Born in William Penn in 1911, Thomas F. Barrett retired as the City Editor for the Shenandoah Evening Herald. His weekly column, Short & Snappy addressed local issues and highly visible topics in a lighter way. Tom Barrett corresponded with the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Associated Press and the United Press. He had many short stories published in True Crime and True Detective magazines, and the United Mine Workers Journal.
His book, The Mollies Were Men, published in 1969 by Vantage Press, told the story of the arrests and trials of the Molly Maguires. His connections with local papers and editors provided him the access to many old files and records. With this knowledge and his experience as a reporter, he built the pages of history into this book. Mr. Barrett's son, Dr. Thomas Barrett, has written an updated 2003 edition of the book: The Mollies Were Men (Second Edition): The Final Chapter, available in the coalregion.com bookstore.
Several of Tom Sr's pocket books provided information for miners and showed the work schedules of the anthracite mines, including those that were shut down. These were used to confirm work histories for pensions and retirement benefits. He gave the Mine Workers the directions for How to Organize and Establish Rules of Order for Meetings.
Short stories by Mr. Barrett include The Snow Dance (about the Dorsey Brothers), Which is Witch, The Ballet Box, and Remnants of the Mine Patch. He also established the annual Miners Minstrels which were vaudeville productions presented throughout the coal region to raise money for veterans, orphans, schools, and churches.
Upon his death, a Philadelphia Evening Bulletin retired reporter wrote a special letter to the Shenandoah paper titled: "Tom Barrett - a legend in the Coal Region."