By Michelle Harder

GEORGE W. BARNES was born in 1797 in Cayuga County, N.Y. He removed to Livingston Co. in 1820 where he engaged in farming. He died 5-3-1861 and is buried in Hunts Hollow Cemetery, Portage Twp., Livingston Co. N.Y. His wife was Electa (Slater) Barnes who was the daughter of Eli and Ruth Slater. She was born in 1799 at Greene Co., N.Y.


b. 10-22-1822

m. 8-1840 moved to Wisconsin 1845

Wife--Mary Ann Wrisley

b. 12-24-1824 in Michigan


A. John Vandalia Barnes

b. 6-30-1842

m. Rebecca Winter

B. William Barnes

b. 5-28-1847

d. infancy

C. Betsey Barnes

b. 5-28-1848

m. Fred Robinson, Wm Pike

D. Abbey Jane Barnes

b. 8-10-1850

d. infancy

E. Mary Ella Barnes

b. 10-10-1854

m. Joseph Winter

F. Electa Jane Barnes

b. 2-7-1858

m. August Ableiter


b. 1828

d. 2-1-1851 b. Hunt’s Hollow - single


b. 1833

m. John Rowell (b. 1816)

A. Percie Rowell


m. Gardner, raised Laura Robinson

B. Gladys Rowell



b. 1833

m. Benjamin Bringham (b. 1828)


b. 1835

d. Hunts – funeral 6-191894

first wife Nora (?)

b. 1840 Ireland

Moved to Livingston Co., NY 1852

A. Eli Barnes

b. 10-1855

m. Elizabeth Carnes (b. 11-1859)

  1. Alice Barnes

b. 2-1822


  2. Harry Barnes

b. 1-1844


  3. Sybil Barnes

b. 1885

m. Jack Shields (b. 1905 Pittsburg)

  4. Gladys Barnes

b. 7-1899


B. Winship Barnes

b. 1859

married – no information

  1. Carrie Barnes


  2. Mayme Barnes


C. Alice Barnes


m. Earnest Symes – store in Dalton

  1. Harry Symes


m. Schwartz

  2. Mary Symes


single – school teacher

D. C.L. (Tim) Barnes

b. 1868


E. Clarence Elton Barnes

b. 10-1872

m. Katherine Elizabeth Tracy (b.4-1847)

  1. Clarence Tracy Barnes

b. 3-5-1894

m. 10-13-1937 Ruby Smith (B. 2-2-1905)

  2. Mildred Barnes

b. 8-22-1896

m. Max Thayer

  3. Harriet Barnes

b. 12-5-1898

m. Ivan Boss

    a. Beverly Boss

b. 12-5-1925

m. Manusco

    b. Ivan Boss


    c. Doc Boss


  4. Howard Barnes

b. 11-9-1901

married – no children

  5. Earl Barnes

b. 1-21-1904

married – no children

F. Howard R. Barnes

b. 1875

d. 7-24-1897 – telegraph operator in Buffalo

Second wife of Charles Barnes – Jane/Jennie (?) Barnes


She married a Redmond after Charles died

A. Charles M. Barnes

b. 12-1882


B. Susan M. Barnes

b. 3-1886

m. James Hover

C. Nora E. Barnes

b. 5-1889



JOHN BARNS Sr. born about 1710 Armagh County Ireland came to America in

1760 and to New Perth (Salem) 1769. Killed by Indians during Revolutionary War.


b. Armagh County Ireland

m. Elizabeth Hamilton, farmed near Salem, d. 1804 in Cincinnati, Ohio

A. John Barns III


settled in Old Clifton, near Xenia, Ohio

B. Thomas Barns

b. 1763

d. 1817 helped bury dead in Revolutionary War

C. Ann Barns

b. 1766, d. 1847

m. Ried Moved from Ohio to Kentucky

D. Alexander Barns

b. 1770, d. 1830

was in War of 1812

E. William Barns


moved to Kentucky, m. Susan Fowler

F. James Barns

b. 1778, d. 1838

was in War of 1812

G. David Barns

b. 2-21-1785, d. 2-18-1849 Kentucky


H. Elizabeth Barnes

b. 2-21-1785

twin of David m. Barnett


b. about 1737, Armagh County Ireland

lived in Granville N.Y.

A. Robert Barns

b. about 1765

lived in South Granville N.Y.

