Archive for the ‘Wilkes County Georgia’ Category

Descendants of John Barrett and William Winburn (XV)   Leave a comment


William Goodman Barrett, Sr. (I)

Descendants 12C

Descendants 12D

Descendants 13A

James Tarrance Barrett (1803-1867) was the second son of John Barrett (born circa 1776) and Milly Chastain Barrett and brother of Elisha Chastain Barrett (1806-1886), grandfather of George Washington Barrett (1873-1956), my great-grandfather.


Heralds of Queen Spring   Leave a comment


Above:  Tulips and Daffodils, Circa 1913

Photographer = Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952)

Image Source = Library of Congress




My great-grandmother’s original title for this poem was “Daffodils.”

As for me, I anticipate the arrival of Spring, especially given the fact I have just experienced my second Winter storm in two weeks.




Although North Wind still blustered,

And Jack Frost’s elfin sprites

Lift their fairy footprints

Everywhere o’nights,


On looking through my casement

One bright though chilly dawn,

I saw heralds of Queen Spring

Marshaled on the lawn.


Their sharp green spears more glittering

With jewels diamond-bright,

Scattered by the Frost King’s elves

In their madcap flight.


With golden trumpets lifted

The fairy notes rang clear,–

“Begone, Begone! oh, Jack Frost,

Spring is almost here!”




“The Woman With the Bread Tray” As Seen From Woman’s Viewpoint   Leave a comment

Nellie Barrett Letter November 15, 1920

Above:  A Clip from The Atlanta Constitution, November 15, 1920

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Clip Obtained Via



I have applied my historical research skills to this letter, one side of a story.  My efforts to locate the poem to which my great-grandmother objected have proven unsuccessful.  Along the way, however, I deduced that “Dr. Melton” was almost certainly Professor Wightman Fletcher Melton (1867-1944), Professor of English and Journalism at Emory University (1908-1924) and Poet Laureate of Georgia (1943-1944), whose daughter, Emily, married in October 1920.  I found accounts of her wedding, the wedding rehearsals and associated meals, et cetera.

I can, however, place the letter in larger historical context, based on my great-grandmother’s opening line.  She wrote at the end of the Great Migration, an African-American exodus from the South to the North and Midwest in the face of the boll weevil, World War I, lynchings, non-violent racism, and overt recruiting.  The exodus was of a size sufficient to cause labor shortages in domestic work, prompting local governments to try to stem the mass migration.

So, without further ado, I present my great-grandmother’s letter without any subjective comment (except that she was of her generation and that more than chronology removed her from Betty Friedan–not that I expected otherwise)–just some explanatory details.








Editor Constitution:

In this time when the servant problem is such a vexing one it seems to me unfortunate that anything should be printed or said that fosters even remotely the idea that it is beneath the dignity of anyone to work.  Certainly the cast spirit should not be fostered the least bit.

Hence I beg you to publish, if you will, this friendly comment on Dr. Melton’s poem.

I am afraid there are too many women who may read it, who will will pity themselves the more, rather than see that after all they have too much to be thankful for to repine because they have to preside daily over the kitchen in their own homes.  If one woman must not work day by day, then who shall say where the line shall be drawn between those who should and those who should not work?  Has God created anyone under such limitations?

Does Dr. Melton mean to protest against the dull routine of providing daily for the physical needs of the family?  He will have to blame it on the women themselves if they degenerate into mere human machines with no higher motive than to get through the day somehow or other.

No woman needs to drudge with her mind.

If she must wield the rolling pin and the bread-tray, wash dishes and do the thousand and one things that make up the life a housekeeper and mother, even though she may be uncultivated and so limited in her mental outlook, she can fill her mind and her soul full of the knowledge that these things are but incidental to her real work–being the builder and caring for the living temples of the Holy Ghost.  What woman that realizes this great truth will ever wish [that] God had not made her a woman?

Does he [Dr. Melton] mean to picture for us the very poor farmer’s wife  of the uneducated, uncultivated class?

I thought so until I read his poem carefully and noted that he referred to

renewing her taste for music and the play.

Then I concluded he was protesting against the housekeeping cares of women as a whole; and then my soul rose in rebellion against having home-makers so misrepresented.

There are, unfortunately, scores whom this description will fit exactly; but they are women who never had a taste for the higher culture to be removed.  Surely these, however much they call for our pity and sympathy, cannot be taken as a type of the housekeeping womanhood of the world.

