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[b. ca. 1810 Washington Co., NY, d. ca. 1880 Arlington Iowa]

By Charles L. Robbins



    Solon Washington Barnes, the subject of this sketch, was the youngest brother of William, Leonidas, Henrietta and Minerva Barnes, who lived at our earliest record of them at West Rutland, Vt. Their father’s given name is unknown but their mother was Betsy Ross, a pure blood Scot. As the father was pure blood Irish* this makes these children Scotch-Irish. *[Note CLR later changed Irish to Scotch.]
    Very little is known of the family and what few facts we do have been given to me by my mother, Julia (Barnes) Robbins, a daughter of Solon W. Barnes. The two brothers, William and Leonidas, owned and operated at West Rutland, Vt., a marble quarry sometime near 1800 A.D. They desired their brother, Solon, to work with them there, but he was of an independent disposition and could not get along with them, but instead came west to Dayton, Ohio. At this place he married Rebecca McDaniels, and three children were born. As we know so very little about them, it will [not] be given here, excepting James, who will have a complete story elsewhere.
    William the second child was stolen from his father's home after his mother's death by his uncle, James McDaniels, and taken to Kansas, and nothing more was ever heard of him. Mary died while yet a little girl. The only incident we have of her is a story that she went to the spring for water and when she got to the house, she told her father that there was a man down at the spring hurt and calling for help. Grandfather hurried down to the spring and was chased clear back to the house by a large panther. The only wonder is that it did not get Mary.
    After the death of his wife, Rebecca (McDaniels) Barnes, Solon W. Barnes moved to Iowa, as Ohio was too much settled for him despite the fact that a panther had nearly eaten one of his children. About this time he married Rebecca Trout; but it is not known whether this was in Ohio or on the way to Iowa, as it is supposed that he came by Sigourney, Keokuk Co., Iowa where his sister, Minerva lived. Minerva Barnes married a man named Hiland Mead and lived at Sigourney, Keokuk Co., Iowa. Later while Solon W. Barnes was living in Fayette Co., Iowa, they visited him there taking with them their two sons, Alfred and Dayton Mead. My mother remembers that this Uncle Hiland Mead had rheumatism or at least was crippled in some way. One of Solon's sons was named after him. Nothing further was ever heard of this family.
    After Solon W. Barnes had been in Iowa for a short time he got a letter from his brothers, William and Leonidas, asking him to tell them how he was getting along, and just what he had in the way of stock and property. This letter was written in a manner which made Grandfather think they insinuated that he might be hard up and in need of their help and, being of a very proud nature, he was angry, and answered them very saucily and possibly disrespectfully. Among other things he gave them the names of all the children he then had and also the names of the cows and stock including the cats and dogs. This must have made the brothers very put out, because to the day of his death, he never heard from them again.
    My grandfather, Solon W. Barnes, was a stern uncompromising man. He was of a very quick temper and never hesitated or in the least considered the outcome of his hasty actions. He was Scotch-Irish and brought with him from one side the never yielding nature of the Scotch and from the other side the quick tempered impulsiveness of the Irish, a combination of blood very dangerous to himself and his posterity, and has resulted in trouble to all those who have Scotch-Irish Barnes blood in their veins.
    He believed that the father of a family was the sole ruling power in the family, and had complete jurisdiction over wife and children alike. Prompt obedience was demanded by him by wife and children alike and in the few times that this was denied him, he did not hesitate to enforce it with any means at hand. Like his Irish father before him, he would not for a moment tolerate back talk and many incidents my mother have related to me lead me to believe him harsh and cruel and that he would not have hesitated to have taken human life to enforce obedience after he had taken a stand and made orders. He always acted without the least thought or advice and was never known to admit that he was wrong. The following incidents more clearly show what manner of man he was than any other descriptions I might give: 

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History of the Barnes, by CLR