  1. Robert Barns

b. about 1785

2 sons, 3 daughters

  2. Richard Barns

b. about 1787

m. Mehitable Stanley

    a. Amanda Barns

b. May 1812

m. Lyman Ellsworth, lived in Canton

    b. Joseph L. Barns

b. 1800 d. 11-16-1871

m. Salome Hutchinson, ran a store in Canton N.Y.

    c. John L. Barns

b. 1804 Granville, d. 9-25-1887 Prescott WI


    d. Delia Barns

b. 1798

m. Roswell Pettibone a Presbyterian clergy

    e. Caornelia L. Barns


m. 1854 Charles Champlin

B. James Barns Jr.

b. about 1768

Lived by James Sr. in Granville and had 3 sons, 2 daughters pr. Father of James R. Barns

C. Chauncy Barns

b. about 1770


  1. William Barns


4 sons, 1 daughter

  2. Jehial Barns


3 sons


b. abt. 1772 Granville

m. daughter of Gideon Allen, moved to Cayuga County, N.Y. with Allen families 4 sons, 4 daughters


b. 1797

m. Electa Slater


b. 1822 Hunts N.Y.

m. Mary Ann Wrisley

    b. Hiram Barnes

b. 1828


    c. Mary Barnes

b. 1831

m. John Rowell

    d. Betsy Barnes

b. 1833

m. Benjamin Bringham

    e. Charles Barnes

b. 1835

m1. Nora (from Ireland)



Years before this project was begun I remember that my grandfather, Charles Allen Barnes said that our family came from Scotland, and that the name used to be spelled differently. There are also evidences that the family once lived in Ulster. For on St. Patrick’s Day, he always wore orange. I still have an old phonograph record of his which came from Ireland and had a lyric that went something like this: "you can bet it takes the Irish to bet the Dutch. What the Irish can’t accomplish don’t amount to much; while the English hid their heads, sure the Irish fought and bled! You can bet it takes the Irish to beat the Dutch!" The Barnes family also had red hair. Yet another lead in the story which is to come lies in my grandfather’s middle name: "Allen". The two families were related and moved together across New York into Wisconsin.

Since out story begins in Scotland, a bit of historical background should prove helpful. Scotland was called Iberia by the Romans. Its people were a tribe of Picts who were also called Iberians. About 500 A.D. a tribe of Celts who were called Scots from Northern Ireland invaded Scotland, and by the year 844 A.D. their leader Kenneth McAlpin became King of Scotland.

When we think of Scotland today we usually think of the hill tribes of northern and southern Scotland who lived in Clans under the rule of the tribal chieftain. Each of these tribes was known by a Tartan or "plaid". In the 1800’s this custom became popular and many other families created their "plaid". However, these later designs have little or no historical value.

Today, two thirds of Scotland’s population lives in the central lowlands, a region which lies between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This area contains Scotland’s best farm lands and minerals. Today, 76 of 100 residents of this area make their living by manufacture and trade. Our Barns family comes form this area.

The Barns name developed from a Celtic word, "bairn" which means "Noble Child". The names of Burns and Byrne also come from the same root. There are, of course, many more families who spell their names Barnes, with the "e" in America. This is an English name which first came to America through John Barnes, a passenger on the "Speedwell". The name with the "e" probably came from France to England, for a William LeBarne is recorded on the roll of the Battle Abby. This means that there is probably no common beginning between the two spellings of the name.

King James of England, who is best remembered for the Authorized King James Version of the Bible, was born in Scotland. When the great Queen Elizabeth I died, James of Scotland became here successor. He was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. But English rule over Ireland had never been a simple matter. The religious situation only made things worse. England had formed its own independent Church. In Scotland the official church was Presbyterian. Ireland, on the other hand was strongly Roman Catholic. So, in order to promote English influence in Ireland, James I sent many Scots to Northern Ireland to form colonies between the years 1609 and 1611. Our Barns family was among these colonists. In the 1700’s many of these came to America to seek their fortunes. But this is getting ahead of our story.

There are few records existing of those first years in Ulster, but the Hearth Money Roll of 1664 shows two Barns families living in Armagh. A John Barns in Lurgan town and a Sargent Barnes in Charlemont town. This report was a kind of early census since each dwelling was taxed according to the number of fireplaces.

As we search closer to the year 1760 when our Barns family left for America, we find some unfortunate gaps in the records. The Poll tax records for Armaugh County of 1750 are missing. So, we have to look at the records of 1770 to see where Barns families still remain. This was a report for Armagh City alone. In 1820 there were only six parishes in Armagh with the surname: the three spelled without the "e" were Armagh City, Derrynoose, and Ballymmore: the three with the "e" included were Grange, Ballyrally and Killevy. None of these six parishes’ records go back to the days when our family lived there.