“The Woman With the Bread-Tray,” to my mind, should be shown as a woman–perhaps with

lines of care and sorrow on her face,

for these come to all mothers sooner or later, but also with eyes full of hope and love–a love so great that it makes the

burden of the home

a rapture she would not exchange for all the indolent, self-seeking indulgence in the world.  [This paragraph was in the published letter yet not in my great-grandmother’s typewritten copy.]


Wagner and Chopin, Tennyson and Twain

ever meant anything to her, they mean more now than to the carefree girl.  If her eyes have ever been open to the beauties of the

golden sunset and the blushing flower,

she will be more vividly conscious of them than before; and yet, to her soul, the roses on her children’s cheeks are lovelier than the rarest blossoms of either hot-house or wild-wood, and the rippling music of childish laughter and song is far sweeter than even the glorious strains of Elijah  [by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy] or The Creation [by Franz Joseph Haydn].  True, she may–usually does–lose some of her girlish grace of form–maternity, even among the plants is at the cost of the early loveliness, but to those who have eyes to see it, the gain in other ways more than compensates for that.

“The Woman With the Bread-Tray,” if a type of the home-makers–home-makers, mark you, not mere housekeepers, as a whole is not

neglected, unprotected, doomed to toil.

She is honored, saved as many steps and burdens as it is possible for her husband and children to save her, and when he comes home from his work, and the children from school, she finds joy in abundance in the knowledge that it is through her toil and care that they are well and happy; and she, though ever so humble, holds her head proudly as she thinks of her husband and sons, to whom she is the queen of their realm.

Women who picture their lot as Dr. Melton draws it, usually are ruined by self-pity, and develop something of the type as he shows; but the woman who sees her lot as it really is–although filled with care and toil, yet the most important under the skies, since to her hands is committed the making of the destiny of immortal souls–will hold her head high, while her soul bows in humble gratitude to her Maker for giving her the place of honor–that of serving both Him and the human race.



NOVEMBER 5, 1920

The Sunny Side of Parsonage Life   Leave a comment


Above:  George Washington Barrett (1873-1956) and Nellie Seguin Fox Barrett (1876-1958) with their Daughter, Nell Barrett Taylor (1915-2001), My Grandmother, Probably in the 1950s

Image Courtesy of Randolph Fleming Taylor



  1. I have interjected personal names, place names, and dates into my great-grandmother’s undated text occasionally to make clear the chronology and geography.
  2. The original title of this text was “Beautiful Things My Husband’s People Have Done for Me.”
  3. I have written my own reflections, which arrive at a different conclusion:  Such a life is not for everybody.
  4. The Methodists used to move their pastors and pastor’s families in late November or early December, depending on the year.
  5. I have used North Georgia Conference Journals, George Washington Barrett’s Descendants of John Barrett and William Winburn (Decatur, GA:  Banner Press, 1949), family oral tradition, and my storehouse of church historical knowledge as sources of details.








Poor child!  She does not know what she is getting into.

Thus spoke the widow of a preacher when my sister told her of my approaching marriage [on January 17, 1900, when my great-grandfather, George Washington Barrett, was pastor of the Alpharetta circuit] to a young itinerant Methodist preacher.   I informed sister that I preferred a hard time with him to luxuries without him.  However, I spent many moments wondering what she meant.  I am still wondering, though I have found that her opinion is very largely accepted.  After reading a recent magazine article, I decided that it is time one should give the other side of the picture; and so I desire to tell of some of the many lovely things my husband’s people have done for us.

First of all, to my way of thinking, is the friendly welcome that has invariably been accorded to us.  Not once have I been made to feel as if I were on probation–that they were waiting to decide whether to accept me as one of the community.  Always we have been met at the train and taken to the parsonage where a welcome committee was assembled and a delightful meal served in such bountiful quantity that culinary labors were reduced to the minimum while we were getting settled.  The parsonage has been prepared for us as well as the brief time between the departure of the our predecessor and our arrival allowed.  And when obtainable, flowers added to the festive array of the home.

A short time after we reached our second charge [Blue Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Blue Ridge, Georgia, 1902-1904], my husband was requested to meet some friends at the Y.M.C.A. one evening.  A lady friend came up to keep me company while he was there.  Soon he returned with a check for a splendid suit of clothes, the compliment of the railroad men of the town.  They chose to bestow it rather than to see if the new pastor pleased them or no.  It was a timely gift, though they did not know it, for they thought the pastor was a bridegroom.  He had been, almost three years before, and was still wearing his wedding suit for best.

