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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Lewis County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Hon. Jesse W. Barrett (deceased). Among those who figured prominently in connection with the public affairs of Canton and Lewis County is the subject of this sketch. Born May 6, 1822, in Luzerne County, Penn., he acquired a rudimentary education in youth, and later, by his own efforts, was enabled to graduate from Dickinson College. From 1854 to 1856 he officiated as superintendent of public schools of Lycoming County, Penn., and about this time turned his attention to journalism, and conducted successfully the Independent Press, of Williamsport. The fall of 1856 he emigrated westward, and for one year was in charge of the Lee Centre Academy, near Dixon, Ill. In 1857 he removed to St. Louis, where for two years he served as minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of that city. The year 1859 witnessed his permanent settlement at Canton, Mo., and for several years was in charge of Canton Seminary under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Through his efforts the Canton Press was established in 1862, and during the remainder of his life, he published and edited this paper, making it one of the first local newspapers of the State. He was elected the first president of the Missouri State Press Association, and presided at its regular sessions of 1868, 1869 and 1870. The latter year he was elected to represent Lewis County in the State Legislature, serving as chairman of the house committee on accounts, and member of the committees on printing, education and benevolent institutions. By appointment of Gov. B. G. Brown, he served as curator of the State University, and was favorably mentioned at different times as a candidate for the offices of secretary of State and State superintendent of public instruction. He served twice as mayor of Canton, and also served as one of the city board of education. His entire career as a public official, reflected honor and credit upon himself and constituents, and the same can also be truthfully said of his private life. In 1850 he became an Odd Fellow, in Lycoming, Penn., where he “passed the chairs” and became a Past Grand. Ten years later he became a member of Franklin Lodge, No. 44, at Canton, this State; was elected Noble Grand in 1862, but in 1866 had his membership transferred to Meriden Lodge, No. 162, of Canton. He served Meriden Lodge as Secretary until 1870 and as Treasurer in 1872 and 1873. He became well known throughout the State as an exponent of Odd Fellowship, and in 1867 was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, of Missouri, serving one full term. Later he was elected State Representative to the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the United States, serving as such in 1868, and again by appointment of Grand Master, W. H. Graves, in 1869. Mr. Barrett professed religion early in life, and lived a consistent Christian until he was called to his reward above. His many acts of kindness and charity endeared him to his fellow men, and his unswerving honesty and universal courtesy established him as one of the foremost men of his day. He died September 9, 1886, leaving a widow (formerly Elizabeth C. Hooven, to whom he was married, May 25, 1846,) and two sons: Charles William and Harry H., who are the present proprietors of the Canton Press.

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This family biography is one of 293 biographies included in the Lewis County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Lewis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Lewis County, Missouri family biographies here: Lewis County, Missouri Biographies

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