Henry Barnhart

Henry A. Barnhart (1858 - 1934)

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Hon. Henry A. "Hank" Barnhart
Born in Twelve Mile, Cass Co., Indianamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married (to ) in Cass Co., Indiana, USAmap
Husband of — married (to ) in Fulton Co., Indiana, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Rochester, Fulton Co., Indiana, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Mar 2013
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Categories: Cass County, Indiana | US Representatives from Indiana | Land Surveyors | Newspaper Publishers | Authors | Teachers | Notables.

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Henry Barnhart was the son of Elder Jacob Barnhart and Maria Fisher Barnhart. His family was solidly Dunkard. His father was an elder with oversight for the Congregational Brethren in Mexico, Indiana and his mother's family is documented as having 24 preachers in the family. This upbringing gave him a strong moral ethic and compassion for others.

Loretta and Henry adopted their niece Glendolyn Howell, daughter of Loretta's sister Thurza, after Thurza passed away.

While serving in Washington, Henry attended the Calvary Baptist Church.[1]

The enduring Rochester legacy of Henry A. Barnhart [2]

BY Jack K. Overmyer, President and Owner, The Sentinel

The good that men do lives after them, it is said, which is a truism that precisely fits Henry A. Barnhart. His legacy can be found yet today in two Rochester institutions: an independent daily newspaper that's one of Indiana's finest and an independent telephone company that's continually abreast of its industry's technology.

Henry Barnhart was a 19th century man of vision and probity, of tireless energy and of dedication to the progress of his community and political party.

He was, in turn: farmer, county official, widely respected newspaper editor, telephone industry pioneer, leader in community improvements, astute politician and accomplished orator and, to cap his career, a U. S. Congressman for 11 years.

He emerged into life on his parents' farm south of Twelve Mile in Cass County, one of six children in a German Baptist, or Dunkard, family. Defying his family's tradition that education ended with the one-room school, he left home and attended Amboy Academy. He then taught school, married and began farming east of Fulton.

There his fate first beckoned in 1884 when county Democratic leaders induced him to run for county surveyor at a time when the office was a political sinecure; trained assistants did the surveying. Henry was elected and moved to Rochester.

Two years later, Barnhart answered another call that would launch his life's professional career. Tully Bitters offered to sell the county's Democratic weekly newspaper, The Rochester Sentinel, so he could become postmaster. Henry seized the opportunity and on May 5, 1886, became a newspaper proprietor.

In 20 years, Barnhart moved The Sentinel from a modest, struggling enterprise in second-story rooms into a two-story building, established a daily edition in 1896 and claimed the largest circulation, advertising and commercial printing in the county. Henry accurately claimed of his newspaper at that time: "It's all in The Sentinel. If you see it in The Sentinel it's so. It's in The Sentinel the same day it happens."

As an editor, Barnhart might constantly be proclaiming the worth of the Democratic party, but his primary interest was in community advancement. He not only criticized local officials for their sloth, but involved himself personally in progressive ventures.

That's what led him, in 1895, to gather a group of distinguished citizens and create local telephone service. The Bell telephone patent had expired the year before, allowing independent companies to organize for the service. Within 10 years, 6,000 such companies would appear. Barnhart became the telephone company's first president and general manager.

It was not an unusual role for Henry. He had helped organize the city's first water works, helped form a local bank and was a founder of the Kiwanis club. Professionally, he was prominent in state Democratic organization politics, was president of the Indiana Editorial Association and president of both state and national telephone associations.

All of these activities earned him wide recognition in northern Indiana, so much so that in 1908 he was chosen the Democratic nominee for Congress from the eight-county 13th District, which also included Kosciusko, Marshall, Elkhart, St. Joseph, LaPorte, Pulaski and Starke counties. Henry spoke in nearly every city, village and school house in the district and won by 290 votes.

In those quiet years before World War I, Congress was much different than it is today. Washington was a small city unencumbered by the bureaucracy that later would envelop it; travel was difficult and citizens rarely visited the capital. Henry's two-person staff consisted of secretary and stenographer. He served in Congress until 1919, sponsored bills assisting citizens in his district and became known among his colleagues as an orator and story-teller. In an event widely publicized at the time, he left his hospital bed in a stretcher to cast his vote for women's suffrage on the House floor.

In his Rochester retirement, he continued as telephone company president, having turned the newspaper over to his sons, first to Dean and then to Hugh. He delivered a speech on "Congress in Action" throughout the county and wrote a history of Fulton County for the two-volume History of Indiana by Professor Logan Esarey of Indiana University.

His first wife, Loretta Ann Leffel, having died in 1916, he married a neighbor, Alwilda Dillon, in 1923. The couple lived in her home on the southwest corner of 11th and Main Streets; the original Barnhart family home still stands two houses directly south.

Henry made friends easily in Congress with his outgoing personality and homespun stories like this one which he often was asked to repeat:

In Fulton circuit court, an attorney was defending his client from selling a diseased animal. In his closing argument, he told the jury: "You have heard how a sick jackass was sold by my client. That is not true. He was perfectly healthy at the time. The new owner carelessly turned him into a pasture adjoined by one in which there were several healthy and lively mares. The lonely little animal tried in vain for three days to break through that barbed wire fence but could not make it. Members of the jury, that poor jackass did not die from disease. He just died from a broken heart." The attorney won the case.

Henry circulated among former constituents easily and often after he returned from Washington and never sought their deference. Once, while in a discussion with local acquaintances, the subject came up about a book uncomplimentary of President Warren Harding. Barnhart had known Harding as a fellow congressman and said he had found him to be a "real gentleman" and said further that he hoped people would not talk about him like that when he was gone.

To which a member of the group, John Troutman, replied, "Well, Henry, they ain't saying much about you now."