When our first baby [Randolph Winburn Barrett, 1905-?, born when his parents were at Palmetto, Georgia] came, we had many lovely attentions bestowed.  He happened to be the first baby that had ever lived in that parsonage.  When it was time to put him in short clothes, before I could get more than started at making them, behold, the ladies of the charge sent in the most complete outfit one could wish.  That was paralleled when the sixth baby [Margaret Elizabeth Barrett, later Bartlett, 1918-2007, born when her parents were at Gray, Georgia] was on the way.   I was much too sick to sew, though I tried to do so while lying in bed.  The ladies sent me word that they were making the layette for me and I was not to sew at all.  And it was such a beautiful little wardrobe–sheer, fine materials, hand-embroidered, [with] fine lacy tatting on edges and set in as medallions, and an abundance of garments, even a little pillow with hand-embroidered slips, and a number of extra garments for me.  And all this when I had not been worth a thing to the church, for I had been too sick to do any church work, and we had illness in the family too.

This same charge [the Gray Circuit, Gray, Georgia, 1917-1919] being dissatisfied with the reception of their pastor, because they had only one hour from the departure of our predecessor and our arrival, sent me word at Christmas that I was not to prepare a Christmas dinner.  It was sent on Christmas Day, and what a feast it was!

At another place [Gainesville, Georgia, where my great-grandfather served at the St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1922-1925] my husband’s brother [Robert Wesley Barrett (August 18, 1860-January 13, 1924)] had died and was brought there for burial.  [The Barrett family was from Gainesville and Oakwood.]  The family connection being large, we had considerably above a score with us to lunch.  What did those blessed women do but send in lunch for the crowd, and some came and helped serve, and then they washed up and left everything ready for the next meal!

It was here [St. Paul Church, Gainesville, Georgia], too, that various improvements to the parsonage furnishings were added along during our years of service because, they said, they wanted us to have the opportunity to enjoy them while there.  And it was here, having learned someway the date of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, [that] some of the members of our church combined with friends in another church in town and presented us with a handsome chest of flatware.

So far as I know there has been no attempt to criticize my own or even my children’s dress, but I’ve often been complimented on the children’s appearance.  And whenever I have had either a new hat or dress, the ladies appeared to take as much pleasure in them as I did.

At another charge [Tignall-Broad River Circuit, Tignall, Georgia, 1919-1922] one of our stewards [Yes, the Methodists used to have church officers called stewards.], a widower, lived across the street from the parsonage.  Beginning with a ten-pound turkey for our Christmas gift, he filled the three years of our stay with loving, brotherly attentions so delicately offered that one could not feel offended.

We were quarantined just at the Christmas holidays because of diptheria in our home and people feared the children might not have their stockings filled; so they proceeded to provide against such an emergency.  And how they did provide!

Another time [at Tignall] the children and I had whooping cough.  Our oldest daughter [Sarah Claiborne Barrett (1908-1954)] was very ill and the youngest [Margaret (1918-2007] of our brood of six was under two years of age.  To secure help was almost impossible, it being peach-packing time.  I was under a great strain, for my husband was away holding meetings on the charge.  Those good friends sent out of the community and brought in a nurse, telling her to stay as long as I needed her.  They paid her salary weekly and I knew it not until she was leaving and I endeavored to pay her for her services.  It was here that, when we were unexpectedly moved [in 1922], the Woman’s Missionary Society sent a committee to ask me please not to clean up the house.  I protested because such was not my custom, always leaving the house ready for our successor.  But Mrs. S. put her arm about me tenderly and said,

Please, you can do it for us because we want to do it for you.

I did it and to this day can never think of it without grateful tears.

I do not believe these were exceptional charges.  I could name some lovely things from every place we have lived and I truly believe all the churches want to really love their pastor’s family; but this is enough to show

the sunny side

of parsonage life.

It has been a happy life to me, though, of course, there are some things I should prefer otherwise–but is there any lot in life without some drawbacks?  But this is my most sincere and loving tribute to the churches my husband has served.  They have treated me as they would wish to be treated if they were in my place.  Could anyone ask more?



