BARNES, JOHN, who has been a resident of Springfield for more than a quarter of a century, has been connected with mining operations most of his active life. He is a native of Harrington, Cumberland County, England, born January 5, 1850, a son of William and Annie (Shepley) Barnes, natives of the same place, the father born in 1815 and the mother in 1820. The father was an ocean sailor and he and his wife died in England, he in 1890 and she in 1869. For several generations the Barnes family had followed the sea, the grandfather of John Barnes, also named John, and the great-grandfather, who bore the same Christian name, being sailors, and the last mentioned later becoming a fisherman and living to the advanced age of one hundred years.
Six children were born to William and Annie Barnes, of whom John was the oldest, the other five being: Martha, wife of Richard Hall, of England; Isabel, wife of William Beel, a wealthy farmer of Wyoming; Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Horton, a wealthy farmer living near Des Moines, Iowa; Polly, wife of Robert Muldue, a farmer living in England; Henderson, of Athens, Ill.
John Barnes received his education in his native country and when a young man began to work on the water. In 1881 he came to America in search of an opportunity to better his condition, spent a short time in Brazil, Ind., then made a visit to his home and returned to the United States during the year 1884. He then settled in Springfield, where he has since resided. He became interested in mining and worked in the vicinity of Springfield in various capacities in connection with various mines, proving his ability for this kind of work. He won a reputation for stability and fidelity to his employers, and until recently was employed as mine superintendent by the Riverton Coal Company. He has formed many friendships and is genuinely esteemed by his associates. August 7, 1903, he embarked for England, where he visited relatives for a time, and returned much benefitted by this trip.
On February 13, 1870, Mr. Barnes was married in the Church of England, at Sholton, England, by Rev. Frederick Warwick, to Annie Gray, a native of that place, born March 13, 1852, daughter of Thomas and Bessie (Shepler) Gray, both natives of Sholton, the father born in 1812 and the mother in 1814, and the latter died in England, December 13, 1868. Mrs. Barnes induced her father, Thomas Gray, to come to the United States in 1888, and he settled at Athens, Menard County, Ill., where he remained until his death in 1901. He and his wife were parents of four children: Jane, married (first) Robert Shipp, and after his death married as her second husband, John Brooks; George, of England; John came to America with his father and his death occurred at Athens, Ill., May 4, 1905; Mrs. Barnes.
Five daughters and ten sons were born to Mr. Barnes and wife of whom four daughters and three sons now survive: Thomas, born February 26, 1874, is a well-to-do farmer of Middletown, Ill.; Joseph, born May 3, 1876, also a farmer at that place; Henderson, born February 4, 1883, a miner, who lives at home; Lizzie, wife of Albert Herrick, of Springfield; Susannah A., born April 2, 1889, a clerk for Waterman-Waterbury Company, lives at home; Isabel, born November 16, 1892, and Mary, born December 1, 1897, at home. There are seven grandchildren in the family. Mr. Barnes is a member of the episcopal Church, and although taking an active interest in local affairs, has not held office and is independent in political views, lending his support to the man he considers best fitted to respect the confidence of the public. His daughter Susannah is a Sunday School teacher in the Episcopal. Church.