Barrett, George J.

Born: 1818-02-22 New York

Died: 1877-02-19

George J. Barrett was a Methodist Episcopal minister and teacher. An early convert to Christianity, by age eighteen, Barrett was teaching and ministering to Chippewa Indians in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He joined the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1839. In September 1841, he married Catherine L. (maiden name unknown), with whom he had several children. Barrett claimed he knew Abraham Lincoln well during this period, and that he happened upon Lincoln in September of 1842 when Lincoln was traveling to his duel with James Shields. In 1849, ill health forced Barrett to step back from traveling ministerial work, but once he recovered he began preaching for the Congregationalists. In October 1857, he married Ellen M. Watson, with whom he had at least two children. By 1860, he had a personal estate valued at $600 and real estate valued at $6,000. In 1863, he rejoined the Methodist Episcopal Church's Illinois Conference and remained with the Church until his death.

John M'Clintock and James Strong, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1885), 1:354; Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 436, 739; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Morgan County, 15 September 1841; Pike County, 15 October 1857, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Atlas, Pike County, IL, 141.