Collection Title: Isaac Dutton Barnard Papers
Collection Number: 212
Dates of Collection: 1770 – 1838, Bulk 1816 – 1838
Box Numbers: 4 boxes
Repository: Chester County Historical Society
Project Archivist: Jonathan L. Hoppe
Isaac Dutton Barnard was born in Aston, Delaware County, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1791 to James Barnard (1755-1806) and his wife Susanna Dutton. Isaac had little formal schooling, and officially withdrew from the village schools at age thirteen to work in the office of his father, who held the combined positions of Prothonotary, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, and Sheriff of Delaware County. In 1811, five years after the death of his father, he began studying law under the auspices of William Graham. In March 1812 he enlisted in the army, and was commissioned as a Captain of the 14th Infantry, and was promoted to the rank of Major of the same unit in 1813.
In the War of 1812, Barnard saw considerable active service, fighting with distinction in the Battles of Fort George, Plattsburgh, and Lyons’ Creek. Upon his discharge from the service in 1815, he resumed his legal studies and was admitted to the Bar Association of both Chester and Delaware Counties early in 1816, settling in West Chester and commencing a law practice with Archibald T. Dick. The partnership soon disbanded, and he continued as a sole practitioner.
In January 1817, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Chester County (a post equivalent to today’s District Attorney), and in 1820 was elected to the State Senate to represent Chester and Delaware Counties, serving in that capacity until 1826. He maintained an interest in military affairs, organizing the “Republican Artillerists” of the Pennsylvania Militia [National Guard] in 1817, and helped secure the monument and grounds for the Paoli Battlefield. He was appointed a Major-General in the State Militia in 1821 and as a colonel of the First Regiment of the Chester County Volunteers.
In 1820 Barnard married Harriet Darlington, daughter of the Honorable Isaac Darlington of West Chester. She died in childbirth on February 14, 1823, at age 21, leaving him childless. Barnard never remarried.
In 1824 Barnard ran as a Democrat Republican Candidate for Congress, but was defeated. In 1826, he was appointed by Governor Schulze to the post of Secretary of the Commonwealth. In 1827 he was elected by the State Legislature to serve as a United States Congressman, serving alongside Senator William Marks (1778-1858) in that position, which he held from 1827 until his resignation in December 1831 due to health. During his time in the Senate, being a strong proponent for national defense, he served as chairman of the body’s Committee on Militia.
During his time in the political realm he was heavily involved in the Democrat Republican Party, and found himself actively siding and campaigning for Andrew Jackson and his faction. It is said that this caused him to lose the candidacy for the Governorship of Pennsylvania in 1828.
Barnard died on February 18th, 1834, at the age of forty-three.
1 William H. Dillingham, “Gen. Isaac D. Barnard,” Republican and Democrat (West Chester, PA), May 6, 1894.
2William Darlington, “Address Delivered on the Occasion of the Re-interment of the Remains of Gen. Isaac D. Barnard, October 19, 1854,” quoted in American Republican (West Chester, PA), October 24, 1854.
3 Dillingham, op. cit.
4 North American (Philadelphia, PA), October 14, 1914.
Sources of Information
CCHS Newspaper Clippings file.
Skinner, Pauline Kimball. Some of the Descendants of Richard Barnard, Chester Co. Pa. (1965), 12.
The collection primarily contains correspondence received by Isaac Dutton Barnard. In addition to this correspondence, the collection also contains legal documents from his law practice, receipts, and other ephemera received by Barnard, as well as papers relating to his estate.
Arranged in 5 series: 1. Correspondence, 1816-1833. 2. Organizational Papers, 1817-1824.
3. Papers Relating to Barnard’s Law Practice, 1817-1833. 4. Speeches, Addresses, etc., 1823-1831. 5. Estate Papers.
The Chester County Historical Society has a large number of letters and other material to and from Barnard in its Letters and Manuscripts Collections, spanning the years 1812-1834. A finding aid of these materials can be found in the card files of the Chester County Historical Society.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1816-1833
Asked to supply his opinions on Andrew Jackson and to assuage apprehensions in the Democrat Republican Party, in a letter by William S. Hawkins and Thomas Ringland, Barnard responded that his support and his “feelings toward Gen’l Jackson remain unabated and unchanged.”
This letter to Barnard from Nathaniel Rose of New York asked for Barnard’s assistance in obtaining a pension for Rose’s service in the War of 1812. As proof, Rose sent with the letter his 1820 discharge from the Marine Corps.
William Darlington was elected as a Representative from Pennsylvania for the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses (1819-1823). During his time there, he corresponded with Isaac Barnard on the proceedings of the Legislature and politics.
A number of the letters concern Darlington’s opinion on the “Missouri question” referring to what would become of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and that state’s subsequent admission to the Union. Barnard, along with several other of his colleagues in the Chester County Bar Association, was opposed to Missouri’s admission to the Union as a slave state and acted as secretary of a county meeting that corresponded with members of Congress on the matter.
Series 2: Organizational Papers
The Republican Artillerists were a group of the Volunteer Militia of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, raised after the War of 1812 by Isaac D. Barnard, Dr. William Darlington, and others. The group was instrumental in erecting the monument to the Paoli Monument. Barnard served as its leader for a time, and acquired a number of operating and financial documents during its tenure.
