So we are now entering into the family I know less and less about.
These are my grandmother’s parents, James and Helen (Henderson) Barnes. We’ll focus on James today and then Helen will be the next time.
As I said, I don’t know much about these two. Luckily, I have my grandmother still here to help me fill in the gaps and give me personal stories.
James R. (This distinction is important due to the commonness of the name) Barnes was born 30 Jan 1911 (1) to Archie and Myrtle (Allen) Barnes. He was one of eight children (really seven since one died a month after being born ).
In the 1920 census, he was 9 years old and living with his parents and siblings (3). They were all living in a home that was owned and free of mortgage. One can assume that his dad did pretty well then with money but he was also in his mid-40′s by this point. They had children from the years 1904-1927. I can’t imagine that! His job doesn’t seem like it would pay well but maybe it did since it’s probably hard to find people to do it. His father was a cemetery keeper – is it just me or is that creepily interesting?
James is listed in the 1930 census still with his parents and siblings (4). At this time he was working as a mechanic in a garage which becomes his life’s work.
Now here’s a bit of fun information. James eloped with Helen to Ohio on 11 May 1931 (5). I am not clear on why they did this. I love my grandmother’s story about this though. Apparently, Helen was still in school and at the end of her graduation, her parents wanted to take her home. However, James held on to her and said no, she’ll be going with him because they are married. I’m sure that was quite the shock!
In the 1940 census, my grandmother has made her introduction to the world. James is living at home with his wife Helen, and daughter Beverly (6) who was 7 at the time. They lived in a rented home while James worked in a gas station as an attendant. He later will own this little gas station. My grandmother tells a wonderful story how he REFUSED to start selling things like drinks, candy, food, etc. because to him, it was a gas station and a mechanic shop. Why would anyone go there for those items?! I wonder if he was surprised by the changes that took place over the years.
Nearly 10 years after my grandmother was born, they had another child, a son, Jim. There was a reason for the delay in the two children but I’ll leave that one for Helen’s story.
Another story I love is one that is more centered about my grandmother. Her parents, James and Helen, were VERY strict on their daughter. My grandmother told me that he was very protective when it came to dating. When she went out one evening to see a movie, she was to be back at a very specific time. The movie ran later than that time and who was waiting outside for her? Her father, in a car, ready to take her home.
So, when my grandmother met my grandfather, it is not surprising that they decided to elope. They had only known each other for about 6 weeks and the family did find out before they got married. My grandmother didn’t realize that they printed the marriage applications in the newspapers and got a call from one of her aunts one day asking what that was all about. They still eloped. When my grandmother found out, years after her own elopement, that her own parents had eloped, she did ask why they were so mad at her for doing it when they had done it as well! It is a very different story when it is your own daughter apparently.
I do not yet have James’s death certificate. The plan was to get his as well as Helen’s records this winter but it has been brutal! When I venture back to Michigan, I tend to stay in Saginaw where the county office is very nearby. James and Helen lived in another county that is about an hour drive from Saginaw. Needless to say, I didn’t make it up to Saginaw much this winter, much less venture to Tuscola County. Now that spring is here, those records will be coming in. I do have his obituary though (7):
Barnes, Mr. James, Millington, Michigan
Mr. James Barnes of Millington passed away Tuesday, December 24, 1996, at Bay Special Services Health Care Center in Bay City at the age of 85 years. Jim was born in Vassar, Mich. on January 30 1911 and had been a Vassar and Millington area resident all of his life. Jim was in business for many years as a mechanic owning and operating his own service station on the corner of E. Main and State Streets in Millington. Jim leaves his daughter and son-in-law, Beverly and Robert Langeneck of Pinconning, Mich,; six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson; also two brothers, Ken Barnes of Vassar and Donald Barnes of Florida; one sister, Dorothy Ashe of Vassar, Mich.; several nieces and nephews, Jim was preceded in death by one son, James A. Barnes in 1990 and his wife Helen in 1989.
1) “U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2014), entry for James R. Barnes, 24 Dec 1996, Michigan; citing, “Social Security Death Index, Master File,” Social Security Administration.
2) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, SeekingMichigan.com, Erwin Claude Barnes, registered no. 588.
3) 1920 U.S. Census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Vassar Township, ED 198, SD 7, sheet 9B (penned), dwelling 253, family 237, James R Barnes; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 798.
4) 1930 U.S. Census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Vassar Township, ED 79-35, SD 11, sheet 13B (penned), dwelling 345, family 367, James Barnes; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626, roll 1027.
5) Fulton County, Ohio. Marriage License, Barnes-Henderson, 1931; County Clerk’s Office, Wauseon.
6) 1940 U.S. Census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule,Millington Village, ED 79-31, SD 7, sheet 6A (penned), line 8, James Barnes; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 March 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T627, roll 1821
7) James Barnes Obituary, Saginaw News , Saginaw, Michigan, 25 Dec 1996, p D 11, column 5.