Clarence’s mother, Martha, first appears on the 1920 census, confirming that she was the wife of WC Hensen and that Clarence was his stepson.
1920: Civil District 2, McNairy, Tennessee
|Hensen W. C.||married, aged 52, farmer|
|Martha||married, aged 47|
|Clarence||stepson, aged 15|
|Burford||son, aged 12|
|Delphia Pearl||daughter aged 10|
|Grandwill A||son, aged 7|
1910: Civil district No 2, McNairy County, Tennessee
|Hensen W. C.||aged 42, second marriage|
|Martha||aged 37, wife, second marriage,||mother of 7 children, all living|
|Artie Barnes||daughter, aged 15, born c1895|
|Lizzie Barnes||daughter, aged 13, born c1897|
|Sarah Barnes||daughter, aged 11, born c1899|
|Clarence Barnes||son, aged 6, born c1905|
|Burford Hensen||son, aged 3, born c1907|
So there were four Barnes children living with their mother Martha and step father W C Hensen in 1910. Together with the unnamed infant Hensen the census listed 6 children born to Martha.
However, the census states that Martha had seven children, all living. And from his birth record, we know that Clarence was the fifth child born to Martha. Therefore one child was not with the family on the day of the census, most probably the oldest child.
The 1910 census shows that Martha and WC Hensen had not yet been married a full year. It seems that the Barnes children’s father must have died sometime after the birth of Clarence in 1904 and before the birth of Burford Hensen in c1907. Or, given that Martha and Hensen had been married less than a year by the time of the 1910 census, was Burford mis named with the surname Hensen and he was actually a Barnes child? Either way, it is clear that Martha was left with young children to look after and provide for and she must have remarried fairly quickly.
Marriage of Martha Evelyn Barnes
Martha married WC Hensen on 26th August 1909.
The marriage license was granted in McNairy County.
Source: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
From the marriage date, it seems that Burford was also the son of Martha and William and should have been listed on the census as WC Hensen’s stepson.
We know from Clarence’s birth record that his father’s name was William Alexander Barnes and our next step is to look for the family on the 1900 census. As we saw from the 1910 census, three of Clarence’s siblings were born before 1900 and should appear on the census: Artie Ann (1894) and Martha Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ (1896) and possibly Sarah (born c 1899). Clarence wasn’t born until 1904 but according to his birth record, he was the fifth child of his mother so it seems there was another child who didn’t appear on the 1910 census and who, if they had survived, was probably born before 1900.
I began by searching for a William Alexander Barnes with a wife named Martha and then I repeated the search omitting the name Alexander. There was no such person listed. And so I changed method.
According to Clarence’s birth record, he and his parents were born in Hardeman and I hoped that Martha’s first three children were also born in Hardeman.
I searched the 1900 census for all Barnes children, irrespective of first name, born in Tennessee in the 1890s, with a mother named Martha Barnes, living in Tennessee in 1900. I couldn’t find any.
I was forced to conclude that, if the family were living in Tennessee in 1900, the surname Barnes had been mis-transcribed, as so often happens when the writing on the census form is difficult to read. When I can’t find a family on the census in the expected place, I search another database in the hope that the record has been correctly transcribed on the second data base but, unfortunately, I could still not make any matches.
In the whole of Tennessee, there were 3496 people named Barnes in 1900, including 56 in McNairy and 43 in Chester. Unfortunately, there seem to be none in Hardeman and it occurred to me that something had happened to all the census returns for Hardeman but a search for all people living in Hardeman in 1900 returned 23,313.
So I began searching those 23,313 by using just Martha’s first name, with no surname given and, finally, I found them. The writing of the name Barnes is very close to and partially obscured by the line below, so the name had been transcribed as Burnes. Martha and the names of two of her children matched the census entry. To compound my difficulties with the search, William had been listed as Bill.
