Thomas Barret was born in November 1742. He was the son of Albany residents Robert and Maria Martin Barret. He grew up on Albany's Southside but lost his mother in 1754. His father died two years later.
After first living with his mother-in-law, his modest home on the corner of South Pearl and Beaver Streets was an Albany landmark for almost fifty years. He was a cooper who operated a cooperage on a lot near his home. In 1790, his household included his wife, a boy, and two slaves. A decade later, the census showed only the aging couple living in their first ward home.
In 1767, Thomas Barret was a private in the Albany militia. In May 1775, he was elected captain in the first ward watch. A month later, he "resigned" that commission. In May 1775, he was paid for making flour casks for the Albany Committee.
In June 1776, his fortunes took an abrupt turn when this Albany native was one of those loyalists arrested and jailed for drinking to the King's health. At first, he refused to sign the non importation Association but later relented and was released from jail. The nature of his objection was not stated. He may have continued without incident until 1778 when he was among those exempted from military service.
After the war, he was able to resume coopering at his landmark location near the Presbyterian meeting house. In 1785, he was appointed roadmaster for the first ward and later was paid for services by the city government.
Thomas Barret filed a will in January 1788. He died in December 1813. The will passed probate in March 1818.
Sources: The life of Thomas Barret is CAP biography number 7235. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted: 1/10/07