[This article was excerpted from "Progressive Men of the State of Montana"]
Anthony Hundley Barret:
This honored pioneer of Montana, now incumbent of the important office of treasurer of the state, merits specific consideration in any work purporting to record the lives and deeds of those who have conferred honor and dignity upon the commonwealth, aided in its development and leaving upon it the impress of strong individuality. Mr. Barret is a native of Grayson county, Ky., born at Litchfield on January 25, 1834, the son of Augustus M. and Mary J. (Cunningham) Barret. The original American ancestor of the Barret family emigrated from Southhamption, England, to Virginia in the early days and there passed the residue of his life as a clergyman of the Presbyterian church, and by reason of gallant services of his forbearers in the Revolution, Treasurer Barret now belongs to the Sons of the American Revolution. His son Francis, grandfather of Montana's state treasurer, was likewise a native of the Old Dominion, and was ordained as a Baptist minister. He removed with his family to Greensburg, Ky., where in 1832 both he and his wife fell victims to the cholera. While with unselfish courage and rare self-abnegation they were devoting themselves to caring for the afflicted, both were stricken and succumbed, dying within an hour of each other, leaving nine children, one being Augustus M. Barret. He was born in Green county, Ky., on May 8, 1804, and served for thirty years as cleark of the circuit and county courts of Edmonson county, Ky., whence he removed, in 1852, to Missouri, locating at Sedalia, where for three years he was cleark of the district court, and where he died on September 1, 1857. He was thrice married, first to Miss Mary M. Marshall, who bore him three children, one of whom survives. His second union was to the mother of Treasurer Barret, she being a native of Grayson county, Ky., the daughter of William Cunningham. Of this union three children were born, two sons and a daughter. The mother died in 1837, being survived by her infant daughter only about a year. The eldest son, William L., a soldier in the Confederate army, met his death in the battle of Mansfield, or Pine Ridge. In 1839 Augustus M. Barret was a third time married, the bride being Miss Berroyal H. Rountree, who became the mother of three children, only on of whom survives, and her death occurred in 1885.
State Treasurer Barret was reared to manhood in his native state, receiving such educational advantages as were afforded by the private schools of the place and period. At the age of eleven he was apprenticed to a harnessmaker and worked three years at this trade, then, in 1849, he went to Marshall, Tex., and was a clerk three years. In 1852 he accepted a position as traveling salesman for a wholesale drug house, which he resigned in 1853 and going to Shreveport, La., he remainted there one year and then removed to Sedalia, Mo., in 1858, where he became a dealer in men's furnishing goods, and during the legislative session of 1860 and '61 he acted as cleark of the lower house of the Missouri legislature. At the outbreak of the Civil war he disposed of his business and again accepted a clerkship until his health became impaired, when he sought a change of climate and occcupation, and in 1865 crossed the plains to Montana by the way of Fort Kearney, Laramie plains, and Bridger's cutoff and Soda Springs, transportation being effected by ox and mule teams. He was not molested by the Indians and eventually arrived in Alder gulch, where for two years he was engaged in placer mining. In March, 1866, Mr. Barret was appointed private secretary to Gen. Meagher, and also was assistant auditor of the territory under John Ming, and acted as clerk of Indian affairs. In March, 1867, he received the appointment of special Indian agent for the Jocko reservation near Missoula. From 1865 until 1877 he served as clerk of the lower house of the territorial legislature. In 1868 he went to Radersburg, where he was in the grocery business three years, and in 1875 he opened a harness shop in Alder gulch, removing it to Pony in 1877 and the next year to Butte, where in 1879, he entered into parnership with "Chris" Jacky, forming the firm of Barret & Jacky, in the same business, the firm also maintaining branches in Anaconda and Phillipsburg. This alliance continued up to 1896, when Mr. Barret purchased the business, which he ran one year, then sold it. But in 1899 he became interested as a silent partner in business again at Dillon and Butte. Mr. Barret represented Jefferson county in the lower house of the territorial legislature in 1868-1869, and for eight years filled the office of justice of the peace of Deer Lodge, Madison and Jefferson counties.
In every official position to which he has been chosen he has proved equal to the duties imposed, and his administration of affairs has at all times been so careful and discriminating as to gain endorsement from the people. Thus it was a merited preferment which came to him in the election of November, 1900, when he was chosen treasurer of the state, and it is needless to say that the finances of the commonwealth could not have been placed in more worthy hands. Mr. Barret has been a lifelong adherent of the Deomcratic party, has kept himself well informed on the questions and issues of the day, and been a powerful factor in forwarding the cause of his party in the state. He is today one of the veteran representatives of Democracy in Montana. In the Masonic order Mr. Barret has occupied a conspicuous position for many hears. His initiation as an entered apprentice dates back nearly two score years, and the records show that he has held most exalted office in the gift of the members of the order. He has served as worshipful master of the blue lodge, high priest of the chapter, as grand high priest of the grand capitular body, as commander of Montana Commandery No. 3, and as grand commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Montana. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite he has advanced to inspector-general of the thirty-third degree. In this great fraternity, as in all other relations of life, he is held in high regard, his friends being in number as his acquaintances. In September, having risen to the position step by step through the consecutive grades.
On November 9, 1880, Mr. Barret was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth A. Brooke. They were married in Helena in the Episcopal church by Rev. Maylan N. Gilbert. She was born in what is now West Virginia, at Morgantown, Va., the daughter of Dr. Thomas F. Brooke, a representative of one of the prominent families of the Old Dominion. She is a sister of the late Dr. Benj. C. Brooke, of Helena, to whom specific reference is made on other pages of this work. Mr. and Mrs. Barret have an adopted daughter, Marie, who was born in Kentucky. The family are worthy the precendence which is theirs in social life, exemplifying that innate refinement which dignifies and harmonizes the various associations of humanity.