The prominence of the subject of this sketch in connection with the
professional and civic affairs of Marion county is such that he is regarded
as one of its representative citizens, having for a number of years been one
of the leading business men of the thriving city of Centralia, and ever
showing by his fealty to high principles and his activity in promoting the
affairs of the county that he merits the confidence of all.
A. C. Barnes was born at Richview, Illinois, ten miles south of Centralia, February 13, 1853, the son of J. W. and Nancy (Johnson) Barnes, the former having been born in Gallatin, Tennessee, July 2, 1818. He was left an orphan at the age of five years and when twelve years of age he was bound out to a saddle maker for a period of four years, at the end of which time he purchased a horse, saddle and bridle and rode to Mt. Vernon, this state, where he called upon William Thorne, the first saddle maker in Mt. Vernon, who refused to give him a job because he was too young, his age then being eighteen years. But nothing daunted, he purchased the material with which to make a saddle which he accordingly did and presented it to Mr. Thorne, who hired the boy for three years. This was in 1836.
Two years later J. W. Barnes was married to Nancy Johnson. He soon thereafter moved to a farm near old Shiloh, later moving to Washington county, where he farmed and lived comfortably until 1888 when he moved to Centralia, where he passed to his rest September 17, 1905, after a successful business career in Centralia, having purchased the L. C. Demmick harness shop in this city in 1888, having stood just south of the old National Bank. His son, A. C., our subject, bought his business. He was living with his son when he died. Nancy Johnson was born in 1813 in Kentucky. Her father was an itinerant Methodist Episcopal preacher, who came to Illinois in 1818 and settled on a farm at Shiloh church, where he farmed and preached and where both he and his good wife passed to the silent land. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Barns, as follows: L. R., who married Laura Robinson, daughter of Elder J. A. and Eliza Robinson, and they became the parents of six children, one of whom is living. L. R. Barnes was in the famous One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the war between the states, under the late Gen. James S. Martin, of Salem, having gone out in 1862 and was discharged at the close of the war, having been in the grand review at Washington City. Louise, the second child of the parents of our subject, married a Mr. Underwood and is now living in Oklahoma, being the mother of four living children, one child deceased. John T., the third child of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Barnes, enlisted in the Sixtieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry under Colonel Anderson, at Mt. Vernon, and he re-enlisted in 1863. He came home on a furlough. Rejoining his regiment, he remained at the front until the close of the war when he was mustered out. He married and in 1885 removed to Wichita county, Kansas, where he located on three hundred and twenty acres of land. He has a family of four girls and one boy. He now lives at Leota, Kansas.
Our subject, A. C. Barnes, came to Centralia in 1891 with his father. He had received a good education in the district schools of Washington county, Illinois, having left school at the age of sixteen years and went to work for himself. Being a loyal Republican and having taken an interest in political affairs from early manhood, his friends elected him Sheriff of Marion county in 1904 and he served with much credit. When his term had expired he returned to business. In 1902 he was elected Treasurer of the city of Centralia for two years and served in a most acceptable manner in this capacity. Mr. Barnes has an excellent business in the harness and repair trade, his shop being well equipped and he has become widely known throughout the county.
Mr. Barnes married Susan M. Gunn, daughter of J. C. and Caroline Gunn, of Richview, the ceremony that made them one having been performed at Kinmundy, this county, July 20, 1880. He was first married in 1873 to Sarah Anderson, a native of Ohio, and she died at the birth of James, their only son, who was born October 18, 1878. He is now living at Lafayette, Indiana, being in the printing business as a linotype expert. He married Lottie Hadden, of Kinmundy, and they have three children, two boys and one girl.
Our subject ably served for a period of five years on the Board of Education in Kansas, where he lived for several years, and while on the board just mentioned they built two elegant school-houses.
Fraternally Mr. Barnes is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Centralia, having originally joined that order at Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1886. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, having joined Lodge No. 26, in Centralia in 1893. He became a Mason in Salem in 1896, and joined the Modern Woodmen of America in 1897. He follows the example of his people by worshiping with the Methodist denomination.
Our subject is a man of unusual imposing physique, possessing great physical strength and endurance. He also has a strong mind and the power of concentration, is congenial and makes friends readily which he always retains.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 564-566.