James W. Barnes

b. 15 October 1815, d. 21 October 1892
  • James W. Barnes was born on 15 October 1815 in Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia.
  • On 7 May 1837, James W. Barnes was named executor of the estate of his father Thomas Barnes in lieu of Burwell Wynne.
  • He married Caroline Alice Greene, daughter of Allen Greene and Nancy Porter Hunt, on 24 October 1838 in Hancock County, Georgia, or possibly Jones County.
  • James W. Barnes and Caroline Alice Greene appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1840 in Kemper County, Mississippi, with no children listed in the household. Also enumerated in Kemper County in 1840 were James Barnes' brothers Burwell and Lewis, and relative Jeremiah Sanders.
  • James W. Barnes received 640 acres in December 1840 in Montgomery (now in Grimes) County, Texas, near the town of Alta Mira, which later became Anderson, the seat of Grimes County. He named his place "Prairie Wood."
  • The following appeared on 24 May 1847 in the Houston Democratic Telegraph and Texas Register: At an adjourned meeting of the citizens of Alta Mira and vicinity, held at the Masonic Collegiate Institute, near Fanthorpe's, on Sunday evening, the 9th day of May, A. D. 1847, the object of the meeting having been previously explained by Mr. M. A. Montrose, in a forcible and interesting address in behalf of Temperance; on motion the meeting was called to order by James W. Barnes, Esq., and O. H. P. Hill appointed secretary.
         On motion of A. Buffington, Esq., the meeting proceeded to organize a Temperance Society, to be known and styled the "Grimes County Washingtonian Society."
         Mr. M. A. Montrose presented a preamble and constitution for the government of the Society, which was read, and on motion of A. Buffington, Esq., was received, and unanimously adopted.
         On motion of A. Buffington, Esq., the meeting proceeded to the election of officers for the year; whereupon James W. Barnes, Esq. was elected president, John Graves, A. G. Perry and G. F. Lester, Vice Presidents; M. A. Montrose, Corresponding Secretary; Franklin Brigance, Secretary; and Wm. C. Roe, Treasurer.
         On motion of M. A. Montrose, Resolved, That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the chairman and secretary and sent to the editors of the "Texas Banner," at Huntsville, and to the editors of each of the newspapers in Houston, for publication. J. W. Barnes, Chairman. O. H. P. Hill, Sec'y.
  • On Saturday, 22 April 1848, Green Wood recorded in his travel journal: "Left Mr. Barnes, 9 o'clock, traveled east on the road to Houston 15 miles to Mr. James Green's & to Samuel Devereaux. Pass through some fine Prarie & Post oak & hickery land, Sandy & lying well, saw some rich land & a fine place for Settlement in hickery Grove & the land of Mr. Green & Devrough well Timbered oak & hickory lying well & adjoining rich Black Prarie & haw thickets & well watered 50 miles above Houston City. . . ."
  • On Monday, 25 March 1850, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Had a visit from Mr Barnes & Lady, Mr Bates & Colonel Moses Evans."
  • James W. Barnes and Caroline Alice Greene appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1850 in Grimes County, Texas. Other members of the household included Eugenia C. Barnes, Zenobia H. Barnes, Mark S. Barnes and Abi Elizabeth Bowin. Also in the household was Kentucky-born lawyer F. S. Stockdale, age 22.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1850 census.
  • On Tuesday, 13 August 1850, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: Mr Barnes got to W. B. Woods last night," and on Thursday, the 15th, "Wm B. Wood went home with Mr Barnes to hunt a screw Builder."
  • James W. Barnes and Caroline Alice Greene appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1860 in Plantersville PO, Grimes County, Texas. Other members of the household included Eugenia C. Barnes, Zenobia H. Barnes, Mark S. Barnes, Thomas Barnes, Evelina Wood Barnes and John T. Barnes. Also in the household was Robert Barnes (age 18, born in Mississippi), probably a nephew.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1860 census.
  • Eugenia Barnes wrote in a letter to her cousin Evelina Barnes Wood on 3 February 1861, "Miss Evelina Wood, or, "Little Sis," is the sweetest child I ever saw. She can run about every where and is able to speak many little words. She is as good as she is pretty, and consequently a great favorite with us all. Ma's and Pa's life seems bound up in that child."
