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According to family history, Thomas L. Barnett was born November 29, 1839, in Bedford County, Tennessee.  As a boy he emigrated with his parents, Isaac and Susan Hern Barnett and siblings George W., John, Catherine, and Isaac P. to Washington County, Arkansas.  The family settled on Little Wild Cat Creek near present day Steele and tilled one of the best creek bottom farms in Northwest Arkansas.

On December 18, 1859, Thomas married Susan E. Mount and they farmed a plot of land a half mile east of his parents' farm.  The Barnetts had two daughters; Tennessee was born in 1860 and Nancy was born in 1862.

Thomas volunteered for Confederate service in Company A, 34th Regiment of the Arkansas Volunteer Infantry in August of 1862.  He was killed at the Battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862.  Thomas's widow and daughters lived with his parents for a time. Later, her brother, John Isham Mount and his family lived with Susan and daughters on the farm Thomas had operated before the war. John Mount served with the Confederacy also, but in 1881 he was assassinated on June 2, 1881, while serving as a deputy sheriff of Washington County.  The 1880 census shows Susan E. Barnett as head of the household in Elm Springs Township, likely on the same farm that included her two daughters as well as Nancy's husband John Taylor.

From about 1892 until her death on February 2, 1912, Susan received a pension from the state of Arkansas based on Thomas's service to the Confederacy.  Thomas was buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville and Susan was buried besdie her parents and two siblings in the Mount Comfort Cemetery.