Thomas Francis Barry has, during the fifty years of his life, been much before the public eye, and has displayed conspicuous ability in divers places of trust and responsibility. His versatile talents were manifested at an early age, before he had completed his college course, and his broad subsequent experience with men and the world has placed him in the front rank of California layers, legislators, army officials and public-spirited citizens.

Mr. Barry is one of the oldest native sons of San Francisco. His parents, Michael John and Mary (Doyle) Barry, were of good Irish stock, the Barrys and Doyles having intermarried and having lived in the counties of Cork and Tipperary for sixteen generations. Michael John Barry and Mary Doyle arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1847, and were married there, where they resided until 1853. They then cast in their lot with California, and a year later, on the 19th of February, 1854, their son Thomas Francis was born to them in the new city of San Francisco.

He was educated in the public schools of San Francisco, but his collegiate training was obtained in the University of California. He graduated at the head of his class, in 1874, and was honored as "medal man" for being the best Latin and Greek scholar in the University. He was retained as a tutor in the University for one year, and then Mrs. Phoebe hearst, the patroness of the University and the widow of United States Senator Hearst, induced him to become a tutor for her son William Randolph Hearst, who has since taken rank among the world's greatest newspaper organizers and has loomed on the national political horizon as a possible candidate for Democratic presidential honors. A year or more of traveling over the world fitted young Hearst for entrance to Harvard, and Mr. Barry then decided to prepare himself for his professional career. When only twenty years old, by virtue of his high standing as a military graduate of the University of California, he was selected by Major General D. W. C. Thompson as major and aide on the latter's staff. He resigned this position in 1875, and entered the Columbia Law School at Washington. Here he showed such quick and keep comprehension of the law that he completed his course with high honors in nine months, although he did not graduate. He returned to San Francisco in 1876, and has since that time been one of the leaders at the bar in this city.

Mr. Barry was elected to the state legislature in 1882, and during his term became the author of the Barry Bill, which has been the basis of settlement for railroad questions. In 1883 he was elected major of the Third Infantry, National Guard of California, and was successively advanced to different ranks until he became commander of his regiment. He was in command of the regiment when it subdued the railroad riots at Sacramento in 1895. In September, 1895, he retired from the command. When the Spanish war broke out in 1898 he joined the California Heavy Artillery as first lieutenant, and during his six months of service wa slieutenant in command of a battery, was quartermaster of the artillery camp and commissary and ordnance officer of the joint volunteer and regular batteries of artillery.

June 9, 1882, Mr. Barry was married to Miss Maria Dolores Rodriguez, a representative of one of the most respected of the old Spanish families of Mexico. Mr. and Mrs. Barry have two daughters, Maria Dolores and Amelia Louisa.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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