Barrett, Charles C.
Incoming Business and Family Correspondence of Charles C. Barrett, traveling passenger agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Kansas City, Missouri; and later land developer at Edgar, Wisconsin, 1879-1918

Collection of 255 letters, 776 manuscript pp., (164 retained mailing envelopes), dated 1 April 1879 to 19 April 1918; the bulk of correspondence dates from the 1880s and 1890s; mostly handwritten, some typed; includes correspondence of Barrett family members of Hartford, Connecticut, to their son, Charles C. Barrett, as well as incoming business letters to Barrett, who worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a traveling passenger agent, and later became a land developer and realtor at Edgar, Wisconsin; the archive also includes 1 diary of 1873-1874 kept by William J. Barrett; 12 small memorandum notebooks, dated 1884-1913; and over 340 pieces of related paper and manuscript ephemeral material.

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There are several sections, or groups of letters, within the collection. Including a section containing family letters written by Mrs. Jane Barrett to her son Charles C. Barrett, as well as letters to Charles from his sister Grace and, his brother, Cliff; there are letters written to Barrett’s wife Clara B. Minshall. Then there is a section consisting of business letters written to Charles C. Barrett from various individuals, and business-related letters written to Charles from his brother Cliff. Overall, the letters and the related ephemera document the life of Charles C. Barrett in the West and Mid-West, who along with his brother speculated in city lots in Kansas City, and later in Edgar, Wisconsin. Charles, and his brother Clifford, also worked for railroads, and Charles was a traveling salesman, helping to sell early gasoline internal combustion engines for farming, mining and other industries.

      Charles “Charley” Crosby Barrett (1857-1922)

     Charles Crosby Barrett was prominently identified with the development of Edgar, Wisconsin, having gone there in 1893, after successful business experience in other sections of the country. He was born in Blooming, Grove Township, Dane County, Wisconsin, three miles from Madison, on 25 December 1857. He was the son of James W. Barrett (1817-1863) and his wife Jane Clinton May (1828-1901) who married in 1844 and went west to Wisconsin from Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1847. Besides Charles, James and his wife had three other children: Grace Barrett (1848-1895); James Barrett Jr. (1850-); and Clifford Page Barrett (1859-1948).

     James W. Barrett served with the 29th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War and died of typhoid fever at Vermillionville, Louisiana, in November 1863. After the death of her husband, James Warner Barrett, Mrs. Barrett moved her family back to Connecticut. This archive includes letters written by siblings Grace, Charles and Clifford P. Barrett, as well as their mother Mrs. Jane Clinton May Barrett.

     Charles C. Barrett was educated in Wethersfield and Bridgeport, Connecticut. He then became a commercial traveler for a wholesale boot and shoe house of Hartford, Connecticut, and continued in that line for ten years when he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and became connected with the Missouri Pacific Railroad as ticket agent and traveling passenger agent, remaining eight years, and for the three following years was manager of the Ada Mining Company stationed at Joplin, Missouri. He then became interested in the mining business, which occupied his attention until November of 1893, when he went to Edgar, Marathon County, Wisconsin.

In Edgar Barrett first engaged in logging, but soon embarked in the real estate business, his holdings covered a wide territory. He served three years as Edgar’s postmaster and erected the first special post office building erected in Marathon County. He then organized the Edgar Land Company, which laid out forty acres in town lots, the north side of the village, and in three and a half days had a half mile of street with sidewalks graded. He also laid out forty acres about one-half mile distant from the old town of Rib Falls, in connection with the Rib Falls Land Company. He helped organize the Edgar, Cassel & Emmett Telephone Company, he became president of the Edgar Local Telephone Company and operated the first telephone exchange in Marathon County outside of Wausau.

    Barrett was a Republican and for eighteen years served as Justice of the Peace and was the first police judge elected at Edgar after the incorporation of the village. The collection includes a number of business letters written to Barrett from the 1880s to the mid-1890s.

    In 1903 Mr. Barrett was married to Mrs. Clara Bertha (Blumer) Minshall (1869-1942), the divorced daughter of Swiss immigrant miller/farmer, Mathias Blumer (1832–1898) and his wife Anna Weiker (1833–1907) who was born Luxemburg. The couple settled in LaCrosse Co., Wisconsin. Clara had at least six siblings: Elizabeth Blumer Simonton (1857-1914); Margaret Blumer (1859-1936); John Blumer (1860-1952); Katherine Blumer Mayor (1862-1943); Bertha Blumer Markle (1866-1930); and Christian Blumer who died as an infant in 1870. Mathias Blumer had a flour mill on Mormon Creek in the southern part of LaCrosse County.

