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


     Albert Gallatin Barrett, a saw miller and a builder of things wooden, grew increasinglyweary and frustrated trying to make a decent living and raise a family in the mountainous hillsidesof eastern Ohio. The barren rolling hills, now stripped of timber and unfit for farming, left fewoptions. The Quaker settlement around Cadiz was restless and ready to move and seek newterritory.

     News of the possible opening of the vast western frontier of the Kansas-Nebraska territories created a company known as the Ohio Town Company. Albert was one of the guiding hands andwas chosen to scout the new territory for possible home sites for the disgruntled families.

     Upon his return months later, he reported finding a suitable location in what would soon becomeKansas Territory. The matter of slavery in the new territory was yet to be decided after statehood. The Quakers, having battled slavery for centuries, wanted no part of a land where men weremistreated because their skin was black. After the Company broke apart, Albert returned to theterritory with a splinter group and numerous members of his extended family. He had laid claim toforty sections of choice land at a point in the Vermillion valley where the Oregon Trail crossed theriver. There was enough land for all who came to help establish a village of slave-hatingabolitionists. A sawmill, a gristmill and a rest spot for weary travelers along the Trail became Barrett's Mill in 1854, the year the Kansas-Nebraska Territory was open for settlement.

     A craftsman, with skills in creating both men and trees into objects of pride and joy, he built fine homes and developed honorable people. He abandoned his Quaker stance ofquiet acquiescence for one of hardy resistance to battle the Missouri River guerrillas and to helpbring bleeding Kansas into the Union as a state free from slavery. He was active in forming thepolitical climate in emerging Kansas. He emerged from his encounters with up-streamslave-owner Frank Marshall, four years of guerilla warfare, and three years of civil war, bowed but not beaten. After 46 years of pioneer life in Kansas, he passed on at the age of 85, leaving afine family and a memorable reputation. This historical saga extends over 15 chapters ofapproximately 50,000 words, including numerous pictures of people, places and things.

     An addendum is available to show the genealogy of the Barrett family from Arthur Barrett,an emigrant from England in 1700, to the present generations, a genealogical period of threehundred years and ten generations.

George W. Schiller, Author

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