    When Grandfather Barnes was still a young man he was taken down with fever and ague which were very common in new countries or where there were lots of new breaking being done. Everyone had it more or less, but most of them only had it on alternate days. One day they would be able to work as usual and the next day they would be down with chills. Now Grandfather Barnes did not like that day in bed, and would not go to bed unless he was compelled by weakness. He despised weakness in any one and could hardly bear to be confined in bed when there was so much he wanted to be doing. At one time he was very sick and knew he must be very quiet or he would not live through it. In those days the warmth of a room was from the large fireplace at one end of the room, and in order to keep the farther end warm it was necessary to keep plenty of fuel in the grate. These fireplaces were built very large and the wood was cut in large logs, four or five feet long and it was a good lift for a man to put one in place. My grandmother was trying to get one of these large logs in the fireplace, and could hardly lift one end at once when grandfather noticing her futile effort became impatient and unable to stand it any longer he jumped out of bed and picking the log up bodily, he threw it to the back side of the fire. He then collapsed on the floor. After many weeks at death's door, he finally recovered, but his hair had turned white and remained so to his death.
    Another incident which shows to what extreme his temper would carry him is shown by this story: My grandfather was a great lover of dogs and living in the woods and frontier made them almost necessary to the family. He always had several and took great delight in training them. He insisted on the strictest obedience from them and never hesitated to kill one that disobeyed him. 

My mother told me that he had two very fine dogs and the children thought the world of them. They were very fine hunters and watch dogs. One time the boys took them with them after the cows that run in the woods during the daytime and were brought up to a small rail yard during the night. The boys set the dogs on the cows to get them out of the brush and weeds; but the dogs were not satisfied with that, but chased them clear home and continued to bark at them after they were in the yard. Grandfather went to the door and called them to come off and when they did not do so at once, he returned to the house and got his rifle and shot them both there before the children who stood crying near them. At another time he shot one of his own dogs that he had found eating a dead sheep and he did not know how the sheep had been killed.
    All his children stood in awe of him and if they ever disobeyed in the least, he would punish them severely and would not let their mother take their part. When he finally broke up housekeeping [after the death of his second wife] and put the children out among the neighbors he was very harsh with them, and threatened all kinds of things he would do to them because they were homesick and did not want to stay where he had gotten them homes.
    Once my grandfather had a cow with a new calf and had kept them both at the barn for a few days, and then decided to take them to the pasture. When he started with them the calf had become used to the barn and lot and refused to go with its mother. He brought her back a time or two and then when it still refused to follow he laid it down on a block and cut off its head with an ax with his children standing frightened by.
    My Grandmother Barnes was married to Solon W. Barnes probably in Ohio though this is not known for sure to be the case. I have been unable up to this time to find any trace of her people. Her maiden name was Rebecca Trout. She was of Pennsylvania Dutch origin and this showed up in her house-keeping and in the way she tried to keep the yard. She was a very good housekeeper and her efforts to keep the rough mud plastered log house in order taxed her to the utmost. My mother tells me that she could make all kinds of paper ornaments and did her best with what newspapers she could get hold of to cover the walls. My mother still has in her possession a sheet of paper on which are arranged little dolls and wreathes made from locks of hair taken from the children's heads. Grandmother was very meek and patient with Grandfather and tried the best way she could to tone down his quick temper and make the home life bearable. How well she succeeded is shown from the fact that the children never ceased being homesick and one of the boys was away in Dakota when she died. When he came home and his mother was dead, he could not bear to stay; but returned at once to his regiment. She was the mother of twelve children -- ten of whom grew up under her Christian teaching. She died at the birth of the last one in June 1862. Her death occurred at the old homestead on the County line between Clayton and Fayette Counties in Iowa. On the day of her funeral Grandfather Barnes got a letter for her telling her that her Uncle, Noah Trout, her father's brother had died and had left her $300.00. In those days this was a fortune, and if it could only have come while she was


