Jonathan L. Barnes, of Chanute, Kan., general agent for the Santa Fe Railway Company, is a pioneer in railroad service and has the distinction of having been the first conductor on the first Pullman sleeper ever put into service. That was in September, 1857, nearly fifty-five years ago, and his whole career since then has been identified with railroad work. Mr. Barnes was born in Pleasant Valley, Dutchess county, New York, June 12, 1835. His parents were William and Sally (Lockwood) Barnes, the former of whom spent his entire life in his native State of New York, where he died at the age of thirty. He was a farmer by occupation and a son of Joshua Barnes, who, also, was a farmer and a native of New York. Joshua Barnes was a Whig in politics. Sally (Lockwood) Barnes was a daughter of Jonathan Lockwood, a New York farmer, who spent his entire life in that state. John Beadel, the great-grandfather of Mr. Barnes, was a prominent man in New York state, having been a member of its legislature in 1812, when DeWitt Clinton, was governor, and having continued in that capacity a number of years.
Jonathan L. Barnes was reared in New York state. His education was obtained in the public schools of Pleasant Valley and at Roe Academy on the Hudson, where he spent one winter, the latter being a private boarding school, which accepted but twenty-five students at a time. His first occupation after leaving the farm was as a clerk in a crockery store at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. In 1855 he went to Chicago, where he was employed to carry bundles for the drygoods firm of W. R. Wood & Company. He was thus engaged until the fall of 1857, when his railroad career began. Mr. Barnes' own account of his early experiences in that connection, as published in the "Santa Fe Employes' Magazine," is as follows:
"In 1857 George M. Pullman arranged with the Chicago & Alton railway for two of their day coaches, which he fitted up as sleeping cars. Mr. Pullman, at that time, had an office on Madison street in Chicago. I passed his office, going to and from my boarding house, and on account of a notice in the papers that Mr. Pullman was going to put sleeping cars on the Chicago & Alton, I made application to him for a position as conductor. In September, 1857, he took me to Bloomington to bring out the first car that he had ready for use. This car, as I remember, was a low-decked one and had been used for a long time as a passenger coach. It had rods running up and down at the end of each berth. The upper berth was pulled up on the rear side by a rope and pulley, and the front of the berth slid up on these rods and was fastened with an iron catch. The lower berth was made out of the two seats turned together. As I now remember, I was paid two dollars a night and made my report in Mr. Pullman's office at the end of each round trip, deducting four dollars from my collections for my pay. I understood, on one trip, that the man who ran opposite me was short fifty cents of enough money to pay his own wages. At that time the Chicago & Alton trains ran between Chicago and Alton. Passengers for St. Louis took the boat from Alton to St. Louis. The train unloaded its passengers in front of the Alton House, which was located across the levee at Alton, and they walked down over the levee to the boat. The boat was always on hand to receive the passengers, and the evening train leaving Alton always was ready and backed down on the levee to receive the passengers from the boat when it arrived. J. J. Mitchell, I believe, was the owner of the boats carrying the passengers, and just before the breaking out of the Civil war he had placed in this service a very beautiful boat called, 'The City of Alton,' which was very popular. I remember well looking at one of the cars that was then used on the Lake Shore. This car was called 'Woodruff Patent,' but was very unpopular on account of the two upper shelves, as they were actually only shelves, for people to sleep on. Mr. Pullman, after using the two old coaches a year or more, commenced the building of a new car, which was a very fine one. The construction of this car was in charge of a Mr. Field. At that time Mr. Pullman was in the mining business near Black Hawk, Colo., and had not seen the car until he was at Alton, coming home from Colorado. I showed him the good points about the car and I remember well what he said: 'It ought to be goodit cost enough.'"
In 1858 Mr. Barnes became a brakeman on the Alton road, on a mixed train running between Bloomington and Chicago. Later he was given charge of a baggage car and then was made conductor of a passenger train on that road. Mr. Chanute, who built the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf railroad, was a great friend of Mr. Barnes and gave him the first passenger run on that road. He continued as a conductor on that road until it was completed to Fort Scott. On Jan. 1, 1870, General Order No. 1 was issued and was as follows:
|"Mo. R. Ft. Scott & Gulf R. R.|
|"Superintendent's Office.||Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 1, 1870.|
"J. L. Barnes is this day appointed Train Master for this road, and will be
obeyed accordingly. His duties will combine those of Train Dispatcher and Master
of Transportation, having full control of all Trains and Train and Yard Men, and
the disposition of all Cars, and of Engines while on the Road.
"All applications for Cars, by Station Agents or others, and reports of Cars at Stations, or in Trains, will be made to him. His office will be at the Kansas City Station (DI) and he is authorized to use Telegraphic Signal '23.'
|"B. S. HENNING, Superintendent."|
Afterwards Mr. Barnes was made assistant superintendent of the road and continued in that office until the road was purchased by the Santa Fe Railway Company, when he was appointed superintendent of the southern Kansas division of that road. That was in May, 1882, and he served in that capacity until November, 1910, when he was made general agent of the Santa Fe Railway Company, with headquarters at Chanute. This record of fifty-five years of continuous service needs no comment, but is of itself sufficient evidence as to the character of the man and the character of his services. It is a valuable example for emulation by the youth of our country, for Mr. Barns began a poor boy. He has attained both wealth and the universal respect of all who know him, and the key to his success has been the willing and conscientious performance of duty.
On Jan. 3, 1860, Mr. Barnes married Catherine E. Lockwood, a daughter of John Lockwood, a farmer resident of New York, who died in that state. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes have one son, Harry G. Barnes, who superintends his father's extensive personal business interests, consisting of large holdings of both farm and city property. Mr. Barnes is a Republican in politics and both he and his wife are members of the Unitarian church.Pages 1305-1307 from volume III, part 2 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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