Search billions of records on




Tuolumne County








            Iowa has given to California many citizens who have attained prominence in different ways, and one of the best known of these is John Walter Barrett, manager of the West Coast Lumber Company at Carters, Tuolumne County.  Mr. Barrett was born at Dubuque, Iowa, December 19, 1844, a son of John and Mary (Guinan) Barrett.  His father and grandfather Barrett were both born at Baltimore, Maryland, and his mother was a native of Paris, France.  The Barrett’s descended from an old English family and immigrated early from Liverpool to Maryland, and John Walter Barrett, the grandfather of the present John Walter Barrett, fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War.  The parents of Miss Guinan died of cholera, and while she and her brother were en route for New Orleans she first met John Barrett, whom she soon married.  After they were married they located at Galena, Illinois, where Mr. Barrett was employed at lead-mining.  He soon acquired land and mining interests and owned considerable property in Iowa across the river from Galena.  He died of typhoid fever in 1844 and left a wife and six children.  He was in his twenty-ninth year at the time of his death and his wife survived him many years, dying at the age of sixty-eight.  She was an estimable woman, a life-long member of the Christian Church and exerted herself to the utmost to bring up her children to good and useful lives.  Three of her sons are living at this time.

            Mr. Barrett was educated in his native town, learned the carriage-maker’s trade and worked at it for four years.  He then turned his attention to mill construction and he became an expert millwright, and as such has achieved great success.  He came to California in 1866, arriving on the 10th of May, and located in San Francisco, and since then has devoted much of his time to building sawmills on the Pacific coast and has achieved a reputation second to no other in his field of endeavor.  He built the mill of the company by which he is now employed at Carters, and as the manager of that and the company’s other extensive interests there has achieved a notable business success.  The sawmill has a capacity of one hundred and fifteen thousand feet per day, and the company owns in connection with it sixty thousand acres of land heavily timbered with yellow and sugar pines, and has a large department store, also under Mr. Barrett’s supervision.

            While not in the ordinary sense a politician, Mr. Barrett has pronounced views on all political questions and is active in the furtherance of such interests as he deems worthy of advancement.  He is a self-made man who deserves the high position he has gained and fills it honorably and capably, with great credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the corporation he serves.


Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 815-816. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2011  Gerald Iaquinta.




Tuolumne County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library