Henry Barnhart died March 26, 1934, at the age of 75. In attendance at his First Baptist Church funeral were 800 persons, including Indiana Governor Paul McNutt. Among the many government dignitaries who sent telegrams was Vice President John Garner, who wrote: "Many men come and go in Congress without being remembered but the memory of Mr. Barnhart always will live."

So should that memory be kept alive in Rochester, for all the many good things that he began here.

Telephone Industry

Representatives from independent telephone companies in northern Indiana and eastern Illinois met at the Barnett Hotel in Logansport, Ind., on April 13, and organized the Allied Independent Toll Company which will be incorporated under the laws of Indiana. Walter Uhl, Logansport was made president and Henry Barnhart, Rochester, secretary.
This meeting was preliminary to one to be held there May 11 in which incorporation will be completed.
it is the intention of those entering the company to perfect a system of toll lines throughout northern Indiana and eastern Illinois to compete with the Bell Telephone Company." ... ... <Cathryn's note: The article goes on to list those present and those on a special committee to see the work done. Henry is on both lists.>

Woman's Suffrage

His support of suffrage was based on the good he thought it would do for society. In a "Response on Behalf of the Conference" in the Opening Ceremony of the Indiana State Conference of Charities and Correction, Henry says:[4]

"Another help for the unfortunates in human life will be the votes of wives and mothers in behalf of better things in behalf of better things in home and social environment. We have been living too much in the philosophy of that demoralizing agency, which said, 'Put money in thy purse, and put money in thy purse,' and not enough in the spirit which takes the weak and needy by the hand and lifts them up rather than by the throat and chokes them down. I have never believed that woman suffrage will cure all the sins on omission and commission. But it's influence will be wholesome."

Bio from Men of 1914 [5]

The phrase "Men of 1914" appears frequently in the English literature of the 20th century as a metonym for the generation that faced World War I.

Barnhart, Henry A., congressman, was born near Twelve Mile, Ind. He has been president and manager of the Rochester Telephone Company, and president of the National Telephone Association, holding that position for two years; was a director of the Northern Prison at Michigan City for three years; a trustee of the hospital for the insane at Longcliff for seven years, and looks after the interests of a farm in Fulton County. He is married and has two sons and a foster daughter. He was elected to fill a vacancy in the sixtieth congress, was re-elected to the sixty-first and sixty-second congresses as a democrat and' sixty-third and resides in Rochester, Ind.

On Zionism

"However, the formation of a Jewish State, probably a Republic in the Holy Land, must of necessity also be of great material assistance not only to the scattered Jews in various countries, but to all the inhabitants of the world.... I am sure that in the course of time Zionism will embrace not only all the members of the Jewish faith and nation, but also all other peoples who will have had an opportunity to learn about its purposes and principles." [6]

The National Security League Hearings [7]

Henry Barnhart was targeted by The National Security League in his bid for the sixty-fifth Congress. The NSL was interested in packing congress with representatives who voted "their way", which meant voting for the interests of major industrialists of that day, such as Carnegie.

Henry Barnhart's voting record for the war effort was called into question for a period of time when he was formally excused from Congress to attend to his dying wife, Loretta. His German heritage was also questioned -- even though all four of his grandparents were born in Virginia. He won the election, despite their efforts.

Henry was a witness at the National Security League Hearings before a Special Committee of the House of Representatives. His correspondence to the League seems so direct and forthright, while the League's correspondence to him seem to be carefully constructed non-answers -- in Barnhart's own words -- "Out in Indiana, we would probably call that dodging the issue like a gypsy horse trader."

As a result of the testimony of Henry Barnhart and other men at these hearings, the NSL was found to have violated the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. This finding contributed to in the eventual demise of the National Security League.[8]

US Congressional Biography

BARNHART, Henry A., a Representative from Indiana; born near Twelve Mile, Cass County, Ind., September 11, 1858; attended the common schools, Amboy Academy, and Wabash Normal Training School; teacher; farmer; surveyor of Fulton County, Ind., 1885-1887; newspaper publisher; businessman; director of the United States Bank Trust Co.; director, Indiana State Prison, 1893; hospital executive; elected as a Democrat to the Sixtieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Abram L. Brick; reelected to the Sixty-first and to the four succeeding Congresses (November 3, 1908-March 3, 1919); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Sixty-sixth Congress in 1918; lecturer; died on March 26, 1934, in Rochester, Ind.; interment in the Mausoleum, Rochester, Ind.[9]

Henry gave an speech honoring General Lew Wallace (author of Ben Hur) on 2/26/1910 in the House of Representatives. The occasion of the inauguration of the General's statue, by the state of Indiana, in Statuary Hall.[10]

"Open Book of Democratic Promise and Performance"

Please see the image of this document attached to this profile. This image was made available by the Henry A. Barnhart collection, Rare Books & Manuscript Division, Indiana State Library.[11]

This document was published for the 1914, 1916 or 1918 election because these are the Houses that Henry ran for during Woodrow Wilson's time in office. The document states that Barnhart is "standing firmly with Woodrow Wilson." Does anyone know the exact date of this document?

