Edwin Lawrence Barrett was born on August 20, 1827 to Samuel and Nancy Lawrence Barrett in Worcester County, Massachusetts. The family also had two daughters, following Edwin. The first, Elvira, died of scarlet fever when she was four years old. Ellen, the second daughter, was four years younger than Edwin. Working as a music and drawing teacher, Ellen married and later divorced Edward Root, a preacher from Williamsburg, Massachusetts. After finishing school at Ashburnham, Massachusetts, he spent several years going to high schools in nearby towns. He finished his schooling in Ashby during the winter of 1843-1844. By the fall of 1844, Edwin was teaching school at Mason, New Hampshire. Upon returning to Ashburnham, Edwin met Sarah B. Petts, a native of New York who was teaching in Ashburnham. The daughter of Dr. John Petts and his wife, Phoebe, Sarah had three siblings: Charles, Quincy, and Maria. Edwin and Sarah were married on January 4, 1848. They had eight children - six sons and two daughters. Edward Lawrence was born September 14, 1850; Nellie in August 1852, who died of brain fever in 1862; Fannie in 1854, who died of scarlet fever during the winter of 1855-1856; Charles, who lived two months; and another Charles on December 13, 1856, who died September 26, 1857 and was buried in Oxford, Ohio; Frederick William, born November 15, 1858; and George Lawrence, born in 1861. Failing health prompted Edwin to move to North Carolina in October 1850. He lived in Franklin, Halifax and Warren Counties, teaching and overseeing a female seminary at White Sulphur Springs and Warrenton, until 1856. Edwin then moved his family to Oxford, Ohio, where he conducted the Oxford Female Institute with the Rev. J.H. Buchanan. An advertisement for the Oxford Female Institute in the October 31, 1857 issue of the Oxford Citizen lists Barrett as an associate principal and professor of instrumental and vocal music. In 1861, Edwin moved to Springfield, Ohio, where he entered the bookbinding and printing business with his brother-in-law, Charles L. Petts, under the firm name of Barrett and Petts. In 1862, he became associated with G.W. Hastings, and the firm was known as Hastings, Barrett and Petts. In failing health, Barrett dissolved the firm and bought a farm outside Springfield in 1865. In 1867, he established E.L. Barrett and Sons, a company specializing in the manufacture of legal, election and other types of blanks and forms. The firm later became known as the Barrett Publishing Company. After Sarah's death in 1865, Edwin married Clara D. Hulsey, a native of Milledgeville, Georgia and an 1860 graduate of Western Female Seminary, on March 18, 1867. They had two children, Anna Louise, born September 11, 1869; and Frank, born January 29, 1872. Edwin died on August 3, 1898.