    The 1900 Census states that Clara was divorced from her first husband. She had previously been married to Dr. Albert P. Minshall (1862-1932). The couple married in 1892 and had one child, Cyrus Bertrand Minshall (1894-1988). They were divorced by 1900. Their son Cyrus was a veteran of WWI. There are several letters in this collection written to Cyrus and a number of letters written to Clara.

    Charles and Clara had three children: Clifford Charles Barrett (1909-1976); Jane Clinton May Barrett (1909-1999); and Charles J. Barrett (1910-1961). The family was Presbyterian in faith. Charles Crosby Barrett died at his home on January 14, 1922. He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau, Wisconsin. Clara Barrett outlived her husband by twenty years, and died in 1942 she was buried with Charles.

       Collection Inventory:

48 letters, 242 pp., written by Mrs. Jane May Barrett to her son Charles C. Barrett, dated 15 April 1884 to 27 June 1894. Mrs. Barrett is located mainly in Hartford, Connecticut, with some letters written from New Haven and Bridgeport, as well as Milwaukee and Vilas, Wisconsin. Charles C. Barrett was living in Kansas City, Missouri in the earlier letters, but later in Blendville (Joplin), Missouri, and Edgar, Wisconsin.

31 letters, 92 pp., various correspondents to Mrs. Clara B. (Blumer) Minshall, fiancé, and later wife of Charles C. Barrett, dated 14 August 1894 to 6 December 1903; Minshall was located in various locales, including Edgar, LaCrosse, Mosinee, Viroqua, Wausau, all in Wisconsin; and Carbondale, Illinois; letters are written to Clara mainly by female friends; a couple by Charles C. Barrett. Her friends are writing from locales in Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and in particular Viroqua, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

6 letters, 28 pp., written by “Addie” to Charles C. Barrett, dated 14 December 1879 to 12 August 1894; Barrett was in Kansas City, Missouri; Edgar, Wisconsin, and 1 letter found him in Chicago, Illinois. “Addie,” was either a sister, or more likely, a sister-in-law, wrote to Barrett from Chicago; Mexico City, Mexico (3 letters); and Kansas City, Missouri.

26 letters, 57 pp., written by Cliff P. Barrett to his brother Charles C. Barrett (22 letters) in various places including Kansas City, Missouri; Hartford, Connecticut; Chicago; and Edgar, Wisconsin; his wife (2 letters) in Kansas City, and his mother Mrs. Jane Clinton May Barrett (1 letter) presumably at her  home in Hartford; dated 13 March 1880 to 29 April 1895; Cliff P. Barrett was located mainly in Kansas City, Missouri (10) and Mexico (11), but he also wrote from Chicago and New York. When he was in Mexico, Cliff P. Barret worked for the Mexican Central Railway.

4 letters, 16 pp., written by Grace Barrett, to her brother Charles C. Barrett, dated 18 May 1891 to 24 July 1894. Grace wrote from home in Hartford, Connecticut; her brother was then in Blendville (Joplin), Missouri; Edgar, Wisconsin; and Kansas City, Missouri.

9 letters, 57 pp., written by “Hattie” to her friend Charles C. Barrett, 3 August 1884 to 10 May 1891; Hattie wrote to Barrett while he was in Kansas City, Missouri; she was from Hartford, Connecticut.

25 letters, 35 pp. (mostly typed), from the Weber Gas Engine Co. to Charles C. Barrett, dated 4 January 1892 to 1 May 1893; Weber was located in Kansas City, Missouri, Barrett in Joplin, Missouri; Weber was one of the earliest manufacturers of gasoline internal combustion engines in the U.S. Weber started operations in the mid-1880s building stationary engines for farm and industrial use, with a decided focus on the latter.

84 letters, 195 pp., dated 1 April 1879 to 20 February 1895, (several undated), both handwritten and typed, these are mostly incoming business letters to Charles. C. Barrett. Barrett was in Kansas City; Joplin, and Blendville (Joplin), Missouri; and Edgar, Wisconsin. His correspondents wrote from various places in Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin; many individuals wrote from Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri, as well as Hartford and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

3 letters, 6 pp., dated 1 March 1915 to 19 April 1918; written by various individuals to Cyrus Minshall, son of Clara Blumer Minshall Barrett. Cyrus was living in Mosinee, Wisconsin; his correspondents wrote from Chicago, Illinois and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

4 incoming letters, 14 pp., to Mrs. Jane C. Barrett, Charles C. Barrett’s mother, dated 25 September 1893 to 27 June 1899; one letter was written by her daughter Grace Barrett. Jane was presumably at home in Hartford, Connecticut.