The Paoli Monument was erected on the site of the September 20, 1777 Battle of Paoli, also known as the Paoli Massacre in what is now Willistown Township and the Borough of Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Barnard was instrumental in securing the grounds and, together with his Republican Artillerists, erected a marble obelisk (designed by architect William Strickland) and a small stone wall around the gravesite on the grounds in 1817, and later secured the battlefield for public preservation in the battlegrounds.
In 1824 the Marquis de Lafayette was invited by President James Monroe to visit the United States in honor of the Nation’s upcoming fiftieth anniversary. Upon his arrival in the United States late in August of 1824, a number of people from the Chester and Delaware County region formed a committee to endeavor to induce LaFayette pay a visit to the area around the Battle of the Brandywine, where he was shot and wounded. A committee, with Isaac D. Barnard as secretary, was formed, and wrote him a form request in September. LaFayette accepted, and visited the area from July 26-27, 1825.
Series 3: Speeches, Addresses, etc. 1823-1831
Barnard was an early supporter of his friend in the State Legislature, John Andrew Shulze, who would be elected in 1823 as the Sixth Governor of Pennsylvania. In these letters, Barnard responds to critics of Shulze and affirms his reason for his support.
After Barnard ran unsuccessfully as Democratic Republican Candidate for Congress in 1824, he was appointed by Governor Shulze as Secretary of the Commonwealth. In 1826, he was again offered as candidate, and in an attempt to garner favor for his elevation over that of the Federalist candidate, a supporter prepared a biography to be read, evidently, before the Commonwealth’s Legislature.
Barnard was an early support of Andrew Jackson, and in the divisive election of 1828 was one of Chester County’s leading supporters of Jackson. In those years that saw the Democratic Republican Party splitting in its support of Jackson, Barnard took a leading role in garnering support for his candidate.
In the celebration for the Fourth of July holiday in 1831, members of the National Blues, a regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia, honored Barnard with a visit to his home. Barnard prepared these remarks to honor the men who called upon him that day.
In the divisive election of 1832, Martin van Buren faced significant opposition to his place as Jackson’s running mate on the Democratic Ticket. Among those opposed to Van Buren was Isaac Barnard. In remarks delivered to his Democratic Republican colleagues at the Pennsylvania convention in Harrisburg in February. Barnard urged the members of Pennsylvania’s Electoral College to vote for a native William Wilkins. At the end of ten rounds of voting, Wilkins was duly nominated for the office of the Vice Presidency, and after the election that November, received all thirty of Pennsylvania electors’ votes.
Series 4: Legal Practice Papers
After returning from the War of 1812, Barnard resumed his legal studies in the office of William Graham and admitted to practice in 1816, forming a partnership with Archibald J Dick in West Chester, which disbanded within a year. Barnard continued on in private practice throughout the 1820s.
The papers from his office include both original and copies of documents relating to legal cases held in the Court of Common Pleas, as well as other legal matters on which he was called. Among these are wills and testaments, articles of agreement, promissory notes, and maps. The papers and arranged chronologically by case or subject.
As part of his legal practice, and as a veteran himself, Barnard worked to secure pensions for veterans of the War of 1812 and the War of the American Revolution. Part of that process required proof of enrollment. These papers, receipts from the 97th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia, constituted proof of service.
These papers relate to the articles of agreement between Hugh Jordan, Hugh Jordan Jr., and James Steen for a tract of land and messuage [sic] in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.
Henry Whiting engaged Barnard as his legal advisor in his efforts to secure a tract of land in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, near Merion Square. The land was that of Rees Price (1678-1762), and was later divided up amongst his heirs. The papers are arranged chronologically.
Contains will of Samuel Roberts and his grandmother, Ruth Roberts.
Contains papers relating to the case of Morton v. Davis, including promissory notes and receipts.
These papers relate to an action taken by William McNeal, administrator of the Estate of John Russell, against Francis Russell and James Dickey.
Contains three subpoenas, with written affidavits on reverse, for witnesses in the case of Hatz v Newlin, Chester County Court of Common Pleas. The subpoenas were issued to George B. Porter, William C, Frazer, George Nagle, Benjamin Bean, and Joseph M. and John Paul.
In this action, Barnard represented Davis Whitting against Evans Jones. Contains a plot of the land of Davis Whitting, and two copies of subpoenas to produce a deed.
Letters relevant to the case of Black v. Davis.
Papers relevant to the case of Clark v. Rutherford, 1824.
In the course of legal proceedings, Barnard was subject to or worked with a number of fiduciary instruments. This series represents those that do not fall into other represented cases.
Miscellaneous surveyed draughts of land unable to be connected to legal cases represented in this collection.
Series 5: Estate Papers
After Isaac Barnard’s death in 1834, his good friend David Townsend, of West Chester, was named as his executor and guardian of his niece Harriet Price.
Among these papers are Barnard’s Last Will and Testament, mortgages, insurance policy, conditions of sale of personal property, and letters relating to his estate. They are arranged chronologically.
After Barnard’s death, executor David Townsend compiled the receipts for Barnard’s indebtedness as well as those recording payouts.
Arranged chronologically from the years 1822-1838. Notable receipts include a February 20, 1834 receipt to Thomas Ogdin for coffin making, a March 15, 1834 bill from Thomas Sweeney for medical funerary expenses, a receipt to James Derry, an African American from West Chester, for attending to Barnard for his last illness, and receipts from local businessmen William Everhart, Asher Miner, and others.
1 “Slavery in Missouri,” Village Record (West Chester, Pennsylvania), January 1, 1819.