1900 Census, Twelfth Civil District, Hardeman,
|Barnes Bill||married, born October 1847, aged 52, married 8 years, farmer|
|Martha E||married, born Sept 1872, aged 27, married 8 years|
|Rod W||son of Bill, born Jan 1880, aged 19, farm labour|
|James H||son, born Feb 1893, aged 7|
|Arty A||daughter, born May 1895|
|Martha E||daughter, born June 1897, aged 2|
By the time of the census, 3 children had been born to Martha, all still living.
Bill, Martha and the children were born in Tennessee, with both Bill and Martha’s parents born in Tennessee.
So James H was the name of the child not shown on the 1910 census but if we now look for him we find, in the same district as his mother in 1910: James Hugh, aged 17 (born c1892/3) and Minnie Barnes. They’d been married for less than one year and had no children. He is shown as having been born in Tennessee, together with both parents.
The Tennessee State marriages 1780 – 2002 show that Hugh Barnes married Minnie Ray on 16 October 1909 in McNairy County. They remained in McNairy County and had two children, Allene and Vivian. In 1917 James claimed exemption from World War 1 draft because his wife and child were dependent on him. James Hugh died in 1966 and Minnie died in 1971. They are buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery.
Source: Find A Grave http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=44976844&PIpi=109389253
The 1900 census shows that Bill was 25 years older than Martha and that, as he had a son born in 1880, his marriage to Martha was his second marriage, with the three children born from 1893 to 1897 being the first three children of that marriage.
So now we look for a marriage between Bill and Martha, probably not long before the birth of James in 1893. But was he Bill or William?
Marriage of William and Martha
Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 show that Wm A Barnes married Martha E Vaughan on 8 March 1891 in Hardeman County, Tennessee.
William signed his name as William A Barnes.
Unfortunately, the marriage license bond does not give any idea of their ages nor where they married.
If William and Martha married in a church, it is possible that the actual marriage record at the church will have more details. It is worth investigating churches in Hardeman County.
Death of William Alexander Barnes
Now that we are certain of the name of Clarence’s father, we can look for his death.
It is said that William died when Clarence was young and it was assumed that William had been a young man when he died. However, it seems he was already 57 when Clarence was born in 1904. As shown above, Clarence had a younger brother, born in 1906 and their mother Martha remarried in 1909. Therefore, William Alexander must have died between 1905 and 1909.
An Ancestry.com public tree gives William’s death as 4 July 1907, McNairy County. However, I am unable to find a suitable death record for him online and this needs verifying by checking with the county archives.
It is possible that the name has been mis-transcribed again so it would be a good idea to physically check the McNairy County records to see if his death is recorded between 1905 and 1909. Although there is no gravestone, William is thought to have been buried in Mount Gilead Cemetery. This should be checked with the cemetery records.
Martha E Vaughan
An Ancestry.com public member tree says that Martha was born 26 February 1872 in Tennessee and that her parents were James Granville Vaughan (1847 – 1917) and Sarah Ann Macon (1851 – 1923)
I have not been able to verify this but the birth year agrees with the date on Martha’s gravestone.
1880 Census: 12th District, Hardeman, Tennessee
|Vaughan J G||farmer, aged 33|
|Sarah||wife, aged 29|
|Martha||daughter, aged 8|
|Elisabeth||daughter, aged 6|
|Lucy||daughter, aged 3|
|unnamed||daughter, aged five months|
James Granville Vaughan was born c1847, which it means that Martha’s husband, William Alexander, was the same age as her father, which is not unusual in family history matters, especially if a second marriage was involved.
The information in the 1880 and 1910 censuses show that after William died, Martha went from being married to a man who was twenty five years older than her (the same age as her father) to one just five years older than herself. She had step children from her marriage with William and her own children with him. Then she married WC Hensen and had step children from that marriage and at least one child with him. And people today complain of the complicated relationships of modern extended families!
Death of Martha E Hensen
Martha E Hensen, 1872 – 1961.
Spouse: William C Hensen, 1867 – 1944.
