LEE J. BARRETT, grain dealer and banker at Hoisington, achieved a veteran's distinction in the railroad business before he assumed his present relationship with Barton County. He has been a resident of Barton County for more than a quarter of a century.
Mr. Barrett is of English ancestry, and for several generations the family was one of prominence in the State of Tennessee, where they were rated as people of wealth and all were slave owners. Lee J. Barrett's father, William J. Barrett, who was born in Tennessee, was a farmer and planter in that state, and during the Civil war he took his slaves and other property to Missouri. The war ruined him financially and soon after it ended he located at Redbud in Southern Illinois, where he became a teamster in order to provide for his family. He lived there the rest of his life and died in October, 1904, at the age of seventy-nine. At Shelbyville, Tennessee, he married Miss Letzie Newsome, also a native of that state. She died at the age of eighty-four about 1910, at Redbud, Illinois. Of the three living children the oldest is Lee J. Everett C. is a train dispatcher at Spokane, Washington, and Mrs. J. T. Ohlwine lives at Huron, South Dakota.
Lee J. Barrett was born at Farmington, Missouri, May 16, 1864, and was an infant when his parents moved to Redbud, Illinois. He had only such educational advantages as the local schools provided, and was a boy in his teens when he had to take up work to provide his own support. At the age of fifteen he was an express agent at Redbud, and at seventeen was station agent and telegraph operator at Baldwin, Illinois. He was a skillful operator and had all those qualities of promptness, faithfulness and diligence which made the ideal railroad man. As an operator he was employed by different railroads and worked in the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, and Indiana besides his home state. Altogether he was an operator for twenty years.
It was for the purpose of taking the position of train dispatcher with the Missouri Pacific Railway that Mr. Barrett came to Hoisington in November, 1893. He left a position in Indiana to come to Kansas, and was with the railroad company at Hoisington in 1901, when he severed his connection with railroading permanently.
In the meantime he had become associated with the late George Bradshaw in the building of the first mill at Hosington. Their business was conducted under the name Hoisington Mill and Elevator Company, and that title has continued since the death of Mr. Bradshaw. The partners are now Mr. Barrett and Mr. Elmore, the latter of Hutchinson. This was the first flour and food mill built at Hoisington, and it had a daily capacity of 125 barrels, operated chiefly for custom service. Of late years the milling feature has been abandoned and the business is now conducted as an elevator and grain warehouse.
Mr. Barrett is also first vice president of the First National Bank of Hoisington. He was a member of one of the most constructive city councils in the history of Hoisington. That council effected a large amount of street paving, the construction of a sanitary sewer system, and the amplification and improvement of the water supply. The site for the Young Men's Christian Association was also donated by the city through this council. Mr. Barrett has had little to do with practical polltics. In local affairs his choice of candidates is governed by the capabilities of the man, but in national politics he has a straight record of support for democratic candidates. His first presidential ballot was cast for Grover Cleveland.
At Baldwin, Illinois, in April, 1887, Mr. Barrett married Miss Adda Johnston, daughter of Sylvester and Adelaide (Moore) Johnston. Her father, who went to Illinois from Pennsylvania, served at one time as judge of Randolph County in the former state. Mrs. Barrett has two sisters, Mrs. A. R. Preston and Mrs. J. T. Lloyd, of Baldwin, Illinois.
To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Barrett were born a daughter and son. The daughter, Lucile, is the wife of Ralph W. Brown of Kansas City. The son, Wendell J., who was born May 30, 1892, had met the test of noble young manhood and to some extent had fulfilled the brilliant promise of maturity when his untimely death occurred at Rexburg, Idaho. He was a graduate of the high school at Hoisington, and finished his dental course in the Kansas City Dental College. For two years he practiced at Hoisington and then located in Rexburg. While exceedingly skillful and successful in his profession, he had many other qualities that won him the warm friendship and admiration of his associates. He was a nature lover, spent much time out of doors fishing and hunting, and personally was congenial, whole-hearted and whole-souled, and loved the truth as he loved nature. He was manly in character as in stature, and society does not easily reconcile itself to the loss of such a man in the years of his youth. He was a Scottish Rite Mason. Doctor Barrett married Loraine Johnson, daughter of the late Richard Johnson, a former sheriff of Barton County. To this union was born one child, Loraine Barrett, on December 10, 1917.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project