Transcription of the Title Page

Open Book of Democratic Promise and Performance
See last page for his record.
A Brief Enumeration of Accomplishments of the National Democratic Administration with Plain Inquiries about Turning Back to Former Methods
Read and hand to your neighbor

Transcription of Back Cover

Congressman Henry Barnhart's Record as Representative

He helped to overthrow Cannonism and the caucus gag rule.
Voted for a currency law to make banks and money safe, and prevent panics.
Voted for income tax that wealth shall pay its full share of government expenses.
Voted to regulate the trusts and set business free for all.
Voted to give labor justice without hampering capital.
Helped in a tariff revision that reduces taxes on the necessaries of life.
Active work in better pension legislation for old soldiers.
Author of law to compel newspaper and magazine editors and owners to publish their names.
Earnestly advocated children's bureau law, and introduced bill to protect child labor.
Leader of legislation to correct government printing and franking abuses, and save a million dollars a year.
Member of Good Roads Committee and booster for government aid to rural route road improvement.
Gives special attention to furnishing farmers and laboring people government literature, etc., helpful to them.
Promptly answers all letters, attends to wants, look after all business that comes to him, and helps everybody to the best service possible.
Stands firmly with Woodrow Wilson's ideas of good government, good citizenship, and peace for all mankind.
And works and votes for what he thinks just and right, and against what he thinks is wrong, regardless of politics.

We ought to be judged as legislators not by what we pretend, but by what we do.-- From one of his speeches in Congress.

Books, Articles, Reports & Speeches

  • "Where should the line of demarcation be drawn between independent operating and manufacturing companies and the Bell company?" by Hon. Henry A. Barnhart, Rochester, Ind., at the Interstate Convention of the Independent Interstate Telephone Operators, December 10, 1903[12]
  • Memorial to Dr. Joseph G. Roger, by Charles W. Slick, Henry A. Barnhart, Warren Terry McCray, William Albert Morris, 1908. (Dr. Rogers had oversight for the Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane.)
  • Oration of Hon. Henry A. Barnhart of Indiana on Acceptance of Statue of General Lew Wallace in the House of Representatives of the United States, Saturday, February 26, 1910
  • Revision of Printing Laws, Report. To Accompany H.R. 15902 Volume 564 of 63d Cong., 2d sess. House. Rept, by United States. Congress. House. Committee on Printing, Henry A. Barnhart, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1914
  • "Government Legislation as it Affects the Newspaper", by Henry A. Barnhart at the Indiana Newspaper Conference, April 30, 1915.[13]
  • Inquiry into charges made by Hon. Thomas Heflin by Henry A. Barnhart, Washington, Govt. print. off., 1917.
  • An Account of Fulton County From Its Organization, by Henry A. Barnhart, Published, Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Historical Pub. Co., 1923.
  • History of Indiana, from Its Exploration to 1922, by Logan and Henry A. Barnhart

From Historical Trivia of Rochester [14]

ROCHESTER TEL CO. The local company, like hundreds of others, was organized in November, 1895, when Bell’s patent rights expired after a 20-year period. Its organizers were Henry Barnhart, Lyman Brackett Sr., Joseph Myers, R.C. Stevenson and George W. Holman. The newly formed company actally started operations in February, 1896, in offices over what is now the Peoples Pharmacy. Some 84 subscribers used the now almost extinct crank-type telephone.

ROCH TEL CO: 1896 with 149 Customers The Rochester Telephone Co., Inc., which has furnished means of communication in Rochester and over a large part of Fulton county for t1 years, has had an interesting history during the span of time in which the utility has grown along with the city and community. The firm began when the telephone business was practically unknown in the country areas and for years was operated for the benefit of a few businessmen, along with a continued faith in the future.

It was on Nov. 26, 1895, that corporation papers were granted the newly organized company by the secretary of state of Indiana. Five leading businessmen who had seen the need for voice communication in business and the home joined together and invested $10,000 in the company. There were 100 shares of common stock.

Those pioneers later met, became the board of directors and elected officers, who were: Henry A. Barnhart, president; Lyman M. Brackett, vice- president; Rome C. Stephenson, superintendent; Joseph Myers, secretary- treasurer, and George Holman, general counsel.

Tully Pontious came with the company in the beginning and was the first construction “crew”. Later he became superintendent and today is vice president of the company. Charles A. Davis took the position as the first night operator. A Purdue graduate, he later became general manager of the power company which now is the Public Service Company of Indiana, Inc. In August, 1902, Daniel Agnew succeeded Myers as secretary-treasurer and held that position until he resigned in 1917. Myers was succeeded temporarily by Holman, who served while Barnhart was in Washington as Congressman from the old 13th Indiana District. Upon the latter’s return home in 1919, he assumed the managership along with his duties as president, which he held until his passing in March, 1934. At that time, Hugh A. Barnhart, was elected to succeed him as president and Roscoe Pontius became general manager.

ROCHESTER SENTINEL. Two newspapers hit the town’s porches nightly. The Republican being published by Albert W. Bitters and The Sentinel by Henry A. Barnhart. And it was in this year - 1907 - that Editor Barnhart hired a young fellow as a printer’s devil, which is a polite way of saying he had to do all the dirty work around the shop. The lad’s name was Carl Van Trump.

The Wit of Henry A. Barnhart

Jack Overmyer's article above lists the story of the little jackass and the story about the uncomplimentary book about Harding. Here are some additional stories I have discovered.

From Little Stories by Big Men (about the Republican farmer) [15]

This story by Hon. Henry A. Barnhart, United States Representative from Indiana was included in this collection of stories.

There is an old farmer up in my country who is a rampant Republican and he always takes occasion to rub in Democratic defeats on me. Not long ago, this farmer fell heir to quite a sum of money from the estate of an uncle in Kentucky, and when he received the first draft for several hundred dollars, he invested it at my suggestion in a farm. Later he received a second installment of his fortune and again invested it in real estate. Shortly after this, he made me a call, and, in the course of our conversation, I offered him some advice.

Now, I said, you've come into all this money and have put it away where you will not be tempted to buy any gold bricks, and there is just one other thing you ought to do; you ought to change your politics. You didn't get that money from any Republican prosperity; you got it from a good old Kentucky Democrat, your uncle, and you ought to decide to vote the Democrat ticket in the future.

