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The popular and thoroughly efficient superintendent of the LaSalle County Asylum, Berkley Gillett Barratt, has been an incumbent of this responsible position since March 8, 1898, when he was elected on the Democratic ticket with the aid of Republicans. He is a veteran of the civil war and fought bravely for the preservation of the Union, enlisting in Company K, Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in August, 1862, for three years. Assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, he was always found at his post of duty, and took part in the numerous severe campaigns in which that branch of the army was involved. He was orderly sergeant during the most of the period of his military service, being promoted second lieutenant and serving as such for the remainder of his time in the army. At the battle of Stone river he was seriously wounded in the hand, and was honorably discharged from the service with his regiment at Chicago July 3, 1865, after the close of the war.

After perusing the history of Mr. Barratt in the role of a patriot it is not a surprise to learn that he comes from loyal American ancestry, and that his maternal grandfather, John Farnham, was a soldier of the war of the Revolution. The papers relating to his discharge from the service, when his aid was no longer needed, bear the signature of George Washington, commander of the colonial army, and were dated June, 1782. The father of our subject was Daniel Barratt, born June 3, 1797. He married Permelia, daughter of John Farnham, and to them five sons and seven daughters were born, namely: John F., Caroline, Rebecca Jane, Mary Ann, Phoebe, Caleb, Margaret, Emily, George, Berkley G., Lavinia and Elizabeth. The mother, who was born March 23, 1805, was a most worthy, noble woman, of the best type of the pioneer, courageous, strong and capable, making the best of circumstances, however gloomy and unpromising the outlook. She survived her husband many years, as he died in February, 1849, and her death did not occur until 1891. One of her sons, George, had lived in the south for some time prior to the war, and upon the outbreak of hostilities he was drafted by the rebels. However, he managed to effect an escape and returned to the north.

The birth of B. G. Barratt took place near Springfield, Clark county, Ohio, and when he was ten years of age he came to Illinois. The family at first lived near Paw Paw, Lee county, and there the lad received average educational advantages in the common schools. When he returned from fighting for his country he settled in Earlville, Illinois, and engaged in painting and contracting for a number of years. He was appointed postmaster of Earlville by President Cleveland and officiated in that capacity, and in 1882 he became a deputy sheriff of the county, acting under Sheriffs Milligan and Taylor. In 1886 Mr. Barratt made the run for the nomination for county sheriff and was defeated by only one vote, and at another time he was defeated by just one vote for circuit clerk. When a candidate for city treasurer he was elected by a majority of two votes. He has been an indefatigable worker in the Democratic party, and is recognized as a valuable factor in its success in this community. In the Masonic fraternity he has reached the Knight Templar degree, and is a member of the Ottawa Lodge and Commandery. In the Grand Army of the Republic he is identified with Seth C. Earl Post.

In 1865 Mr. Barratt wedded Miss Emily L. Jones, daughter of James Jones, formerly a respected citizen of Paw Paw and now deceased. Mrs. Barratt was born in Ohio, but grew to womanhood in the town of Paw Paw. Six children - two sons and four daughters - have been born to our subject and wife, namely: Ella, Nina and Louie, who are living. Two sons and one daughter are deceased.

A brief account of the LaSalle County Asylum, of which Mr. Barratt is now superintendent, may be of interest to the reader. Without doubt the buildings are among the most attractive and substantial structures for the occupancy of the poor and helpless wards of the county of all to be found in the state. The buildings are modern; heated by steam and lighted with gas, and every practical device making for the comfort of the inmates of the institution has been provided. The county farm contains two hundred and ten acres of fertile land, and is situated about three and a half miles west of Ottawa. But a short distance to the south flows the Illinois river, and to the north rises a rocky bluff, at the foot of which is the Illinois & Michigan canal. Substantial barns afford shelter to about thirty head of cattle and a dozen horses, and some fifty to sixty hogs are annually raised on the place. There are cared for in the asylum from two hundred and fifty to three hundred persons each year, one-third of the number, perhaps, being insane or feeble-minded.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 86-88.

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