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History of Greene County, Pennsylvania


JAMES BARNS, the subject of this sketch, was born June 24, 1790, and died March 12, 1883.  He was the youngest son of Thomas and Sarah Barns, who were among the pioneer settlers of West Virginia.  They settled in the woods near where the thriving town of Fairmont now stands.  His parents were among the first Methodists in West Virginia, his father being a class leader many years, and his father’s house a preaching place for a long time.  At the age of fifteen, Mr. Barns left his home to learn the trade of a millwright, and served an apprenticeship of five years.  In 1811 he had an attack of fever, the only sickness that ever caused him to lie in bed one day, during a period of nearly ninety-three years.  He was badly injured in 1870, by the running away of a team of horses, from the effect of which he was confined to his room for six weeks.  On December 10, 1812, he was united in marriage with Miss Rhoda Davidson, of Fayette County, Penn.—a worthy companion of a worthy man.  Their union was blessed with nine children, five of whom were living, also present when he died.  This worthy couple were converted at a camp-meeting held in 1819, near Brownsville, Penn., and their habitation became emphatically a house of prayer as long as they lived.  In 1824 he became dissatisfied with the government of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of whieh [sic] he and his companion were devoted members.  He took a deep interest in the controversy that agitated the church and culminated in the organization of the Methodist Protestant Church, and identified himself with the new organization in 1830.  He was elected as a lay representative from the Pittsburgh Annual Conference to the first General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, which held its session in Georgetown, D. C., in May, 1834.  He was also a member of the General Conference of 1838, which held its session in Pittsburgh, Penn.  In February, 1868, God took his beloved companion from him.  Her loss was painfully felt by him and his children, though assured of her future and eternal happiness in heaven.  On March 1, 1870, he married Mrs. Mary Lantz, with whom he lived in the enjoyment of great domestic happiness until February 12, 1880—the date of her death.  Two years later, he sold his farm and the old homestead, in which he had lived sixty-seven years, to his son-in-law, Isaac B. Patterson, who married his youngest daughter, Mary Ellen.  This was very agreeable to all his children, as it keeps in possession of the family the dear old homestead where they were born and raised.  Mr. Barns had a good constitution, and he took good care of it.  His habits were exemplary; he was strictly temperate and regular in his manner of life.  He always cultivated a cheerful disposition; lived in communion and fellowship with God; was always usefully and honorably employed, and to these things owed his long life, at the close of which he makes this note: “Have had great enjoyment all through life, and also health.  Have not laid in bed one day from sickness since 1811.”  Thus after a sojourn longer than that usually allotted to man, James Barns peacefully passed away; the last of as good a family as Virginia ever produced, consisting of four brothers—William Barnes, M. D.; John S. Barns, Esq.; Thomas Barns and James Barns.  There were three sisters—Sarah Willie, Phoebe Shinn and Mary A. Thrapp.  These all lived and died in the faith, and left behind them families that revere their memories and imitate their virtues.  “Children of parents passed into the skies.”


Page 608-609


History of Greene County, Pennsylvania

Samuel P. Bates

Nelson, Rishforth & Co., Chicago. 1888


Transcribed by Annette Bame Peebles

The Greene County, Pennsylvania Biographies Project –

Date of Transcription: 18 June 2007

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