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April 10, 2018

1898 First Record of the Barnetts in Johnson County (Robert, Lee, William, Sam, Uel, James, Helen, Clark, Mike, Helen, Viola, Wayne, and Sue)

by: Peggy Nuckles
Thanks to Sue Barnett Volesky and Betty Barnett O'Neal for additional information about the family. The descendants of Absolom Davis Barnett was researched by Mike Barnett.

The First Generation: Absolom and Mary

Absolom Davis Barnett, the father of James Monroe Barnett was born Feb. 15, 1818 in Kentucky and  came to Missouri about 1839 or 1840 where he settled in Lafayette county near Odessa. He married Mary Margaret Burney February 10, 1846.  At the time of the excited rush to the gold fields in California in 1849, Absolom D. Barnett made an overland trip to that state, going across the plains and mountains and returning by way of the Isthmus of Panama across which he walked. In New Orleans, he had a gold nugget of unusual size, which he displayed to a group of men and some person in the crowd kept it. From New Orleans he went to St. Louis, thence to Lexington and then back to the farm in Lafayette County; no richer materially than when he had left.  Absolom named many of their children after his political heros. During the Civil War, the Barnetts were very loyal to the Confederacy which is reflected by some of the names.  He died on March 16, 1879, and was buried in the cemetery at Mount Hope. The majority of the first Barnetts in Missouri are buried at Mt. Tabor Cemetery in southern Lafayette County.

The Second Generation: James M. Barnett 

James Monroe Barnett was born on December 29, 1846 in Lafayette County, Missouri, the oldest of fourteen children born to Absolom Davis Barnett.  James M. Barnett spent his entire life, practically, in Lafayette County. He enlisted in the Civil War and served throughout the conflict with “Fighting Joe” Shelby and General Price. He was only seventeen years of age at the time of his enlistment. After the war closed, he returned to the farm and the remainder of his life was spent in the pursuits of farming and stock raising. In the early 1870s, he farmed in Vernon and Cass Counties for several years. He died at the homestead on November 29, 1881. 

Esculania (Evans) Barnett was born in 1856 in Lafayette County, a daughter of Levi and Narcissus (Christian) Evans, who came to Missouri from Kentucky, where they had resided near Bowling Green.  She died on March 15 1908. Both are buried at Mt. Tabor Cemetery.

The Third Generation: Five Brothers Robert, Lee, William, Sam and J.J. Barnett

To James Monroe and Esculania were born five sons: Lee;  Robert Price, who around 1918 disposed of his interests in the home place in Lafayette County, selling to his brother, Samuel Jefferson;  William Franklin who resided on a farm near Mt. Tabor Church; Samuel Jefferson, the proprietor of the Barnett homestead in Lafayette County; and Dr. James Joseph, a prominent dentist of Joplin, Missouri. 

Brothers, Robert, Lee, William, and Sam Barnett lived in Johnson and Lafayette Counties in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Some of their descendants still live in Johnson County

Robert and Fannie Barnett lived in Robins (now Hazel Hill) in Johnson County in 1898 . Robert's brother, Lee and his wife also lived in Robins. Sam lived in Johnson County. William farmed in Lafayette County near Odessa.

Robert and Fannie Barnett wedding photo.
Robert Price (Note he was named after two Confederate generals) was the father of James, Uel, Lee, Audrey and L. Price (Lee Price) Barnett. Robert and Fannie moved to Chilhowee in 1917 and to Creighton, Cass County, Mo in 1923.
This picture of Fanny Barnett was taken at her home in Warrensburg next door to Buddy Baker

After her husband died, Fannie Barnett moved to Warrensburg. Fanny Barnett was Buddy Baker's next door neighbor.  Buddy: "Fannie was a pretty good old girl.  She took care of her mentally-challenged daughter, Lee, when they lived there.  I didn't know them well, because they sort of stayed to themselves. They were very frugal.  Fannie told me once that they would split an egg for breakfast. Fannie would ask me to do some repair work on their house."
Fannie died in 1961.

Lee Barnett

Lee Barnett, was born in 1872 in Washington township, Lafayette county, son of James Monroe and Esculenia (Evans) Barnett.

