Barette, Lenore Gale

From Lane Co Oregon

Lenore Gale Barette was a long term member of the Lane County (Pioneer) Historical Society and the daughter of Oregon Trail pioneers. Her father, James Newton Gale, arrived in 1853 with the Eliot Cutoff group (aka Lost Wagon Train). Her mother, Elizabeth Maria Kincaid, and her family arrived during the same year, but via the Barlow Road. The parents married in Eugene in 1859, and left for Washington Territory seven years later. Lenore spent her earliest years in Olympia, Washington Territory, moving to Eugene in 1895 with her widowed mother. She attended high school at the University of Oregon in the Preparatory Department and then attended the UO through her junior year. An uncle then decided that she needed to quit school to assist her mother at home.

She married Edward A. Barette in a 1921 Eugene ceremony and was employed as a legal secretary by Eugene attorney E.O. Immel for almost 25 years. Accomplishing what many old-timers talked about, but did not always accomplish, she wrote about pioneer days in three privately published works when she was in her seventies. The two Lane County-related works are A Lane County Christmas in 1853 and Thumbpapers (reprinted by the Society in 2001). A Lane County Christmas is a priceless description of a newly-arrived family’s pioneer Christmas spirit and how they made do with very little. Thumbpapers is a collection of pioneer era family stories and the title reflects a time when books were precious commodities and needed special handling. The Barette manuscript collection in the Museum archives contains five school papers written between 1898 and 1900. Two are Lane County-related: The Wealth of Lane County (1900) and A Tale of the Middle Fork (1899). The former details statistics concerning Lane County’s agricultural and natural resource bounty and the latter involves a Willamette whirlpool near Jasper. Depending on your source, Lenore outlived her husband by 10 or 20 years; she is buried in the Eugene Masonic Cemetery.

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