From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

An Early Oklahoma Governor Once Resided in Leavenworth

by George Remsburg

Leavenworth Times November 18, 1942.

The Chronicles of Oklahoma, official organ of the Oklahoma Historical society, recently printed an article entitled, "The Governors of Oklahoma Territory," written by John Bartlett Meserve, well-known Oklahoma historian. It consists of biographical sketches of the seven territorial governors, together with their portraits.

Meserve brings out the fact that the fourth governor of that territory, Cassius McDonald Barnes, was a former resident of Leavenworth. He first came here with his parents, Henry H. and Samantha Barnes, in 1860, when about 15 years of age, and took up telegraphic work. At the outbreak of the Civil war, when only 16, he enlisted in the Union army, serving in the Military Telegraph and Engineering Corps throughout that great struggle.

During a portion of the time he served as secretary to General Nathaniel Lyon, known in history as the "Hero of Wilson's Creek." After the war he became chief deputy United States marshal in the famous court at Fort Smith, Ark., of Judge Isaac C. Parker, known as the "Hanging Judge." Later he was appointed receiver of the United States land office at Guthrie, Okla.

Then he took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1893. He served as a member of the third legislature of Oklahoma territory and was speaker of the house during its session. He was re-elected to the fourth territorial legislature. In 1897 he was appointed governor of Oklahoma territory by President McKinley, and served four years.

After this he became president of the Logan County bank at Guthrie and also mayor of that city for two terms.

Governor Barnes returned to Leavenworth in 1910 and again took up telegraphic work here. He was then 65 years of age. He married Rebecca Borney, a widow, who was engaged as an instructress in a girl's seminary in Leavenworth. Some years later his health failed and he went to Albuquerque, N. M., where he died in February, 1925, at the age of 80 years. He was buried at Guthrie.

The foregoing are the main facts in the life of Governor Barnes as presented by Meserve, who is a painstaking historian and a stickler for keeping the records straight. Three of governor Barnes' sons have distinguished army records.


Victor Barnes, a son of the late Governor Barnes, who formerly resided in Leavenworth, now is employed on a Chicago newspaper. His daughter, Miss Jean Barnes resides with her grandmother, Mrs. Oliver Mero, 218 Fourth avenue.

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