16 miscellaneous letters, 36 pp., dated 11 January 1880 to 15 February 1916; written by various correspondents these letters appear to be loosely related to the Barrett family, perhaps some through marriage (Hunt family), others through business (Ada Mining Co.), two letters are by Charles C. Barrett, one is a copy.


1 Diary/Journal of William J. Barrett, 60 pp., entries dated 9 December 1873 to 3 January 1874; bound in limp leather binding, measures 3 ½” x 6”, the short entries are written in pencil; also includes some memoranda.

12 small notebooks, bank books, etc., consisting of a total of 149 manuscript pp., plus blanks, a mix of accounts, memoranda, notes, etc., a couple issued by the railroads, and used to keep notes, or keep track of things; a couple are bank books, a checking account book; a weekly time book for employees; etc., dated 1884-1913.


3 telegrams; 4 newspaper clippings; 10 manuscript notes; 15 postcards; 19 printed and manuscript documents, includes special tax bills, power of attorney, deed of trust, etc.; 28 printed pieces of ephemera including circulars, small broadsides, brochures, advertisements, pamphlets; 31 used envelopes; 45 receipts, both on printed letterhead, and manuscript receipts; 85 used checks; and 107 greeting cards, invitations, business cards, calling cards, etc., pertaining to Barrett and his career.


       Sample Quotations:


“Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific R’Y Co.

Kansas City Station, Feb’ry [2], 1883


Dear Chas.


I enclose you deed of lot here. Gillis St is to be graded in the spring the bill has passed the council the party who owns all the new houses by the school house is having it graded and is going to build houses on Gillis St and a brick block corner Gillis & 5th. The grading will probably cost $2 per front foot. We will then have a street, shall dam the lower part of the hold and catch what comes off from the street. That part of the town is coming up…


One more Hartford fellow arrived last week, a fellow named Geo Norton, who has been traveling for W.C. Hunt & Co. He is looing round here and says he is going to stay. All well here, give my love to Ma, have not heard from her since she left K City, except our Christmas presents. When are you going to settle the old account? Yrs, CPB”



“Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway

Kansas City, Mo. Aug 20th, 188[5]


Dear Chas.,


Arrived here Wednesday morning in good shape. Everything was satisfactory they did not expect me for a week more but I am satisfied to get back to work.


Went out to the lot there are 4 wood houses and two brick buildings going up opposite the school house and the big bluff towards Bob Johnston is being graded level with the street so we do not look as far down as we did. Everybody is expecting a big trade this fall they are counting on 35,000,000 bushels of wheat and 200,000,000 bushels of corn in Kansas and everything is favorable to their getting it.

The Goodyear Rubber Co have a fine store here they are also agents for New York Belting Co. Will find out more about them and let you know. Have been so busy since I got back that have not had any time to see about buildings. I understand that there is no rubber store in St. Joseph, Mo. about 40,000 inhabitants but still it is not as good a point as Kansas City and none west of here nearer than Denver…


Chas. you better make that settlement before it gets mixed worse. Will pay the note and make a new deed this week. Have a squatter on the lot. She pays $1.00 per month have $2 so far this will pay the taxes. Shall try and get some more cabins on it.


Yours, Cliff”





“Hotel San Carlos


26 de March de 1889


Dear Mother,


After a long and unprofitable wait for Gen’l Harrison to remember and reward the terrible efforts made by brother Chas. to help him take his seat comfortably in Washington by appointing one or both of us, and you also as minister and family to Mexico (salary $12,000 per year), like all office seekers, have become sick of politics and politicians and more especially of living on climate and high altitude and have decided to put on the garb of a working man (this is only a figure of speech for I am the possessor of only one suit) and sign my name in full on the pay roll of the Mexican Central Ry above the name of R.C. Russell General Material Agent who according to the printed note at the bottom of the roll will certify in due time that I have diligently performed the duties of my office.


This great change came over me at 8 A.M. yesterday morning. Saturday, I heard there was a vacancy. Saw Mr. R, he said come to work Monday. Your son said if I don’t suit or fill the bill, I am ready to take a walk at any time. If I suit, I want something better. Mr. R. said you shall have something better. This was the conversation in full, short and sweet and as the pay car only starts out once a month shall remain that long anyway, but our health is good here. We of course enjoy the change, will see some more of the world, make a living, learn Spanish and of course have better opportunities where there are not so many men to pick from as in the States.