Barnhart, replied the farmer, when I got that money, I promised my wife I wasn't going to let it make a d----d fool of me, and I'm going to keep my promise.

From Little Stories by Big Men (observations from the cloakroom) [16]

This story by Hon. Henry A. Barnhart, United States Representative from Indiana was included in this collection of stories.

When ambition led me into an accidental seat in Congress, the Congressional Directory carried a ten-line biographical announcement that a new member from Indiana had first been a farmer, then an editor, incidentally a prison director and State Insane Hospital trustee, and then a Congressman.

And one day "Uncle Joe" was philosophizing in the cloak-room, and he said, "I see a new member from Indiana has had a remarkably consistent career.

"He was first a farmer, from there he stepped down to the editorial chair, thence to the penitentiary, thence to the insane asylum, and thence, in the very nature of consistency, to Congress."

"Farewell to Bob" by Henry A. Barnhart

'Editor Sentinel: -- A message from home today stating that old "Bob," deaf and decrepit but the family pet and pride and protector for fifteen years, had died, halted interest in all else with me save memory of the past; and, while he was only a fox terrier dog, no affair of state, nor burst of congressional eloquence, nor dream of future glory attracts my attention, and I think - and think - and think.

You were just a dog, "Bob," but you were a 'thoroughbred' in your class; and if there ever was a faithful, alert, trustworthy, loyal, mind-your-own-business, self-respecting, gentleman dog you were this illustrious, "dogality." From the evening you came from Chicago a plump, little puppy to the hour of your death, the result of paralysis superinduced by fighting two intruding Peru mongrels at the same time you were the trusted watchman of our home, the devoted "pal" of the children, and my rollicking "chum." You could do stunts like the boys on land, in air or in water; you showed many a pesky rat and prowling cat that life was not worth living, and the body scars you carried to your grave were so many badges of honor for you never showed fear and never fought a dog smaller than yourself. No boy ever "socked" you or one of your young masters and "got away with it" without being dog bitten; no man ever violently attacked you who didn't cry, "call off your dog," and no one ever approached your home at an unseemly hour, or in uncommon manner except to hear warning of your strenuous vigil or meet you face to face on the danger line of intrusion. Of course, you occasionally erred in judgment. As I remember you frightened Joe King into short growth, and you bit Uncle Adam Mow and Mike Henry and Huston Black and numerous other good men, who called on friendly mission and found only you at home, and you were not sociable with other people. But your mistakes were due to your loyalty to me and mine, and I'm homesick and heartsick in sorrow because I must bid you, game and companionable old fellow, this everlasting farewell. No friend ever stood with us so firmly and so unselfishly as you, and all you asked in return was to have the door opened forty or fifty times a day that you might rush out and chase roving curs away, and an occasional bone or crumbs from the table.

And so your memory shall be cherished with us as long as time lasts. Your constancy, your self-denial and your admirable activity in the every-day affairs of the youth about you, as they grew from childhood to man's estate, have been a help to me beyond expression, and if any fellow citizen ever mistakenly or maliciously classes me with your kind, I hope he may compare me with you, "Bob."

Henry A. Barnhart Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 1912.

"Breakfast with Uncle Hank" by Bertrice Hallett

Bertrice Leffel Hallett was the granddaughter of Maria Barnhart Leffel, Henry's older sister.

(c) 2010 by Cathryn Hondros

As a child I was brought up by a dear old grandmother. We lived as simply and economically as possible. Every year grandmother canned fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies. She always “kept back” prize plum preserves for special occasions saying “Maybe Uncle Hank will come for a visit and he likes plum preserves."

Uncle Henry Barnhart, a United States Representative from Indiana rarely visited grandmother. She always wanted to be prepared for his rare and unexpected visits.

On spring day we had just torn the house up-side down because we were moving in the morning.

The door bell rang. “Please sign here, lady.”

“Girls, help me, quick. We must put the rug down and straighten the house." After working practically all that night and the next day, we felt we were as prepared as we ever would be under the circumstances. Grandmother had, of course, stocked the cupboard with good things: really more than we could afford. Nothing was too good for Uncle Hank.

Uncle Hank arrived on schedule and spent a comfortable night. The breakfast must be perfect thought grandmother. “Now, just what would you especially like for breakfast, Hank?” asked Maria.

“Oh, don’t go to any bother, Maria. Just fix me a cup of Postum.”

That was the one thing we didn’t have. Grandmother quickly called my sister and I to one side and whispered. “Run to the store girls and get a can of Postum."

Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles

Hoosier Politics (January 9, 1892)

"Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana
"The Democracy Selects a New State Committee
"... ... ...The new state committee as chosen by the district conventions is as follows: ... ... ... Tenth (district), Henry A. Barnhart, Rochester; ... ... ..."[17]
A similar article is found in:
"The Fort Wayne Sentinel", Fort Wayne Indiana, January 11, 1892[18]

The Latest Local News (September 21, 1892)

"Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana
"... ... ... Editor Henry A. Barnhart, of the Rochester Sentinel, was in the city today. ... ... ..."[19]

Democratic Editors (February 2, 1893)

"The Indianapolis News", Indianapolis, Indiana

... ... ... "This afternoon the election of officers also occurs. It has been the policy to promote the different officials, which reduces the contest to but one office. Henry A. Barnhart is the retiring president, and it is probable that First Vice President, Louis Hollman, of Brazil, will be nominated as his successor by the committee. ... ... ..."[20]

Coffee Cured Him (June 13, 1899)

"Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana
"Henry A. Barnhart, of the Rochester Sentinel, was in the city today, a witness to a lawsuit, now pending in the Circuit court. He has regained his health and now tips the beam at 210. He attributes the restoration of his health to coffee drinking. Until a few years ago he had never drinked coffee, using cold milk and cold water only as a beverage.
"He says people of his town are hopeful the electronic railway from Logansport to Rochester will be a go and will do all In their power to make it go."[21]

