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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 770~


Oren Barnes


Among the enterprising and successful agriculturists of Fayette county, Iowa, none are more highly respected than the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch. His life has been characterized by consistent and consecutive effort and he has met with a gratifying degree of success, being now numbered among the the representative farmers of Harlan Township for ten years, for now farms in Smithfield township.


Oren Barnes was born December 19, 1841, in Erie county Pennsylvania, and is a son of Calvin and Betsy (VanNatta) Barnes, both of whom were natives of Oneida county, New York, the former born January 5, 1802, and the latter September 2, 1802. They were reared and married in their native county and there the father followed his trade, that of a carpenter. Eventually they moved to Erie county, Pennsylvania, where the father secured four hundred and twenty-four acres of land from the Dutch-Holland Land Company. It was at that time densely covered with the primeval timber, but Mr. Barnes entered upon the task of clearing and cultivating it and there he resided until 1844, when he sold out and went to Belvidere, Illinois. He was there employed at his trade and at farming until 1847, when he went to Chicago and was employed at carpenter work for two years. His wife died there in 1849 and after his bereavement he moved back to Belvidere, where he remained until 1882, when he went to Mosinee, Wisconsin, where his death occurred in 1884. He had married a second time, to Lucretia Marsh, of Chenango county, New York, whose death occurred in Boone county, Illinois. By his union first union he became the father of nine children, who are briefly mentioned as follows: Elida was born October 18, 1827, and is now deceased; Rachael, was born July 16, 1829, is living in Wisconsin; Catherine, born April 16, 1831, now deceased; Eliza, born May 19, 1833; John C., born July 12, 1835, now deceased; Mary, born August 24, 1837, is living in Alameda, California; Hiram was born September 11, 1839, was a member of Company K, Ninety-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil war, and is now a successful farmer near Maynard, Iowa; Oren is the immediate subject of this sketch; Charles, born July 31, 1844, was a member of Company G, Ninety-fifth Regiment Illinois Infantry, and died in the service at Vicksburg.


Oren Barnes was reared under the parental roof and received his education in the public schools. He remained with his father until twenty-six years old, at which time he was married. He then established his own home in Boone County, Illinois, and remained there until 1883, when he came to Fayette county, Iowa, locating on a one-hundred-and-sixty-acre farm in section 18, Smithfield township. To the development and improvement of this place he devoted his attention, raising the place to a high standard of efficiency and production. He continued the operation of this farm until 1899, when he put the place in charge of his son Charles and moved to Maynard, where he now resides. He was industrious, practical and progressive in his methods and achieved distinctive success in his line of work, being numbered among the representative agriculturists of this section of the county. 


On December 31, 1867, Mr. Barnes was united in marriage, at Beloit, Wisconsin, to Eliza J. Miller, a native of Canada and a daughter if Samuel and Harriett (Dana) Miller. Her father was born on Long Island, New York, in 1795, and her mother also was a native of the Empire state. He died in May, 1850.  He was a cooper by trade. Subsequently his widow married Royal Briggs, of Massachusetts, and they located in Illinois, later removing to Kansas, and eventually going back to Bushnell, Illinois, where Mr. Briggs died. His widow died in California in 1901, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. By her union with Mr. Miller she became the mother of twelve children, namely: Lyman and Henry are deceased; Phoebe living in Foster Bar, Yuba county, California; John, Francis and Margaret are deceased; Eliza, wife of the subject of this sketch; Thomas, a resident of Warren county, Illinois, Cornelia, deceased; Lester, of Fresno county, California; two children died in infancy. To Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were born the following children: Hattie L. became the wife of William Hart, Jr., a farmer in Harlan township, and they have two children, Esther and Dorothea; Charles P., who is engaged in the operation of the old home farm in Smithfield township, married Lucy Miller and they have two children, Floyd O. and Harry M.; May E. is the wife of Frank Simpson, a farmer of Center township, this county.


Fraternally, Mr. Barnes is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, holding membership in Lodge No. 510 and the Royal Arch Masons, as well as Chapter No. 503 of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is also affiliated with Post No. 47, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he has served as post commander two terms, being the present incumbent of that position. Mrs. Barnes is a member of the Woman's Relief Corps.


This personal sketch would be incomplete were there failure to make mention of the subject's military record.  In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company G, Ninety-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which rendezvoused at Belvidere, Illinois.  The command was first sent to camp at Rockford, where they were drilled. From there they were sent to Columbus, Kentucky, and then to the camp at Jackson, Tennessee.  They were later ordered to Grand Junction, where they were assigned to General McArthur's division of the Thirteenth Army Corps. Crossing the Tallahatchie river at Abbyville, thence to Young's Point.  They were sent from there to Lake Providence, where they were put to digging ditches. From there they went to Milliken's Bend and on to Hard Times Landing, where the Ninety-fifth Regiment was transferred to General Rosecrans' Army. Crossing over to Grand Gulf, the regiment was marched to Vicksburg, where Mr. Barnes received a severe cut in the arm, which kept him out of active service for some time. The regiment took part in the siege of Vicksburg and then marched under General Sherman to Meridian, Mississippi, from which point they started on the Red River expedition. Capturing Fort DeRussey, they marched to Alexander and Grand Ecore.  They participated in the battle of Pleasant Hill, and then retreated by order of General Banks, the Ninety-fifth acting as rear guard for the army.  Then came a two-days fight at Clouterville, more retreating, and the battle of Yellow Bayou, followed by the evacuation of the Red river country.  The Ninety-Fifth Regiment returned to Vicksburg and from there proceeded to Memphis, where they were assigned to General Sturgis' expedition.  In the battle of Guntown, Mississippi, the Ninety-fifth fell back to Memphis, their experiences at this time being marked by terrible hardships. The company to which the subject belonged took part in the Arkansas expedition and went up the White river to Duvall's Bluff and by rail to Brownsville, Arkansas. Entering Missouri, they went to Cape Girardeau and from there to Jefferson City. The regiment was then ordered to Sedalia for garrison duty and was later sent into camp at Benton Barracks. After a short time there they were sent to reinforce General Thomas at Nashville, making the trip by way of Cairo, Illinois, and up the Ohio and Cumberland rivers. After the engagements at that point, the Ninety-fifth Regiment went into winter quarters at Eastport, Mississippi, where for eight days they were compelled to exist on corn alone. The regiment was later transported by river to New Orleans, and from there to Dauphin Island, by way of Lake Ponchartrain. From there they went to Cedar Point and up the west side of the bay to Mobile, going from the back to Cedar Point. The regiment participated in the capture of Dudley's Landing on Fish river and also assisted in the reduction of Spanish Fort, the key to Mobile.  The regiment was then ordered to Montgomery and from there to Greenville, where they preformed guard duty. Going then to Opelika, they returned again to Montgomery, and from there they were ordered to Camp Butler at Springfield, Illinois, where, on August 16, 1865,  they were honorably discharged. Besides the injury to his arm already referred to, Mr. Barnes was also struck with a spent ball at Vicksburg. His military service was characterized by a faithful performance of every duty to which he was assigned and his record was one of which he has just reason to be proud.







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