FL-GenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
II, page 42, 1923.
BARNETT, WILLIAM S. Prominently identified with the business and financial interests of
Jacksonville is WILLIAM S. BARNETT, president of the Ideal Rim-Tool Company and vice president
of the Guarantee Title and Mortgage Company. He commenced his career as an office boy when he
was eleven years of age, but since coming to Jacksonville, in 1898, his climb has been a rapid
one, and today he not only occupies a high position in business circles, but wields a distinct
and helpful influence in civic matters.
Mr. BARNETT was born at Cape May, New Jersey, May 13, 1866, and is a son of FURMAN and SARAH
(HOLLINGSHEAD) BARNETT. His father was born in Cape May County, New Jersey, November 5, 1834,
and as a youth learned the trade of carpenter, gradually developing into a contractor and
builder. He gave up this line of endeavor to engage in the general merchandise business in
which he continued until his retirement, several years before his death, which occurred January 21,
1922. He possessed thrift, inherited from Scotch ancestors, as well as ability and enterprise,
and made a success of his enterprise. He also served as justice of the peace for thirty-five
years and as postmaster at Cape May for several years, and was a man of civic pride and public
spirit. Originally a whig, with the formation of the republican party he joined that organization
and supported it during the remainder of his life. In 1862 Mr. BARNETT enlisted in Company F,
Twenty-fifth Regiment, New Jersey Volunteer InfantryCompany F,for service during the war between the
states, but after nine months was honorably discharged because of disability. He was a member
and regular attendant of the old brick Presbyterian Church which has been standing at Cape May
for more than two centuries, as was also Mrs. BARNETT, who was born in Cape May County,
October 3, 1838, and died October 19, 1912. Of their three children WILLIAM S., the youngest,
is the only survivor.
WILLIAM S. BARNETT attended the public schools of Cape May, and when only eleven years of age
was given his introduction to business methods in the capacity of office boy in a hardware
establishment. Gradually he worked his way up to the proprietorship of a grocery and meat market
business at Cape May, but after four years disposed of his interests there and went to Washington,
District of Columbia, where he accepted the management of the Palace Market, an establishment
with which he was identified for eight years. Coming to Jacksonville in 1898, he took a position
with the firm of Adams & Richardson, wholesale provisions and meats, as manager of the retail
market, and remained with that concern until 1905. When the firm of Smith, Richardson & Conroy
was organized Mr. BARNETT became a stockbroker and treasurer, also assuming the duties of manager
of the wholesale meat department. In 1915 he became vice president by election, but in 1919 sold
his interest and became the organizer of the Ideal Rim-Tool Company, of which he is president,
JOHN L. GILLESPIE being secretary and treasurer. This concern manufactures the Ideal rim-tool,
an important accessory in the automobile industry, with offices and salesroom at 304-5 Mitchell
Building. Mr. BARNETT is also one of the vice presidents of the Guarantee Title and Mortgage
Company of Jacksonville, Florida agents for the Union & Planters Bank & Trust Company of Memphis,
Tennessee. This institution is one of the strongest in the South with capital stock of $1,800,000;
surplus of $741,406.40; and deposits of $19,278,504.05 The other officials of the Guarantee Title
and Mortgage Company are: H. JEROME CARTY, president; C. A. AVANT and W. McKEE KELLEY, vice
presidents; J. B. McDONALD, secretary-treasurer; and FRANK O. COLLINS, assistant secretary-
treasurer. Mr. BARNETT is a member of Cape Island Lodge No. 30, F. and A. M., of Cape May, New
Jersey; Jacksonville Chapter No. 12, R. A. M.; Hallmark Council No. 3, R. and S. M.; Damascus
Commandery No. 2, K. T., and Morocco Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; is a thirty-second degree Mason
of Florida Consistory; and holds membership in Jacksonville Lodge, Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks. He also has numerous social and civic connections.
On March 3, 1889, Mr. BARNETT married Miss MADELINE LEE, who was born at Cape May, New Jersey,
March 1, 1864. She died February 25, 1911, leaving one son, OSCAR F. On June 28, 1915, Mr.
BARNETT was united in marriage with Mrs. CAROLINE TARRING, a native of Harrington, Delaware.
Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn
©2016 Fran Smith
This page presented August 19, 2010