Judge Shepard Barclay died on November 17, 1925, at the age of 78.
Judge Barclay was born in St. Louis, Missouri, November 3, 1847. He was descended from a family of pioneer American settlers. Following a preparatory education in St. Louis schools, he obtained his A.B. degree at St. Louis University in 1867. He attended the University of Virginia, where he obtained a degree in 1869 and from 1870 to 1872 studied at the University of Berlin and in Paris. Later he returned to St. Louis University, where he attained the LL.D. degree.
On June 11, 1873, he was married to Miss Katie Anderson here. After practicing law from 1872 to 1882, he was elected Circuit Judge in 1882. In 1888 he was elected Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri. He owned the distinction of being the youngest man ever elected to the Supreme Court. In 1897 he was chosen Chief Justice. After serving for a year, he resigned from the Supreme bench to resume his practice.
At the time he was elected to the circuit bench here he was also the youngest judge ever chosen for that position at that time.
In 1901 Judge Barclay was appointed Judge of the St. Louis Court of Appeals, but resigned that post in 1903 to return again to his practice.
Before his death, Judge Barclay was one of seven present subscribers of the Central Law Journal who had been subscribers since the Journal's initial publication.
The loss of a leader in the community and of a lawyer with the highest ideals will be keenly felt. It is a compensating thing, however, that his activities will be an inspiration to others to carry on in his footsteps.
-The Central Law Journal, December 5, 1925
His true significance, however, lies in the fact that he was one of Al Spink's sources for the early history of St. Louis baseball in The National Game. For years, a lot of what we knew about St. Louis during the 1860's was a result of Barclay's testimony. Modern research has proven that Barclay was wrong in a lot of the details of what he was telling Spink but that's understandable given that Barclay was trying to remember things that had happened fifty years in the past. But it's because of people like Shepard Barclay, Edmund Tobias, and Merritt Griswold - men who where there when the game first began in St. Louis and who played during the pioneer era - that we were given our first glimpse of the early game in St. Louis. What I've done and what other baseball historians are doing is simply building upon their work.