Looking closer at the report for Armagh City in 1770 we find that there were two Barns families. A Robert Barns lived on Castle Street, who was an organist in the Established Church (of Ireland). He had a wife, one daughter; one man servant and one maid servant. There was also a Widow Barns who lived on Abby Street, next to two ministers. She was a sextoness. Her family consisted of three sons and two daughters. She also belonged to the Church of Ireland. There is the possibility that these were relatives who remained behind, but no proof whatever is available. The Ulster Historical Foundation studied our family in great detail with now definite proof, so further research would offer little hope for more information.

Our ancestor, John Barns Sr. came to America from Armagh County, Ireland in 1760. he settled first near New York City, then lived in Albany County for a short time, and arrived in New Perth (which is now called Salem) New York in 1769. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately, the records of this church burned in 1840 so a great deal of information has been lost here. The information which I do have comes from the Washington county N.Y. history which was written by William H. Hill, pages 354 and 391. This John Barns Sr. was killed by a band of Indians during the Revolutionary War. The event is referred to as the "Allen Family Massacre". We are referred to two more books: Old Fort Edward also by Hill and a 31 page book titled: Reminisces of the Revolution or LeLoup’s Bloody Trail from Salem to Fort Edward. (Utica 1839)

The County History has considerable information about a son, John Barns Jr., for he became quite prominent around Salem and rose to the rank of Captain during the Revolutionary War. He was an officer of troops raised in Salem and served in the Burgoyne Campaign. He was born in Armagh County Northern Ireland in 1735. John owned a farm of 179 acres located 2 ½ miles west of Salem. He removed to Washington County, Pennsylvania, and by 1790 when the first U.S. Census was taken, he had moved on down the Ohio River to the present site of Cincinnati where he died in 1804. More about his descendants can be found in a book compiled by two of his descendants: Rev. J.A. Barns D.D. and Dr. Milford E. Barns.

Our ancestor, James Barns was a brother of Captain John Barns, and also lived in the Salem area. The baptisms of his children undoubtedly occurred in the Presbyterian Church, but are no longer available due to the fire of 1840. When the first U.S. Census was taken in 1790 we find him living in Granville, which is located about twenty miles north of Salem. A son James Jr. was living in the very next dwelling, while sons Robert and Chauncey lived nearby. James Sr. still had three sons living at home, one of whom was our ancestor, Joseph Barns.

A couple of notes for researchers who may be checking my sources. The Washington County History speaks of a Richard Barns "who was an early Pioneer of South Granville". This might lead one to believe that he was older that the James I have been speaking of. The history says that this Richard had a son James who built a house in Granville. Actually this person was not an early pioneer at all, for he was a grandson of the James who came from Ireland, and his son James would be a great-grandson. Also beware of a Barnes family from Windham County, Connecticut. They arrived inn Northern Cayuga County at about the same time that our James arrived in the south. And two members of that family are reported living in North Granville for a time. They are not related.

I must introduce you to another family who is very much a part of our story. The 1790 census shows a Gideon Allen living in Granville. Gideon was a cousin of Ethan Allen, leader of the "Green Mountain Boys" who fought for freedom during the Revolutionary War. Gideon Allen was the father of Justin Allen and the grandfather of Cyrus Allen. This is significant, for we will meet these persons later. And, incidentally, it was through this Allen family that I was able to track our family back to Washington County. Successive generations of the Barns and Allen families lived near one another, and made moves at the same time as they moved westward to Cayuga and Livingston Counties in New York, and later, to Wisconsin.

In 1795 the Allen families and our Joseph Barns who married the daughter of Gideon Allen, moved to the southern part of Scipio Township in Cayuga County, New York. Other Barns families arrived in Cayuga County at about the same time. Many of them moved on, some remained. And, I have studied them enough to be able to say confidently that none of them were related to our family. Our Joseph traveled with the Allen family and was the only member of our family to have come to that area.

The "Cayuga County History" takes over where the Washington County history left off, and supplies us with considerable information about our family. We find that in 1799 Joseph Barns joined the Scipio Masonic Lodge, No. 58 located at Aurora. Joining at the same time was Elisha Durkee, the father-in-law of Cyrus Allen. Elisha, who farmed one fourth mile north of Bolt’s Corners, was one of the early settlers in the county and his oldest daughter, Betsy, was the first white child born in Cayuga County. We may forget that each move westward put our family once more on the frontier of white settlement. It was Amanda, the daughter of Elisha Durkee who became the wife of Cyrus Allen.

The County History also says that "Joseph Barns and a partner, Melvin Brown opened the first general store in the Village of Sherwood about 1808. They did business for about two years and also carried on a potash business and pad in goods for ashes." Wood ashes were used for making soap and lye.

