IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Letters written by
Dr. Thomas H. Barnes
his wife Julia A. Orr Barnes

1855 & 1884

Julia Angie Orr Barnes (1836-1859), the first wife of Thomas Henry Barnes, M.D. (1832-1889), is writing to her in-laws, Sophia Crawford Barnes Wood and Isaiah Wood who eventually moved to Waukon, Iowa from Coshocton, Ohio. Angie’s parents (Thomas Orr, M.D. abt 1800-abt 1855 and Lovina T. Thompson, abt. 1805-1852) were dead by 1855. She and Thomas Henry Barnes were married May 24, 1854, in Knox County, Ohio. They removed to Volney, Allamakee County, Iowa in 1854. Julia's letter is below.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pages of her letter. They will open in a new window. A transcription follows. The transcriber's notes are in [brackets].

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Volney [IA] July 2nd 1855

Dear Mother,

I have felt so much disappointed [sic] about your not coming to Iowa that I hardly knew how to think, write, or anything else. Here we were looking daily, expecting cirtain [sic] that you would be on, but no! No Father Mother came but a letter telling no that you had made other arrangements. Oh! It seemed to me I could not have it so. We were so very anxious to see and have you come. I was glad to hear of your getting in so pleasent [sic] a situation but on the other hand, was sorry, that we could not have had the influence of your friend, but I still live in hope that you will yet make your home in Iowa. Mother may I not hope? I presume you are anxious to know how we are getting along. Well, as for the Doc he is doing fine. He has as much business on hands all the time, as he can attend to. His health is very good indeed I never see [sic] him look better.

I am alone this morning. Doc has gone down to the river after drugs and a box of goods for Uncle John which was delayed some time after the rest. Our goods all came right along and so safe. We had good luck all through. I tell you I was afraid of my dishes, but they all came very safe indeed. Mother I can not say with Doc that I never enjoyed better health, for I do not enjoy good health. I feel very much discouraged some times about it but Doc wont [sic] allow it if he knew it. But I can not help it often. Well in the first place I overdone [sic] myself by working when I first commenced housekeeping. I felt so confident of doing the work myself that I could not think of having a girl. I did very well for one week, then I gave out. I was taken very sudden with palpitation of the heart. I was very low with it for some days. It left me very weak indeed. I was confined to my bed some 4 weeks. Mother I thought at one time that our kind Heavenly Father was going to take me away from my dear dear Husband but thanks be to him he has seen fit to spare me yet a little longer. Mother I ask your prayers. Their [sic] seems to be such a load resting on my heart. I pray God that I may be the feeble instrument in his hands of bringing Henry back in the fold. Oh! I would be so happy to see him return to God, church difference shall never separate us, no! no! I am willing to go with him. We have not had much meeting since we came preaching and in two weeks but we expect to have better times some day. Ever since I have been sick I have kept a girl steady. I have to keep very quiet although I go around do considerable still I could not do all the work myself. It keeps me buisy [sic] in mind my Pets I have quite a little family to go attend and feed. We have one good cow between 50 & 60 chickens, 3 cats and the most precious of all are our two little pet deer. Oh! They are so pretty. We call one “minnie” the other “dicky”. Doc intends to have a park made for them so we will hereafter rais [sic] our own deer. Oh! I enjoy myself so much here Mother. If only I had my health so that I could be my own housekeeper. I should like it still better. I never could hear the idea of having a Girl [sic]around, but I hope by fall or as soon as I become used to the climate, to regain my usual health. We have a very pleasent [sic] home. We live on a little farm just in sight of town. But if our place improves as we expect it, there will be a street run in front [sic] our house so we will be right in town with our 40 acres. The friends are all well. Cous [cousins?] Tom and Libby [Thomas Crawford (1825-1887 and Elizabeth Ann Wilson] are doing fine however they met with a loss sometime ago, lost their little Boy Baby. Pour little thing. It never was well. Their little Mary [Mary Florence Crawford] grows fine. Robert and Sarah [Robert Crawford (1828-1896) and Sarah Shannon [abt.1830-1890] live on a farm about one mile from town. They have a pretty little boy. John & Jane [John Crawford (1832-1914) and Mary Jane Smith) live just a few steps from us in a cabin on our place. They will live their [sic] until John builds. They have no family or pet. I think a great deal of Johns [sic]wife. Her [sic] and I are good deal of company for each other. Now Mother you wont [sic] skold [sic] about this letter unless it be about mistakes will you? Angie

Our love to you both. Write soon again.

[Thomas, Robert and John Crawford were brothers from Coshocton County, Ohio, where Thomas H. Barnes was born and grew up.]


Dr. Barnes' letter is below. Dr. Barnes was attending a national medical convention in Washington, D.C. (Waukon Standard, Vol. XVIL, No. 15, May 8, 1884, Whole No. 847, p. 1, col. 5: “Dr. T. H. Barnes is absent in Washington, D. C. attending the National Medical Association.”) He represented Allamakee County in the Iowa House of Representatives for one term in 1880. The letter is addressed to Miriam Ferris Barnes, his second wife. Sidney Burlingame was a witness at his marriage to Marian in 1862 in Waukon, Iowa.

Dr. Barnes and his first wife, Julia Angie Orr, moved to Volney from Coshocton, Ohio in 1855. [Coshocton is east of Columbus, OH and north of Zanesville, OH]

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the letter. It will open in a new window. A transcription & transcriber's notes follow.

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House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. May 12, 1884

Dear Mother & Children,

I am in the cleanest and most beautiful city—I was going to say in the world—I believe it is—it certainly cannot be surpassed. When I arrived here I put up as per previous arrangement at the National Hotel. After dinner I was in front of the hotel when Mr. S. Burlingame came along and as soon as we had shook hands, he says you must go home and stay with me, while you are in the city—so I did and am writing this letter in his house. Alice, Ida’s old school mate is here in the Pension Office. I have met John Burns and Harry Love of Coshocton . I expect to go to Ohio from here in a day or two. It will take me a couple of weeks to make the rounds there.

Yours Afc. T. H. Barnes


[On the back of the above letter, is a note written by by Mary Culbertson Bee, who was born 29 June 1884 in Lucas County, Iowa. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Henry Barnes and Julia Angie Orr. Her son, Max Bee, was living in Washington, D.C. in the 1940s when she wrote this note.]

Notice the date on this letter—weeks before my arrival! It was written by your great-grandfather Barnes to his family when he was a member of the House. Found it among some old letters of Grandma C’s and since it was from Washington, thot you might be interested.


~source: transcriptions and scans of the original letters written by the contributor's gg-grandparents
~contributed by Robert Bee, great-great-grandson of Dr. Thomas H. Barnes & Julia Angie Orr Barnes, grandson of Mary Culbertson Bee and son of Max Bee. Robert's email address can be found in the Surname Registry for Barnes.

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