He received a good common-school education in the public schools of Lafayette County, after which he attended the Warrensburg State Normal School for one year. Until he was twenty-six years of age, he remained on the home farm engaged in the work of general farming and stock raising. In 1898, he purchased a farm of one hundred sixty acres of land located fifteen miles northwest of Warrensburg and eleven miles from Mayviewl. Mr. Barnett built a splendidly equipped barn and improved the residence, a home of unusually neat appearance and installed a windmill, which pumped water from a well two hundred fifty feet in depth. The Barnett farm was exceedingly well watered, having four wells and an excellent cistern. Mr. Barnett, was justly proud of the woven wire fencing enclosing his place, having used more than six hundred forty rods of four-foot wire. Twenty-five acres of the farm were in wheat, twenty-five acres in oats, forty acres in corn and the balance in pasture. Mr. Barnett kept from twenty to twenty-five head of horses, several mules, from twelve to fifteen head of cattle and from sixty to one hundred head of hogs.  He had a registered Shorthorn male at the head of the herd of cattle. 

In 1905, he and Gertrude West were united in marriage.  Mrs. Barnett was a daughter of Henry C. and Julia A. (Poole West of Lafayette county, one of Missouri's most highly respected, prominent families.  The father of Henry C. West was one of the honored pioneers of that county and Ephraim Pool.

Although they were in their 40s when The History of Johnson County was published in 1918 Ewing Cockrell described them as "...splendid and very popular young people who are enthusiastically working hard to improve their nice country place. No citizens in Johnson county are more deserving of success and are more highly esteemed." (From the History of Johnson County by Ewing Cockrell.)

Dr. James Joseph Barnett was a dentist. His nephew, Clark lived in Joplin with J.J.'s  family part of a summer and had dental work.  

The Fourth Generation: James, Uel, and Clark Barnett

James H. (Jimmie) Barnett

Uel Barnett

Uel Eskie Barnett was the son of R.P. Barnett.  He was named after his grandmother, Esculania, but was usually called Barney.  He attended Farmers School.

A page from Farmers High School's Product Show program lists Uel's uncle, Sam Barnett, as a contributor.
Farmer's High School
Robert and Fannie were back in the Robins area by the 1930s.  Their son, Uel, graduated from Farmers High School in 1931.  Uel's future wife, Helen Roach was in the same class.
Helen (Roach) and Uel Barnett

Clark Barnett (William's son, Uel's cousin)
This is William Barnett

This is Clark and Viola

Clark Jefferson Barnett and Viola Elizabeth McFerrin were raised on adjoining farms in Lafayette County near Odessa. They were married on October 13, 1936 at the home of her uncle, Leo McFerrin, Odessa.  They were married in a double ceremony with the bride's sister, Mildred, and Leroy fisher who made their home in Warrensburg.

After farming in Lafayette County, the Barnetts moved to a farm west of Warrensburg in 1937. In 1942, they joined Clark's cousin Uel, buying adjoining farms from Mac Christopher.
An aerial view of the Barnett Farms

The Fifth Generation: Sue, Wayne, Mike, and Betty

Sue and Wayne Barnett are the children of Uel and Helen (Roach) Barnett.  Mike and Betty are the children of Clark and Viola.

According to Sue Volesky, the baby picture of her below was NOT the one of which her mother, Helen, requested a dozen. It was, however, only negative left in  the envelope.

Viola Barnett worked at the Keith Burr studio. The young fellow below is Mike Barnett, Clark and Viola's son. Their oldest child Betty (now Betty O'neal) was about 8 years older than Mike.  (Some of the negatives in the "Simmon's Studio Collection" are in envelopes from other Studios.  They were , however, all found in the old Simmons Studio and donated to the Historical Society by Ben Pierce who found them when he renovated the building) 

Mike Barnett

Mike Barnett

Below are pictures of Wayne Barnett developed from negatives found in a Simmons Studio envelope dated 1947.
Wayne Barnett

Below are pictures of Wayne and Sue Barnett taken in 1950.

Wayne and Sue Barnett

Sue and Wayne grew up in this house on the old Barnett farm.

After their children moved away, empty-nesters, Uel and Helen had the house downsized.  Carpenters built the new roof inside the house before removing the upper story.

Below is the obituary of Mrs. Lee Barnett from the second generation. Even in death she had no name other than the one her husband gave her.

Her husband, Lee Barnett,  died in 1962.

Uel Wayne Barnett goes by his middle name. He went to Long Prarie School before they consolidated with Crestridge.

Sue Barnett Volensky,  the daughter of Uel and Helen (Roach) Barnett, went to grade school in Centerview. She went to high school in Warrensburg.  After graduating from CMSU she went to Brighten, Colorado to teach.  There she met Frank Volensky from North Dakota.  They moved back to the Warrensburg area to take over her parents' farm. and she taught at Crestridge.   She is currently a substitute aquasize teacher at the Community Center.

Sue (Barnett) Volesky and Betty (Barnett) O'Neal meet at the Historical Society August 2019 to discuss family photos.
Barnett Geneology

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