Should we do well here you must come down and make us a visit as it will I know please you more than anything or anywhere you have seen or been. All winter and summer if you feel cool, cross the street and warm, up in the sun, if you feel warm put up a parasol or get int eh shade there are many degrees difference. Summer and winter are very little different here, except that summer has a drawback (Not het) it rains for several months in the afternoons but no extreme heat no perspiration, sun stroke, mad dogs, or your old complaint of too much ice water…


Saturday Col. Fisher formerly with the Missouri Pacific road as live stock agent and now general agent of the International and Great Northern at Laredo, Texas, was in the city. We went out to Chapultepec, he had been there before with General Scott in 1847, or 1848. With love to all, Yours Cliff”


“Weber Gasoline Engine Co.

Kansas City

December 10th, 1892


C.C. Barrett, Esq., Joplin, Mo.


Dear Sir:-

Enclosed we hand you B/L of one of our No 6 Engines shipped you today. We send foundation bolts, driving pulley oils, etc. This engine was run six days pulling a full load before shipping and is all OK in every respect. You will please pay freight and draw on us for amount. When you get engine placed, we will send man. Would send one at once but are very busy and would like to have you place engine on foundation, when we will send man to pipe up and start. Would be pleased to have you send transportation you spoke of when I saw you last. Send for two if you can, and will send a man down to set up and when he is finished will come down myself.


This engine is a hummer, it is one of our new style cylinders and its efficiency is fully 20% greater than the old style, besides it is a better looker.

With best wishes, we are yours truly, Weber Gasoline Engine Co.,

Robert Weber”

“Weber Gas and Gasoline Engine Co.

Kansas City, Mo.

Feb 1st, 1893


Mr. C.C. Barrett, Joplin, Mo.


Dear Sir:


Enclosed we hand you letter from W.S. Harmany. Kindly keep track of the matter. How are you making it with the Frye Engine? Please keep us posted on this engine.


We will send the cuts you asked us for as soon as they are out which we hope will be in a few days.

Yours very truly,

Weber Gas & Gasoline Engine Co.,

R.G. Weber”


“Harmony Foundry, Manufacturers of Blake’s Improved Crusher, …

Mining and Lead Furnace Castings

Joplin, Mo. Jan 31st 1893


Mess. Weber Gas & Gasoline Engine Co., Kansas City, Mo.




I am contemplating changing my power in my foundry & machine shop. I am using 20 H boiler & 15 H Engine. I believe 10 Horse would run it and I am friendly towards gasoline engines, and want information for my own use & to sell by in case I put your engine in my works. I have not had an opportunity to see your engine that you have here.

My Respects, W.S. Harmany”







“Weber Gas and Gasoline Engine Co.

Kansas City, Mo.

Feb 28th, 1893


Mr. C.C. Barrett,

Joplin, Mo.


Dear Sir:-


Enclosed we hand you letter received from Messrs. Rauch & Kennedy. It may be possible that you and these parties can work together to a pretty good advantage in making sales in his town. We refer the matter to you for your consideration.


Isn’t it time we were getting a settlement for the Frye & Weldon engine? If you think it desirable, I will run down and see you and we will settle this matter up. If you have any transportation it will be acceptable, as I understand you carry it around loose in your pockets. Just ‘loose’ a little bit of it up this way.


Yours very truly,
Weber Gas & Gasoline Engine Co.

R.G. Weber, Secy”



“Rauch & Kennedy

Boiler Makers and Dealers in Miners’ Supplies

Galena, Kansas Feb [24] 1893


Weber Gasoline Engine Co., KC, Mo.



What show will you give us to handle your engines here in Galena which is one of the best fields in the South West. There is now more H.P. in use in & near Galena than any other camps in the South West.


We have a nice sales room business & make a specialty of all kinds of machinery used in the mines.


We also have the advantage over all in location &c. Can furnish good references as to standing & ability.

Respectfully yours, Rauch & Kennedy”



“Weber Gas and Gasoline Engine Co.

Kansas City, Mo.

March 25th, 1893


C.C. Barrett, Joplin, Mo.


Dear Sir:-


Your favor of the 22nd is received enclosing testimonial letter, for which please accept thanks. The letter is a good one and will do lots of good.


