Friday, February 17, 2023

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Catch-up I'd like to Meet Simpson Barnes

 Dear Grandparents,

There are so many ancestors that I would like to meet, that it is a difficult task to select just one. Given that task, I select one of my brick walls, my 2nd great grandfather Simpson Barnes. I have been searching to identify Simpson’s parents for many years. No image of Simpson Barnes has been passed down through my part of the family. Most of what I know of Simpson comes from the census records he left behind.

The earliest record I have is the 1850 Federal Census enumerated on the 31st of August 1850 by W. W. Wood in the Township of Cambria, Hillsdale County, Michigan.

This shows Simpson Barnes, on line 11, as a 23 year old Farmer born in NY state with Angelina Barnes, whom I know to be his wife, age 20 born in Ohio and their 3 months old son Wesley David Barnes, born in Michigan. They are the household listed just below the family of Wesley Burgoyne, age 46, born in Virginia, his wife Sarah age 44 born in Pennsylvania and their son James Burgoyne age 18 born in Ohio.

Of special not is the tick mark for Simpson Barnes that indicates he could not read or write.

By 1856, Simpson Barnes is living in Columbia, Wapello County, Iowa. The others in the family are only identified by initials but A, aged 25 born in Ohio, married and like Simpson has lived in Iowa for 3 years. This person seems to be Angelina. Their son is identified as C. W. born in Mich who has lived in Iowa for 3 years which seems to line up with the son previously listed as Wesley. There is also a one year old female listed as E. E. born in Iowa.

The 1859 Kansas State Census lists Simpson Barnes, who settled in Osakaloosa, Jefferson County in November 1858. Immediately below his enumeration is James Burgoyne who settled there in August 1858. This James Burgoyne is more probably, his wife Angelina's young brothe James. There is another column that mentions those who are not allowed to vote and a Barns, W. C. is listed there. Thre is significant blled through from the next page on the record image so more investigation is needed.

In the 1860 Federal Census, James Burgoyne and family are enumerated directly above the record for Simpson Barnes still in Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa Township, Jefferson County, Kansas. Both men are listed as farm laborers with real estate of $100 and personal estate of $50. Simpson has two additional children, William age 2 and James age 11 months. Simpson can still not read or write but his older children are attending school.

The 1865 Kansas State census gives the most complete listing of Simpson’s and Angelina’s family. Children are still listed only by initials but sone C. W. is 14, daughter E. E. is 11, son W. N. is 10, son J. E is 5, daughter M. J. is 3 and son T. S. is 7 months old. I believe that daughter M. J. is my great grandmother Mary Jane (Barnes) Werst. Sadly, Simpson is still illiterate. However, he is now a farmer with land that he owns.

I listened to a webinar by the noted genealogist and researcher Elizabeth Shown Mills recently. She talked about how often we have the answers to some of our questions in the documents that we have already found but not completely analyzed. Today was the first time I noticed that Simpson was illiterate and is marked so on every census.  I also looked at some other information that I had collected for Simpson. 

Several years ago,  I found a U.S. General Land Office Record for Simson Barnes on The place listed was Crawford, Iowa so I wasn’t entirely convinced that this person was the same as my Simpson so I merely saved it as in 1860, my Simpson was living in Jefferson County, Kansas. This time I went back to the original record from the Bureau of Land Management at|st=IA|cty=|ln=Barnes|fn=Simson|sp=true|sw=true|sadv=false. 

This time there was a complete image of the Military Warrant 46210 issued in Iowa on May 1, 1860 to Simson Barnes “minor Child of John J. Barnes deceased private Captain Stokes Company, Ohio Militia, War 1812.” It further states that the land has been duly located upon, “the east half of the Southwest quarter of Section twelve in Township Eighty-three of Range thirty eight in the District of Lands subject to sale at Council Bluffs, Iowa containing eight acres.”

Turns out, Simson Barnes assigned this land to Andrew L. Grimes, which means he probably sold the land to Mr. Grimes because he was living in Kansas.


Finally! A clue as to who "Simson’s", "Simpson’s" father. John J. Barnes is listed in the Ohio Militia for the War of 1812 and he is in Captain Stoake’s Company. I have to keep reminding myself that spelling does not count and was not standardized until the 20th century and Simpson was illiterate.

Captain Stoake’s Company was raised from Harrison County, Ohio which is due west of Pittsburgh, PA.  I do not have any records of Simpson from Harrison County and every record I do have lists him as having been born in New York state. The Ohio Militia fought in New York State. So now my working hypothesis is that John Barnes met Simpson’s mother in New York and settled there. Clearly, much more research to do. It would be so much easier to just meet and he could provide all the answers.



PS. For family members her is our relationship to Simpson Barnes
Simpson and Angelina (Burgoyne) Barnes, their daughter 
Mary Jane Barnes married Lewis Werst, their son
Cecil Oscar Werst married Ada Grace Colby, their daughter
Betty Lorraine (Werst) Cone is my mother.

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