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History of the Barnes, by CLR

living, it would have been a Godsend to her. Grandfather Barnes was compelled to go to court to get possession of this money as after her death it belonged to her children. Jacob H. Moore was made their guardian. Joseph Hobson of West Union, Iowa, was his attorney. An account book in the possession of my mother has in it a receipt written by Solon W. Barnes receipting for the money, $270.00. It is supposed the balance was the lawyer's fee. This document is dated Jan. 22, 1866 and this leads me to believe that if I can search the Court proceedings for the term of the Probate Court between June and January 1866, I may be able to find out where my Grandmother's people lived and possibly get trace of them. This I shall endeavor to do when next I go back to West Union, Iowa.
    Rebecca (Trout) Barnes was born in 1821, was married when she was 16 years old and died in June 1862. She is buried in a grave yard that is, or was, on the old Nagles place east of Steamboat Mound between the Padelford place and Volga City. (1)
    Solon W. Barnes was married to Rebecca Trout in Ohio in 1847 [prob. 1837-1840], and came to Fayette Co., Iowa soon afterwards. They settled on and proved- up a claim of 160 acres in Fayette County just opposite the Lyman Lamphier place in Clayton Co. and between Wadena and Volga City. Sixty acres of this farm was later given to Jim Barnes, his oldest son by his first wife who later sold it to Tim Leahy and now comprises a part of the old Leahy farm still there. The other 100 acres was sold to the Kennedy's and is still a part of the Kennedy farm.
    The place Grandfather Barnes selected for a home was just such a place as I would have supposed a man of is make-up would have chosen. (2) The land here was rough with high bluffs, large springs and heavy timber. Not at all suited to farming, but a splendid place to make an easy living with a garden patch, cows and plenty of good hunting and fishing close at hand. There was lots of much better land that could have been settled on that, at the time, is worth ten times as much for farming purposes; but Grandfather was not looking out for future generations but for himself and this secluded place away back from everyone, just suited his taste. Deep Creek was only a few rods away and the Volga River was about a mile north and at this time these streams were full of the best kind of fish, and Grandfather knew just how to catch them. My mother tells me that once they had fresh fish when they had thrashers. He was an expert rifle shot and usually only needed one shot with the old-fashioned muzzle loading rifle to bring down the game. Shot guns were unknown at that time. The house was built of rough unhewn logs and plastered between them with mud. At first it was of one room with a large fireplace at one end, but as the family increased in size, it had to be enlarged and this was done by building another room just like the other one with the fireplace at the other end; this made the fireplaces both in the middle of the house. These fireplaces were built of stones lain in mud and like the houses all they cost was for labor. The floors were called puncheon and were made of logs split once in two and laid flat side up. The more common floor of that day was common dirt packed hard. My Grandmother with her inherited Dutch tendency for cleanliness spent her entire life in a place like that. No wonder she died at age of 41.
    It was in this rough home life that my grandmother lived and reared her twelve children. Two babies died in infancy [buried in a little burying spot near the Old Mill Grove mill on Brush Creek, 2 miles north of Arlington, Iowa] and another George Clayton Barnes died when he was seven or eight years old.
    Grandmother Barnes died as a result of blood poisoning at the time of the birth of her last child, Elizabeth Jane, and when the baby was only three days old. For two years after her death, Grandfather kept house by hiring girls for the housework, but at the end of that time he decided to break up house-keeping and go to live with Jim Barnes, his oldest son who lived in Taylorsville, Iowa, a small inland town about six miles south of his home. Grandfather gave a sale in order to dispose of his stock, and while the auctioneer was busy selling the stock and household goods he busied himself getting the neighbors who had come to the sale to take the children who still were left on his hands. He was quite successful in this and my mother was the last to be disposed of. One by one as the farmers loaded their purchased stock or goods, she saw her own brothers and sisters that she loved and cared for from their baby days taken into the wagons and hauled away as any other chattels. Different ones of them were known at later times when homesickness overcame them, to steal away from the place they lived and come back across the field to the old home. The people who gave them homes were often very unkind to them, and until they were old enough to marry and have homes of their own, they were traded about the country from place to place. The girls all married young and

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History of the Barnes, by CLR

who can blame them?  Grandfather Barnes lived with his son at Taylorsville until his death _________,
18___. (3) He was _____ at this time. He is buried in the Taylorsville Cemetery near Arlington, Iowa in a lot occupied by his sons Brammwell and Noah and two of Noah's children.
(1) This burying ground consists of about 1/2 acre adjoining the stone school grounds west of Volga City about 2 miles. The owner of the farm gave notice that he intended to plow up the cemetery but owing to the fact that it had been deeded to Fayette Co. he was unable to do so.
(2)  Visited by me in 1941 -- exact location clearly established.
(3)  In 1948 I wrote to Uncle Geo Rawson at Afton, N.Y. asking him to send me if possible the date of birth and death of Solon W. Barnes. He never answered me. He is probably the only living person who could supply this information. C.L.R.

