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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Harry J. Barnett

A man of no little prominence and importance in the vicinity of Santa Rosa and Sonoma county is Harry J. Barnett, whose representation here dates from 1885, since then being very active in all that tends to promote the general welfare of his adopted home. Ohio is Mr. Barnett’’s native state, his birth occurring December 28, 1868, in the home of George A. and Loretta J. (Meyers) Barnett, the former born in New York in 1843, and the latter born in Illinois in 1842. They were married in Ohio, and in that state they passed the early part of their married life. During young manhood the father had volunteered his services in the cause of the Union, enlisting as a member of the One Hundred and Twenty-second New York Volunteer Infantry, Company F, Sixth Corps, in which he served for three and one-half years. At the battle of Petersburg he was wounded by being struck in the shoulder by a piece of shell, and was taken from the battle-field to Lincoln’s hospital, and was an inmate there when he received the news of Lincoln’s assassination. Subsequently he was removed to the state hospital at Rochester, N. Y., and finally, in 1865, received his honorable discharge, after a service that was long and trying, but one which he gave willingly.

Harry J. Barnett was a lad of seven years when, with his parents, he came to California, settlement being made in San Francisco, where he had an excellent opportunity to prosecute his studies. His school days were over at the age of fifteen years, for from that age dates the beginning of his experience in the world of business. His initial training was in the dairy business, following this as long as he remained in San Francisco, or until 1885, when the family removed to Sonoma county. Mr. Barnett bought twenty acres of fine land near Santa Rosa, paying for the same $3,500, and today the same property could not be purchased for $10,000. In fact, Mr. Barnett has recently disposed of ten acres for $6,500, and on the remaining ten acres is building a beautiful modern residence. This and the surrounding country are in direct contrast to what he beheld when he came to this locality twenty-five years ago, when there was no habitation nearer than three miles away. The pou8ltry business has received Mr. Barnett’s special attention for the past eighteen years, and since reducing the size of his ranch he expects to run only about fifteen hundred chickens.

In 1892 Mr. Barnett was united in marriage with Miss Grace Lentz, a native of Minnesota, whose parents immigrated from that state to California bout the same time the Barnett family came to the state. All of the eight children born of this marriage are natives of California. Loretta, born in 1893, has completed the grammar course in the Santa Rosa schools; Anita B., born in 1895, is a student in the high school; Marjorie, born in 1899, and George A., born in 1898, are attending the district school; Dorothy, born in 1906, Helen and Harriet (twins), born in 1908, and Wilson Lee, born in 1910, complete the family. Politically Mr. Barnett is a Republican, but has never held nor had any desire to hold public office. Fraternally he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which body he has passed through all the chairs of the subordinate lodge and the encampment; he is also a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. Mr. Barnett’s long residence in Sonoma county has brought him prominently before the people, by whom he is universally respected. He has perhaps done as much as any one man for the building up of Sonoma county, and much credit is due him for the interest he has displayed in her welfare.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011