Rhode Island Reading Room
These documents are made available free to the public by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project

History  of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920



p. 51 - 53:

JONATHAN VARIAN BARNES  --  At his home at Greenville avenue, in the town of Johnston, Rhode Island, Mr. Barnes is enjoying the material results of a life of industry and usefulness, and happy in the respect and esteem of his community he can review his life with the satisfaction of a man who has successfully solved many of life's problems.  The history of this branch of the Barnes family began in New England with Thomas Barnes, who was in Swansea, Massachusetts, in 1669, and was a proprietor of Rehoboth, in 1689, although not then living there.  He was a man of piety, and in 1693 was ordained pastor of the Second Baptist Church, continuing as pastor of that church until his death, June 8, 1706.  His first wife, Prudence, was the mother of all his children, his second, whom he married November 12, 1694, being a widow, Mrs. Elizabeth King.

(II)  Peter Barnes, son of Thomas and Prudence Barnes, was born June 1, 1682, and died in 1757.  He was a carpenter by trade, and for some years followed his trade in Providence, but later located in Smithfield, Rhode Island, on land which his father had bought from the Indians, the original deed which is preserved in the Barnes family bearing date, March 27, 1659. Some of this old Indian purchase is yet owned in the Barnes family, and the old house now standing, north of the the one-time home of Orrin Barnes, is believed to have been built by Peter Barnes, and rebuilt by his son, Captain Enoch Barnes.  In 1708 Peter Barnes was made a freeman, and prior to his death he divided his large estate into three farms, giving one to each of his sons.  He continued to reside at his Smithfield home until his death, and then was buried in the private family cemetery upon the farm.  He married, September 29, 1716, Margaret Borden, daughter of Jonathan and Margaret (Angell) Whipple, and widow of Joseph Borden.  They were the parents of: Nathan, died unmarried; Enoch, of further mention; Lydia; and John, who moved to Connecticut.

(III)  Captain Enoch Barnes, son of Peter and Margaret (Borden) Barnes, was born at the homestead in Smithfield, Rhode Island, August 18, 1721, there always resided, receiving a farm from his father as a gift.  While he was a prosperous farmer and agriculturist, he was one of the foremost men of his community in public life and eminently religious.  He was for a long time a justice of the peace, and so deep was his interest in religious matters that prior to the building of a church in the locality he gave the use of his house for purposes of worship.  He married, February 23, 1751, Alice Brown.

(IV)  Colonel Levi Barnes, only son of Captain Enoch and Alice (Brown) Barnes, was born at the old homestead in Smithfield, Rhode Island, March 1, 1753, and became one of the most important men of his town. He succeeded his father in the ownership of the old farm, and was also head of a prosperous coopering business.  To each of his three sons he gave a well-stocked farm, and to each of his six daughters $500 in cash, these gifts only being possible to a man of large means, and bears out the statement that he was one of the wealthiest men of his town.  He served as a private in the Revolutionary War, in the defense of Newport, and it is related that his father, Captain Enoch Barnes, although then an old man, came to Newport and served as his son's substitute for a time. After the war he became prominent in the State Militia, and on May 12, 1788, was commissioned major of the second regiment, Providence County Militia, by Governor John Collins.  Later he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the same regiment by Governor Arthur Fenner, the date, May 10, 1790, both of these commissions being preserved in the family.  Like his father, he was a very religious man, and his home was often thrown open for public worship. He built a school house near his home for the use of his and the neighbors' children, that schoolhouse now being used as a dwelling. When the Powder Mill turnpike was built he donated one mile of right of way through his land, stipulating, however, that his posterity should travel the turnpike toll free as long as they owned and occupied the land.  He was known far and near, but took little part in political affairs, preferring to serve his community as a private citizen.

Colonel Barnes married, July 2, 1775, Hannah Waterman, who survived him, a daughter of Resolved Waterman, of Johnston, Rhode Island.  They were the parents of nine children:  Jonathan, of further mention; Levi, born May 13, 1792, and was buried on his farm, he married Joanna Payne; Nathan, died unmarried; Nancy, married Annanias Mowry, and settled on a farm in what is now North Smithfield; Deborah, married William Mowry, and also resided in North Smithfield; Hannah, married (first) David Warren, (second) Dennis Balton, and lived in North Smithfield; Elsa, married Asa Manning, of Smithfield; Mercy, married Arnold Mowry, of North Smithfield; Mary, married Martin Tefft and lived in North Smithfield.

(V) Jonathan Barnes, eldest son of Colonel Levi and Hannah (Waterman) Barnes, was born at the homestead in Smithfield, and there lived all his life, receiving from his father the farm given by his great-grandfather, Peter Barnes, to his son Nathan.  He married Nancy Lovell, and was succeeded by his son, Jonathan (2) Barnes.