Obituary of George Washington Barrett   Leave a comment

George W. Barrett

Above:  George Washington Barrett

An image taped inside a family history book


From the Journal of the North Georgia Conference of The Methodist Church, 1956, pages 110 and 111



The Reverend George W. Barrett was born September 3, 1873, and left us for his heavenly home June 12, 1956.  He was the son of William Wesley and Sarah Jane Winburn Barrett.  He was graduated from Young Harris College in 1899.

On January 17, 1900, he was happily married to Miss Nellie S. Fox.  He is survived by his wife and following children:  George Dickey, Lucy S., Nellie F. (Mrs. John D. Taylor), and Margaret E.  Another daughter, Sarah C., passed away June 12, 1954.  His home was one of culture and refinement whose spiritual atmosphere reflected the presence of the Master who was the real head of the house.

Brother Barrett joined the North Georgia Conference in 1899.  He was ordained deacon in 1899 by Bishop Hendrix and elder in 1903 by Bishop Key.  His appointments were as follows:  Alpharetta; Blue Ridge; Palmetto; Douglasville; Cornelia; Tate; Acworth; Union Point; Asbury, Augusta; Lithonia; Gray; Tignall; St. Paul, Gainesville; Winder; St. Luke, Augusta; Commerce; Rockmart; Second Avenue, Rome; Underwood, Atlanta, from which he retired in 1945.

He was at the table of the Secretary of the Conference for twenty-eight years–for twenty-one years the Secretary of the Conference, and editor of the Conference Journal.  He was a natural born Secretary.  In correspondence with the Publishing House as Editor of the Journal he was often addressed as “the model Secretary.”  In District Conferences or other church meetings, where a secretary was needed, they usually thought of Brother Barrett, if he were present, and elected him.

George W. Barrett was not only a gentleman but a gentle man.  Smoking flax he would not quench and the bruised reed would not be further damaged in his hands.  The ugly habit of self-assertion and self-seeking was not in his make-up.  He walked in deep humility with his Lord, content to feel that always the Master was at hand.

Brother Barrett was a sound Gospel preacher.  His sermons were not cluttered up with trivialities but dealt with the profound truths of the Holy Word.  He followed in the traditions of the fathers and was little moved by modern trends.  His people loved and trusted him.  They believed that in the midst of pretense and sham here, indeed, was a real man of God.  His life was an orderly one.  He was meticulous in his attention to details.  There was method in all that he did.  He was punctual in his appointments and prompt in his obligations.  He had strong convictions and was never ashamed or afraid to declare them.

For more than eighty-two years Brother George W. Barrett had lived among us, walking in the straight and narrow way, his face always toward the morning.  At last the weary feet could carry him no farther.  The gentle knight laid down his shining sword.  The mantle of his noble calling fell from his shoulders unsoiled.  His nerveless hands could no longer hold the working tools of his loved employ.  So he left us–the earth better for his coming, heaven richer for his going–to be at home with God.




It is, I admit, an overwritten obituary in places, but that is excusable.  If one cannot become flowery in an obituary, where can one do so?

I do recognize one glaring omission:  There is no mention of his firstborn son, Randolph Winburn Barrett (1905-?), who disappeared in the 1930s.  I propose no single reason for this, and I hope that nobody thinks I am.  In fact, I suspect that there are at least two reasons for this and almost everything else in the realm of the human race.  I do know that, for a set of reasons, Randolph became a topic to avoid in the household, so I am not surprised that he is absent here.  Maybe the primary reason was grief.  I have no evidence to suggest otherwise, so I extend the benefit of the doubt.




The Ministerial Career (1899-1945) of George Washington Barrett (1873-1956)   3 comments

George W. Barrett

Above:  George Washington Barrett

An image taped inside a family history book


I have derived most information from Journals of the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, (through 1938) and of The Methodist Church (1939 to 1945 and 1956).  I have also drawn information from George Washington Barrett’s small book, Descendants of John Barrett and William Winburn (Decatur, Georgia:  Banner Press, Emory University, 1949).  And I have added my own knowledge from other sources.




Some Preliminaries:

Most pastoral moves occurred in November.  The North Georgia Conference made the transition to Summer moves after George Washington Barrett retired.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845-1939) reunited with its parent, the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939), and a sibling, the Methodist Protestant Church (1828-1939) to form The Methodist Church (1939-1968).

The Methodist Church (1939-1968) joined with its relative, the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968), to create The United Methodist Church.

I recommend Google Street View as a wonderful way to get good images of some of these church buildings.

