and was named Wilhelmina Serepta Barrett, born in 1887, the first of the William Barrett children. The William Barrett family moved to Hubbell, Nebraska, where William operated a general merchandise store.

     Wilhemina, known as Mina, the eldest, graduated from high school and married J. E. Conklin, a local banker.

     Mina and J. E. were the parents of two children: Wilhemina Ruth Conklin, born 1920, and William J. (Bill) Conklin, born 1923. Wilhemina Ruth married Robert Denny, a lawyer and a legislator in the U. S. Congress. Bill became an architect and lived in New York and Washington, D. C. William J. married Barbara Anne Mallon. They were the parents of Christopher J. Conklin, an adopted son.

     Mary Retta (Mame) Barrett married Roy Posey, a farmer near Hubbell. They were the parents of four children:

     John William Posey, born 1924, married Virginia June Moore. They lived in Seward, Nebraska.

     James Barrett Posey, born 1926, married Roma Jean Templin. They lived at Hubbell, Nebraska.

     Lorena Jane Posey, born 1930, married Harold Edward Howard. They lived at Fall City, Nebraska.

     Joseph Clark Posey was born in 1932. He remained unmarried.

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     Rolen Cyrus Barrett, born in 1892, the youngest of William and Rena's children, returned to Frankfort, where he became well known as a political leader and later Postmaster at Frankfort. He was unmarried. He died August 20, 1988, and is buried in Hubbell, Nebraska.

     Both William and Lorena are buried at Barrett.

Winifred Barrett Holtham (Aunt Fred)     Winifred Barrett, second daughter of Albert and Mary, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, in 1850. She was named after her aunt Winifred Barrett Walker and was four years old when she came to Kansas with her parents on their first trip. She returned to Ohio for schooling and later returned to Kansas where she grew to womanhood. In time she met William James Holtham, a native of England, who had come to America as a boy. Educated in Atchison, he became a talented telegraph operator and a protégé of Charles Stebbins, magnate of the Western Union Telegraph. In 1868 he became a railway station agent and telegraph operator at the new station in Frankfort. William James also operated a general store and was later named postmaster at Frankfort. In 1870 he married Winifred Barrett and in the same year his store was destroyed by fire. He tried farming briefly but went to California where he was employed by the railroads until 1882. He returned to Frankfort and again operated a general merchandise store until his death in 1915.

     William and Winifred were the parents of a baby boy they named Charles Albert Holtham, born in Modesto, California, in 1875. The little boy survived until January 1, 1876. Winifred Barrett Holtham became affectionately known as "Aunt Fred." Not having any children of her own, she was always busily engaged in helping family members. She adopted her niece, Jane Barrett, and sent the young woman to college. Winifred watched Jane become engaged and marry a young lawyer named Rufus Emery. "Aunt Fred" later made her home with them until she passed away in 1944, at the age of 94 years.

     Both William and Winifred are buried at Frankfort.

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     Cyrus McNeely Barrett, the second son of Albert and Mary, was born in Hopedale, Ohio, in 1852 and came to Kansas as a two-year old toddler. He grew up at Barrett's Mill and became interested in the machinery at the mill. Cyrus finished grade school and for a time attended St. Marys College in Atchison. Later he became the head operator and engineer at his father's mill. Still later he was employed as station agent and telegraph operator for the St. Joseph and Grand Island railroad. When his father, Albert, was elected County Treasurer, Cyrus was appointed Assistant Treasurer, from 1878 to 1882. In 1873 he married Mary Syrinda Comstock, born in Branch county, Michigan. Cyrus died in 1908, Mary in 1933. Both are buried at Barrett.

     They were the parents of nine children, three did not live to adulthood.

     Elma Barrett was born at Barrett in 1875. She married a Virginian, George Lucas, in 1898. He farmed in the Barrett area for a number of years. They were the parents of:

Winifred Bryan Lucas, born 1890
Georgia W. Lucas, born 1902
Frank Lucas, who died in infancy
Kenneth, born 1911

     Jane McKeever Barrett was born at Barrett in 1879. She was named after her aunt Jane and adopted by her aunt Winifred. Jane attended college, where she met and married Rufus Emery. He was county attorney of Nemaha County for several terms. He also served as president of the National Bank of Seneca and Mayor of Seneca. They were the parents of two boys.

     William Rufus Emery was born 1909 in Seneca, graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, and became a corporate lawyer for Armour and Co. in Chicago.

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     Frederic Barrett Emery was born 1917, graduated from University of Chicago Medical School, and practiced in Concordia. He became the self-appointed Barrett family historian and recorded the genealogy of the family in the Barrett Book in 1955 for all to enjoy.

     Jane and Rufus Emery are buried in Seneca, Kansas.

