Saturday, January 14, 2012

Missouri Beasley Barnes

In a previous post I discussed my great-great grandfather, Green Berry Barnes (1838-1891), and his wife Missouri Beasley Barnes (1843-1925).  Widowed at the age of 47, she led a long life full of challenges.  She died just a couple of months shy of her eighty-second birthday, in the process outliving at least four of her eleven children and caring for her blind youngest son* for decades.
Census images courtesy of
Missouri Beasley was born on 25 July 1843 in Bulloch County, Georgia, the eldest child of John R Beasley (1813-1899) and Nancy Parrish Beasley (1821-1860).  The 1850 and 1860 censuses show her living in Bulloch County with her parents and siblings.  In 1850, in an area identified only as “Subdivision 6” they are John R (37), Nancy (29), Missouri (6), America (4), Henry (3) and James (1).  In 1860, near the Bengal post office, they are John R (48), Nancy (39), Missouri (16), America (14), Henry (13), James (12), Mary (7) and Eli (4).  I can’t find definitive proof yet, but my belief is that John and Family didn’t move, and they were living in the area west of Statesboro, near the present-day border of or possibly in Candler County.  This is partially based on the 1890 Bulloch County Tax Digest, which places John Beasley in the Club House district (Militia District 45), which surrounds the modern town of Register.

As a side note, the 1850 census form lists the value of John’s real estate as $150.  By 1860 his real estate is worth $400, and his personal estate is valued at $716To Do Item: check property records to see if John purchased additional land, or possibly the increased value was strictly due to inflation. 

Pension Application image courtesy of
Missouri Beasley married Green Berry Barnes in March 1865.  This is according to her Widows Pension Applications of 1908 and 1910 (she appears to have been denied a pension both times).  Even though the pension application asks that the marriage license be attached to it, there is no indication that it ever was, or that it survives if it was.  So far, a search of the Marriage Books of Bulloch County for the marriage registration has proved fruitless (using the microfilms available through the Family History Library as well as the incomplete digital copies available through Georgia’s Virtual Vault).  The accepted date on seems to be 21 March 1865, but without further proof I can’t state that definitively.  Hopefully someone, somewhere, has the marriage license or family bible and will share it with the rest of us!

I covered the period of her marriage to Green in the previous post.  To summarize, in 1870 the family consisted of Green (27), Missouri (23), Ella (4), James (3) and Thomas (6/12).  In 1880 the household included Green B. (41), “Masoria” [sic] (37), Ellen C. (13), James H. (11), Willis R. (10), Rosa (7), Molly A. E. (5), Magga M. (4) and John G (1), plus Green's sister Sarah (44) and a white servant, John Jones (18).  Green B. Barnes also appears on the 1890 Bulloch County Tax Digest, owning 408 acres in the Court House District (1209th Military District), which is the area around Statesboro. 

Image courtesy of Family History Library (microfilm # 2105)
Green Berry Barnes died in 1891.  Since I wrote the above- mentioned post I’ve found a record of the so-called Barnes-Akins Family Cemetery in a film from the Family History Library (FHL US/CAN Film #2105, Item 103), which is a compilation of survey sheets from the 1950’s.  Filmed in 1956, the survey shows four burials at this plot: Sarah Barnes (d. 18 August 1900), Missouri Barnes (25 Jul 1843 - 31 May 1925), Green B. Barnes (18 Mar 1838 - 26 Mar 1891) and Willis R. Barnes (21 April 1870 - 4 January 1903).  Sarah Barnes is almost certainly Green’s sister, who lived with them.  Missouri and Green B. are designated as Wife and Husband, but there is no indication on the form as to how or if this is indicated on the gravestones.  Willis R. Barnes is probably their son Remer.  I’ve been told by a cousin that the grave site still exists, and is still in family hands – sort of.  The Akins are second cousins.  Missouri Maggie Barnes married Welcome Akins and her sister Rosa Barnes married my great-grandfather Jacob Jones.  Yet this means there is hope of obtaining photographs of the graves, or even visiting one day.

Census images courtesy of
In any case, the 1900 census shows Missouri as the widowed head of household with 5 of her 10 children, living in Blitch, Bulloch County, where she owned her own farm.  Blitch is the name for Georgia Military District 1575, situated north of Statesboro.  The residents of the farm are Missouri (56), Millie A (25), John G (21), William B (18), Eli W (16), Robert C (12) and her sister-in-law Sarah (65).  I can’t find her listed anywhere on the 1910 census, but in 1920 she appears to be living on the farm of her son-in-law Welcome Akins.  The census shows the family as Welcome A Akins (42), Maggie [Barnes, her daughter] (42), Floyd (17), Day (15), Fred (14), Clyde (12), Datus (10), Wilmur (8), Irene (7), Roy (5), Inmon (3) an Ernest (1) Akins, with Robert C Barnes (33) and Missouri Barnes (75).  I do not yet know if this Welcome Akins farm was the Barnes farm before.  The two Military Districts are adjacent, so the borders 
Image courtesy of Georgia Archives
Digital Collection (
Death Certificates,
Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95
could have shifted slightly, or 1575 (Blitch) could have been created after 1900.  And it could be a completely different farm.  More research is needed in the Bulloch County property records.  Unfortunately, the microfilmed records of deeds and mortgages available through the Family History Library only go through 1912, so I’ll have to plan an extended research trip, or else depend on the kindness of strangers!  :-)  To Do Item: also check records to find out when Military District # 1575 was formed.

Missouri died on 31 May 1925, at the age of 81.  This date is shown on her grave stone (at least according to the cemetery survey cited above) and on her death certificate, a digital copy of which I was able to obtain from the Georgia’sVirtual Vault web site

Draft card images courtesy of
*Missouri’s youngest son, Robert Calhoun Barnes, remained single throughout his life, and lived with his mother until her death, then with his sister Missouri “Maggie” and her husband Welcome A. Akins until his death on 6 June 1943.  I haven’t completed researching him, but based on his WWI draft registration, it appears that he was blind.  In fact, the draft registration card says he “lost both eyes.”  Since he was listed as a “farm helper” on the 1900 census, which means there was probably some sort of accident between 1900 and 1917.  In my imagination the romantic in me comes out, and I can imagine the reason they were missed on the 1910 census is that Missouri was firmly ensconced at Robert's bedside in a convalescent center or sanitarium as he slowly recovered physically and emotionally from the horrible farm accident which took both eyes and left him a near-invalid!  The facts, when discovered, will probably prove me wrong, but in the meantime it makes a good movie in my head!

That’s about it for now.

Later y’all,

No comments: