Last night, I happened upon a fascinating newspaper source of information about Ned Barnes, brother (half-brother?) of my paternal great-grandmother, Rachel Barnes (or Battle) Taylor. Before I lay it out, though, a deeper introduction to the Barneses is in order.*
Willis Barnes and Cherry Battle registered their six-year cohabitation in Wilson County in 1866. The 1870 census found the family in Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Willis Barnes, 30, wife Cherry, 25, and children Rachul, 7, West, 5, Jesse, 2, and Ned, 5 months. They remained in North Wilson township in the 1880 census: Willis Barnes, 42, wife Cherey, 40, “step-daughter” Rachel Battle, 17, Wesley, 15, Jesse, 13, Ned, 11, Eddie, 7, Mary, 4, and Willey Barnes, 1, plus niece Ellen Battle, 1. [Very nearby were Hardy Battle, 58, and wife America Battle, 50. Relatives of Cherry?]
Cherry Battle Barnes died around 1882. In 1897, when Willis married Fereby Barnes Artis, widow of Benjamin Artis. In the Wilson NC city directory of 1908-09, Willis is listed as a laborer living at 500 South Lodge. Two years later, he was living with his youngest daughter and her family. Willis Barnes died 15 September 1914 in Wilson, Wilson County. His death certificate notes that he was 73 years old, married and a farmer, and that he had been born in Nash County to Tony Eatman and Annie Eatman. Son Jesse Barnes was informant.
On 21 Sep 1882, H.G. Whitehead applied for a marriage license for Mike Taylor of Wilson, aged 20, colored, son of John [sic, his name was Green] Taylor and unknown mother, both living. [This makes no sense -- mother is living, but unknown?] and Rachel Barnes of Wilson, age 19, colored, parents unknown, father dead, mother’s status not given. [No sense either, her parents were certainly known. The takeaway -- the registrar was not very interested in the facts.] On the same day, Louis Croom, Baptist minister, married Taylor and Barnes in Wilson before W.T. Battle and Edman Pool. [Was W.T. Battle related to Rachel? Is he the W. Turner Battle who married Louvina Knight in Wilson on 24 May 1875?]
Rachel and Mike Taylor had six children. Their first, and only son, Roderick, was born in 1883, followed by the improbably named Maggie (1885), Mattie (1887), and Madie (1888), then Bertha E. (1892) and Henrietta G. Taylor (1893). More about Rachel’s family elsewhere.
Wesley “West” Barnes married Ella Mercer on 4 June 1885 at her father Dempsey Mercer’s house in Wilson County. (The marriage license refers to him as “Sylvester” Barnes.) Wesley worked as a driver or drayman, and though he and Ella had at least seven children, I know the names only of five: Joseph Barnes (1885), Lucy Barnes Watson (1889-1959), Sylvester Barnes (1893-1936), Viola Barnes (1894-1943), and Charley Barnes (1896-??) West died of apoplexy in 1919.
Jesse Barnes married Ella Mercer’s sister Mary Mag Mercer on 1 April 1889. His brothers Wesley and Ned witnessed the ceremony. They had at least three children, Jesse Jr. (1890), Marnie (1892-1943), and Nettie (1895-1917). He died in 1916.
On 27 Oct 1891, J.T. Dean applied for a marriage license for Edward Barnes, 22, of Wilson, son of Willis and Cherry Barnes, and Louisa Gay, daughter of Samuel and Alice Gay. The ceremony took place 29 Oct 1891 before J.W. Levy, AMEZ Church minister, at Samuel Gay’s. Witnesses were S.H. Vick, Spencer Barnes, Thomas Davis. [This "Edward" is very definitely Ned Barnes, but the entry is confusing because the 1880 census shows Willis and Cherry with children Ned and Eddie (born about 1873). If there was an "Eddie," he appears in no other records.] Ned worked as a coachman and around 1901 moved his family to Raleigh for better opportunities. Ned and Louisa Gay Barnes’ children included Mattie Radcliffe Barnes Hines (1895-1923), Alice Ida Barnes (1897-1969), Ned Barnes Jr. (1900), Howard Barnes (1902), Blonnie Barnes Zachary (1908-1932) and Jerrel Randolph Barnes (1909-1929). Ned died in Raleigh in 1912.
Mary Barnes is an enigmatic figure. She married first in Wilson County in 1893 to Pierce Barnes, son of Robert and Hannah Barnes, and then a man named Jones. She never had children of her own, but adopted her nephew, Robert Perry. She died almost 11 months to the day after her brother Wesley in 1919.
William “Willie” Barnes died of tuberculosis in 1917. It is not clear if he ever married or had children.
As detailed here, I believe Cherry Battle had one more child, daughter Lucinda “Cintha” Barnes, shortly before her death. Cintha also died young, and her children were reared by her sisters.
* Barnes is by far the most common surname in Wilson County. My cousin A.B. is descended from at least four separate Barnes lines, and any two given Barneses are more likely to be unrelated than not.