Jan. 1942

    In order to complete what I have been able to find out about my mother's family, Solon Washington Barnes and children, I will add the following facts:
    It has been 25 years since I wrote the first pages of the Barnes history. At that time I was living in Stillwater, Okla. and was employed in the Post Office where I could use a typewriter but now I live in Sunnyside, Washington, am retired and am 64 years old hence the use of long hand in this work. [Note: later retyped.]
    In August of 1941 my wife and I visited our old home in Fayette County, Iowa and while there we looked up the location of the old Barnes homestead near Volga City on the Fayette Co.-Clayton Co. line. Although as a boy I had grown up to the age of 24 and had never seen this land, I found it in every way just as my mother had described it to me. We visited the place two different days and had a picnic dinner on the site of the old home where all the Barnes children of Solon W. & Rebecca Barnes were born.
    We used water from the same big spring for our coffee and sat in the shade of two large cedar trees that our grandmother had brought from the bluff and set out on either side of the gate that led down to the crossing of the little stream near by.
    We found a few gnarled fruit trees, some tame raspberry bushes and the huge sprawling elm tree where the little girls had their swing 90 years ago. We even found the rock circled little grave of the son George Clayton who died as a little boy and was buried on the sunny slope overlooking the yard and grounds. At that time there were no cemeteries and babies and small children were usually buried near the home.
    The farm of 160 acres of bluffs is still over half timber. This has been cut off in places but grows right back again.
While in Iowa I saw just two of my cousins on my mother's side and only one who still bears the name of Barnes: this was Jesse Barnes a son of Noah Barnes and Mrs. Linnie Barnes Simpson who lives in West Union, Iowa. It was she who helped me to locate the old home. She got me some valuable information from the County records. As she had been employed there many years she knew just how to get what I wanted. I hereby wish to thank her for her kindness.
    This data which she secured for me brought out the curious fact that the records showed only one transfer besides the patent since it was proven up on by my grandfather in 1854-55 and sold in 1866. Therefore the abstract would read:

U.S. to Solon W. Barnes, patent
Solon W. Barnes to Philip Leahy -- deed for 61.02 acres
Solon W. Barnes to James Kennedy deed 100 acres

    On the reverse [same] side of this sheet will be found a plot of Sec. 1—Fairfield Township showing the old Barnes homestead and the part which Solon W. Barnes gave to his oldest son Jim Barnes. The reason the land was divided that way was to give Jim Barnes a building place on a road which ran from Wadena to

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History of the Barnes, by CLR

Volga City. The line on the 40 acres south follows a ridge or hog-back and was timbered. This is the only land I ever saw in my life divided from corner to corner. (Diagram follows) 

The traced land is the old Barnes homestead.  The north 60 acres was given to Jim Barnes.