Hot in Washington (June 23, 1910)

"Lead Daily Call", Lead, South Dakota
"Indiana Representative Falls to Floor of the House This Morning
"Washington, June 23. -- Representative Henry A. Barnhart of Rochester, Ind., was prostrated by the heat this morning and dropped on the floor of the house.
"He will recover."[22]

At the Federal Capital (June 23, 1910)

"The Marion Star", Marion, Ohio
"Washington, June 23. -- The first heat prostration of the year here occurred today when Representative Henry A. Barnhart, Democrat, Indiana, collapsed in his bedroom, falling unconscious on the floor. A physician said he was in a serious condition, but would recover."[23]

Congressman Stricken (June 23, 1910)

"Trenton Evening Times", Trenton, New Jersey
"Washington, June 23. -- The first heat prostration of the year here occurred today when Representative Henry A. Barnhart, Democrat, Indiana, collapsed in his bedroom, falling unconscious on the floor.
"Barnhart had been working hard during the closing days of Congress and the intense heat showed its effect on him yesterday. When he attempted to resume his labors today, he felt the attack coming and pushed a bell button just before he fell. A physician was called to his hotel and found him in a serious condition. After the patient had received attention, however, it was said that he would soon recover."[24]

Taft has Announcement to Make to Congress, (June 23, 1910)

"Brooklyn Daily Eagle", Brooklyn, New York
"... ... ... Representative Henry A. Barnhart was overcome with the heat at his hotel apartments here early in the day. ... ... ..."[25]

One Overcome by Heat (June 24, 1910)

"The Washington Herald", Washington, District of Columbia
"Representative Barnhart is Victim -- All Capital Set A-sweltering
"Representative Henry A. Barnhart, of Indiana, was overcome by the heat yesterday morning while in his apartments at Congress Hall Hotel. He was unconscious for a short time, but immediate medical attention set him on his feet within a few hours. ... ... ..."[26]


1 Centennial History and Handbook of Indiana: The Story of the State from Its Beginning to the Close of the Civil War, and a General Survey of Progress to the Present Time,, George Streibe Cottman, Max Robinson Hyman, 1915

2 Henry has his own Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Barnhart

3. "Henry A. Barnhart, who is ill at the Methodist hospital in Indianapolis, remains about the same according to reports."[27]


Rochester, Fulton, Indiana, "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XHMN-M9D : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry Barnhart, 1930.

Rochester, Fulton, Indiana, "United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MF7C-3YJ : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry A Barnhart, 1920.

Rochester, Fulton, Indiana, "United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MKG2-2G9 : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry A Barnhart, 1910.

Rochester, Fulton, Indiana, "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MM13-FDK : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry A Barnhart, 1900.

Adams, Cass, Indiana, "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHMF-V1W : accessed 17 Aug 2013), Henry A. Barnhart in entry for Jacob Barnhart, 1880.

Adams, Cass, Indiana "United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MXXQ-G73 : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry Barnhart in entry for Jacob Barnhart, .

Cass, Indiana, "United States Census, 1860," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M4FV-CZ8 : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry Barnhart, 1860.


"Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VW5Z-WF1 : accessed 18 Aug 2013), Henry A Barnhart and Alwilda E Dillon, 1923.

"Indiana, Marriages, 1780-1992," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XFWQ-KJS : accessed 04 Oct 2013), Henry A. Barnhart and Retta A. Leffel, 17 Feb 1881.


Burial: Rochester IOOF Cemetery, Rochester, Fulton County, Indiana, USA, Plot: Section 15, Row 8


"Rochester Sentinel", Fulton Co., Indiana

Tuesday, March 27, 1934

After a prolonged and valiant fight Henry A. BARNHART, 75, prominent citizen, neigthbor and statesman, passed away at 5:20 o’clock, Monday evening at his home on South Main Street, this city.

Although the death of Mr. Barnhart had not been entirely unexpected, inasmuch as his condition had been regarded as extremely grave since early last fall, his legion of friends, locally and throughout the country, were fervently hoping that he would be able to regain his health and again assume, possibly in a lesser degree, his diversified duties in the civic, social and religious affairs of this community.

Medical diagnosis revealed heart trouble and diseases inherent with advanced hears as the contributing factors in Mr. Barnhart’s demise. Since returning from an Indianapolis hospital a week ago last Friday, attending physicians held little or no hope for his ultimate recovery and his condition gradually grew worse. Sunday afternoon he lapsed into a coma, from which he never rallied.

All members of Mr. Barnhart’s immediate family were at his bedside when the end came.

Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist Church on Wednesday afternoon, at two o’clock. The Rev. Benjamin G. FIELD will officiate.

The body will lie in state in the church from noon until two o’clock Wednesday, and may be viewed by friends and public during these hours. Burial will be made in the mausoleum.

The pall bearers will be Lyman BRACKETT, Robert SHAFER, Pete VanTRUMP, Percy SMITH, George RIDDLE and Roscoe PONTIUS.

Mr. Barnhart, who enjoyed good health most of his life, suffered his first serious illness six years ago, while at El Paso, Texas, on his way with Mrs. Barnhart to California. He was confined in a hospital there for several weeks. Following that he suffered from severe attacks of bronchitis nearly every winter, which in turn weakened his heart and he recovered more slowly from each illness. In December 1932 he had a severe attack of nosebleed which was stopped after drastic treatment and he never recovered his full strength after that.

