|Birth: ||May 31, 1814|
|Death: ||Apr. 21, 1900|
James Barrett of Woodstock, and now of Rutland, son of Martin and Dorcas (Patterson) Barrett, was born in Strafford, May 31, 1814. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1838; read law with Charles Crocker of Buffalo, N.Y., in 1838 and 1839, and with Charles Marsh in Woodstock in 1839 and 1840; was admitted and began practice in Woodstock in 1840; moved to Boston in 1848, and returned to Woodstock in 1849. He was a state senator two years, and state's attorney two years.
In 1857 he was elected a judge of the Supreme Court, and served as such twenty-three years, his last service on the bench being in 1880. No man of more profound knowledge of the law than Judge Barrett was ever on the Supreme Court bench unless Asahel Peck was that man. It is said of Judge Peck that, having taken his position in consultation on cases in which he differed from his brethren, he was known to confess himself wrong and his brethren right in but one instance in all his service. Judge Poland told me that, in consultation, when he and Judge Peck disagreed, he once said to Judge Peck: "You are a great deal the better lawyer, but I am a great deal the better judge."
There can be no doubt that the Supreme Court, when I. F. Redfield, Poland and Barrett were on its bench together and afterwards when Poland, Barrett and Peck were members, was a court that was supreme— one that united stood and divided didn't fall a great ways. How many times Judge Barrett gave up that he was wrong is not of record. When those men differed, who would now dare to say which was right and which wrong—unless he could find out what John Pierpoint thought, was, taking everything into consideration, the right way to dispose of the case.
Judge Barrett's many opinions, reported in the near a quarter of a century that he served, exhibit a strength and living force that will always in legal circles give good repute to Vermont courts and to the state.
The degree of Doctor of Laws conferred on him is in his case a truthful as well as honorable title—given in accordance with the fact.
After his retirement from the bench he moved to Rutland where he practiced his profession and where he suffered, Feb. 15, 1887, the great loss of the death by accident of his son James C. Barrett who had though yet young in years attained position in the very front rank of lawyers.
Judge Barrett married, Sept. 24, 1844, Maria Lord, daughter of Dr. Simeon Woodworth of Coventry, Conn., and they had nine children. He lives in Rutland, adding days of good old age to the years of honor that lie behind him, and still dignifying the profession of which he became a member more than half a century ago, by doing good work in it. (from "Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont" compiled by Jacob G. Ullery; pub. by Transcript Publishing Co., Brattleboro, Vt., 1894)
Also father of Elizabeth, wife of Rev. Lewis W. Hicks, Hartford, CT
Additional info from Don Barrett:
While in college James Barrett had a summer job collecting taxes from farms in the area of Hanover, New Hampshire. He would often stop at farms for supper on his way back to town. On one occasion he stopped for supper at a farm in Mill Village. There he noticed a blind, deaf, mute girl helping her mother. This story (slightly different from the family history passed down to me) is told in the book "Child of the Silent Night" by Edith Fisher Hunter. Because of how the life of this blind girl, Laura Bridgeman, was changed by James Barrett, Anne Sullivan learned to communicate as a blind girl, and later went on to become the teacher and companion of Helen Keller.
Maria Woodworth Barrett (1822 - 1908)
Elizabeth Hibbard Barrett Hicks (____ - 1902)*
Charles Marsh Barrett (1845 - 1854)*
Dorcas Maria Barrett (1847 - 1849)*
James Crocker Barrett (1851 - 1887)*
Rush Palmer Barrett (1855 - 1931)*
John Arnold Barrett (1858 - 1916)*
Samuel Allen Barrett (1861 - 1939)*
Mary Barrett (1863 - 1892)*
Laura Stoughton Barrett (1868 - 1893)*
Created by: Jen Snoots
Record added: Apr 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69123293