    There is very little more that I can add to this brief history. My motive in starting it was a search for a Revolutionary ancestor. This I have been unable to do -- maybe some other of the Barnes posterity may be able to do so.
    I am adding as an afterthought the final disposition of these sons and daughters of Solon W. & Rebecca Barnes as far as my memory will carry. Perhaps I may err as to all and as to the spelling of names for which I ask your pardon -- remember I said as far as my memory carries.
    James Barnes, Jr., first son of Solon W. Barnes, married a wife whose first name was Elizabeth. We always spoke of her as Aunt Lib. They moved to Michigan and remained there all their lives. Three children were born to them that I can remember of, Solon, Oran & Gertrude. I never heard what became of them
    William Barnes & Mary Barnes (5c) have been mentioned other places in this history. William was stolen or at least taken away by a brother of Rebecca McDaniels, Grandfather Barnes' first wife. He took him to Kansas and no further word was ever had regarding him.
    Mary Barnes died in childhood.
    Hiland Mead Barnes, the oldest son of my Grandmother, Rebecca Trout Barnes, must have been born somewhere about 1840. When my mother was 7 years old he enlisted in Co. E, 9th Iowa Infantry July 1861 -- at Taylorsville, Iowa. He died at Young's Point, La., March 7, 1862. This regiment was never in action up to that time. My father said he died of homesickness.
    Brammwell Curvassa Barnes, 2nd son of S. W. & Rebecca Barnes, enlisted in the 6th Iowa Calvary Co. Nov. 1, 1862. At that time there was trouble with the Sioux Indians in Dakota and this regiment was sent there to subdue them and police them. This job was under General Custer. As our uncle Brammwell was raised in the woods and was dead shot with a rifle he was assigned to scout duty and as a sharpshooter.
    He was there about 5 years and had married a half-breed Sioux Indian girl. They had one daughter. Uncle Brammwell was taken with a disease known then as quick consumption. There was lots of it among the Indians at that time. Brammwell's wife was also half French. When he did not get better he came home to Iowa and died there. He is buried in Taylorsville Cemetery by his father and brother Noah.
    None of the relatives ever knew what became of the wife & daughter.
    George Clayton Barnes only lived to be a small boy probably 8 years old. He was buried near the old home on a sunny slope facing the East. When I was there in Oct. 1941 this little mound was easily found. As the land is only used for pasture there is no danger of his resting place being ploughed over as so many of our dear ones graves have been. Probably little George Barnes was as well off in this tiny rock encircled


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History of the Barnes, by CLR

spot than his sisters and brothers who are all back to Mother Earth at last. Little George Barnes never knew what it was to toil and worry or be called to his country's aid as his two older brothers were. May he rest in peace as he seemed to be when I was there. No sound to be heard except the song of birds and the tinkle of the little stream only a rod or so away.
    Noah Trout Barnes was the fourth son of Solon W. & Rebecca (Trout) Barnes. He was born Nov. 8, 1850 and died Dec. 30, 1880. Thus he was only 30 years old when he was called away. I was 2 years old when he died so I do not remember him.
    My father told me once that he died of the same disease Uncle Brammwell died of, quick consumption as it was called. My father told me of his last visit to my mother, Julia Barnes Robbins. He walked out north of Brush Creek, now Arlington and it took him until after noon to walk the 2 1/2 miles he was so poor and weak. He was confined to his bed soon after.
     He was married to Franie Perkins. I don't think her name was spelled that way but that's how we always pronounced it. There were four children who grew up that I remember: Ora [Orian], Lura [Laura], Linnie & Jesse. I was a school mate of Linnie and I remember her as a sweet and loving girl. She married Geo M. Simpson another school mate. They both held Co. offices and at this time live at West Union, Iowa.
Noah’s children:
     Ora never married and lived near Arlington all his life. He owned a farm only 1/2 mile from the Taylorsville Cemetery where his father, grandfather and one little brother, Orsenius Ransom are buried.
Lura married a man name Moore. They lived near Salt Lake City, Utah the last I knew. My brother Wayne visited the family there about 6 years ago.
     Jesse Barnes always lived around Arlington. I think he owns their old home in Arlington near the school house. I saw him in 1941.
     There may have been other children whom I do not recall.
I will leave this space for any additions to this family's history for which accept my thanks -- Chas. Robbins.
[Charles Robbins wrote this as an insert in 1949:]
In 1946 I visited my old home at Arlington, Iowa and saw my cousin Jesse Barnes and visited him in Uncle Noah’s old house there which is still owned by Jesse Barnes and has never been sold out of the family since Uncle Noah owned it. At this time Jesse Barnes told me he had married a woman at Davenport, Iowa but they had separated leaving one son, Robert Earl Barnes, with his mother. After the mother’s death this son came to Iowa (Arlington) and located his father and at this date they are very dear to each other. This son of Jesse Barnes is married and has children.
C.L. Robbins -- 1949
[Later Chas. continued, filling in the "space" himself:]
     Julia L. Barnes married Lewis E. Robbins. They lived in Iowa near where they had been since childhood until 1901 when they moved to Pawnee, Okla. where they spent the remainder of their lives. Six children were born to them all in Iowa:

