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Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Monday, March 27, 2006 at 06:08:29 :

Marin Journal
Thursday, February 18, 1886

AL Barney
Death of a Grand Old Pioneer

Judge Al Barney died last Sunday night. With him has passed away another of the marked characters of Marin County, one who has been a potent factor in all its growth, from the very first impulse of American enterprise within its borders, and of whom so few of the old stock are now left. Judge Barney was Vice President of the Baltimore and Frederick Trading and Mining Company, which built a saw mill in this county in 1849, and of which company there is now but one lone survivor, in the county, Daniel T. Taylor.

Judge Barney was the first county Judge of Marin to serve a full term. Dr. Shorb was elected first, but after a few months resigned, when Judge Barney was appointed, and after filling the Shorb term, was three times elected to the office, giving him some 7 years of service in that office. He was later elected Superintendent of Schools, and filled that office with acceptance. But perhaps his most useful and far reaching public service was rendered when, with his son Jerome, he established the Journal, and gave many of his best years to its conduct and direction.

Judge Barney was a man of pure character and guileless life, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of all the old residents of the county, to most of whom he was personally known. He was a man of bright mind, very fond of books, and much given to scientific and philosophical study. He was not a reader of many books, but a hard student of a few standard authors. He has been for many years a leading member of the Presbyterian Church, of which, at his death, he was a Ruling Elder.

The circumstances of his death were exceedingly painful and sad. Last Friday evening he met with a frightful accident. By some unknown means his underclothing took fire, and he was terribly burned. He was a poor sleeper, being very old and infirm, and was often up in the night, walking his room. About 11 o'clock that evening, Mrs. Charles S. Barney heard him up, and looking in to see if all was well, discovered him sitting in his chair, trying to take off his drawers, which were on fire. He had perhaps spilled some kerosene on his clothing, which in some unknown way got fire, and his feet and legs were dreadfully burned. Mrs. Barney instantly extinguished the flames, applied a remedy, and called Dr. Kirkup, who relieved the pain, and made the sufferer as comfortable as possible, but the shock was too great for the system to sustain and the dear old man slept in death during the night of Sunday. The funeral took place on Tuesday, Revs. James S. McDonald and Arthur Crosby officiating, and an immense concourse of friends attending.

Since the above was in type, a friend has furnished us the following sketch of his life.

Judge Barney, the son of a revolutionary soldier and one of a family of 16 or 17 children, was born in Genoa, Cayuga Co., NY, on May 26, 1804, but while a child his family moved to the western part of that State, near Buffalo, and what is known as Erie Co., then continued in the Far West. Here he attended the winter schools, and at the age of 19 undertook teaching school, which he continued for several years. While thus engaged, Mr. Barney neglected not his own advancement but studied industriously at the classics and afterwards commenced the study of medicine, a pursuit which he followed until he arrived at the age of 25 years. At his period of his life he accompanied his brother-in-law to Washington to attend to certain business in relation to a patent, which having effected he shortly afterwards settled in Frederick Co., MD, where in 1831, he married.

In 1833 he was there appointed to the office of Justice of the Peace, a position filled by him with eminent capacity for 10 years, and in 1844 was appointed surveyor of Frederick Co., officiating in that capacity until 1849, when he came to California as Vice President of the Baltimore and Frederick Trading Company which located on the Juan Reid Rancho in this county in November of the same year and erected there a sawmill. With the exception of a few months in 1850, when at the mines, Mr. Barney was a resident of this county from the year 1849 until his death, a period of over 36 years. He was appointed County Judge by the Governor in 1851, upon the resignation of Judge Shorb, and elected to that position at the ensuing election, holding the office until 1857. He afterwards, in the year 1861, in company with his son, Jerome A. Barney, established the Marin County Journal, continuing the paper until 1872, when the present proprietor became the purchaser. During that time Mr. Barney was elected County Superintendent of Public Schools, but on selling the paper, retired from life. On the bench he was an impartial judge and to the day of his death honored andrespected throughout the county. For several years preceding his death, Mr. Barney's mental faculties were failing, which he realized, and which much annoyed him - he frequently being unable to recall the names of persons he met, whith whom he had been acquainted for years; but his bodily health was well preserved to the day of his demise. He survived his wife about 4 years and 4 months. He leaves 2 sons and 1 daughter.

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