  • According to A History of Texas Baptists, J. H. Stribling enrolled in 1846 in the "new Baylor," and was Baylor's first ministerial student. He served as a missionary west of the Colorado, and his pastorates included Gonzalez, Wharton and Old Caney, and the First Church of Galveston until the Federal blockade. "In 1863 he became pastor at Anderson. This at the time was one of the most prominent churches in Texas. Here was organized the Baptist State Convention. Here was established the Texas Baptist paper. Here lived some of our greatest Baptist people -- the Barneses, the Terrells, the Thomases, the Buffingtons, the Hills, the Pahls, and later . . ."
  • The following appeared on 3 August 1863 in The Tri-Weekly Telegraph: See the advertisement of the Crawford Wheat, by Col. J. W. Barnes, of Anderson. He says in a private letter that he raised 800 bushels from 40 acres. It is the finest wheat we have ever heard of, and as it is not susceptible to rust, just the thing for Southern Texas.
  • The following appeared on 9 December 1863 in The Tri-Weekly Telegraph: Lieut. Col. Barnes, who has been in command of Camp Groce for some time, called on us on Monday, as he was on his way to the front. He says the Federal prisoners have all been sent off for exchange. They appear to have been entirely satisfied with their treatment, and to have a much better idea of the rebels than they had before they came here. They were provided with such clothing as they needed, and sent forward to be parolled. The officers will, we presume, remain at Tyler, or at some other point.
  • He served with the Texas Home Guard, CSA, and as head of the Texas Fifth Brigade District during 1864, with the rank of Brigadier General.
  • The following appeared on 16 March 1864 in The Houston Telegraph: In speaking of Lt. Col. J. W. Barnes, of the 4th T.S.T., last fall, we expressed a hope that we might see him a General within a year. The wish has been realized, and that he is now Brigadier-General of the 5th Brigade District. The honor is worthily bestowed. In the last six months service he had command of his regiment, and we believe it was unsurpassed by drill, discipline and regard for duty by any in the field. Its promptness on an occasion of a threatened attack, won the praise of the brigade commandant, himself a soldier, whose praise is a compliment worth fighting for.
         General Barnes has had some experience in warfare before, having participated in the Seminole war of 1836. On the first call for militia by Governor Lubbock, he was Col. of his militia regiment. He waived his rank at once, went in as a private, and was elected Captain. On the term of service expiring he was elected Brigadier-General of his brigade District. After the draft last summer, he again waived rank and took his place in the field. He was chosen almost unanimously Major of the 17th battalion, and on it being consolidated into the 4th regiment, was made Lt. Col. of that.
         To such of Gen. Barnes' brigade as may not know him, we cannot commend him too highly both as an officer and as a citizen. He will always make friends, and bind them to him wherever he goes.
  • The following appeared on 23 March 1864 in The Daily Telegraph: We learn that Brig. General J. W. Barnes, of the 5th brigade of State Troops, has selected Huntsville as the rendezvous of the brigade. The General has been ordered to Austin and will be absent for a few days. Officers and men will report to Captain Hamman, A.A.G., at the camp.
  • The following appeared on 11 November 1864 in The Huntsville Item: We see the reserve corps of this district was to organise and choose officers yesterday. Gen. Barnes, the old colonel, was a candidate for the command of the battalion. We have no doubt of his election. Such a man never knows the word "defeat."
  • The following appeared on 13 January 1869 in the Houston Union: Col. Camp, and J. C. Searcy, Esq., are on their way to Washington City to aid Gen. J. W. Barnes, in his efforts on behalf of the International Railroad.
  • The following appeared on 1 May 1869 in The Galveston Daily News: The Houston Times of yesterday says:
         The Galveston News of yesterday contains the following letter from Gen. J. W. Barnes, which, we think, possesses sufficient interest to justify us in publishing it. Gen. Barnes was perfectly justifiable in assuring Northern business men that they might rely upon receiving courteous treatment at the hands of our citizens. Our people will gladly welcome into our midst men with the will, means and energy requisite to the development of the resources of the State. We want capitalists to help build our railroads, and we want thirfty, industrious farmers to till our rich soils. We believe that the North has a large surplus of both, and the people may rely upon receiving our hearty co-operation. We have enough office seekers, at present, and would be quite willing to "swap" a few hundred honest and industrious working men, giving three or a a half dozen for one.
         This speaks the universal sentiment of Texas--as, we think, Northern men might readily assure themselves if they were to consult their own common sense instead of allowing themselves to be deceived by the false reports of mischief-making carpet-baggers.
  • The following appeared on 11 May 1869 in The Galveston Daily News: Gen. James W. Barnes is announced as a candidate to represent the counties of Grimes, Walker and Madison in the next (12th) Legislature.
