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Ventura County










            A native of California, Walter E. Barry has spent his life within the borders of the state, winning success as a newspaper publisher and as a civil engineer before entering upon the practice of law in 1919, and is now numbered among the leading members of the Los Angeles bar.  He was born in San Buenaventura, Ventura County, January 30, 1886, a son of John A. Barry, who was born in Green County, Wisconsin, May 30, 1845.  The grandfather, John Barry, was a native of Ireland, born in 1810, and came with his sisters and brothers to the United States in 1815.  The grandmother, Lorinda Tanner (Welles) Barry, was born in Ohio in 1822.  She was a descendant of Thomas Welles, one of the early governors of Connecticut, and traced her lineage in this country to about the year 1620.

            In 1852 as a lad of seven years, John A. Barry crossed the plains with his parents and five brothers and sisters.  They traveled from Wisconsin to California in a covered wagon, settling in Sonoma County.  Here John A. Barry acquired an education, and in September, 1867, when a young man of twenty-two years, he removed with the family to Ventura County, which was then a part of Santa Barbara County.  A civil engineer, he was called upon to survey land in connection with the practice of his profession, and served as county surveyor from 1867 to 1907, when he was elected assessor of Ventura County.  In that capacity he served until his death on July 29, 1925, when his son, Jasper Barry, was appointed his successor in the office, to which he was regularly elected in 1926.  Perhaps no other man was as familiar with the topography of Ventura County, and certainly no other person was more interested in preserving the old landmarks than was John A. Barry.  He was the first secretary of the old Pioneer Society and as such conferred upon ex-President Theodore Roosevelt an honorary membership therein.  On recommendation of General Bidwell, Mr. Barry was appointed to West Point in 1864.  In 1881 he married Miss Barbara Fernandez, who was born in San Buenaventura, March 13, 1862, and passed away December 19, 1924.  Their surviving children are:  Jasper, who was born March 25, 1882; Lorinda La Case, born August 12, 1883; Walter E. born January 30, 1886, and John W., born January 16, 1888.

            Walter E. Barry, the third in order of birth, decided to follow in the professional footsteps of his father and accordingly took a course in civil engineering, qualifying for practice in California in 1911.  Later he took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar of California in February, 1919.  On starting out in life for himself, Mr. Barry engaged in newspaper work, becoming connected with the Daily and Weekly Democrat (now the Ventura Star), and later was publisher of the Oxnard Review, a weekly of high standing.  In 1911 he began his career as a civil engineer, devoting eight years to surveying, and during a portion of that time was chief deputy assessor of Ventura County, a post which he filled in 1917-18.  In 1919 he opened a law office in Ventura and in 1923 joined the legal fraternity of Los Angeles.  Here he has since engaged in general practice, and due to the fact that he speaks Spanish fluently, specializes in both American and Mexican law, on which he is thoroughly informed.  He is consulting attorney for the Mexican Consulate of Los Angeles and the Mexican Chamber of Commerce.  He is well versed in the basic principles of jurisprudence and the extent and importance of his clientele is indicative of his status as an advocate and counselor.

            Mr. Barry’s first wife was Jennie Gondran, to whom he was married June 22, 1907, and a daughter, Geraldine C., was born to them April 12, 1920.  She is now attending school in Ventura.  On December 30, 1921, Mr. Barry remarried, choosing for his second wife Miss Caroline C. Adams, who was born in Macon, Georgia, September 10, 1889, a daughter of Edward F. Adams, who was born February 15, 1862, and died August 12, 1911.  Mrs. Barry’s mother, Emma (Morris) Adams, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, May 18, 1868, and passed away January 24, 1892.  By this second wife Mr. Barry has a son, Leonard W., who was born in Los Angeles, January 1, 1923, and is attending school in this city.

            A Republican in politics, Mr. Barry was a candidate for the general assembly of California in 1920, losing the election by only seven votes, and in 1922 was a candidate for district attorney of Ventura County.  He belongs to Ramona Parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West and loyally cooperates in all movements and projects destined to prove of benefit to his city and state.  Versatile and accomplished, he has registered achievement in every line of endeavor which has claimed his attention, and throughout life has manifested those qualities which win for a man the respect and confidence of his fellows.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 299-301, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.