Garrold Olda Barnett            GARROLD OLDA BARNETT (1878-1965)

Justice of the peace From 1935 to 1953 in Yucaipa. was the second justice of the peace, following Judge H.R. Richardson. born in Iowa in 1878 and was a Quaker by birthright. Penn College in 1902. to California in 1909 landing in Imperial Valley and ending up in Yucaipa in 1923.

G.O. Barnett
"I am Garrold Olda Barnett – and yes I am a real life justice of the peace and a damn good one, too. From 1935 to 1953 in this fair city. I was called Judge G.O. Barnett in the appropriate occasions. I was the second justice of the peace, following Judge H.R. Richardson.
I was born in Iowa in 1878 and was a Quaker by birthright. I graduated from Penn College in 1902. I moved to California in 1909 landing in Imperial Valley and ending up in Yucaipa in 1923. I raised apples until I got into the real estate and insurance business in 1928 – but do know, farming was always in my heart. Just had to feed the kids.
When we got here, there were about 1,500 hardy settlers and plentiful planting of apple orchard. We got to figure into the development of the community.
I served as the local judge for 18 years. My style of being a judge was to try and get the accused perpetrator of the law back on the straight and narrow rather than toss them in the jug. Quite, frankly I did a lot of counseling from my seat at the bench. What I was doing was to help their resolve problems before they reached unfortunate proportions. It got so friends and neighbors even used to stop in to discuss their problems and get advice. This was in the days before welfare and psychiatry.

And yes, it’s true, I didn’t run a formal court, which, by the way, was held at the round table in my living room at my ranch home on Second Street, which was where Imperial Dental is today at Second Street and Yucaipa Boulevard. The defendants were brought up from the county jail in San Bernardino and was flanked by hid lawyer and faced by a jury of 12 peers at the opposite end of the room.

Weddings were also performed in the big white house with Judge Barnett reading the ceremony and Edith as an enthusiastic witness. “If I knew they were coming, I’d a baked a wedding cake,” she would say. “And I would serve a little ice-cream, too.” We had one flustered groom forgot the marriage license and had to rush home to get it. He made up for it by playing his own concert of love songs at the piano.

It was a real showplace in its time with the orchard, barn, gardens, cows and pigs.
My darling wife, Edith, served as a notary public for many years and worked our real estate business, too. Together we often took sick friends to the hospital and helped others as a team. Edith adored working in her garden and was an ardent conservationist long before you all got into ecology. She had a real heart of gold.

The young people of the community were the first concerns of the Barnetts. People said I never put a boy in jail if there was another way to help him. One man, even after spending the night in jail, come by the next day and thanked me and asked if he could shoe my horse.
Edith and I raised three boys of our own – Howard, Loren and Cy and two adopted girls – Helen and Barbara. We lost our first son, Garrold, when we lived in Imperial Valley, son Clarence died due to appendicitis when he was 14 years old and adopted daughter Bette in ____. When I passed on, I had 14 grandchildren.

Edith and I were successful with our real estate. Back in the 1920s, $30 would buy you a lot on Yucaipa Boulevard. If you wanted to hit it big, there was a two-story home with three lots attached for $2,500.

“That was back in the good old days,” Edith said once. “Money was kind of scarce around here and $30 sounded pretty big then.”

Our home fell before the onslaught of progress in 1959. We moved to Addison Street. We made the walkway from rounds from our old incense cedar trees.

I was a charter member of the Yucaipa Kiwanis Club and a member of the Yucaipa Valley Grange. I also served as the president of the San Bernardino Peace Officers Association and a member of the United Methodist Church of Yucaipa.

“My husband and I traveled through just about every state of the union,” Edith said. “And we saw many beautiful and wonderful places. But never, not even for an instant, did we want to live any place but in Yucaipa.”

I kicked the bucket at age 87.