  • The following appeared on 20 January 1870 in the Houston Union: Gen. J. W. Barnes gave us the light of his countenance yesterday. He bids us be of good cheer in the good work of restoring the State to civil government on the basis of equal rights to all men.
  • The following appeared on 30 March 1870 in the Houston Daily Union: Letter from Gen. J. W. Barnes. Snow Storm -- Railroads and Their Effects. Washington, D.C., March 20, '70. Editors Union. On Tuesday night, the 15th, we were overtaken by another "snow storm," and several times were clogged up so as to stop the cars, and spades had to be used to extricate our iron horse. We were detained seven hours between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, and were twenty-four without anything to eat; and above our line of road to Canada, the storm was more severe and dangerous, falling four feet deep, breaking in houses, etc.
         Passing through portions of Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania, before the snow covered the ground, I had an opportunity to examine the qualities of the soil, and from way passengers I learned much of the extent of the production of the land, and its market value, as well as the feeling of the inhabitants on the subject of emigration, and their views of Texas, etc. And this point struck me forcibly -- that is, why are the lands of these States held at prices so far exceeding our Texas lands, while so much inferior in quality, and the crops produced per acre far less valuable than our Texas lands? And then my conclusions and the query may be solved by this simple proposition: Land is made valuable not from its richness or healthfulness of climate, but in proportion to the demand for it. Even railroads will not produce such high prices for land without thereby a demand is created.
         I venture the assertion that, if Washington and Grimes counties lay in Illinois or Pennsylvania, with its present railroad facilities only, and its present natural advantages -- that is, pleasant and healthfulness of climate, producing its present and usual yield of crops, the land would be worth far more than the lands of Illinois and Pennsylvania. Now, while our lands in Washington and Grimes are worth from five to twenty dollars per acre, these lands referred to sell from $75 to $100 and $200 per acre. Why this difference? Simply because there is a constant and pressing demand for the one, and little or none for the other.
         Next was suggested to my mind the remedy, which is to create a demand for our lands, and this can only be done by bringing in Emigration -- to do this, we must make life and property secure by the proper administration of laws, for all coming within our border, the teeming millions from every clime and country, now seeking homes in the West and South. The key to this is to build great lines of railroads stretching from the centre of our state to the West and South. Every one who is so short-sighted as to think we must first get the immigration and then build railroads is simply a "slow coach man," and far behind the age -- the eyes of the world seem to be on Texas, and when a man talks of immigration, Texas is his favorite place.
         Another thing I learned, which I was hardly prepared for, it was this while talking with some Democrats about the election of Gov. Davis, whom they called a Radical, (and which I did not dispute) they remarked, "that it was wise in Texas to elect a Radical, for in doing so you secure reconstruction, and thereby restore your State to peace, and in the favour of the Government. We can afford to be Democrats here, but if I was in the South I would be a Radical -- that I might secure peace and quietness to my state. You Southern people cannot afford to be Democrats -- it is simply foolish to longer array yourselves against the Government, nor would I move to a Southern state under Democratic rule." Now, that a Republican would prefer to move to Texas on account of the State being decidedly under Republican rule is quite natural, but I was not prepared to hear that Democrats likewise, preferred a Southern state under Radical rule. There is something eminently practical in such views -- and I regard the election of Gov. Davis, and a Republican Legislature, the most fortunate thing for Texas that has occurred since the war closed; and when I consider the circumstances under which this grand achievement was gained, I conclude it was Providential, and I do not believe the day is far distant when it will be generally assented to, by both Democrats and Republicans. J.W.B.
  • James W. Barnes and Caroline Alice Greene appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1870 in Anderson, Grimes County, Texas. Other members of the household included Zenobia H. Barnes and Evelina Wood Barnes.
  • He was a farmer, according to the 1870 census.
  • The following appeared on 29 August 1870 in The Galveston Tri-Weekly News: Gen. J. W. Barnes, of Grimes, is now in the city, on his way Northward -- still engaged, as he has been, so industriously and efficiently, for some years past, in the interests of the International railroad. He carries with him the liberal charter for the road, passed by the late Legislature, and expects soon to report the organization of the company and a prospect of an early commencement of the work of survey and construction.
         As our readers have seen, a large meeting, called for by numerous leading citizens of all political parties, was held a few days ago at the capital of the State, and heartily endorsed Gen. Barnes, and his great project. We have no doubt that the meeting expressed the views and feelings of the people of the State generally. The International has been before the public mind of Texas for years, and has been discussed over and over again: and we can truly say that we never knew a proposed work of internal improvement which received a more universal and enthusiastic approval.