Buried in Mount Gilead Cemetery, Rose Creek,
McNairy County, Tennessee
Source: Find a Grave Index
A public member tree on Ancestry.com shows these photographs as being of William A Barnes and Martha Evelyn Barnes, nee Vaughan.
Unfortunately, I have no way of verifying their validity.
Apart from Clarence Monro Barnes, who was born in Middleton, Hardeman County, I have been unable to find any online birth records of any of the other children of William Alexander and Martha Barnes. I had hoped that Burford Barnes was an unusual name but I could find no birth record and, according to the censuses, there were several born around the same time and without more information, it is impossible to identify him.
In the 1900 census, all the members of the household and their parents were given as having been born in Tennessee, which contradicts the 1910 census which said that the children’s father was born in North Carolina.
I have not found anything else which connects William Alexander Barnes directly to North Carolina and I think that the information given on the 1910 census was incorrect, perhaps given by W C Hensen who had heard mention of North Carolina and though that it referred to William, not to his ancestors.
However, it should be possible to verify the births and parents of the children by visiting the Hardeman and McNairy county archive offices.
Who was William Alexander Barnes’ first wife and did he have any other other children?
Having finally found William in the 1900 census, our normal method of going further back in time would be to look at the previous census. However, almost the entire 1890 Federal census was destroyed by fire, with only fragments remaining and none of those for Tennessee. So, we must go back to the 1880 census.
1880 Census, 17th Civil district, in the County of Hardeman, 8th June 1880
|Barnes William A||aged 32||born in Tennessee, parents born in Tennessee|
|Nancy||wife, aged 26||born in Tennessee, both parents born in S.C.|
|Nora J||daughter, aged 5||born in Tennessee, both parents born in Tennessee|
|John A||son, aged 2||born in Tennessee, both parents born in Tennessee|
William was noted as a dry goods merchant.
The 1900 census shows that William’s son, Rod W was born in Jan 1880. (I think it looks like Jan, not June.) So where was he on the night of the census? I’ve not been able to find a suitable entry.
Neighbours of William are shown as:
|Barnes Amanda||aged 57|
|John G||son, aged 22, born c1858||Sarah C||daughter, aged 20, born c 1860|
Amanda is shown as the head of the family so we must assume that she was a widow. With William and his family living next door to Amanda and her two children, it is possible that Amanda was William’s mother and John G and Sarah C were his siblings. We will bear this in mind as we go further back in time.
Marriage of William A Barnes and Nancy
Assuming that they were married before or around the time Nora J was born, we are looking at the early to mid 1870s. There are two possible marriages.
A marriage license was issued to W A Barnes and Nannie Baker on 12 February 1874 in Hardeman.
The entry in the Marriage License Record is the bottom one on the right hand page.
Did Nannie change her name to Nancy?
A marriage bond was issued in the County Court of Fayette on 17 October 1872. It was for a William H Barnes to marry Nancy A Barnet.
The entry is the middle one on the right hand page.
Nancy’s surname has been transcribed as Barnes but studying the writing it seems clear from other words that the last letter is actually t, making it Barnet.
Source for both marriages: Tennessee State marriage index, 1780 – 2002
In the 1872 marriage licence, William’s initial is clearly shown as an H in one place but not so clear in another. However, it looks nothing like the A in Nancy A Barnet.
Several Ancestry Public member trees list William’s first marriage as being to Nancy Ann Baker, giving the date as 12 February 1874 although they do not give the primary source of the information.
They seem to merge the marriage of W A Barnes to Nannie Baker on 12 February 1874 with that of William H Barnes to Nancy A Barnet 17 October 1872. They give her death as 1889, which I have not been able to verify. It would account for William remarrying in 1891.
With the 1872 marriage being for William H Barnes and the 1874 marriage being for W A Barnes (in each case with the middle initial clearly written) I am inclined towards the marriage being to Nannie Baker in 1874 and to the idea that the name Nannie was a nickname for Nancy. A marriage in 1874 would lead to the birth of Nora in 1875.