The Conference my great-grandfather as a troubleshooter frequently, hence many short pastorates.   Often he had only a few days’ notice before a move.



Licensed to preach on November 15


Student, Young Harris College, December 1, 1895-May 22, 1899


Admitted to the North Georgia Conference, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South

Ordained Deacon by Bishop Eugene R. Hendrix, D.D., L.L.D.


Pastor, the Alpharetta Circuit (five churches)

Supply Pastor, starting July-November 1899, filling in for the pastor, who was ill


Married Nellie Seguin Fox on January 17


Pastor, Blue Ridge Church


Ordained Elder by Bishop Joseph Staunton Key


Pastor, Palmetto Circuit (five churches)


Firstborn son, Randolph Winburn Barrett, born


Pastor, Douglasville Circuit (two churches)


Second child, Sarah Claiborne Barrett, born


Pastor, Cornelia-Demorest Circuit (two churches)

A few years ago, when I taught some courses at the Demorest campus of Piedmont College, I noticed a certain building across the street.  The Demorest Womens’ Club house looked like an old church.   That is because it used to be one.  It was the home of the Demorest congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS).  Demorest also had a congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC).  The two Demorest congregations merged in 1939, when their denominations did, moving into the stately MEC building.  That building, unfortunately, has gone the way of all flesh.  In the late 1940s, however, the Methodist and Congregationalist churches of Demorest merged, forming the Demorest Methodist Congregationalist Federated Church (currently a United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church affiliate), in the home of the former Congregational Church, just up the hill and behind the old MECS church.  The bell in the yard of the Federated Church is from the former MEC structure.

So, when I look at the clubhouse of the Demorest Womens’ Club, I see a building in which my great-grandfather preached.


Third child, George Dickey Barrett, born


Pastor, Tate-Nelson Circuit, Marietta District (two churches)


An Assistant Statistician of the North Georgia Conference


Pastor, Acworth Circuit (four churches)


Fourth child, Lucy Seguin Barrett, born


Statistician of the North Georgia Conference


Pastor, Union Point Circuit (four churches)


Pastor, Asbury Circuit, Augusta (two churches)


Fifth child, Nell Fox Barrett, my grandmother, born on February 2


Pastor, Lithonia Circuit (three churches)


Pastor, Gray Circuit (three churches)


Sixth child, Margaret Elizabeth Barrett, born


An Assistant Secretary of the North Georgia Conference


Pastor, Tignall/Broad River Circuit (two churches)


Pastor, St. Paul Church, Gainesville, Georgia


Secretary of the North Georgia Conference


Pastor, First Church, Winder


Editor of the Conference Journal


Pastor, St. Luke Church, Augusta


Pastor, Commerce Circuit (two churches)


Pastor, First Church, Rockmart

George Dickey Barrett (George’s son) made new carved oak furniture–an altar rail, a lectern, pulpit chairs, the communion table, and choir panels for the church in 1932.  He donated his time and labor, but the church had to hold fundraisers to finance the purchase of materials.  The church used this furniture until 1954.  Sources =,2069657 and family accounts


Pastor, Second Avenue Church, Rome


Pastor, Underwood Memorial Church, Atlanta


Resided at 866 Euclid Road, NE., Atlanta, in a house his wife, Nellie Sequin Fox Barrett, inherited




Died on June 12

A Mother’s Prayer   3 comments

Nellie Sequin Fox Barrett

Above:  Nellie Seguin Fox Barrett (1876-1958) Late in Her Life

Cropped from a Photograph Courtesy of Randolph Fleming Taylor


Written at Tignall, Georgia, in 1922, Shortly Before Her Son, Randolph Winburn Barrett (born in 1905), Left for Whatever He Went Off to Do –Perhaps Attend College–That Year


Many thanks to Uncle Randy for sharing the text also!–KRT


Heavenly Father, bless my boy,

He’s going to leave me very soon.

From my aching mother’s heart

I crave of Thee this priceless boon.

Keep him safe from all snares

Set for unwary youthful feet;

May he tread the “narrow way”

In Thy whole armor clad complete.

Keep him, body, mind, and soul,

Clean and pure; and grant that he

May prove a blessing unto all

With whom his daily lot may be.

Holding fast the talisman

That turns to vanity sin’s charms,

‘Ere the year drawn to its close

Restore him to my waiting arms.


He is thine as well as mine,

And thou art pledged to keep thine own.

I will not fear, for in thy care

I will send him forth–my first-born son.