1.    Bertha A. who died in infancy
2.    Harriette Elizabeth (Hattie) who married Bert Smith
3.    Mary Eleanor (Nellie) who married Leslie D. Kern
4.    Charles L. who married Clara Brooks
5.    Windom Wayne who married Grace Brooks
6.    L.Bess who married Eugene Schornick

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History of the Barnes, by CLR

     Rebecca Filena (Aunt Lena) married Fred Warner. They moved to Michigan about 1882. I recall some of their children: Genie, Mary, and Charlie.
     Lydia Minerva married James Vargason. They moved to Brown County, Nebraska. Their address was Mariasville. They were parents of 8 children but none of us in Iowa ever saw any of them. I think there were 6 girls and 2 boys.
     Phoebe Anne married George L. Rawson. They lived in Iowa until about 1903 and then moved to Intervale, Wis. Four children came to them: Wallace (Perry, Iowa), Lucia, Ben & Lelia.
     Albert Ross married Mary Warner, a sister of Fred Warner. They lived in Michigan in Antrim Co. Elizabeth Jane married Ed Robinson. They lived and died in Iowa. Three children came to them: Lula, Flossie & Maude. Lula married Ross Hayes and lives in Oelwein, Iowa. Flossie married George Hart and Maude married Marshall Allen. They live in Montevideo, Minn.
     Of all the children of Solon W. & Rebecca Trout Barnes, none are now living in 1942. Only two of the in-laws are living: Geo L. Robinson & Mary Barnes, wife of Uncle Albert.
     I know scores of the 4th generation but it would be burdensome to enumerate them here.
Chas. L. Robbins
May 17, 1942
Sunnyside, Washington


The above words are substantially as C.L. Robbins wrote then in 1916, plus his later changes and additions. Later research may have changed some of the information. Regarding the "stealing of William" discussed above, he actually went to work for his uncles and was never really lost. Minor corrections have been made in spelling and punctuation. Insertions in brackets are mine, Dale Robbins. dale_robbins@hotmail.com.


Map of Solon W. Barnes’ properties from a drawing by Erma Ruth (Barnes) Reynolds:


 The following is from a letter from the Recorder of Fayette County, Iowa 4/12/77 to John Kraemer (recorded by Erma Ruth (Barnes) Reynolds):
Solon W. Barnes
Bought A (40 acres) @ $.75 per acre on Nov. 21, 1854

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     History of the Barnes, by CLR

Bought B (41.02 acres) @ $.75 per acre on June 6, 1855 Bought C & D (80 acres) $1.25 per acre on Nov. 23, 1855 Sold A-B-C (121.02 acres) for $800 to James W. Barnes
on Oct. 25, 1856
Bought back A-B-C for $900 on Dec. 21, 1865
Sold B & N.W. diagonal of C to Phillip & Mary Leahy for $500 on Dec. 21, 1865
Sold A, & D, & S.E. diagonal C to James Kennedy for $950 on Nov. 10, 1866
Solon W. Barnes -- acquired from the government
A -- Certificate #27371-- N.W. 1/4 of S.E. 1/4 Sec. 1, Twp. 92, Range 7, 40 acres
B -- Certificate #32014 -- of the N.W. frl 1/4 of N.E. 1/4 of Sec. 1, Twp. 92, Range 7, 41.02 acres
C&D -- Certificate #35888 -- the S 1/2 of N.E. frl 1/4 -- 80 acres


William F. Barnes lived at West Rutland, Vt. where he was the Town Clerk in 1817. He owned the Columbia Marble Co. This quarry is situated at Humphrey’s Cove – one mile this side of Sutherland Falls. It was worked in 1844 with Wm. Y. Ripley and Wm. F. Barnes and dissolved in 1850 when Ripley (note – of the “Believe It or Not” family) continued sawing marble and that of Barnes of quarrying marble. He worked the quarry for 7 years. Clement and Sons quarry was near the Ripley marble, and was originally Barnes-Clement and Gilmore. These quarries produced what was reputedly the finest marble in New England. [Erma Ruth (Barnes] Reynolds]




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