Nora is given as aged 5 in the 1880 census and her brother John was 2, both born in Tennessee. The census was in Hardeman.
Some of the Ancestry public member trees give a child of William and Nancy as William Roderick Barnes, born Hardeman County (18 September 1880 – 9 March 1926).
Although the birth month disagrees with the 1900 census, it explains why William Roderick or Rod W doesn’t appear on the 1880 census.
It would be worth checking the Hardeman County records to see if there is a birth record for either Nora, John or William Roderick (or possibly Roderick William) which would give their parents full name.
[The 1920 census for Shelby, Tennessee gives W R Barnes aged 38 (born c1882), wife Ethel and six children.]
Gravestone source: Find A Grave
Continuing our search through the censuses for William and his family, we find:
1870 Census: District 11, Hardeman, Tennessee
|Barnes A M F||aged 52, born c1818, farmeress|
|S C||aged 20, born c1850|
|J G||aged 13, born c1857|
|C D||aged 11, born c1859|
All were said to be born in Tennessee. The marital status was not asked for and neither was the relationship to the head of the household.
If these were William’s mother and siblings, where was William in 1870? Was he working on someone else’s farm and his name mis-transcribed on the census index?
The 1870 census was the first one after the Civil War (1861 – 1865). According to the 1880 census, William was born c1848. By the time the war ended, he would have been 17. Would he have fought in the war? Could he have moved elsewhere to avoid the war and not returned until after 1870?
Wherever William A Barnes was in 1870, I can’t identify him and so we must look for him ten years earlier.
1860 census: District 11, Hardeman, all born in Tennessee
|Barnes R||aged 39, born c1821, farmer|
|Amanda||aged 40, born c1820|
|Wm A||aged 12, born c1848|
|Sally C||aged 9, born c1851|
|Martha A||aged 7, born c1853|
|John||aged 4, born c1856||(with initial for second name but it is unclear)|
|Charlotte D||aged 1, born c1859|
Various sources name Roderick’s son John as John Yancy Barnes (1856-1933).
1850 census: County Tippah, Mississippi, all born in Tennessee
|Barnes Roderick||aged 30, born c 1820, farmer|
|Amanda||aged 31, born c1819|
|William A||aged 2 or 3 (the writing is unclear) born c1847/48|
|Sarah C||aged seven months|
It appears that Sarah C in 1850 had become Sally C by 1860.
When and where was William Alexander born?
The 1900 census gives William (Bill) as being born in October 1847 in Tennessee.
Although the 1910 census says that the father of Martha’s Barnes children was born in North Carolina, the other censuses say that he was born in Tennessee and his son Clarence’s birth record says that William was born in Hardeman, Tennessee.
Sometimes, when a person has lived in a place for most of their life, they either forget that they were born elsewhere or did not know that they were born elsewhere, especially if they moved to the new place when they were quite young. Therefore, as the family was in County Tippah, Mississippi in 1850, there is a chance that William and Sarah (Sally) were born there rather than in Hardeman.
We really need to confirm who William’s parents were but he was born before the time of county or state birth records so we need to see if a church baptism record is available. But where?
The 1860 census says that William was born in Tennessee although the 1850 census shows that he was in Tippah, Mississippi when he was aged just 2 or 3. This presents us with two scenarios.
1. It is quite possible that he and Sallie/Sarah were born in Tippah before the family moved to Hardeman but because the other children were born in Tennessee, their birth place was entered incorrectly when the census form was filled in.
2. As we see below, Roderick married in 1846 in Lincoln, Tennessee. Perhaps the first two children were born there before they moved to Tippah, or William was born in Lincoln and Sallie/Sarah in Tippah.
I have checked what is currently available online for both counties and am unable to find such a record but it is worth checking with both county archives directly.
Next: Roderick Barnes