Biography of Ai Barney
Marin County, CA Biographies





Ai Barney. The subject of this sketch, whose portrait will be found in this work, was born in Genoa, Cayuga county, New York, on May 26, 1804, where he resided until he attained the age of eight years, when his family moved to Niagara county, twenty two miles east from Buffalo, New York, then counted in the Far West, the portion wherein they settled being now known as Erie county. Here he attended the Winter schools, and at the age of nineteen undertook the charge of a school, which he continued for about seven years. While thus engaged Mr. Barney neglected not his own advancement but studied industriously at the dead languages and in time became proficient in both Latin and Greek; about this time he also commenced the study of medicine, a pursuit he followed until he arrived at the age of twenty eight years. At this period of his life he was despatched by his brother in law to Washington, to attend to certain business in Congress, which having effected he settled in Baltimore in the year 1829. In 1830 he closed his business with his brother in law, and in that year moved to Frederick county, and a short time thereafter to Frederick City, in the State of Maryland. In 1833 was appointed to the officer of Justice of the Peace, a position he filled with eminent capability for ten years, and in 1844 was elected County Surveyor, officiating in that capacity until 1849, in which year he came to California as Vice President of the Baltimore and Frederick Company, a history of which association will be found in these pages. On September 10, 1849, Mr. Barney arrived in San Francisco, after a tedious voyage, and, with his confreres, at once established the undertaking for which they had made the arduous journey. In April, 1850, he visited the mines, in company with three others, and at about fifteen miles from Stockton commenced operations in quest of the yellow metal. These he prosecuted until the end of September, when, not having been very successful, he returned to San Francisco. Mr. Barney then removed to San Rafael. When at the mines in 1850 the country of Margin was organized; but after a service of four months Doctor Shorb, the County Judge, resigned, and Mr. Barney was appointed by the Governor in his stead. He was elected to that position at the ensuing election, and held the office thereafter for a lengthened period of seven years. Shortly before the expiration of his judgeship Mr. Barney purchased a ranch, about two miles from San Rafael, embracing the Coleman valley and all that, portion of the Murphy rancho lying east of the Petaluma road, where he resided for two years. He next, in company with his son, Jerome A. Barney, established the well known publication, The Margin County Journal, continuing the paper until 1872, when the present proprietor, S. F. Barstow, became the purchaser. During that time Mr. Barney was elected County Superintendent of Public Schools, but on selling the paper he retired from public life. At the ripe age of seventy six Mr. Barney preserves his years with remarkable vigor. In him is to be found a gentleman of vast experience and much erudition. While on the bench he was accredited an impartial judge, and today he is honored by all, and respected throughout the county Married, May 3, 1831, Sophia AnnRigby, by whom he has a family of nine children. Their names are: Alexander, Luther, Jerome, Augustus; John W., Charles S., Ruth Anna, and Sophia Ann. John W., Charles S., and Ruth Anna are now living.

From:
History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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