Biography of William G. Barnes

WILLIAM G. BARNES. This gentleman is one of the pioneers of Douglas County, and is a native of Greene County, Tennessee, where he was born September 16, 1831.

A son of Joshua and Susanna (Wilson) Barnes, the former of whom was born in Kentucky, a son of David Barnes, who was a soldier in some of the early Indian wars of this country. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, and after residing in Kentucky for some years removed to Indiana, in which State Joshua Barnes attained manhood. In 1822, at the age of twenty-one years, he left the Hoosier State, and became a boatman on the Mississippi River, and after some years located in Tennessee, where he married and lived until 1843. He then came to Douglas County, Missouri, and entered a tract of Government land, where his home continued to be until his death, which occurred in 1850 in the Rocky Mountains, while he was on his way to California in search of gold. He was a successful business man, was a Democrat in politics, but was opposed to the extension of slavery. He passed through all the hardships of life in Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri as a pioneer, lived an eventful life, and died under romantic circumstances. He was a member of the Christian Church, and by his wife, who was born in McMinn County, Tennessee, in 1804, he became the father of twelve children: Wilson, William, George, Joshua, Robert, David, Bartley J., Marion, Telitha, Susan, Rhoda and Margaret. The mother of these children passed from life in Missouri in 1877, at the age of seventy-three years, a daughter of Joshua Wilson, a Scotchman, who died in Tennessee.

The subject of this sketch passed his early boyhood days in the State of his birth, and was thirteen years old when he came to Missouri. He assisted his father in the duties of the farm, and with his parents suffered many of the inconveniences, hardships and privations incident to pioneer life, their nearest post office being thirty miles away. His mother made all the clothing for the family, and with their neighbors they wore their homespun garments and considered themselves fortunate in their possession. He attended the primitive schools of this section, obtaining a fair common-school education, and in 1851 was married to Miss Alsie, daughter of Hiram and Alsie (Smith) Perkins, who became residents of Arkansas at an early day. The father died in that State and his widow married a Mr Long, and located in Ozark County, Missouri, in 1885.

Mr. Barnes’ first wife died during the Civil War, after having become the mother of six children: Mary E., Susan, George, Hester A., Phoebe V. The eldest and youngest are dead. For his second wife Mr. Barnes took Mary M., the daughter of Matthias and Elizabeth (Martin) Barnes, natives of Virginia, who removed first to Tennessee, and in 1843 to Greene County, Missouri, settling on the James River, nine miles south of Springfield, near the Wilson’s Creek battlefield. The father died in Christian County in 1868, and mother in 1871. They became the parents of ten children: Rachel C., Margaret 0., Jane M., Martha E., William J., Mary M., Amanda C., Nancy E., Charlotte B. and Matthew D. Mrs. Barnes has been a resident of Missouri from childhood, and has borne her husband six children: William M. G., Joshua M., John D. (deceased), Benjamin F., Marietta E., Semerry M. All the children who are living are married and reside in this county, and are justly considered among its most substantial citizens. Mr. Barnes has followed the occupation of farming all his life, and now owns a valuable farm of 320 acres, all of which property he has made through his own determined efforts and intelligent manage-ment. He is in every sense of the word a self-made man, and as throughout his business career he has seen the need of a good education, he gave his children good educational advantages and now has the satisfaction of knowing that they are substantial and honorable people. He is connected with the Christian Church, is a member of the third party in politics, and socially is a member of the I. O. O. F. In 1861 he enlisted in the Home Guards and after nine months entered the Missouri Militia, in which he served four months, participating in the engagement at Springfield and in numerous skirmishes.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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