         In another column we copy from the Republican organ at the State Capital, the State Journal, an article which we cordially approve so far as it relates to the importance of the road, the excellence of the charter and the integrity and industry of Gen. Barnes. With the General's politics we have nothing to do in this connection. He has shown himself to be eminently fitted for leadership in a great work of internal improvement, and we fully agree with the Journal in the belief that it is the earnest wish of the people of Texas to see him at the head of the organization for the actual construction of the great road, as he has been so long, so efficiently and with such general approval, the leader in the movement for obtaining the charter.
  • The following appeared on 29 August 1870 in The Galveston Tri-Weekly News: General J. W. Barnes -- This gentleman leaves for the North today, to organize the International Company, and to procure the means for the speedy initiament of the road. His charter, out of some twenty or thirty that made the race for State aid, was the only one that succeeded in gaining the coveted price of a rich subsidy at the late session. Such a struggle is like a campaign, and success crowns the best tactician. Gen. Barnes had the good sense to ally himself with the Administration, and thus avoid the rock upon which many a plausible scheme is broken. The friends of the road in either House were the foremost supporters of the Administration. The Governor was consulted at every step, and the influence of the friends of the road was given to the State measures. A great trunk railway, bisecting the State, with the Pacific as its ultimate mark, was suggested in the Executive message, demanded by public opinion, and almost pledged to the people by the Republican party. Gen. Barnes, with unwearied vigilance and sagacity, labored to foil or conciliate all antagonisms, and finally succeeded in gaining general recognition for his project as the fulfillment of these pledges, and this popular demand.
         The State subsidy, in the form of an absolute gift, amounts to nearly six milion dollars, besides a franchise of immense value in other respects. Such liberality from a State to a corporation is unexampled on our continent. And the value of the gift is enhanced by the fact that the Governor has announced that, for the future, he will oppose to the last all monied subsidies to railways in any form.
         It is the wish of the people of Texas that Gen. Barnes should be placed at the head of the road of which he was the projector and the champion. To his personal knowledge of our people, and the confidence which they felt in his statements, was owing a measure of success that no stranger could have obtained. Texas has a right to the presidency of a railway which she has vivified and endowed, and which passes through her territory for six hundred miles, and such an appointment would be received by our people as an additional pledge of speedy construction. -- Austin Journal 20th.
  • The following appeared on 22 February 1871 in The Houston Daily Union: Gen. J. W. Barnes says that the narrow guage railway between Navasota and Huntsville will be put through next fall. We are glad to hear it; it is a much needed road.
  • The following appeared on 3 February 1872 in the Dallas Herald: Gen. J. W. Barnes, Vice-President of the International Railroad Company, has just returned from New York. We see that he tells the editor of the News that one hundred miles of the road are now under contract beyond the present terminus, and that the company will be compelled to pay the contracts when the work is done, whether they get the money subsidy or not. This finished, the trains will run 150 miles from Hearne, which will bring them within twenty miles of Long View, the present western terminus of the Southern Pacific. It would certainly be suicidal policy for the company to stop short of Long View, for, by constructing only that additional twenty miles, they will connect with the Southern Pacific, and receive from it a large amount of profitable trade and travel. We cannot therefore doubt that the International will be completed to Long View with all possible dispatch -- Central Texan.
  • In a letter to Col. P. S. Holt of Columbus, Georgia, J. W. Barnes relates the awful calamity of cholera which befell the family of Mr. George Moore, of Crawford County, Georgia, who removed to Texas a few weeks earlier. The account was published in The New York Times on 15 June 1873.
  • The following appeared on 5 May 1877 in The Dallas Weekly Herald: The State Gazette has General J. W. Barnes, erewhile vice president of the International, in a bad place. It is a regular case of divided allegiance. The general doesn't know whether to remain in Georgia or return to Texas. He's nearly as happy when in Texas as he is Georgia, and vice versa. Suppose he takes a silver half dollar and decides it by a toss. Not forgetting, however, to present the piece to the Gazette on account of subscription.
  • The following appeared on 15 January 1880 in The Galveston Daily News: (Brenham, January 7) General J. W. Barnes passed on the down train from Austin to-day, and he assures me that the railroad from San Antonio to the Rio Grande will soon be a fixed fact, and, with government aid, will be pushed forward rapidly.
