Chauncey Curtis Barnes, whose life record covered fifty-eight years, the entire period of which was spent in Marshall county, left at his death an untarnished name and a memory that is still cherished by all who knew him. He was born on the old homestead farm on section 27, Whitefield township, April 17, 1847, a fact which indicates that the family was established here in pioneer times. His father, Chauncey W. Barnes, was a native of Massachusetts and was reared to the occupation of farming, which he made his life work. He came to the state in 1836 and made purchase of the farm now owned by Mrs. Chauncey C. Barnes and son, thereon spending his remaining days. He lived there with his son and daughter-in-law for thirty years following the death of his wife. Mrs. Barnes bore the maiden name of Sally B. Martin and was a native of Connecticut. Unto them were born four children hut only two are now living: George M., whose home is in Webb City, Missouri; and Charles L., who resides in Pattonsburg, Missouri. The mother died in 1872 and the father survived her for three decades, during which time he made his home with his son Chauncey and his wife until his demise, which occurred in March, 1902. He performed the arduous task of developing a new place in the early years of his residence here, converting wild prairie land into richly cultivated fields. His life was one of untiring activity and enterprise and his success was well merited. When he passed away the county lost one of its venerable citizens and worthy pioneer residents. Both he and his wife were members of the Christian church and their lives exemplified their religious faith.
Chauncey Curtis Barnes at the usual age began his education in the district schools of Whitefield township and therein mastered the branches of learning usually taught in such institutions. After leaving school he gave his entire attention to the work of the home farm, with which he had previously become familiar during the periods of vacation, and when some years had passed he relieved his father of the management and care of the property and remained an enterprising and progressive agriculturist of the community up to the time of his death. Many substantial improvements were made upon the farm, including the erection of good buildings, while modern farm machinery was secured to facilitate the work of the fields. Neatness and thrift characterize the entire place and give evidence of the care and supervision of the former owners.
On the 6th of January, 1870, Mr. Barnes was united in marriage in Lacon to Miss Mary C. Kirk, a native of Peoria county, Illinois, the wedding ceremony being performed by Rev. J. Curtis of the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Barnes is a daughter of Henry and Sarah (Erwin) Kirk, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. In their family were four children, all of whom are yet living, namely: James Madison, who is a contractor and builder residing in Montezuma, Iowa; Matilda Ann, the wife of A. A. Earl, of Chicago; Mary C., now Mrs. Barnes; and Mrs. Ella K. Hackett, who is living with her sister Mary.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were born a daughter and two sons, but Netta Belle Barnes, born in 1871, died in 1872. Charles Curtis, who married Edith Hadley, of Chicago, died in June, 1905, at the age of thirty-two years. He was a druggist of Chicago, having graduated from the Chicago College of Pharmacy. James Madison, who wedded Jessie Tanner, of Sparland, Illinois, is now living with his mother upon the home place and operates the farm.
Just after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Barnes located on his father's farm adjoining the present place, but in 1871 took up their abode upon the farm on section 27, Whitefield township, which is now the home of the widow and son. Here for thirty-four years Mr. Barnes gave his time and energies to agricultural pursuits, carefully cultivating and superintending his place and manifesting in his labors the progressive spirit of the times. He always kept in touch with modern agricultural progress and his labors were therefore the source of a gratifying success. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes resided in Henry for fifteen years, and during that time he was engaged in the dairy business. He was a member of the Whitefield Baptist church and was a republican in his political views but was never ambitious for office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs. He was ill throughout his last year and he passed away in Chicago, December 1, 1905, after which his remains were brought back to Marshall county and laid to rest in Henry cemetery. Having always lived in this county he had a wide acquaintance in Whitefield township and other localities and his many sterling traits of character were recognized and honored by his fellow men. He had a kindly manner and cordial disposition that gained him many friends and he was known a. a straightforward, reliable business man. He left his family well provided for, for his farm was a valuable tract of one hundred and ninety acres. This is now in possession of the widow and son, the latter operating the farm, which is one of the well improved properties of Whitefield township.
Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 233.