J. S. BARNES. From the pioneer date of 1885 until the present James S. Barnes has been a factor in the life and affairs of Pratt and upon his record of material success have been imposed many proofs of his usefulness to the community.
He was born on a farm near Summerfield, Ohio, April 18, 1859. His father, Abel Barnes, was of English descent and his mother, Caroline Brown Barnes, was of Scotch ancestry. Mr. Barnes is the youngest of a family of nine children, two daughters and seven sons. His father and mother were devout Methodists and brought up their children in the same faith.
Mr. Barnes received his education in local schools and at Muskingum College, from which he was graduated in 1883. At the age of eighteen he began teaching, and by that means paid his expenses through college, and while he was still in that work he studied law with Judge J. M. McGinnis of Caldwell, Ohio, but never applied for admittance to the bar.
In 1885 he resigned his position as principal of the Summerfield, Ohio, schools and located at Pratt, Kansas, and has lived there ever since. In the same year he was elected county surveyor, but resigned within a year to engage in the real estate and loan business. For several years he was also interested in banking. He is now one of the directors of the Kansas Floor Mills Company, is interested in the lumber business, and in farming.
He has never sought office, but has held numerous non-salaried positions, including membership on the school board for some twenty-five years. He was elected a member of the legislature in 1905. While in the Legislature he was author of a number of bills which became laws. Most important of these were the Barnes High School Law and the Farmers Elevator Railroad Switch Law.
December 15, 1886, Mr. Barnes married Katie Bircher, of Summerfield, Ohio. He brought his bride to Kansas and at once moved into a three room house on the site of their present residence. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes have three living daughters and one deceased. Mrs. Barnes' father, George H. Bircher, was of English extraction and her mother, Jane McGurk Bircher, was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. Her father enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil war and as a result of illness contracted while in the service died in 1870.
Mr. Barnes now devotes his time mainly to his personal affairs and handling investment securities. His keenest public interest is shown along educational lines and his chief recreation is traveling.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project