He was taken ill with a cold in November 1933 and after Thanksgiving was ordered to bed by his physicians to take a long rest. Due to the fact that he had been so active all his life he found it almost impossible to remain quietly in bed and was up whenever he could persuade his doctors to let him move about. His condition became gradually worse and on January 18th he was taken to the Methodist Hospital at Indianapolis and placed under the care of heart specialists. He improved there considerably but was unable to get up.

Recently his physicians advised that he be returned to his home where he desired to be and he was brought back on March 16th. He suffered some from the trip and then seemingly recovered. Wednesday he was seriously affected again with bronchial trouble which greatly weakened him but his condition was not believed critical until Sunday.

Born at Twelve Mile, Indiana, September 11, 1858, son of Rev. Jacob and Mary FISHER BARNHART, he was educated in the country schools and at Amboy Academy and taught several terms after which he married Loretta Ann LEFFEL (deceased in 1916).

They located in Fulton County on a farm in Liberty Township where they resided four years and then moved to Rochester when Mr. Barnhart took up the duties of County Surveyor in which position he was elected in 1884. After one year in the Surveyor’s office he purchased the Rochester Sentinel and was its owner and editor for nearly forty years. In 1892 he was made a member of the Democratic State Committee which was the beginning of a political career of many responsibilities. In 1893 he was apponted by Governor Matthews, a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana State Prison and in 1906 he was appointed by Governor Hanley, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Northern Hospital for the Insane and reappointed four years later, by Governor Marshall. In 1908 he was elected to succeed the late Hon. A. L. Brick to be a Representative in the U. S. Congress for the 13th Indiana District, in which capacity he served for six terms, half of that time as chariman of the Committee on Printing. He also served on the important Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Banking and Currency, and Public Buildings and Grounds. In this experience he became a speaker of considerable popularity and delivered patriotic, business and public welfare addresses all over his home state and in many others. One year he was a lecturer on the Redpath Chautauqua platform and after that gave liberally of his time as an after dinner speaker and as speaker for many business and religious organizations.

In business, also, his was a busy life. At an early day he was made secretary and manager for the board of directors in the construction of the ROCHESTER WATER WORKS system. With Rome C. STEPENSON, Lyman M. BRACKETT, George W. HOLMAN and Joseph A. MYERS he organized the ROCHESTER TELEPHONE SYSTEM and as president and general manager was the directing head of that business from 1895 until his death.

Subsequently he, with Messrs. Rome Stephenson, George W. Holman and others organized the ROCHESTER TRUST and SAVINGS BANK which was afterward merged with what is now the U.S. BANK & TRUST COMPANY, and was for many years a member of its board of directors. At another time when the rebuilding of COLUMBIA SCHOOL was urgently necessary and the city of Rochester had reached its bonded limit, a company of local business men organized to underwrite the building to completion and Mr. Barnhart was a member of the board of directors and of its executive committee.

In both the newspaper and telephone fields of endeavor, Mr. Barnhart was always in the foremost ranks of activities. He was president of the National Independent Telephone Asociation, president of the Indiana State Telephone Association and for many years a member of the board of directors of both these organizations as well as editorial writer for two telephone magazines. Also, he was president of the Democratic State Editorial Association and of the Northern Indiana Non-Partisan Editorial Association. He was for many years president of the local organization of the American Red Cross and was appointed a member of many state and national organizations in behalf of various charitable, health and public welfare movements.

He was long a member of Rochester First Baptist Church and of its board of trustees, president of the Men’s Bible Class of that Church, a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge, of the Rochester Country Club and of the Rochester Kiwanis Club.

As the result of his first marriage three sons were born, Dean L. [BARNHART], coeditor of the Goshen News-Timed and Democrat, Hugh A. [BARNHART], editor of the Rochester News-Sentinel and another, who died in infancy. Also a niece, now Mrs. Henry Stewart BAILEY, of Peru, became a member of the Barnhart family by adoption and was always a loyal, helpful and much beloved foster daughter. Other survivors are: two sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth HOFFMAN, of Macy, and Mrs. Marie LEFFEL of Pontiac, Mich., and three grandchildren, Jane BAILEY of Peru, Mary Louise BARNHART, student at Indiana University and Isabelle Anne BARNHART of Goshen.

In 1923 Mr. Barnhart contracted a second marriage with Mrs. Alwilda E. DILLON, a life long family neighbor, and the union was a happy and congenial one as both were much interested in all helpful public and club activities and in the religious and social life of the city. They resided in the Dillon home at 1104 South Main Street.

In recent years, Mr. Barnhart devoted all of his time to his home, his church, his telephone interests, his 200 acre farm “Springbrook” northwest of Rochester and to civic affairs. At his farm he was a breeder of Guernsey cattle and owned a thoroughbred herd. He was an enthusiastic worker in the affairs of the Kiwanis Club and the Izzak Walton League and was one of the group responsible for the location of the federal fish hatchery at Lake Manitou. His wide acquaintance among the members of the house and senate, as well as in the department at Washington, played a large part in focusing favorable attention of government officials on this community. He was active in business, religious, and civic affairs until he was confined to his home by his illness and kept his daily interest in such until the last.

Wednesday, March 28, 1934

Funeral services for the late Henry A. BARNHART, were held at two o’clock Wednesday afternoon at the First Baptist Church, this city, where neighbors, friends and out-of-city political and business associates of the deceased taxed the capacity of the edifice.

Rev. Benjamin B. FIELD, pastor of the church, delivered a most impressive sermon and Rev. W. James NIVEN, of Bedford, Ind., former pastor, gave a brief eulogy on the public life of Mr. Barnhart. Music was rendered by the Baptist Church Quartet.

Mr. Barnhart’s body was removed to the church at 12 o’clock where an almost endless line of friends and business associates passed the flower banked bier, up until the hour of the services, in final review.

