The father of our subject for many years had charge of a congregation in the city of Boston, but on account of failing health he, in 1853, came to Illinois, and settled in Alton. He preached there five or six years, coming to Jacksonville in 1860. He is now living in retirement in this city. The wife and mother passed to her long home in 1872, having a family of four children. The eldest of these, William H., is now a Judge of the United States Circuit Court in Arizona; Nathan H., a resident of Hartford, Conn., holds a Lieutenant's commission in the United States Navy; Mary A., wife of Mr. M. V. B. Elison, is a resident of Freeport, Ill.
The subject of this biography after leaving the primary schools, entered the Illinois College at Jacksonville, and later Michigan State University at Ann Arbor, and was graduated from the law department of the latter in 1878. He at once settled in Jacksonville, where he entered upon the practice of his profession in company with his brother, William H., continuing there until he was chosen to his present position in the fall of 1884. He was first appointed City Attorney in 1882, serving one year, and elected States Attorney in 1884, which position he has since held. Politically, he votes the straight Democratic ticket, and socially, is a Mason, an Odd Fellow and a K. of P.
The paternal grandparents of our subject, Thomas and Sarah (Evans) Barnes, were natives of Delaware. Grandfather Barnes in 1809 removed to the vicinity of what was afterward Portsmouth, Ohio, where he engaged extensively in farming, and where his death took place in 1818. His estimable wife survived him many years, came to Illinois in 1834, and was a resident of Marshall County at the time of her death, which occurred when she was about eighty years old. They were the parents of five children, three of whom are living, namely: Nancy, Mrs. Dever, of Lacon, now ninety years of age; Henry, of Sannemin, Livingston County, aged eighty six years, and Rev. William, father of our subject, who is seventy-two years old. The Barnes family is of Scotch ancestry, while the Evans' trace their origin to Wales.