Barnabas Harris
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Barnabas Arthur Harris (1818 - 1892)

Barnabas Arthur "Barney" Harris
Born in Campbell, Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 24 Sep 1840 in Randolph, INmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Larimer, Coloradomap
Profile last modified | Created 1 Nov 2011
This page has been accessed 1,408 times.


Barnabas Arthur Harris, called "Barney", was the sixth child and third son born to Benjamin Butterworth and Susanna Eidson Harris, on 26 June 1818, in Campbell County, Virginia.

Barney was about sixteen when his family joined several other families from Campbell county to go "west" to Randolph county Indiana to homestead. Moving "west" was to become a major influence in his life. The move to Randolph county was a major change from the plantation style living they had been used to in Campbell county, Virginia.

Shortly after their arrival in Indiana, a cousin, Mary Jane Butler, caught his eye, and on 24 September 1840, Barney took Mary Jane as his bride in Randolph County, Indiana.[1] Mary Jane was born on 28 Apr 1818, in Campbell County, Virginia, the ninth child and last daughter born to Jonathan and Elizabeth Harris Butler. Elizabeth was a sister to Barney's father Benjamin, so they were first cousins. On September 13, 1842, Barney purchased 40 acres of land from Elisha Gaddis - the NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 3, Township 19 (West River), Range 13. And on 21 October 1847, Barney purchased lot #8, Block 4, in Huntsville.

Between the years 1840 and 1858, nine children were born to Barney and Mary Jane, all in Randolph County, Indiana; Jonathan Arthur, born 28 June 1841; Edward Wesley, born 30 January 1843; Emma Jane, born 1 November 1845; William Henry, born 15 November 1847; George Asbury, born 26 January 1850; Martha Catherine, born 4 May 1852; Susan Elizabeth, born 28 October 1854, and died 31 August 1855; Lydia Ellen Harris, born 16 Oct 1856, and died 7 July 1859; and Mary Abigail, born 21 October 1858.

Barney and family remained in Randolph county, Indiana, until the early 1860's, when they migrated west to Cass county, Iowa, where many other Butler, Harris and Lamb families who had originally migrated to Indiana from Virginia with them had preceded them. Once again Barney purchased land, in Pymosa Township of Cass County, and there most of the children grew to adulthood. After less than 20 years, the west again called them, and Barney and Mary Jane, then age 61 years, hitched up the wagons, loaded their belongings, and went west to settle in Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado.

The family's Iowa departure was noted in the May 15th, issue of the Atlantic Messenger (p. 3), in Cass county, Iowa.

Mr. Ben Harris, Mrs. Elizabeth Harris, Mary Harris and Mrs. Wilson of Pymosa township this county, left Atlantic Sunday morning for Ft. Collins, Colorado, which place they intend to make their future home. Jesse Harris and family have been at Ft. Collins for some time. Mr. Barney Harris has started overland for Ft. Collins, and has gone to stay, having sold his property in Atlantic.

Barney must have made record time. The event was noted by the Fort Collins Courier on page 3 of its June 26, 1879 edition.

Mr. Barney Harris, who came to Collins a week or two ago in company with his two sons, purchased two lots west of the railroad on Monday, on which he will proceed at once to erect a residence. Several other parties have purchased lots in that part of town and a few more new buildings will soon appear to assist their neighbors in beautifying the west end.

While the family lived in town, it appears that Barney had not given up his agricultural pursuits again with the Fort Collins Courier noting a departure from the normal gardening of the time on page 3 of September 13, 1883.

Uncle Barney Harris is making a new departure in gardening this year in the cultivation of Peanuts. He has a row of these "juvenile's delights" about thirty feet long, and they are maturing and ripening in excellent style. The buds have to be kept covered by dirt in order to ripen - being in this like the potato and the vine bears a strong resemblance to the common pea.

At that time, only four of their children had gone with them to Colorado: Edward Wesley and family; William Henry who was unmarried; Mary Abigail, who was also unmarried at that time; and George Asbury, who with his family migrated all the way from Illinois where he had settled after his marriage.

