Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 543-4
Joseph BARNES, a farmer and dairyman of Harlem Township [Winnebago County, IL], residing on section 15, where he owns and operates 200 acres of land, is a native of Washington County, WI, born 15 Jun 1860, of German parentage. His father, Peter BARNES, was a native of Germany and died in Washington County, WI, in 1899. His wife was born in Buffalo [Erie County], NY, was of German lineage, and is now living at the old homestead in WI. All of the sons of the family are yet living, namely: (1) Joseph, of this review; (2) Mathias, of Kaukauna [Outagamie County], WI; (3) John, of West Bend [Washington County], WI; (4) Peter, of Newberg [Newburg, Washington County], WI; (5) James, who is living in Campbellsport [Fond du Lac County], WI; (6) Henry, of Barton [Washington County], WI; and (7) Albert, of Rockford [Winnebago County], IL. The daughters of the family are: (1) Mrs. Margaret WERSHEIM, of Newberg [Newburg], WI; (2) Mrs. Mary DINGLE and (3) Mrs. Anna GORMAN, both of West Bend, WI; (4) Mrs. Bessie WEBER, of Waukegan [Lake County], IL; (5) Mrs. Katie BRADLEY, of Newberg [Newburg], WI; and (6) Helen and (7) Matilda BARNES, both of West Bend.
Joseph BARNES was widely and favorably known in this locality. He acquired his education in the common schools and remained with his father until 18 years of age, when he started out in life on his own account, making his way to Harlem Township, where he secured employment as a farm hand. He was thus engaged up to the time of his marriage, when he rented land and thus carried on agricultural pursuits for six years. On the expiration of that period, with the capital he had acquired through his industry and economy, he purchased the farm upon which he now resides, comprising 200 acres of rich land on section 15, Harlem Township. Here he carries on general agricultural pursuits and dairying, having a good herd of cows, and both branches of the business are proving profitable.
On 02 Mar 1886 Mr. BARNES was married to Miss Isabelle RALSTON, who was born in Harlem Township 19 Apr 1854, and is a daughter of Alexander and Mary RALSTON, of that township. Her father was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, 07 Jan 1814, and, coming to the U. S., he landed at NY City on 04 Jul 1842. He first located at Marietta [Washington County], OH, whence he afterward made his way to Cincinnati [Hamilton County, OH]. He lived in OH for eight years, and while in that state learned the carpenter's trade. In 1850 he came to Winnebago County, casting in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Harlem Township, where he followed carpentering until 1852, when he purchased the farm upon which Mr. BARNES now resides. He continued to carry on agricultural pursuits throughout his remaining days, his death occurring 26 Feb 1894. His wife, who was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, 29 Jun 1836, came with her parents to the new world in 1850, and the family home was established in [p 544] Caledonia, Boone County, IL, where she lived until she gave her hand in marriage to Mr. RALSTON. She survived her husband for a number of years, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. BARNES, on 05 May 1903. The members of her family were as follows: (1) Peter, who died in 1880; (2) Mrs. Martha GRIFFITHS, of Manchester [Scott County], IL; (3) Mrs. Janet RALSTON, who is living in Caledonia, IL, and has two sons and three daughters; (4) Mrs. Jeannie POTTER, of Mason City [Cerro Gordo County], IA, who has two sons and three daughters; (5) Mrs. Mary Ann THORTON, of Argyle [Winnebago County, IL], who has three daughters; and (6) Elizabeth E., who is living with her sister, Mrs. BARNES. Two sisters of the family died in infancy.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. BARNES have been born three children, but one son died in infancy. The others are: Ralph E., born 08 Apr 1892, and George R., born 30 Nov 1895. Mr. BARNES belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp at Caledonia, IL, and in politics is a stalwart republican, having firm faith in the principles and policy of that party. Both he and his wife are members of the Willow Creek Presbyterian church of Argyle, and they are well known in this part of the county, having many friends who esteem them highly for their genuine worth.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.