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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Paul W. Barret

In the community of Barretville, which had been established in 1852 by his grandfather, Anthony Barret (1827-1910), Paul Weisiger Barret (1899-1976) co-founded Barretville Bank & Trust Company in 1920, when he was only 21. Under his leadership, it survived the Great Depression and became one of Tennessee's largest and most successful rural banking systems, with 10 branches in Shelby County and affiliates in Somerville, Rossville, and Henderson. He amassed over 3,000 acres of farmland and expanded his family's general mercantile and ginning businesses in southwest Tennessee. (Continued) An ally of E.H. ("Boss") Crump (1874-1954), Barret served on the Shelby County Quarterly Court for 24 years. As a dominant figure in Shelby County politics from the mid-1950s until the early 1970s, Barret championed fiscal conservatism and the Baker v. Carr lawsuit. In that landmark 1962 case, the United States Supreme Court established the "one man, one vote" standard that led to reapportionment of legislative bodies throughout the nation. Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this Craftsman-style house, "Squire's Rest," was build for Barret and his bride, Sarah Dickey Barret (1895-1978), in 1920. They lived here for 56 years.