At this time, two of their last children, both girls, had died in Indiana and were buried in the Huntsville Cemetery there. The eldest son, Jonathan, had joined the Iowa Cavalry to help subdue the Indians in the Wyoming Territory, and was killed in an Indian conflict, the Battle of Rush Creek on 8 February 1865. He was buried at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Daughter Emma Jane was married to Henry Barton Herbert and living in Audubon County, Iowa, where Henry was the sheriff. She later left Henry and joined the family in Colorado, along with her two daughters. Daughter Martha Jane had married William Peacock, and she and her family were living near Churdan, Greene County, Iowa. The youngest daughter, Abbie, was married to John Michael Shaffer shortly after the family settled in Fort Collins. In 1880, the family was living on Mason Street in Fort Collins, where John and Abbie were still living in 1900.

The 1850 Randolph County, Indiana census showed Barney as a pump maker, but in 1860 he was shown as a farmer. Basically, Barney was a farmer all his life - he farmed in Indiana, Iowa and Colorado. He was a tall man and slight of frame. In his early years he had a constant grin, and always appeared jovial. In later years, his beard which early had been short and brown, appeared to be longer and white. Mary Jane was average height and did not grow stout with age. She kept her hair parted in the middle and severely pulled back into a knot at the nape of her neck, as was the custom in those days. her pictures showed her to be dower and very grave.

In the years before his death, records show Barney divesting himself of at least some of his landholdings. On 21 Mar 1889, Harris sold to F.C. and W.H. Avery and Chas. Evans, Lots 7 and 8 in block 103, the corner of Mason and Olive Streets in Fort Collins for a consideration of $2,500.[2]

He died on March 8, 1892, in Fort Collins, Larimer county, Colorado, and is buried with his wife in the Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins.


June 26, 1818 - Birth - Campbell County, Virginia

September 24, 1840 - Marriage - Married his first cousin, Mary Jane Butler, in Randolph County, Indiana.[3]

1860 Federal U.S. Census - Randolph County, Indiana - In the 1960 census, "Barney" Harris and his family are living in West River Township of Randolph county, Indiana. The family consisted of Barney as head of household, 42; his wife Mary J., 42; and children Jonathan A., 18; Ed W., 17; Emily J., 14; William, 12; George A., 11; Martha C., 8; and Mary A., 1.[4]

1870 Federal U.S. Census - Pymosa Twp, Cass County, Iowa By the 1870 U.S. federal census, the Harris family had migrated to Pymosa Township, Cass county, Iowa. Barney, 52, appeared as the head of the family. Others in the householder were his wife, Mary, 52; and children William, 22; George, 20, Martha, 18 and Abbie, 11.[5]

1880 Federal U.S. Census - Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado - In the 1880 census, the Harris family appears in Fort Collins, Colorado with a household consisting of Barney A. Harris, 62; his wife Mary J., 62; son, William H., 32; son-in-law, John M. Shaffer, 26; daughter, Mary Shaffer, 21; and boarder, John Rigdon, 29.[6]

March 8, 1892 - Death - Larimer County, Colorado.


  1. Randolph, Indiana, Indiana Marriages 1811-1959, Harris-Butler; FHL microfilm 1,654,838, item: image no. 00293.
  2. Fort Collins Courier (Fort Collins, Colorado.), 21 Mar 1889, p. 4.
  3. Randolph, Indiana, Indiana Marriages 1811-1959.
  4. 1860 U.S. census, Randolph county, Indiana, population schedule, River Forest, p. 877, dwelling 90, family 84, Barney Harris; digital images, ( accessed 29 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 292.
  5. 1870 U.S. census Cass, Iowa, population schedule, Pymosa Twp., p. 100B, dwelling 263, family 263, Barney Harris, digital images,</b> ( accessed 29 Dec 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 380.
  6., 1880 United States Federal Census (jpeg image, Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007, subscription database, [Digital Scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, D.C.],, Fort Collins, Larimer, Colorado; Roll: T9_92; Family History Film: 1254092; Page: 19.1000; Enumeration District: 71; Image: 0040.

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