Joseph Barns had four sons and four daughters. Unfortunately, their names are not mentioned in the History and I have not been able to locate them. Joseph continued to live in the same portion of Cayuga County until 1830 and probably until his death. He is recorded in each census from 1800 to 1830. In that last report he still had one daughter at home. A new township was formed out of the southern part of Scipio township which makes it appear as if he had moved to Venice township. Whether or not he died or moved on before 1840 is not known.

His oldest son, George W. Barnes was born in 1797 in Cayuga County. Around 1819 George married Electa Slater, the daughter of Eli and Ruth Slater. Electa was born in Greene County, New York and her parents were both born in Connecticut. Another Slater family, apparently a brother of Eli also showed up in Livingston County and figures later in our story. This was John Slater who was 13 years older than Eli. His children were born in Dutchess County.

Soon after the marriage of George W. Barnes and Electa Slater, they moved to the village of Hunt in what is now Livingston County, New York. The history of the townships of Nunda and Portage says "George W. Barnes, C(yrus) Allen and Eli Slater, all related, moved to this area at an early date." That date was 1819. George and Electa lived with her parents, the Slaters, until building a house in Hunt in 1823. This house was sold the following year and the two families apparently continued to live together. The Livingston County history suggests that quite a few other families had come there from Cayuga County.

Before leaving this part of the story it might be noted that a James R. Barnes, who was born in Washington County showed up living near George and Electa in 1855. Nothing more is known of him, but he was apparently a son of James Barns Jr. of Granville, N.Y.


The story on the preceding pages started with little more than the fact that our family came to Wisconsin from around Hunt, N.Y. I think many people for their help in putting that part of the story together. The County Historians: Bill Greene of Allegheny County; M. Patricia Schaap of Livingston County; and Mrs. Byron Thompson of Hunt. Also Barnes descendants; Beverly Manusco, a daughter of Hattie Barnes and Tracy Barnes of Lemon Grove, California. With their combined help I have compiled the descendants of George W. and Electa (Slater) Barnes.

The next step backwards was to answer the question "where did they come from?" It seems the pattern was pretty much the same in each generation. A son would marry and immediately leave the area before being recorded in the census. Before 1850 only heads of households are named. Three pieces of information led me to Cayuga County. Later census reports gave Cayuga County as the place of birth; the county history said many residents came form Cayuga County, and the Nunda-Portage history names Slaters, Allens and Barnes as relatives. The link with the Allen family proved even more valuable for the next step.

Looking at the Barnes family in Cayuga County I found that there were a great many to choose from. And as I tracked down each one, I became quite and authority on Barnes families. I found a large group in the north of the County who had come form Windham County, Connecticut. Another Barnes came to the County on foot, alone, but his children had similar names to our family. I finally found Joseph Barnes living in Scipio township, away form the other Barnes families. It was through the Allens that I determined that this was the right person. Cyrus Allen’s family lived nearby as did his wife’s family. It later proved that Joseph had married an Aunt to Cyrus. Once the name was determined it proved that there was quite a little information on Joseph Barnes in the County History. I determined that Joseph had arrived with the Allen family and was not related to any other Barnes family in the county.

Now for the next step. The Cayuga County History revealed that the Allens had come from Washington County, N.Y. So looking in the 1790 census I found that there were very few. The turning to the Barns name I found quite a cluster of them living on the eastern edge of the county. I realized that the 1800 census of Cayuga County, which listed them as Barns was not a mistake, but the original forms of the name.

Looking through the first census of the United States, that of 1790, I found not only a group of Barns families in Granville township, but the specific names of the Allens which I sought! A sorting out of these families determined that the father of our Joseph was James Barns.

It was a lucky accident that, as I read the Washington County History on the town of New Perth which is now Salem, I read of a Captain James Barns, who had been born in Armagh County, Northern Ireland in 1735. Even more exiting was that his father, John Barns Sr. also had come at that time and had been killed in an Indian massacre during the Revolutionary War. This explained hw the several Barns families came about, and showed our James Barns to be another son of John Barns Sr. There was at least one more brother form Ireland who must have died by 1790 for his children all had Biblical names, and formed another cluster in another township.

So the trail led to Armagh County, Northern Ireland, and the Ulster Historical Foundation helped greatly with the research in that country. Finally, it is just general history which told of the colonization of Scotland our family came from.

Although gaps remain, I am amazed at what has been found. Even frontier families leave their tracks behind them and 200 years later they can still be followed.

Kenneth B. Barnes



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