We have been giving the matter of leasing a number of Weber Gasoline Engines in the mining districts quite a little consideration and have come to the conclusion that this is the proper thing to do, and it is so proposed to organize a company to furnish the funds necessary to build, say 50 or 75 engines. The company so organized to put in ½ of price of the engines, we taking the other ½ for payment of engines in stock in the new company, which would beyond a doubt show our faith in the enterprise.


We enclose you herewith a statement showing the results obtained from leasing 50 engines, which shows that such a company would declare a 25% dividend and still have a surplus of $1560. We intend to push this thing through at once, and already have some money subscribed. We suggest that you lay the matter before some of the monied men of Joplin, and see whether or not they will want some stock. The stock will be sold at par value and will be paid 20% when issued or say 20% every 60 days thereafter, or as fast as the money may be needed to build the engines. It may be that there are some men in Joplin who might want some stock, and we think it quite proper that they should be given a chance at it.


You will remember that while I was in town, there were several parties who talked very favorable of the scheme, but then it does not pay to put too much faith in these people, as there are a great many men, you are no doubt aware, who talk a great deal and very favorable, but when it comes to putting up the stuff, they are not there.


We can place all of this stock in K.C., but as above stated, we think it proper that a small interest should be held in Joplin, as Joplin will be the headquarters of the new Company.

Kindly let us hear from you by return mail, whether or not there are any errors in the statement that suggest themselves to you.


Awaiting your early reply in the matter, we beg to remain, yours truly,

Weber Gas & Gasoline Engine Co., R.G. Weber”


A Statement: Showing the results obtained from leasing a number of Weber Gasoline Engines in the Zinc and Lead Mining Districts of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.


50 Weber Gasoline Engines costing $1000 each -        $50000.00

Freight on 10 cars at $30 per car -                                   $300.00

Salary of Engineer -                                                       $900.00                  

Salary of Clerk -                                                             $900.00

Rent of Office and Telephone -                                        $340.00

Incidental Expenses -                                                     $500.00


Total Outlay                                                              $52940.00                  


Income First Year:

Revenue from setting 50 engines at $10 each            -                       $500.00

Profit on 150000 gallons of gasoline at 1 cent per gallon-    - $1500.00

Lease money from 50 engines at $30 a month -                    $15000.00

Total Yearly Income -                                                           $17000.00

Less Expense -                                                                 $ 2940.00

Less 25% annual dividend declared on $50000                    $12500.00

Surplus -                                                                $  1560.00”



“Kansas City, Mo. 5/10/93


Mr. C.C. Barrett

Joplin, Mo.


Friend Charles,


I want to see you soon as possible. I cannot keep your Gasoline Eng. any longer as it has been a loss to me now of about seven hundred to a thousand dollars and I will not put up with it any longer and want you to advise disposition of same.

The house you represent don’t seem to care whether this Eng. is a success or not. Hoping to see you soon,


Yours truly, M. P. Welton”



“The Missouri Pacific Railway Company

Kansas City, Mo. Aug 1st 1894


C.C. Barrett,


Charly, I see you live up next to my old friend and the next governor of Wisconsin, Major Upham, of Marshfield Wood County, Wisconsin. We were town boys and on the board at Annapolis Med when Arthur was President. Introduce yourself to him, the first time you see the Major. Geo. Stevens is here, just come up from City of Mexico. Says Cliff and wife never looked better.


Poor P.H. Jackley is very popular now. Shot and killed a barkeeper named Wolf at the Cape of Good Hope Saloon, 15th & Grand Ave, last Sunday night about midnight, had a ‘gog on’! The jail is crowded with his friends daily. We are going to try and pull him through so he will not hang!


Send him down to Jefferson City 10 or 15 years. Hearing tomorrow. Have Warner and Gibson to defend him. Poor ticket business. Very light. We had a great trip to Mexico in April. There was 18 of the agents with their wives from here. Had the Special Pullman Crystal.


As to the loan due July 31 of $300 – and interest. I want you to sell a cord of lumber or two, and send me $330 with out fail, and I will release and send you the papers.


Must have this as I am like the balance! Special taxes has broke me! Have carried this loan as long as I can and you must take it up or reloan the money of some one else. Let me hear from you. Jack Hannon of Hannon & Dixon had a gog on last Friday and fell down an [arch]way in the New York Life and killed himself, buried last Monday. My sons scattered, Scovell at Sitka, Alaska; Charley at Lincoln, Nebraska; and Harry at Las Vegas, New Mexico….


Yours truly, E.S. Jewett”