The City of Barnes

by Ramona Stettnisch

This history starts with a letter March 11, 1877 by Henry Ober who writes, “If I build here I intend to keep a boarding house with a stable for teams & cattle coral. A small town lot is not what I want. Please write soon & let me know what you will do. Yours Henry Ober, Barns Station, Washington Co., Kansas.” In the Plat map 1882 of Barnes Township Town 4 South, Range 5 East Quarter Section 16 J.R. Tripp, Railroad Agent, owns Northwest quarter 120 acres. Mrs. Lodemea Ober Allyn (sister of Henry Ober) owns 40 acres on the east side of that quarter where Barnes Station is in the north part & the Barnes Post Office is across the railroad tracks from there.

It has been erroneously written that Barnes was named after the man who owned & operated the first lumber yard. The first lumber yard was run by a man named Henry Wiegard in a building beside the railroad tracks & was sold to E.K.Felt in 1883. A Barnes Enterprise article dated January 1887 states that Frank Edgar, son of Mr. & Mrs. J.R. Tripp, received from A.S. Barnes (an official of the railroad) after whom our town is named, an elegant silver cup, in fulfillment of a promise made by him. Mr. Barnes forwarded a message to Superintendent Downs by telegraph stating that to the first male child born in Barnes he would give a silver cup, & to the first female a bible. The cup is pure silver, lined with gold, & bears the inscription: “Christmas, 1886. Frank Edgar Tripp, First Born in Barnes, Kas. A.S.B.”

The railroad was instrumental in getting land & platting the towns along their tracks, February 1, 1882. This information was found in an article: Barnes is on the Missouri Pacific railroad, six miles west of Waterville & six miles east of Greenleaf. It has a depot, a switch, & a general store (Maplewood Grange store was moved there), hotel & post office (Elm Grove also moved there), all kept by Henry Ober. It has a Lutheran Church, that cost $1,000, in which the Methodists also hold religious services with J. Shaurer minister. The country surrounding is as fine as the sun ever shown upon, but so much of it is vacant. This would be one of the finest places in the West for a small colony to locate, where they have the advantage of railroad station, & excellent land as well. The water is pure, good & plenty & the soil, a deep black loam, with clay subsoil, way down. Its fertility is not surpassed in the county, nor State. At Barnes A nice little trading point could very readily be built up, & as soon as the vacant land is all settled, & surely at the prices we are offering it, that day is not far distant, a good little town will spring up here. The man who comes to us first for a bargain near Barnes will make a lucky strike. We sincerely consider this the choice locality in the county for bargains, & will gladly furnish any desired information concerning it. If any man or party of men who wish to look this land over, with a view to business, will notify us a day in advance of the time they will be there, we will be on hand with our ponies to show them the corners & give figures. We have two quarters in the center of town, for sale at a bargain just now.

Early day businessmen who took advantage of buying the land in Barnes is J. R. Tripp, Henry Weigard, W. E. Stone, Martin Brothers--Albert, James, J. F., & Leander, Henry Ober, Mathew & W. S. McKelvy, J. I. James, C. H. Bruce, Mrs. E. PaDelford, M. Solt, G. F. Larmatine, John McFadden & James Finley, W. L. Bloomfield, Simon, Monroe, C. J. & L.C. Solt, Dr. J. S. Wallace (Physician & Surgeon) & Abe Beecher, W. W. Jones, E. K.  Felt, Albert Hazen, Clinton Hogue, Mark J. Kelley, Mark H. Williams, M. Dunsmore, A. H. Dearborn, E. & Maggie Thompson, Adelia Earll, D. Martin, G. M. Kindel, J. Kappel, A. L. Hatton, Alex Shannon, James McGhie, McKelvy Bro’s (M & W. S. McKelvy), F. R. Dikeman, John Wells, James Maycroft, Alonzo Ballard, John Freeby, R. E. Kindel, G. M. Kindel, Ed Paddleford, G. M. Kappel, Mary Landgraf, S. Transue, Dr. H. L. Taylor, Alex Shannon, Dr. John Seufert John M. Wells, Henry Husselman, Wright Wertenberger, Mark H. Williams, Mark J. Kelly, M. O. Reitzel, E. K. Wolverton , J. M. Wolverton.

For more information, please contact the Washington County Historical Society.