BARNES, WILLIAM JAMES - Years of faithful endeavor entitle a man of means to retirement during the latter part of his life, and a number of the more responsible men of Springfield belong to this class. One of those especially worthy of mention in a record of this kind is William James Barnes, a retired electrician, whose residence is at No. 310 West Edwards Street. He was born March 1, 1842, at Kingston, Canada, being a son of John and Catherine Shaw Barnes, and grandson of John Barnes, the latter being a native of England. The grandfather had three children: John, Matthew, and one other, and his death occurred in Carlisle, England. During his younger days he had been a soldier.
John Barnes, father of William James Barnes, was born in Carlisle, Northumberland County, England, in 1812, but came to Canada in his youth. At first he devoted himself to the manufacture of soap, later making candles. His death occurred in Detroit, Mich., but his wife died in London, Canada. Their children were: Ann, who married James Fair and died in St. Paul, Minn., and William James.
William James Barnes was educated in London, Canada, where his youth was spent, and he learned the carpenter trade, but hearing of the need of soldiers, came to Chicago, where he enlisted in 1864, for service in the Commissary Department. Following his honorable discharge at the close of the war he went to Cedar Rapids, where on September 5, 1865, he married Jane Davis, a native of Kentucky. The following children were born of this marriage: Ethel May, a teacher in the Steward school; Lydia Ann, of Bloomington; Mary, widow of Sidney B. Taylor, of Springfield, one son, Sidney B.; William J. Jr., of Springfield, married Clarissa Tobin, one child, William Tobin; and Martha Jane, of San Francisco.
In 1871 Mr. Barnes moved to Dixon, Ill., where he lived for ten years, then came to Springfield to receive the appointment of janitor at the State Library. After twelve years of faithful service in this position in 1893 he was made electrician in the municipal electric light plant, continuing there for five years, when he entered the employ of the Utility Company, remaining with this concern until his retirement. Mr. Barnes was reared in the faith of the Methodist Church. His political convictions make him a Republican. Earnest, faithful, steadfast, he has always labored to do what he believed to be his full duty, and those with whom he has been brought into contact have trusted and admired him.