Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dr. Moses Barrett 1816 - 1873

Dr. Moses Barrett was the ggggrandfather of the Barrett Brothers.
His daughter was Eliza Frances Barrett 1841 - 1909. She married William Millard.
Their daughter was Edith Holton Millard 1870 - 1895. She married Frank F. Barrett (her 4th cousin once removed).
Their son was Newton Eliot Barrett, the grandfather of the Barrett Brothers.

The following biographical sketch was published soon after Dr. Barrett's death in the Transactions of State Medical Society, 1871-1874 Article 17. p.109 (the State Medical Society of Wisconsin, presumably) by an apparently very admiring colleague of Dr. Barrett's.



Dr. Moses Barrett was born at Rowe, Mass., on February 28th, 1816. He studied medicine with Dr. Bassett, of Rowe, and attended lectures in the Berkshire Medical School, Pittsfield, Mass. where he graduated in 1836.

He practiced medicine at Charlemont, Mass., until 1842. He then went to Chesterfield, Mass., but moved to Le Roy, Genesee Co., N.Y. in 1842.

In 1850 his health compelled a change of climate and occupation, and he removed to Wisconsin, locating in Wautoma, Waushara Co. Abandoning all study and giving himself to much out-of-door exercise upon his farm in this new country, he soon became somewhat restored in health. In this place he filled the office of County Treasurer and was mainly instrumental in organizing a Congregational Church and, also, a grade school. He was an earnest Sabbath School worker and ever maintained some form of public worship in the absence of a minister. He always, and everywhere, identified himself with religious and educational interests.

Having recovered his health, with a view of entering upon the more active duties of his profession, he removed to Milwaukee in 1859. In 1860, he received the appointment of Superintendent of the State Reform School at Waukesha. He held this position and performed the duties of Superintendent, physician and chaplain, until the fall of 1865, when his health compelled him to resign. He performed his professional work in Waukesha and Milwaukee, until the fall of 1873, when he was appointed Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science in Ripon College, where he died on Nov. 9th 1873, after a brief illness.

Dr. Barrett was a thorough and untiring student, distinguished both for his scope and accuracy. There was scarcely a branch of knowledge to which he did not give some special attention. He possessed the capacity of rapid absorption and appropriation of the salient points of any and every subject. He was equally at home in Theology and Philosophy. He was broadly read in literature and an expert in all branches of Natural Science. He was as quick as light in all his mental processes and nothing escaped his observation. He thoroughly compassed whatever was the subject of his study. Men, not infrequently, make themselves proficient in some one branch of Natural Science, but Dr. Barrett was a master in all. He kept himself, even with the discoveries in the sciences, not more by his wide knowledge of what others were doing than by his own original studies.

His collections in the various departments of Natural History were comprehensive and of great scientific value. He was, in fact, that rare man – an investigator. Crowded full of knowledge he was the most interesting and inspiring of tutors and companions. Did you approach him on almost any topic, even your own specialty, yet before him you grew ashamed of the poverty of your own attainments.

He was not niggardly of his stores. He poured them forth as ardently and as unconsciously as a child. He had no conceit. He had knowledge and he gave it in simple joy to impart it.

That such a man should have had a reputation so small in proportion to his greatness, is due to his extreme modesty and his utter inability to practice the arts of self-assertion.

Dr. Barrett brought to the practice of medicine the same zeal for investigation which characterized him elsewhere. He added to this trait the sound judgment which made him a safe physician and an exquisite mechanical genius that helped to make him one of the best surgeons. He was sensitive to the very spirit of medical ethics, and modest beyond what was for his personal advantage. Utterly sincere and blunt in speech, he was incapable of profiting by the weakness of others. If his services were sought it must be because his real worth was appreciated. His success in gaining practice was no measure of his skill in it.

Death removed him at a time when he had assumed a position in which his genius and knowledge would have been, more widely then before, an inspiration and a help to others. In his death the cause of education has lost a comprehensive scholar—apt to teach. The medical profession has lost one of its most enthusiastic students and a skillful practitioner. Science an ardent, untiring observer. The Church has lost a member who walked with the Master above reproach. The State has lost an honest man and his personal friends have lost as true a companion as ever clasped a hand.

The following is a newspaper obituary of Dr. Barrett originally published in the Milwaukee Sentinel and then reprinted in the Waukesha Freeman (Waukesha, Wisc), on Nov. 13, 1873
Dr. Moses Barrett.

Barrett, Dr. Moses, died at Ripon, Nov. 9, 1873 of congestion of the lungs.

The death of Dr. Barrett, which occurred at Ripon, is to be lamented by his numerous friends in this city. The deceased settled in Wautoma in 1851 and represented the people of his section to their satisfaction in the new county organization.

Subsequently, Dr. Barrett was called as Superintendent of the State Reform School, on its establishment at Waukesha. He held the position for five years when his arduous service in behalf of the State undermined his health and obliged him to resign the place. He never fully recovered his strength but regained his health sufficiently to enable him to follow his profession here. A memorial of his scientific attainments exits in the valuable collection of natural history, geology, etc. at the Milwaukee Female Academy.

The Waukesha Freeman newspaper also published on Nov. 13. 1873 the following:

Dr. Moses Barrett, for many years a resident of Waukesha but, more recently of Milwaukee, died in Ripon on the 9th of November and his remains were brought here for burial. Dr. Barrett had, only recently, accepted the position of lecturer on Natural Science at Ripon College.

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