Nelson Barnard, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Nelson Barnard


A glance at the interesting genealogy of the Barnard family shows that Nelson Barnard comes of very prominent people, who have, by their upright, straightforward course through life, kept their names unspotted and honored in the sight of God and man. This family is one of the oldest and best known in this country; and unlike the majority of American families, they have carefully preserved their history. The first five of the following genealogical notes are from the manuscript books kept' by Mrs. Eliza Barney, of Nantucket. They show the direct line of the Barnard descent from Thomas Barnard, one of the original ten proprietors of that island, who purchased it while in Salisbury, Massachusetts, in 1659.

1. Thomas Barnard and Eleanor, his wife, had one son, Nathaniel.

2. Nathaniel Barnard married Mary, daughter of Robert and Johanna Barnard. They had eleven children, Mary, John, Stephen, Sarah, Eleanor, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Abigail, Ebenezer, Timothy, and one other.

3. Benjamin Barnard married Judith, daughter of Nathaniel and Abigail Gardner. They had eight children, Timothy, Abigail, Ruth, Francis, John, Abishai, Nathaniel and Mary.

4. Timothy Barnard married Mary, daughter of Peleg and Susanna Bunker. They had six children, Timothy, Judith, Benjamin, William, Mary and Susanna.

5. Timothy Barnard Jr., married Love, daughter of George and Love Swain. They had six children, Uriah, Job, Buzilla, Gilbert, George and Love.

6. Uriah Barnard, the grandfather of our subject, was born on Nantucket, Aug. 27, 1761, and was of English origin. The name has been pronounced in different ways but always spelled Barnard. Uriah Barnard was twelve years of age when he left the island with his father and up to that time the male members had all been sailors. In 1811 he settled in Highland County, Ohio, when the same was a wilderness, and remained there until 1817, when he moved to Wayne County, Indiana. Here his death occurred. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph and Mary Macy, at Center, North Carolina, Feb. 21, 1783, and had ten children, Jethro, Joseph, Love, Hannah, Betsy, Anna, George, Polly, William and John.

7. William was born in North Carolina, June 29, 1803, and when eight years of age he went with his father to Highland County, Ohio. In crossing the mountains he had his leg broken by a wagon running over him. While growing up he became familiar with agricultural pursuits, but in connection also learned the carpenter trade, following both, the principal part of his life. He received only about three months schooling, but his mind was unusually active and by his own exertions he became a well informed man. He was a skillful scribe and also excelled in mathematics. On the 20th of October, 1827, he married Miss Sally Williams, daughter of Richard and Rachel William, and eleven children were the fruits of this union. Four of these children were born in Wayne County, Indiana, but on the 26th of April, 1835, Mr. Barnard left that county for the St. Joe country, bringing his family and household goods. He had one heavy ox wagon carrying his furniture and a light ox wagon for his wife and family. Most of the way the roads were through a wilderness, and on the evening of the 16th of May, 1835, they arrived at LaPorte County, near New Durham. The following morning they moved into a log cabin one mile Northwest of that town, and here Mr. Barnard's fifth child, Clinton, was born on the 26th of May, of that year. Three weeks later they moved on to Petro's Grove, South of Westville, and there resided until the 19th of August. While there Mr. Barnard put in a crop, but owing to the late spring it did not amount to anything. On the 19th of August, 1835, he settled on land now owned by his son, our subject, locating on the same before the land sale, at which time he bought 160 acres at $1.25 per acre. On this farm was a small cabin and in this he and family resided until in October, 1836, when they moved to Cass County, Michigan, where his father-in-law had settled. At the end of eighteen months he left Cass County, on account of sickness, and returned to Porter County, Indiana. The sixth child, Rhoda, was born in Cass County, Michigan. He gladly returned to this county and immediately began clearing and improving his land. His first crop of corn was in a clearing of sixty acres and was put in Hoosier fashion, among the green roots. This crop was destroyed by squirrels and other wild animals while he was in Michigan. He was industrious and thoroughgoing, cleared his farm of 160 acres, and erected the house in which our subject resides at the present time. During his time he built on this place three log houses and other buildings. In politics he was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party when he joined its ranks and remained with the same until a short time before his death when he voted the Prohibition ticket. Before and during the war he was a strong Abolitionist and his home was a station on the underground railroad. Many negroes did he assist in reaching Canada. In religious views he was a Quaker. His death occurred January 4, 1887, in Westville, where he had retired, and was eighty-three years of age. He was a man of strong constitution, six feet high, and weighed 200 pounds. Until his last sickness he was never so ill but what he could get up and walk. Mild and pleasant in disposition, no man was more highly esteemed in the county. To his marriage were born eleven children, the survivors of whom, with their descendants and relatives by marriage, now constitute the membership of an association known as the "Eleven Branches of the House of William Barnard." Primary meetings of this association are held every five years, decade meetings every ten years, and a grand semi-centennial meeting every fifty years. The object of this association is "The perpetuation of friendship and fraternal love amongst its members, keeping green and hallowed the memories of the past, and for mutual enjoyment and improvement of the present."

8. Nelson Barnard, our subject, was born on the old homestead in Wayne County, Indiana, October 6, 1829, and is principally self educated for he received but little schooling in those early days. Naturally of a studious and thoughtful turn of mind, he has improved and cultivated the same by reading good books and papers, and is a well posted man. He was but six years of age when he came to this county and his first slate, now carefully preserved, was earned by carrying a coon skin five miles, to William Taylor, who kept a store, and for this skin he received thirty-one and a fourth cents. He learned the carpenter trade but also became familiar with the duties of the farm, and the latter occupation he has followed up to the present time. On the 2d of February, 1851, he was married in Wayne County, Indiana, to Miss Mary J. Lumpkin, daughter of James and Sarah (Thornburg) Lumpkin. Mr. Lumpkin was an old settler in Wayne County and a representative citizen. He was the father of these children: Nancy, William, Robert, Charity, Mary J., John, Rufus, Silas and Dempsey. Mr. Lumpkin was a substantial farmer, and was the owner of a half section of land. He was seventy-eight years of age at the time of his death. Following his marriage Mr. Barnard settled at Westville and while there worked at his trade for five years. While thus engaged he also bought three farms of eighty acres each, places near the homestead in Jackson township, and resided on this for twenty years. He then bought three more eighties, including the old homestead to which he moved in May, 1875, and on which he has since remained. At the present time he owns about 480 acres of land in Jackson Township. Mr. and Mrs. Barnard's union has been blessed by the birth of six children, all now deceased but one. They were named as follows: Orlando, now living on his father's old home place; Sarah L., died in infancy; Ordelia, married, and died when twenty-two years of age; John, died at the age of two and a half years; Mary Bell, a married woman, died when thirty of age, leaving one child, Lela D.; and William L., who died when fifteen years of age. In his political views Mr. Barnard is a Republican and his first presidential vote was cast for John C. Fremont. In religion he is liberal. For several years he has been one of the drainage commissioners, and from 1887 to 1889 he represented Porter County in the state legislature. He has taken an active interest in having good schools and his grand-daughter, Lela, is receiving a thorough education. Our subject was one of seven sons who averaged six feet in height, the shortest being five feet, ten inches and the tallest six feet, one inch. Our subject is just even six feet in his bare feet, and when in his prime weighed 212 pounds. When twenty-one years of age he weighed 200 pounds and he now weighs about 190 pounds. His brother, Uriah Barnard, was in the Fourth Indiana Cavalry, and participated in many battles during his three years service in the Civil War. Job, another brother, was in Company K Seventy-third Infantry, and served about three years. The Barnard family have had three reunions on the old homestead.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 152-155

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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