(VI)  Jonathan (2) Barnes, son of Jonathan (1) and Nancy (Lovell) Barnes, was born at the Smithfield homestead, February 11, 1821, and resided there until about forty years of age, then settled at Graniteville, Rhode Island. There he followed his trade, stone cutter, establishing in business for himself, so continuing for many years, when he engaged in dairying, which he continued until his death, August 3, 1894, at the age of seventy-three years.  He was a Republican in politics, and took an active part in town affairs, serving in different offices, including that of representative to the General Assembly.  He was a member of the Episcopal church, and in a public-spirited way ardent in all that affected the welfare of his community.  He married Joanna E. Staples, of Smithfield, a sister of Arnold Staples, and a daughter of Welcome and Phoebe (Eddy) Staples. Welcome Staples, a ship carpenter, died in New York, his widow surviving him until April 7, 1864, dying in her sixty-fourth year.  She was buried in a private graveyard in the town of Smithfield, Rhode Island, about midway between Centerdale and Enfield.  Mrs. Joanne E. Barnes died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Smith, in Johnston, Rhode Island, May 10, 1896. Jonathan and Joanna E. Barnes were the parents of five children: 1.  Lucinda R., the deceased widow of Jarvis Smith; she died March 16, 1917, at the age of 73 years.  2.  Horace Arnold, died October 9, 1907; he and his wife, who was Adjarine Manchester, were parents of six children, three of whom survive. 3.  Lucius, died in infancy. 4.  Jonathan Varian, of further mention.  5. Maria Amanda, married (first) Charles Cram, (second) George Cram, and now resides in Manton, Rhode Island.  By her first marriage Mrs. Cram had two children:  Irene Bertha, married Walter Howard Woodmansie and Lizzie Iona, now deceased.

(VII)  Jonathan Varian Barnes, youngest son of Jonathan (2) and Joanna E. (Staples) Barnes, was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island, April 4, 1856.  He was educated in the public school of Johnston, and at Jencks Mowry's Academy, and after finishing his studies began business life as his father's assistant in the milk business, father and son conducting the business until the former's death, in 1894, after a connection of thirty years with the milk business.  From that year, 1894, Jonathan V. Barnes became sole owner of the business and until October 1, 1917, conducted a profitable milk and dairy business, giving it his close, personal management. In 1895 he built his present house and otherwise improved a part of the old Manton farm, the same year occupying the home on Greenville avenue, which has since been their home.  Mr. Barnes, now retired, having sold his business in 1917, reviews a business life as a milk dealer covering a period of forty-seven years, beginning in 1870 as a youth of fourteen years.  Honorable and just in all his dealings, he retired with the respect of every man with whom he had come in business contact.

A Republican in politics, Mr. Barnes has given his town loyal service, and has held about every town office.  He has served as a member of the Town Council and president of that body for three years; member of the school committee for six years; police constable for twenty years; and during the years 1913-14, represented Johnston in the Rhode Island General Assembly. Public-spirited and progressive, he has always stood for all that was best in local government, and numbers his friends everywhere. His public service has been of value to his town and there is no diminishing of his interest and public spirit.

He married, December 16, 1874, Anna E. Matthewson, born April 21, 1852, daughter of James Olney Matthewson, whose career is recorded elsewhere in the work in connection with that of his son, Byron Matthewson.  Mr. and Mrs. Barnes are the parents of seven children:  1.  Walter Varian, born March 13, 1876; now engaged in the drug business in Providence; he married Stella Tyas.  2.  Nettie Josephine, born August 13, 1877; a graduate of State Normal School; married August 13, 1907, Professor Frank Arthur Burr, of Cornell University; children:  Edith Barnes and Evelyn Josephine Burr.  3. Anna Louise, born August 19, 1878, resides at home.  4.  Lucius Irving, born January 4, 1880; married (first), Grace Carpenter, who died February 9, 1915, leaving four children, Kenneth, Ruth, Charles Henry and Estella; Lucius I. married (second) Amey Sutcliffe, of Scituate, October 11, 1916, and now resides in Providence. 5.  Nelson Sweet, born October 8, 1882, died February 5, 1894. 6.  Edith Evelyn, born July 9, 1886; married John J. Dolan, of Auburn, Rhode Island, and has a son, John J. (2).  7. Ethel Sweet, born January 18, 1897, resides at home.

Greenville Cemetery, Smith St., Greenville, Smithfield, RI (SM045)
Scott O. Barnes 1868 - 1937
His wife
Allie B. Mowry 1871 - 1963
Their Sons
Albert E. Barnes 1894 - 1894
Walter S. Barnes 1909 - 1931
Albert E. Barnes  1902 - 1935
Jonathan V. Barnes 1856 - 1932
His wife Anne Eliza 1852 - 1917
Their son Nelson Sweet
1882 - 1894
Daughter Annie Louise
1878 - 1958
Jonathan Barnes 1821 - 1894
His wife Joanna E. 1821 - 1896
John F. Fassel 1889 - 1972
His wife Ethel S. Barnes 1897 - 1970
A. Jarvis Smith
Feb. 7, 1836 - Aug. 17, 1912
Lucinda R. Barnes, wife of A. Jarvis Smith
Oct. 4, 1843 - March 16, 1917
George A. Cram 1856 - 1941
His wife Amanda Barnes
1859 - 1939

Also see Barnes in Smithfield Historical Cemetery #47

Continued


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd


Mail e-mail