Following the services the funeral cortege proceeded to the Rochester Mausoleum where after a brief prayer, one of Rochester’s foremost citizens was placed at rest.

Friday, March 30, 1934

A eulogy was delivered in Congress by Representative Louis LUDLOW, in tribute to his former colleague and friend the late Henry A. BARNHART. Mr. Ludlow and Mr. Barnhart had been friends for over a period of two score years, their friendship forming when both were engaged in the newspaper fields and later while members of the United States Congress. Congressman Ludlow during his social and business visits to Rochester, always spent considerable time with Mr. Barnhart. The tribute follows:

Washington, Mar. 30. -- A eulogy of Henry A. Barnhart of Rochester, Ind., former representative in Congress, was delivered in the House (yesterday) by Representative Louis LUDLOW of Indianapolis. Mr. Ludlow chose as his subject, “Henry A. Barnhart, Gentleman and Friend.”

“Mr. Speaker, a congenial, generous soul that once adorned these legislative halls and made everybody here happy by his presence passed through the portals of the unknown land on last Monday.

“The old-timers in this great legislative body well remember Henry A. Barnhart of Indiana, and news of his death has brought deep and sincere sorrow to the older members of this House, who knew and loved him.

“The sad tidings of his departure has been perceived with silent and reverential respect in the cloakrooms that used to reverberate with laughter when he assumed the role of entertainer, for in his heyday there was none among all the members of this great body and none among all the public officials at Washington his equal as a story-teller.

“For eleven years, as a member of Congress for the old Thirteenth Indiana district, he spread joy and sunshine around these legislative halls. His wholesome and infectious humor was a soothing balm to troubled spirits and contributed mightily to make congressional life worth living.

“As an impersonator he was without a peer, and his mimicry was double enjoyable because it never left a sting. When he imitated Champ Clark’s booming voice in Missouri dialect he seemed more like Clark than Clark himself. Gen. Isaac R. Sherwood, with his high falsetto voice, was no more real in the flesh than when he spoke through his Hoosier interpreter. One of the perennial delights of the Democratic cloak room was Mr. Barnhart’s florid rendition of Percy Quinn’s famous speech:

“‘Gentlemen of the House, there comes a time in the lives of all of us when we must rise above principle!’

“The plantation humor of good old Ben Humphreys of Mississippi, lived over and over in Mr. Barnhart’s impersonations of that quaint character and he could portray Joe Byrne, Jack Garner or Henry Rainey with uncanny realism. For a long time after he quit Congress he made what he called a ‘hegira’ once a year back to Washington and his coming was always hailed with delight by his old cronies because it always marked the beginning of the open season for a fresh rendition of the old stories that never lost their charm or any of their delectable qualities in the retelling.

“Mr. Barnhart was made of the best quality of Hoosier homespun. He possessed a ruggedness of character that reminded me of something majestic, like the beauties of Lake Manitou or the gorgeous loveliness of the hills of Brown county clothed in the marvelous tints of autumn. His greatness was elemental and was composed of many virtues, outstanding among which were honesty, sincerity and friendship of such quality that the older it grows the tighter it binds. It seemed so fitting that he should be always happy, because he made everybody around him happy.

“All of his life he was a newspaper man and as one who also belongs to the Fourth Estate, I believe his newspaper experience gave him the human touch. His sympathy was abounding and his interest in people was intense.

“He also loved his dog, and to my way of thinking that is an omen of character. I have never known a man who loved dogs as Mr. Barnhart loved them who was not a good man. His eulogy on dogs is a cameo of literature, as perfect as Senator Vest’s tribute to that faithful animal.

“Mr. Barnhard died in the fullness of years, honored and revered by everybody in his home community, where he had long been hailed as the first citizen. He was not called suddenly, but it seemed as if providence, realizing the love that bound him to mortals gave him, even after the sould of death was on him, opportunities to tarry yet awhile. He had ample time to fold the draperies of his spirit about him before he entered the presence of the Great King and he finally went so quietly and peacefully it seemed he was not dead at all, but that in the language of the immortal Hoosier poet:

With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand
He vanished into an unknown land.’'

“It is sad to part with one who was so sterling and so true, but we may find comfort in our simple Christian faith that when we, too, cross the borders of the unknown land we will find this true and loyal friend awaiting us.”

Editorial at Henry A. Barnhart's Death [28]

HENRY A. BARNHART, [Editorial]

Through the writing of the closing chapter in the life of Henry A. BARNHART, death has dealt a heavy blow to the family, friends and community. Yet, while the gamut of human emotions may register deepest in sorrow, there is solace in the knowledge that Mr. Barnhart’s career was replete with deeds, commendable deeds, of which those who mourn, may ever be proud.

Reared by the humblest of rural surroundings, under the tutelage of what would now be termed homespun Christian parentage, Mr. Barnhart, early in life established a well defined demarcation between right and wrong, and from these simple but powerful classifications of all human deeds he stood and fought indomitably for what he deemed were just.

Mr. Barnhart, while still a young man, assumed an important role in the civic, political and general activities of Rochester and Fulton county. During his two score of years as editor and publisher of the Rochester Sentinel, he was a fearless exponent for every worthwhile movement for the betterment of the community. It was during his regime in the newspaper field that his outstanding personality, together with his desire to be a sincere friend of those in all walks of life, finally embarked him on a political career, under the Democratic banner, which gained the plaudits of even many of adverse political faith. During his six terms in the United States legislative chambers, he served his constituents, district, state and nation, in such an unbiased, business-like manner that the word “politician” in a professional sense was never connected with the name of Congressman Barnhart.

