Barrett, James W.

Born: 1789-01-01 Hanover County, Virginia

Died: 1871-11-11 Springfield, Illinois

Flourished: Springfield, Illinois

Alternate name: Barret

James W. Barrett was a farmer, federal government official, and state legislator. As a child, he moved with his parents from his native state to Green County, Kentucky. In August 1813, he married Maria Allen. While living in Green County, Barrett served several terms in the Kentucky General Assembly. He remained in Kentucky until 1835, when he emigrated to Sangamon County, Illinois, settling in Island Grove, where he purchased forty acres of land and commenced farming. He continued agricultural pursuits until 1844, when he became register of the U.S. General Land Office in Springfield. In 1847, Barrett was a delegate to the Rivers and Harbors Convention held in Chicago. He remained register of the Land Office until replaced in 1849. Barrett returned to farming, and in 1850, he owned real property valued at $3,000. In 1858, Sangamon County voters elected Barrett as a Democrat to the Illinois House of Representatives. Members of the Democratic Party selected him to nominate Stephen A. Douglas for U.S. Senate, and Douglas would go on and defeat Abraham Lincoln for the seat. By 1860, Barrett had retired and was living in Springfield.

Kentucky, U.S., Compiled Marriages, 1802-1850, 18 August 1813, Green County (Provo, UT: Operations, 1997); Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Sangamon County, 68:200, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 31 October 1844, 2:3; 27 May 1847, 2:4; Niles’ National Register (Philadelphia, PA), 23 May 1849, 1:2; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sangamon County, IL, 221; Blue Book of the State of Illinois(Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1921), 630; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sangamon County, IL, 114-15; Illinois House Journal. 1859. 21st G. A., 32; Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 14 November 1871, 4:2; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.