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THOMAS S. BARNES, merchant and farmer of Barnesville, Reynolds County, Missouri, and one of the representative men of the county, was born January 11, 1835, in Wilkes County, N. C.
His father, Thomas Barnes, was born in North Carolina, but his grandfather, Edward Barnes, although born in the United States, was of Irish parentage, his father and mother coming to America prior to the Revolutionary War. Thomas Barnes, father of subject, was reared and married in his native State and there remained until about 1835, when he started for the West, coming through by wagon. He brought his family and located at Pilot Knob, Iron County, where he bought land and farmed for some time. In 1837 he sold out and came to this section of the State, locating at Barnesville, which was then in Ripley County, but now in Reynolds County. He bought a tract of land, but soon after entered more land, and engaged in farming, following the same until his death, in 1860. He accumulated a good living and was in much better condition than the majority of emigrants. Being one of the early settlers, he saw the country change from its primitive condition, and assisted materially in that change. For many years he followed milling, owning a water mill on Logan Creek, and he also operated a distillery for a number of years. In those days game was abundant and many pleasant hours were passed by Mr. Barnes in hunting. He was twice married and three children were born to his first union: James, Rebecca and William, all of whom came to Missouri and here died. Mr. Barnes’ second union was with the mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Polly Stenson. The following children were born to this union: Sarah, wife of William Thornton; Thomas S., subject; Josiah B., deceased; Edward, deceased; Elizabeth, wife of John Baker, of Texas; John, deceased; Nancy, wife of Nelson Barton, this county; Martha, wife of Gladden Tubbs, of this county; Mary A., widow of Smith W. Cotton; and the remainder died young. Mr. Barnes died at his home in Reynolds County and Mrs. Barnes died in 1867. Both attended the Methodist Episcopal Church
Our subject was quite small when he came to this section with his parents and here he grew to mature years. When the war broke out he and his brother John enlisted in the Union army, Company B, Twelfth Missouri State Militia and the latter died while in service. Our subject served as corporal for about thirteen months and then returned home. He saw hard times during the war and after being discharged he went to Illinois, where he remained until cessation of hostilities, returning to Barnesville in 1866. By his own efforts he obtained a good education in youth, and, as he had been reared to farm life, he selected that calling as his chosen one when starting out for himself. He also learned the black-smith’s trade and followed it in connection with farming for many years. In the year 1855 he was married to Miss Caroline Leggett, daughter of Samuel Leggett, who made his home in this county, but who died in Illinois during the war. He was one of the early pioneers of this section. To Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were born three children: Aaron; Emily, wife of James Walker, resides in this county; and Thomas, who died in Texas. Mr. Barnes lost his first wife in 1859 and his second union was with Miss Mary Eddings, daughter of Calvin Eddings, formerly of this county, but now living in Arkansas. Five children were the fruits of this union: John, a resident of Arkansas; Elizabeth, wife of Mr. McRey of the State of Washington; Sarah; Eli, resides in Arkansas; and Margaret, wife of E. C. Bowers, of this county. After the death of his second wife Mr. Barnes married Miss Elana Chetwood, daughter of Andrew Chetwood, who was killed during the war. Seven children were born to this marriage: Grant, Leander (deceased), Wilson, Lucy, Luther, Cora and Elsie. Mr. Barnes has lived in this neighborhood nearly all his life and is well known and well thought of by all. In connection with farming and stockraising Mr. Barnes engaged in merchandising and has now followed this with marked success for about six years. Socially he is a Mason, a member of Barnesville Lodge No. 455, and was secretary at the lodge for a number of years. At present he is its chaplain. In his political views he has been a strong Republican since the Buchanan election, previous to which time he was a Democrat. He has held the office of justice of the peace in Logan township a number of years, and he was at one time member of the G. A. R. He and Mrs. Barnes are members of the Methodist Episcopal and Baptist Churches respectively and he is steward in the former. Mr. Barnes has about 100 acres of land under cultivation and is a thrifty and industrious citizen. Barnesville was named after his father in about 1855.