Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

H. C. BARNES. - H. C. Barnes needs no introduction to the readers of this volume, for he is so well known throughout Sangamon county, where he has resided since 1861, while in the state he has made his home for more than fifty-five years. "Squire" Barnes - for thus he is usually addressed - is indeed well known in this part of the state and is today a leading representative of the business interests of Divernon, where he has been engaged in dealing in agricultural implements for sixteen years. He was born in Devonshire, England, March 18, 1835, a son of Arthur and Mary (Clark) Barnes, also natives of that country. Her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth (Adams) Clark, was a cousin of John Adams, the second president of the United States. The parents of our subject spent their entire lives in England.

H. C. Barnes came to the Untied States with an older brother in 1847, sailing from Plymouth, England, for Quebec, and thence making their way to Jersey county, Illinois, where they had friends living. Our subject was reared to manhood there and his primary education, acquired in the public schools, was supplemented by study in Shurtleff College, at Alton, Illinois, and in the Jacksonville Berean College, where he completed his course. He afterward became one of the capable teachers of Alton, being connected with the city schools for four or five years and also in Jacksonville. After his marriage he located on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of raw land in Divernon township, Sangamon County, and with characteristic energy began the improvement of the place. He erected good buildings, placed his fields under a high state of cultivation, secured the best machinery to facilitate his farm work and as the years passed his labors resulted in making his one of the fine farms of the township. He also extended the boundaries by additional purchase and now has four hundred acres in one body. He still carries on this farm with the assistance of his sons.

Mr. Barnes has been married twice. In this county, April 11, 1861, he wedded Elmina Jane Dobbs, who was born and reared in jersey county, Illinois, a daughter of John Dobbs, one of the pioneers of Illinois. Her death occurred in 1878. There were three sons and three daughters by that marriage. In 1879 Mr. Barnes wedded Mrs. Elizabeth Dayton, nee Brockman, who was born in Jersey county, Illinois, and was a cousin of his first wife. She had four children by her first marriage and two by the second, one of whom is living - Harry A. The daughter, Emily married and died at the age of nineteen years, leaving a little daughter, Elsie, who is now living with Mr. and Mrs. Barnes. The children of Mr. Barnes' first marriage are: John; Arthur E., who is married and operates the home farm; George, who is living on the farm; Mrs. Anna Sims; Mrs. Mary Ford; and Mrs. Bertha Hoffman. The son Harry A. married Ethel Thomas, a daughter of H. M. Thomas and a granddaughter of Samuel Thomas, one of the first settlers of Sangamon county and a "snowbird".

Since casting his first presidential vote for James Buchanan in 1856 Mr. Barnes has been a stanch Democrat, always voting for the standard bearers of the party save when he supported Peter Cooper. At local elections, however, he votes independently. He has filled various local positions, including that of justice of the peace, in which he served for ten or twelve years. For twenty-one years he has been a member of the school board, acting both as clerk and president, and he served as postmaster of Divernon for ten years under Presidents Cleveland and Harrison. His public service has always been characterized by the utmost fidelity to duty and he well merits the trust reposed in him by his fellow townsmen who have called him to office. In 1887, when Divernon was laid out , he built a business house there and put in a good stock of agricultural implements, and has since been an active and substantial representative of its mercantile interests. He also erected a dwelling and has contributed in large measure to the material improvement of the village. He was reared in the Episcopal faith, while his wife is a member of the Baptist church. In the land of his adoption he has won for himself the favorable regard of many friends, the merited reward of honest labor and the consideration which is ever due to the those who have made good use of time and opportunity and have gained many victories in the battle of life.

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