Biography - Levi Barnes

LEVI E. BARNES. This gentleman, who is one of the prominent residents of Rockwood, besides conducting a fine farm of ninety-nine acres adjoining the village, is engaged in contracting and building, in company with his son Albert. He is a native of this county, and was born about four miles northeast of Chester, March 31, 1837. He is the son of Benjamin S. and Marcia Aurillia (Tilden) Barnes, natives of North Carolina and Vermont, respectively. The father was a son of William and Maria Barnes, was born March 18, 1807, and came to this county direct from North Carolina in 1829. After his marriage he purchased land near Chester, where our subject was born. Later, the elder Mr. Barnes sold his property and purchased another tract about seven miles from Chester. After residing there for some time he disposed of that place and bought a forty-acre tract in township 7, range 6, which he afterward disposed of, and locating near Chester, there continued to reside until his death, which occurred September 17, 1872.
The mother of our subject, who was the daughter of Stephen B. and Bethia Tilden, was born in Franklin County, Vt., February 4, 1811. Her parents emigrated to Chester in a very early day, when it was known as Smith's Landing, and Illr nois was still a territory. She continued to make this county her home until her death, which occurred at Poland Station June 14, 1852.
The parental family included five children, of whom our subject was the second in order of birth. His childhood days were spent mostly on the home farm, where he attended the subscription schools. While attaining his eighteenth year, Levi left home, and going down into the Cherokee Nation, attended a subscription school there for twenty days, during which time he learned to write, a branch of his education which had been neglected in his previous school experience. After remaining a year among the red men, our subject returned to the bounds of civilization, working one year in Perry County, Mo., after which he boarded a vessel at Rockwood, bound for Montrose, Iowa. In that region he remained three months, being occupied in burning brick. At the end of that time he started for the south. He spent that winter in Council Bend, Ark., where he worked through the winter in the Cyprus brakes, and in the spring returning to Rockwood, employed his time in working near the village until late in the fall, when he again left for the south, going to Pemiscot County, Mo., where he was working at the time of Lincoln's first election. He well remembers that period, as it was as much as his life was worth to speak northern sentiments. Later, young Barnes went further south, to Commerce, Miss., remaining there until late in the spring, after Mississippi had seceded. So bitter was the feeling against Yankees that he had to deny his being from Illinois, claiming Missouri as his home. Returning north, he discovered when at Memphis that he was in possession of South Carolina .State Bank money, which he had to discount at twenty per cent. This he was very glad to do, as it was utterly worthless further north.
On his return to Rockwood, our subject went to work on a farm, where he continued until January, 1862, at which time he went into Missouri, where he was made overseer of the plantation belonging to James Preston. Here lie remained until July 28 of that year, and while there heard the Emancipation Proclamation announced. Mr. Barnes, desiring to take up arms, enlisted in three different regiments, but was as many times rejected, owing to the loss of one eye.
September 4, 1862, Mr. Barnes, of this sketch, was married to Miss Melvina, daughter of Robert and Lovisa (Miller) Moore, the former a native of Tennessee, and the latter of Kentucky. Robert Moore was born June 26, 1796, and died June 8, 1879. His good wife, who was born January 23, 1806, is now deceased, having reached her eighty-ninth year. To Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Barnes were born eight children, all of whom are deceased but U. S. Grant, Albert H. and Hattic A. The others were: Calvin H., Marion E., Lovisa C, Maria A. and Amanda C.
After the close of the war, our subject moved to Fountain Bluff, Jackson County, this state, where he engaged in farming. For five years he served as Justice of the Peace, and three years as School Treasurer. After seven years' residence in Jackson County, he came to Rockwood, where he purchased property and where he h.as since made his home. He is an expert carpenter, and in company with his son Albert turns out some of the finest work of this kind in the county. He has served eight years as Justice of the Peace of Rockwood, and is the present Notary Public. Mr. Barnes is a Republican in politics, and is a local leader in his party. In addition to his farm already spoken of, he owns seventeen lots in Rockwood, and is looked upon as one of the well-to-do men of the locality.

Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 439.

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