     Phoebe Annette Barrett, third daughter of Cryus and Mary, was born in 1881. In 1902, she married William H. Mills, who was born in 1873. He died in 1910 and she married Oliver Lutz, born in 1876. Phoebe and Oliver lived in Frankfort and were engaged first in farming and then the hardware business. Later, the Lutzes moved to California. The Mills had two children, Albert William Mills, born 1905, and Wilma Phoebe Mills, born 1909. They all lived in California.

     Albert Gallatin Barrett, named after his grandfather, was born in 1883 at Barrett. He married Genieva Hunt, a World War l widow who had a son named Lester. Albert was a carpenter and builder, carrying on his grandfather's love of building objects of wood. When the old Barrett home was moved to higher ground to avoid flooding, Albert modernized the house into a beautiful showplace. He later constructed a new home for his cousins, the J. Conklins, in Hubbell, Nebraska, and built several other houses in Frankfort. Albert and Geneiva had two sons, Albert, who was born 1921 and became a local mail carrier in Frankfort, and William, who was born 1932 and lived in Manhattan. William was engaged in the contracting business.

     Margaret Elizabeth Barrett, born at Barrett in 1886, was married to Arthur J. Harvey in 1913. She taught school in Marshall County for several years. Arthur attended college at Emporia and Salina and later became County Clerk of Marshall County. After several years as receiver for the First National Bank in Marysville, Arthur returned to Frankfort where he died.

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     Both Margaret and Arthur are buried in Frankfort. They were the parents of two children, Eleanor, born 1915 in Marysville, and Arthur John (Jack). Eleanor moved to California and became a buyer of fine women's clothing for a large department store in Glendale, California. She married William Barry, born in New York, who served on the Los Angeles police force. They were the parents of a daughter, Billie. Eleanor passed away September 2, 2001, in San Diego.

     Jack played on the basketball team at the University of Colorado where his team won the NIT basketball championship in Madison Square Garden. He married Shirley Reybold and he was in the insurance business in Fort Collins, Colorado. They were the parents of Gail Barrett Harvey, born in 1946.

     William Barrett, son of Cyrus and Mary, died at age 6 months.

     Sylvia Winifred Barrett, daughter of Cyrus and Mary, was born in 1890 and died in 1895.

     Lorena Barrett, daughter of Cyrus and Mary, was born in 1892. She married Earl Huff in 1913. They were the parents of four children: Regina Huff, born 1914; Edward Huff, born 1920; Carol Jean Huff, born 1925; and Patricia Ann Huff, born 1929.

     Mary Ann Barrett, the last of Cyrus and Mary's children, was born in 1902. Mary Ann was married and divorced from Walter Alstrom. Later she married Orin Peterson. They resided in Ft. Worth where he was involved in the livestock trading. They had no children. She died in 1998.

     Thomas Barrett, son of Albert and Mary Barrett, was born in 1855 and died in 1856.

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Phebe, Elizabeth, Winifred, George and Henry Hiram


Phebe Barrett VanVliet, as a young woman


Phebe Barrett VanVliet, in later years


Winifred VanVliet Schiller


Elizabeth VanVliet Haskin


George and Marshall



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     Phebe Barrett, born in 1858, was the youngest living child of Albert and Mary Barrett. Phebe was married to George VanVliet, a Canadian, in 1884. As a young woman, Phebe assisted her father in the office of the County Treasurer. She organized the Arthur Barrett chapter of the DAR and was the first Regent. She was past Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco in 1920. George came to Kansas with his parents in a railroad boxcar in 1869. The VanVliet family settled on a farm in Noble Township and established the little town named Vliets. George became a large and successful farmer. He arranged for his two brothers and his sister to acquire a college education. He and his son-in-law, Walter Schiller, moved the old Barrett home moved to higher ground, and Bert Barrett remodeled it into a showplace. George and Phebe were the parents of three children: Elizabeth, Winifred, and Henry.

     Elizabeth Hodgson VanVliet, born in 1885, married Harold Haskin in 1912. After Harold died in 1918, she remarried to Dr. George Wanklyn. After George's death, she married again to Frank Haskin, a brother of her first husband. She and Harold had one son, Marshall Montellis Haskin, born in 1916. She died in 1981 and is buried beside her second husband, Dr. Wanklyn, in Frankfort.

     Winifred VanVliet, born in 1887, married Walter J. Schiller in 1913. He was a lumberman in Frankfort. They had one son, George Walter Schiller, born in 1916. She died in 1916 and is buried at Barrett. Walter died in 1957 and is buried at Riverside, Missouri.

     Henry Hiram VanVliet was born 1889 and died in 1902.

     Both George and Phebe VanVliet are buried at Barrett.

     Albert and David Barrett, twins, were born to Albert and Mary in 1860. Both sons died as infants.

     Albert and Mary continued to live in the old house with daughter Phebe and George VanVliet well into the 1890s. Mary's health continued to decline and she passed away on January 27, 1899. Albert lived just a little over a year after her death. True to his unique character, when the average life span of men was less than seventy years, Albert lived to be nearly eighty-five and passed away on March 19, 1900.

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