Sunday, August 19, 2007

The memories of a grandson of Dr. Moses Barrett

Dr. Moses Barrett, 1816 - 1873 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, 1890 - 1986, the grandfather of the Barrett Brothers.

The author of this letter was Robert E. Millard, a brother to Edith Holton Millard and a grandson of Dr. Moses Barrett. Robert was a flutist with the Portland, Oregon symphony orchestra.

From a letter by Robert E. Millard – Flutist
3908 Council Crest Drive
Portland, Oregon
May 7, 1939

The clipping from the Wautoma, Wisconsin paper about grandfather Barrett and the Millard tribe is an excellent one and well written too. It recalls anecdotes Mother used to tell of her childhood in that village so long ago. Once when Mother, Helen and I visited Will in Auroraville, the latter took Mother and me on a trip to Wautoma, and the visit to her childhood home brought forth many anecdotes of her sire, the rifleman-doctor of that country. After a light fall of snow in the late autumn about the year of Grace 1849 the rural aesculapius would, according to Mother, get out a chunk of lead and a small iron melting pot, and proceed to cast rifle bullets over the kitchen stove in preparation for a deer hunt on the following day. He was a fine marksman, was Dr. Moses Barrett, and Mother said he was the only man anywhere around who could hit a flying pigeon with a rifle bullet. If he could that, and Mother solemnly swore to it, I can readily believe that he was the only one in the neighborhood who could do it, because such a feat with a rifle is a darned good one; more than that, it is artistry. Evidently this Moses, the medical marksman, observed as his first and greatest commandment, “Thou shalt not waste ammunition.”

Mother said that once he offered $5.00 to anyone who would bring him a specimen of a bald eagle for his collection. (This was after his practice had developed and he had not much time to go hunting.) One of the Bugh boys, who were hunters, reported one day that they had sighted a bald eagle, but that it was too far away to hit; “If you would have been there, Doc, you’d have got him.”

Mother said that once a blacksmith living some miles away had the misfortune to drop an anvil on his big toe, and he was brought in a wagon to Grandfather’s house for treatment. The patient was laid on his back with his head and shoulders inside the front door and his legs outside where the light was good. Then grandmother, who was a stout woman, sat on his let to hold it still. Mother bathed his temples with camphor (miserable substitute for anesthesia) and grandfather whacked off the mutilated digit with a knife which he had honed on the family Bible. We may justly be proud of our hardy forbears, but think of the pride the descendants of the blacksmith must feel!

An imaginative biographer of the smith might refer to the latter love and enthusiasm for football in the early days of that sport, manifesting itself in practicing the dropkick with the anvil!

Ah! Those were the days when men were men – and the women were glad of it.

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