John J. Barnett

Pages 667-668
John J. Barnett, one of the principal millers and a substantial farmer of Perry County, is a native of Arkansas, and was born May 23, 1847. His parents were William Henry Barnett and Susan Eliza Baker, natives of Tennessee and Virginia, respectively, who were married February 26, 1846, at the residence of the bride, in Independence County, Ark. The mother died on January 29, 1851, and the father was married a second time, this wife being Miss Lucy Reeves, and by whom he had four children: Henry Clay (born December 22, 1857), William B. (born April 18, 1859), Martha Louisa and Joseph S. (the latter born November 7, 1865). John Barnett and Sarah Ann, the paternal grandfather and grandmother, first came to Arkansas in 1824, and located in Hickory Valley, Independence County, where he purchased land and began farming, adding to it, from time to time, until he owned over 1,000 acres, and had placed some 600 acres under cultivation. John J. Barnett was reared to farm life, and received his education in the subscription schools of Independence County. He remained with his father until 1863, and then, matters not being satisfactory at home, he went to the recruiting officer and enlisted in Company H, Fourth Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Cavalry, serving until June 30, 1865, when he was mustered out at Little Rock. He took part in a number of engagements, and acquitted himself with honor, and, after the war was over, returned to his father with the money he received for his services. He was married on March 2, 1870, to Miss Nancy W. Meacham, of Independence County, and made a home of his own on land which he rented from his father-in-law. Six years afterward he purchased 140 acres of land on his grandfather's old homestead, and in 1877 erected a grist mill and cotton gin on the same site where his grandfather had built one forty years before. He made this his home until the summer of 1888, when he moved to Batesville, and kept a hotel for about one year, and then moved to Perryville. Mr. Barnett was elected a Mason in 1880, becoming a member of Curio Lodge No. 144, and has held every office in that fraternity since his initiation. He owns 160 acres of cultivated land in Independence County, besides his farm in Perry County, and also sixty acres of timbered land. The mill site embraces two acres of land, upon which are erected a grist and saw mill and a cotton gin, all of which are in successful operation. Mr. Barnett's family consists of ten children: Mary Martia (born May 19, 1871), Susan Mildred (born September 9, 1872), Sarah Elizabeth (born February 19, 1874), Frances Barsheba (born March 20, 1875), John J. (born November 8, 1876, died October 1, 1877), James William (born January 13, 1878), Nancy Norris (born August 23, 1879, died August 22, 1886), Rebecca Ann (born December 15, 1880), Lillie L. (born November 22, 1882), Julian C. (born May 23, 1885), Myrtle Leander (born August 22, 1886), Eliza Leola (born July 1, 1888). The children have all had the best education offered by the schools of Independence and Perry Counties, and the older ones especially have obtained a thorough and lasting knowledge of the higher branches of English studies. The firm name of the enterprise Mr. Barnett is connected with is Barnett & Co. They are extensive manufacturers of flour, cornmeal and all kinds of lumber for building purposes, and the products of their mills have obtained a wide-spread reputation. In addition to Curio Lodge No. 144, he is also a member of Danley Chapter No. 59, Royal Arch Masons, Sulphur Rock, Independence County, and takes an active interest in Masonic matters. Mr. Barnett is one of the foremost men in all enterprises to further the progress of religious and educational matters, and is a man of considerable influence, both socially and politically, in Perry County.