Barnes Family Tales
Barnes Family Tales are stories remembered and orally passed down through our family. This is an attempt to record them for posterity. We encourage each of you to remember your stories and share them with all.
This gives us the opportunity to feature family members while lesser know than Brinsley, Deaf John, and James played an important part in our family heritage. Take Gene Pennell’s Life with Grandpaw Barnes as an example. Grandpaw Barnes was a common man of modest means. He was a farmer and blacksmith by trade. Having a strong faith in God, he donated the land to build his church. Also, notice how we link to an article on blacksmiths and his son Luther. Let us work with you in telling the story of our lesser known ancestors.
Life with Grandpaw Barnes, William Virgil “Billy” Barnes is told by his grandson Henry Eugene “Gene” Pennell. This story is being told in January 2017 when Gene is 83. Grandpaw died in 1938 so Gene would have had to be six or younger. Gene is one of three grandchildren that have any memories of Grandpaw Barnes. All of the content below is the unedited writing of Gene.
At Grandma Barnes’s, Sunday dinner consisted of fried chicken, or chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, green beans, hot biscuits & milk or buttermilk. In season there would be watermelon. Yes, Grandma had her vision then. I don’t remember when she lost it. Granddad would sit and talk about the old times. He was a farmer & blacksmith or tinker. He made frames for eyeglasses and also ground the lenses for them. He and grandma grew their own vegetables and had a cow for milk and hogs for pork. He also grew his own tobacco, harvested and cured it. He made it into twist fashion in lengths of 6 to 12 inches long. He would take a twist and cut off a piece for a chew. Once my brother, Bob, begged Grandad for a chew until he finally relented and gave him one. Pretty soon Bob was leaning against the porch post looking very pale and he was so sick, that was the end of Bob’s chewing days. Grandad had a black snake in the barn that he called his “pet”. One day when me, Bob, Don and William [Editor’s note: Don and William are Gene’s cousins the deceased sons of Gene’s Uncle Luther Barnes] were near the barn playing, we saw the snake and started trying to kill it. Soon the snake was bleeding and then Grandad appeared and threatened to skin our hides for hurting his pet snake. Grandad grew watermelons in the summer and Bob, Don, William and I would go with him to the watermelon patch. He would let each of us pick out our own melon and carry it back to the house.
These are some good memories!!!