  • James W. Barnes and Caroline Alice Greene appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1880 in Washington, District of Columbia, at 624 G Street NW.
  • He was a railroad president, according to the 1880 census.
  • The following appeared on 5 May 1881 in The Dallas Weekly Herald: (Texas & Mexican Railroad. Washington, April 20) J. C. Stanton, of New York; J. W. Barnes, of Texas; Fred K. Cramer, of Pennsylvania, and a corps of engineers passed through Washington to-day en route to Texas to commence active operations in building the Mexican boundary and Rio Grande railroad from San Antonio to the Rio Grande river, there to intersect the Topolovampo route.
  • The following appeared on 3 April 1887 in The Dallas Morning News: (Anderson, Tex., April 2) An enthusiastic mass meeting was held at Anderson to-day and a committee appointed to visit Galveston on Monday next to consult with the directors of the Galveston Air Line Railroad, to induce the road to make Anderson a point on the said road. The committee is J. W. Barnes, John F. Martin, B. B. Throop, John I. Bradley, T. C. Buffington and A. F. Brigance.
  • On 19 May 1889, James W. Barnes wrote to Edward Bowin: Sunday Morning
    May 19, 1889
    Au , Texas
    Dear Ed,
    ? go ????? to tell him all about us. We old folks do not have much company. Wife & I and Eva are all. We have a German Boy living and working with us, he milks & finds & gets wood, etc. He does his own washing and keeps a Negro boy to help German Boy farm a little. I do not farm much, but keep my farm ?. Our House Keeper ocupies Marks old room in the house. Wood & water right at hand and a fine gardner.
    I see wife said nothing about wages. She said she would if you wrote favorable about Mrs. Ransomer?. We usually pay from $5.00 to $7.00 per month. We pay the latter price when to cook does the washing & ironing on ? to 1.50 per month if we hire it done which ?
    I do not know the E.R. fare from Ennis to Navasota. If the Lady comes she will stop of ? in Navasota until I can s? ? ? will be at ? further c? after getting to Navasota.
    ?paragraph about $4.00 per month cook "but your Aunt has to carry the keys and ? go off ?? wants a white woman to to keep the keys & let her visit Navasota, Houston and San Antonio."
    We hope you will go in person to see Mrs Ransomer and explain our situation and the surroundings and our reception of your letter. She will answer Mrs R.
    I am still feeble but improving. Crops look fine. Write about your own family & Ed, too.
    You Uncle,
    J. W. Barnes
    (in lower left corner:)
    Ed Bowin
    Ennis, Tex. [Information and transcription from Christy Neeb's database at RootsWeb.]
  • James W. Barnes died on 21 October 1892 at age 77 in Alta Mira, Grimes County, Texas.
  • His wife Caroline Alice Greene became a widow at his death.
  • He was interred at the Barnes family cemetery, Grimes County, Texas, near Anderson.
  • The following appeared on 23 October 1892 in The Galveston Daily News: (Anderson, Oct. 22) General James W. Barnes died at his home, about three miles southeast of this place, yesterday at 7 o'clock a. m., in the 75th year of his age. General Barnes was among the early settlers of Grimes county; was one of the commissioners to locate and lay out the town of Anderson, the county seat when the county was organized. The general was always broad and enlightened in his views, and was a successful planter here prior to the civil war. He was during the war elected to a brigadier generalship of state militia. Since the war he had been connected with a number of important business enterprises in Texas. He was the father of Mrs. C. C. Gibbs of San Antonio and the grandfather of Mrs. T. D. Cobb of Houston, who, with Mrs. Dr. R. Quinney and his faithful life partner, are left to mourn his loss. He was interred in the family burying ground to-day at 10 a. m. His death has cast a gloom over this community.
  • Research Note: James Kelly Markey's wife Mary Maxwell Griggs, a daughter of Henry Griggs, whose sister Linnah was the wife of Evelina's father's brother Lewis Bryant Barnes. Another brother of Evelina's father William and Lewis Bryant Barnes was Thomas Barnes, whose son James W. Barnes in Grimes County served with the Texas Home Guard as commander of the 5th Texas Brigade District. Also note that the Markey school was established on donated land - 10 acres each by 3 people, one of whom was Dr. James L. Mitchell, father of William Barnes Wood's wife Josie and grandfather of Campbell Wood's wife Nannie.
  • Last Edited: 3 Mar 2015

Family: Caroline Alice Greene b. circa 1823, d. 16 May 1901