Pages 504-506, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




WILLIAM T. BARNETT.—When ambition is satisfied and every ultimate aim realized then activity will cease and effort will end. It is ambition which prompts man to continue in business, enables him to overcome obstacles and to persevere even when a seemingly adverse fate thwarts him. His resolute purpose and determination forms the ladder on which he mounts to success. Mr. Barnett is one who owes his prosperity entirely to his own efforts, and his life record should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others who are also forced to start out on an independent business career empty handed. He now resides on section 12, Iola township, where he has made his home since 1869.

He was born in Fulton county, Indiana, near Rochester, November 20, 1844, a son of Thomas W. Barnett, one of the earliest settlers in that county. His paternal grandfather, John Barnett, was born in Goochland county, Virginia, and at the beginning of the slavery trouble left the Old Dominion for Ohio. He and his family were of the Quaker faith and trace their ancestry back to Scotland through emigrants who came to America prior to the Revolutionary war. Politically they were all Whigs and Republican. Great strength and size were two marked family characteristics, nearly all of the men being more than six feet in height. Thomas W. Barnett was born in Dayton, Ohio, June 13, 1813, and in 1835 he removed to Fulton county, Indiana, where he developed a farm from the wild land, his home being a log cabin. He wedded Mary Troutman, a daughter of Michael Troutman, who was of Irish extraction and their eldest son, John A. Barnett, was the first white child born in Fulton county. Their other children were Michael I.; Sarah E., wife of John J. Carter, of Fulton county; William T., of this review; Emma, wife of Dr. Albert Coble, of Carroll county, Indiana. The father had accumulated a considerable fortune when the war broke out, but while the war lasted he devoted so much of his time and means to the cause of the Union that most of his capitol was dissipated, and at the time of his death in 1882 he was in but moderate circumstances. His wife died in Frankfort, Indiana, in 1891.

William T. Barnett, the subject of this sketch, remained at home until twenty-five years of age, with the exception of the period spent at the front in the Civil war. He pursued his education in an old-time log school house, where he conned his lessons during the winter months in his early years. In April, 1863, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted in Company A, Twenty-sixth Indiana Infantry, under Colonel Clark, who is now a resident of Frankfort, Indiana. The company joined the regiment at Raleigh, Missouri, and embarking on transports at St. Genevieve, Missouri, they went down the river to take part in the Vicksburg campaign. Landing at Haynes Bluff, they participated in the Yazoo river engagement, crossed the river at Youngs Point, and proceeded to a point below Vicksburg, thus closing up the line. There they participated in the siege and assault on the city, and took part in several hotly contested engagements, one of which was a charge to get possession of the outer works. The Twenty-sixth Indiana was under the command of Major General Herren, then only


twenty-six years of age. From Vicksburg they were sent up the Yazoo river, and after capturing Yazoo City, took part in the fight at Big Black river. After capturing and burning Edwards depot they returned to Vicksburg, and then went on to New Orleans, where they were recruited, proceeding thence to capture Morgan's Bend. While stationed on the Atchafalaya they were captured by the Confederates and taken to Tyler, Texas. In November, 1863, they signed the parole and were sent to Shreveport for exchange. They were captured in the summer while on a scouting expedition and had very little clothing with them. They were also barefooted, when on the 19th of November, the weather turned very cold and the river froze over, so that the Confederates rode back and forth on the ice. The Union soldiers experienced great suffering there. Returning to Tyler after three months they remained at the latter place until July, when they were taken to the mouth of the Red river and exchanged. Going by way of New Orleans they rejoined the regiment at Fort Butler, Louisiana, and later participated in the capture of Mobile and Fort Blakely. Passing up the Mobile river they captured Montgomery and Selma, and thence went to Meridan, Mississippi, where they captured General Taylor and thirty thousand men. On that march Mr. Barnett and many of his comrades were bare-footed and on very short rations part of the time. After that they were on detached service and our subject also acted as military court officer until mustered out at Vicksburg, January 17, 1866. During his service he received a severe wound in the right cheek from a musket ball.

When Mr. Barnett came to Alien county, he brought with him two hundred dollars in cash, which represented the sum total of his savings up to that time. On looking around for some time he decided to locate in Iola township and finally purchased eighty acres of land on which he now resides for eight hundred dollars, paying down two hundred dollars and giving a mortgage for the remainder. The improvements upon the place consisted of a house fifteen feet square and thirteen acres of broken ground. Mr. Barnett then entered the employ of John McClure, a well-known pioneer engaged with L. L. Northrup in the cattle business. He received twenty dollars per month and later he entered the service of Brooks & Arnold, who gave him twenty-eight dollars per month. He was thus employed until he had paid off the mortgage, when he returned for a visit with relatives and friends in Indiana. On again reaching Allen county, he began the work of improving his farm in 1873 and kept bachelor's hall there. He had a yoke of oxen, a plow and a harrow. As the years passed he secured improved facilities and has continued the development and improvement of his place until he now has one of the most attractive farms of the neighborhood, having in the meantime extended its boundaries by the additional purchase of one hundred and sixty acres.

Mr. Barnett married Miss Mary E. Cox, daughter of Samuel W. Cox, a farmer and merchant of Harristown, Illinois, who removed from Kentucky to Illinois. Mrs. Barnett has three brothers and two sisters: Henry and Ephraim, of Sumner county, Kansas; William, of Illinois; Mrs. Nancy


Morrison, of Iowa; and Mrs. Minerva Bear, of Bearsdale, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Barnett were born ten children. These are Mary E., wife of Robert Sullivan, of Allen county, Kansas; Centennial R., wife of Samuel E. Wilson, of Allen county; Thomas W., of Iola, died August 31, 1900; Florence, Elmer A., Harry C., Noble R., Chester R., Russell J. and Bruce, who are still with their parents.

Mr. Barnett cast his first vote for General Grant and has since been an active factor in local politics. He was elected trustee of Iola township, and by election and appointment has served for six terms in that office. In religious faith he is connected with the Society of Friends, but there is no church of his denomination in the neighborhood. His has been a useful and active life and there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil over the public or private career of William Thomas Barnett.

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