Following his retirement from national legislative activity, Mr. Barnhart devoted his untiring energies to the welfare of Rochester, his neighbors, friends, the unfortunates, hie family and his church. During the latter months of his life, he derived much pleasure through an active interest in the progress being made on the Federal Fish Hatchery at Lake Manitou, and it may be said it was largely through his friendship with former colleagues at Washington, D.C., that the project was secured for Rochester.

Perhaps, in this brief comment on the passing of a citizen and friend, who has left an indelible mark of honesty, efficiency and helpfulness, which will ever be remembered in this community, one of the finest tributes to Henry A. Barnhart may be said in these few words: He was a lover of his fellowman, of nature, of wholesome humor, of his home, his family and his church.

Mayor's Request at Henry A. Barnhart's Death [29]


In honor and respect for one of the City’s foremost citizens, the late Honorable HENRY A. BARNHART, I do hereby implore the business men of Rochester, to close their offices and stores in order that they and their employees may attend the funeral services of our departed business associate, friend and brother. Services will be conducted at the Baptist church, commencing at two o’clock, Wednesday afternoon.

Respectfully, Charles T. JONES, Mayor of the City of Rochester.

Other Resources

The Indiana State Library Rare Books & Manuscripts Division houses The Henry A. Barnhart Collection. This collection is 13 manuscript boxes in size. It contains correspondence (1866-1965), speeches (1880-1936), misc. materials, and a scrapbook.


  1. Chronicles of Calvary Baptist Church in the City of Washington, by William Wilbur, Washington, Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1914, p. 258
  2. http://www.rochsent.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=326&ArticleID=3095
  3. Telephony, Volumes 5-6 (Google eBook), page 287, by Harry B. McMeal, Telephone Publishing Corporation, 1903 - Telephone, http://books.google.com/books?id=wfowAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA287
  4. The Indiana Bulletin of Charities and Correction, Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth State Conference of Charities and Correction, Fort Wayne, Indiana, October 4-7, 1919, published by The Board of State Charities of Indiana, pp. 24-25
  5. Men of 1914, Chicago: American Publishers' Association, 1915, OCLC 49777827all editions
  6. http://www.jewish-american-society-for-historic-preservation.org/images/The_Zionist_movement_is_idealistic.pdf
  7. National Security League Hearings before a Special Committee of the House of Representatives, Sixty-Fifth Congress, Third Session on H. Res. 469 and H. Res.476 to Investigate and Make Report as to the Officers, Membership, Financial Support, Expenditures, General Activities, Character and Purpose of the National Security League, a Corporation of New York, and any Associated Organizations, December 19, 1918, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1918, pp 681-682, 991-1015
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_League
  9. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  10. American Oratory of Today, by Edwin DuBois Shurter, Southwest Publishing Company, 1910, pp. 396-398
  11. Henry A. Barnhart collection, Rare Books & Manuscript Division, Indiana State Library
  12. Telephony, Volumes 5-6 (Google eBook), page 408, by Harry B. McMeal, Telephone Publishing Corporation, 1903 - Telephone, http://books.google.com/books?id=wfowAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA408
  13. Indiana University Bulletin, Volume 13, Issue 13, pages 67-76, The University, 1915, http://books.google.com/books?id=RIXOAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA67
  14. Gives interesting tidbits about about the Sentinel and the Tel Co. http://www.fulco.lib.in.us/genealogy/Tombaugh/Trivia/HISTORICAL%20TRIVIA%201956-1960.pdf
  15. "Little Stories by Big Men" by Annabel Lee, (c) 1913, Knickerbocker Press, New York
  16. "Little Stories by Big Men" by Annabel Lee, (c) 1913, Knickerbocker Press, New York
  17. "Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana, January 9, 1892, page 17, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301559//
  18. "The Fort Wayne Sentinel", Fort Wayne Indiana, January 11, 1892, page 2, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301574//
  19. "Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana, September 21, 1892, page 3, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301611//
  20. "The Indianapolis News", Indianapolis, Indiana, February 2, 1893, page 7, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301688//
  21. "Logansport Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana, June 13, 1899, page 19, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301141//
  22. "Lead Daily Call", Lead, South Dakota, June 23, 1910, page 1, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301274//
  23. "The Marion Star", Marion Ohio, June 23, 1910, page 1, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301274//
  24.  :"Trenton Evening Times", Trenton, New Jersey, June 23, 1910, page 2, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301352//
  25. "Brooklyn Daily Eagle", Brooklyn, New York, June 23, 1910, page 2, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301426//
  26. "The Washington Herald", Washington, District of Columbia, June 24, 1910, page 4, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3301468//
  27. Logansport Pharos-Tribune, February 16, 1934, page 5, http://www.newspapers.com/clip/2311271//
  28. "Rochester Sentinel", Fulton Co., Indiana, Tuesday, March 27, 1937
  29. "Rochester Sentinel", Fulton Co., Indiana, Tuesday, March 27, 1937


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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Henry by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Henry:

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Images: 8
Henry Barnhart
Henry Barnhart

Henry Barnhart signature
Henry Barnhart signature

Henry Barnhart Résumé: House of Representatives
Henry Barnhart Résumé: House of Representatives

Henry Barnhart, President Inter-State Independent Telephone Association
Henry Barnhart, President Inter-State Independent Telephone Association

Henry Barnhart campaign ephemera
Henry Barnhart campaign ephemera

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On 23 Sep 2016 at 08:42 GMT László (Kóczy) Kóczy de Borgó et Nagy-Sikárló wrote:

Please replace "Category: Land Surveyor" with "Category: Land Surveyors" Thank you.

On 12 Dec 2014 at 19:55 GMT Dan Thompson wrote:

Please replace "Category: US Congressional Representatives" with "Category: US Representatives from Indiana" Thank you.

Henry is 21 degrees from Elinor Glyn, 20 degrees from Frances Weidman and 19 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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