Charles W. Barnes, superintendent of insurance, was born on a farm in Coshocton county, Ohio, Oct. 28, 1869, son of William O. and Maria Louisa (McGruder) Barnes, natives of Coshocton county and members of pioneer families of Ohio. Charles Barnes, father of William, was a judge in that state during the early days of its settlement. His son, William, became a farmer in his native county, and during the Civil war served in the Union army. In 1877 he removed from Ohio to Trego county, Kansas, where he had acquired the title to a large tract of land, comprising some 1,500 acres, which he soon discovered was practically useless for farming purposes, as the rainfall in that region was too slight for the production of crops. He then turned his attention to cattle raising and successfully conducted this business until in the winter of 1882, when his cattle were frozen to death in a severe storm, causing him a financial loss of about $30,000. After this ill fortune he left that section of the state and, in 1883, located in Lyon county, on a farm south of Emporia. He is now making his home with his son in Osage City, Kan., and is seventy-two years of age. He was married, in 1867, to Maria Louisa, daughter of William McGruder, who died in Topeka, in 1899, at the age of fifty-six. Charles W. Barnes is their only child and was eight years old when he accompanied his parents to Kansas. With the exception of a few terms of study in Ohio, he did not attend school until a year or two after the family's removal to Lyon county, when he entered the State Normal School, at Emporia. After a year of study in that institution he obtained a teacher's license, with the intention of complying with his mother's desire that he should teach. But at this time a position in a printing office, in Emporia, was offered him, and this appearing the more agreeable occupation to him, he accepted and began his career as a journalist. For several years he was in the employ of different offices in Emporia, working for the "Democrat," the "News," the "Republican," and the "Gazette," of that city. He served in every position with these firms, from that of apprentice to editor, receiving a thorough training in newspaper work. In 1895 he accepted a position on the staff of the "Topeka Daily Capital," as political reporter, which he held for three years and then entered the employ of the "State Journal," of Topeka, in the same capacity. Through his success and popularity as a reporter he gained an extensive acquaintance among the prominent public officials and party leaders of the state, while his ability as a political writer was recognized by the newspapers of other states, as well as Kansas. After four years as reporter for the "State Journal," in January, 1903, he entered the office of superintendent of insurance, as assistant, and served four years under C. H. Nuling. In 1907 he was elected to the office of superintendent of insurance, was reëlected in 1908, and is now serving his second term as a state official. He still is interested in journalism, as the editor and proprietor of the "Freepress," published in Osage City, Kan., a weekly newspaper, which he purchased in 1904. Mr. Barnes is prominent among the fraternal orders, is an Elk, an Odd Fellow, and a Knight of Pythias, and a member of the Modern Woodmen, the Sons of Veterans, and the Knights and Ladies of Security. He is now manager of the commercial department of the North America Accident Insurance Company, with offices at Topeka.
Mr. Barnes was married Dec. 25, 1899, to Miss Margaret Holmes Bear, of Topeka, daughter of S. J. Bear and his wife, Susan Rebecca Holmes. Mr. Barnes and his wife have two childrenCharles W., Jr., born Aug. 6, 1902, and Jack B., born Nov. 25, 1904.Pages 341-342 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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