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law, he had a capacity for detail, and was very patient in such examination. These two elements are seldom found in the same man. They seem to be hostile to each other. But I know how exacting he was in small matters, and how much pains he was often at to satisfy his mind. I have known him to sit down with the statutes and re-tax costs in justice's court, to be sure they were right. We know he sold the hay in the capitol yard and put the proceeds in the treasury, and he did it from principle, too. It was just like him, to claim for the state what he would claim for himself.
He believed in doing just what was right. While a director of the Michigan Southern Railroad Company, a claim was settled by another director for killing a horse on the track. I was sent down to get at the facts and found it settled, although the company was in no way in fault, and I so reported. “Why was it settled, sir?” said he. “From policy," I replied, “ to keep on good terms with the man who lost his horse.” “Policy, sir! policy," he exclaimed, “ what has that to do with it?” “Did you ever do anything from policy, governor?” I asked. He warmed up with, “Will you be kind enough to inform me why any man should?”
Governor Barry was always at work at some public question. He followed from day to day all the great measures before Congress. No man in the state was better posted in their history and progress. No man was more decided and outspoken in regard to them.
Ile was also well versed in European statesmanship and politics. It was always a pleasure to him to get a group of men around him in his store, and talk to them on these subjects, as he could talk, and there were not many men who could talk better. He was a lawyer by profession, and a statesman from study and practice. He was an out and out Jeffersonian democrat, and advocated a limited and rigid construction of the constitution. He believed that we were drifting away from both its letter and spirit; that we were governed too much rather than too little; that state sovereignty was being gradually usurped by the general government, and that the line of jurisdiction between the two was fast fading out; that corporations needed watching, and their powers kept within the limits of their charters; that the government belonged to the people, and not the people to the government; and no man who had not the pleasure of meeting him socially, has any idea of his great knowledge on these questions, and his skill in pressing them home upon the listeners around him.
Governor Barry was not an orator. He had none of the graces of rhetoric, nothing of the charm of delivery, which sometimes captivates an audience. He never tried to rouse the mighty multitude by clap trap, or melt the people down by pathos or sentiment. He was cold and rather awkward in his delivery. He always brought to his hearers a mass of facts, and was always fortified with the history of his subject, and he gave his audience matter enough to think about for a month. He was once a candidate for Congress and canvassed our district. I was with him and had a good opportunity of seeing him at his best. A district was never better canvassed than this one by Governor Barry. More political history was scattered over it than was ever heard before. It required a good head to follow him in his argument, and a great many persons were unable to do that, and therefore failed to appreciate him. Once, I remember, he was thoroughly aroused. A political opponent frequently interrupted him, and plied him with questions, and the governor finally warmed up and grew eloquent and poured hot shot into the gentleman for half an hour, and silenced him, showing what he could do when wrought upon by the occasion.
We can learn very much about a man by looking into his home life, by finding out how he is estimated among his friends and neighbors. I have already said that Gov. Barry was not justly criticised, nor his character fairly understood by those persons who only knew him in public life. At home his whole nature came out. He was under no artificial restraint, and every one of his neighbors knew just what he was. He was a merchant, did a large business for a country store, bought and sold wheat and flour in large quantities, and ran his flour down the river in arks, built for the purpose, and from thence shipped it to Buffalo or New York. He was very methodical, and he was governed by time as closely as a clock. A time to rise in the morning, a time to reach his store, to eat his meals, and a time to retire at night. He occupied his evenings in his library. He was a good French and Spanish scholar, and somewhat versed in Latin. He was always at work investigating some question, and he loved to talk about the subject with persons who had a like interest. When he met his friends under his own roof he was very full of conversation, but never said very much on minor matters, dwelling upon leading subjects that were occupying public attention. He had, as I have said, a grim kind of humor, and he could tell a good story, and liked to hear one. He had no patience with many of the “isms” of his day, and usually cut off any debate about them, with two or three sledge-hammer retorts, every word of which seemed to weigh a ton.
He became a stockholder in the Michigan Southern Railroad Company, afterwards a director, and still later one of the three persons who constitute the committee of management of the western division. This trust threw a heavy work upon him, and a considerable portion of his time was spent in New York and Chicago.
He was always approachable by the humblest citizen and never carried about him a consciousness of the high position he had occupied. He was active in all home affairs and very decided in his views about them. He was a lover of money, and knew how to make it. He could lose a large amount without a murmur, but never forgot the man who deliberately swindled him out of a small sum. Such was Gov. Barry at home.
A few years before Governor Barry's death he had a slight apoplectio attack while on an excursion with some friends on the upper lakes. Not much was thought of it at the time, as he was not seriously affected. Some two or three years after he had another, and finally he was prostrated in his store, in January, 1870. He was taken to his house, and died on the 14th day of that month. His mind wandered most of the time, though he had rational moments, and knew that he must die. The last words I heard him say (his mind wandering) were: “Meet me at the depot, to-morrow morning. I want you to go to Coldwater, and help me transact some business.” The next day he was dead.
His funeral was large, and held in one of our churches, and we laid his remains away in our village cemetery, on a cold winter day, by those of his wife.
He was not a professor of religion, but sometimes attended church.
He left a fortune of $300,000 to $350,000 and divided it by will between Charles H. Barry, his brother, a resident of Pittstown, Rensselaer county, New York, who is still living, and he gave a life interest in the other half to the children of his deceased brother, Aldis Barry (three in number), including Charles Dudley Barry, an adopted child, equally with them. He directed that a farm should be purchased for each of his brother's children, and the fee in the land was devised to their heirs. He never had any children of his own.
Let us not forget the men who laid the foundation of our state government. A few of them still linger among us, and but a few. A new generation is upon us now, and it is well for them to know to whom they are indebted for their constitution and laws, who it was that brought us out of a territorial into a state government, who they were who built up the financial policy and the corporate bodies of the state, and I lay this poor tribute on the grave of Governor Barry, who was not least in the ranks of the early pioneers, and to whom we owe a debt of gratitude that we ought to keep fresh in our memories, and in the memory of those who may follow us in the administration of the affairs of our state. ·
EDWIN HOWARD LOTHROP.
BY HON. G. V. N. LOTHROP.
Edwin Howard Lothrop was born at Easton, Bristol county, Mass., in the Old Plymouth Colony, on March 22, 1806, and was the oldest son of Howard Lothrop and Sally Williams Lothrop. He was of Pilgrim lineage, his ancestors having settled in the old colony as early as 1656, from which time the family had continuously lived there.
Howard Lothrop was a farmer of intelligence and influence, a good specimen of the old New England school, and for many years one of the prominent citizens of his locality.
Edwin grew up on his father's farm, and during all his earliest years, he was actively engaged in the labors of the farin. Le thus acquired the tastes and practical knowledge which determined the pursuits of his maturer years.
In 1824 he entered Amherst college, where he graduated in 1828. For a short time thereafter he lived in Albany, N. Y., engaged in commercial business. While there his attention was drawn to the then little known territory of Michigan, but just beginning to draw to itself a part of the tide of western emigration. He resolved to go with it.
He reached Detroit early in the summer of 1830. Detroit was then a frontier outpost, with only the population of a large village. The interior of Michigan was mostly a wilderness, known only to hunters and trappers, and occupied by the scanty remnants of the Pottawattomies. But he had heard of the fertile soil and beautiful prairies of southwestern Michigan, and he was drawn thither. Procuring saddle horses, with only one companion, he set out on his journey. West of Ann Arbor there were hardly any settlements, or roads, and his way was principally by old Indian trails. Where now stands the beautiful city of Kalamazoo, if my memory serves me rightly, there was but one cabin, that of its first settler, Mr. Bronson. He then turned his steps southward to the beautiful Prairie Ronde. There he found a few settlers who had come in from Kentucky the previous year, and who had pitched their tents under the shelter of the woods along the western border of the prairie. They were a hardy frontier race, most of them loving the sports of the chase and the turf. Among them was Mr. Harrison, who afterwards attained the patriarchal age of 106 years. I have heard Mr. Lothrop say that Mr. Harrison had told him he moved into the country with a wagon drawn by several yoke of oxen. He reached St. Joseph river, where Three Rivers now stands, on Christmas day, 1829. The river was much swollen, and there being no bridges, it was necessary to ford it. To do this safely he must go beside his team. Accordingly he stripped to the skin, and thus safely led his team through the wintry and swollen stream. I wonder if any one has since tried this as a recipe for longevity!
The fertility and loveliness of Prairie Ronde seem to have gratified all the expectations of Mr. Lothrop, and he did not hesitate to make it his home. He selected a spot on the southern margin of the prairie, and there, in the shelter of a projecting tongue of the forest, he built a log cabin, which was his first residence. He began as once to enclose and cultivate his farm. His original farm, with some later acquisitions, made a compact body of 720 acres, I believe. The greater part of it was prairie, but its value was much enhanced by some fine timber. It was also well watered, and I doubt whether there was ever a finer or more beautiful farm in Michigan.
Very soon after Mr. Lothrop settled on Prairie Ronde, the flood of emigration to Michigan swelled to very large proportions. Here his early farm training served him well. He saw at once what would be the immediate and absolute need of the new comers. They would need cows and oxen. We at once set about supplying this want. The nearest source of supply was far down in the interior of Indiana and Illinois, and for several years Mr. Lothrop was engaged in gathering up large herus of cattle and taking them to Detroit to meet the emigrants on their arrival there. I have often heard him say that, at that time, the ground was open all around the old capitol building (now high school), and here, right in the heart of the present city, was his mart for his cattle. During this time, however, he actively prosecuted the business of his farm.
But Michigan was fast filling up with an intelligent and ambitious population, and aspirations to become a state began to excite the public mind. Mr. Lothrop shared this public feeling. IIe was a very decided democrat, but a majority of his neighbors, and, as for that, a majority of Kalamazoo county, were whigs. But, in spite of this difference in politics, in such high esteem was Mr. Lothrop held by his neighbors and fellow citizens, that he was often called to places of public trust. IIe was a representative in the first legislature assembled in the state, and also a member of the house of representatives in 1836, 1837, 1842, 1813, 1844 and 1818. Ile was speaker pro tem. of the house in 1942 and 1813, and speaker in 1814. In 1838, I