Star Cemetery, in southwest Harvey County, Kansas, summer of 2000. Photo taken by my mother, Vada L. Barnes. We were installing a bronze military marker for Armstead Lovelace Barnes (1843-1923), Confederate Civil War soldier from Meade County, Kentucky. Armstead was the 7th of 12 children of Armstead Barnes (1809-1854) and Elizabeth Dowell (1814-1896). Armstead, born in 1843, was a brother to my 2nd gr. grandfather, Elijah Hicks Barnes (1845-1933). I have quite a number of distant relatives in Star Cemetery, including Melissa (McMurry) Barnes-Van Natten who was first married to Ben F. Barnes, a brother to Armstead and my Elijah as well as being the center of a mystery. Ben and Melissa start off by farming here in Lake township, then move to Newton and then to Hutchinson. A family note states that Ben disappeared in Texas in 1895 after visiting aunt Barb. This is Ben's sister, Barbara (Barnes) Riddle living in Pilot Point, Texas. Their ailing mother was also living not far away in Gainesville, Texas. Melissa's 1929 obit states that she was the widow of Ben, yet no record of his death has been found in Kansas. However, much information points to Ben staying in Texas after his mother's death in 1896, and living to an old age. In fact, the 1936 death certificate of Frank D. Barnes of Plainview, Hale County, Texas shows that he was born the same month and day, same county and state, parents (Armstead and Elizabeth Barnes) with the same names, and had the same occupations as Melissa's husband Ben F. Barnes. Note that the 1850 Census lists only one Armstead Barnes, under any spelling, in the entire state of Kentucky. Frank D. Barnes marries Jeff Davis Tully in Timpson, Shelby County, Texas in 1901. Census reports show that Jeff is 20 years younger than Frank, but I think he's about 26 years older. Her father, a former Confederate soldier, appears to have named her after Jefferson Davis, President of the former (and failed) Confederacy! "Frank" and Jeff Davis have two sons, Frank Dalcom Barnes and Eugene Lovelace Barnes. Lovelace is also the middle name of Ben's brother back in Kansas, Armstead. I think this evidence (very) strongly suggests that this Frank D. Barnes is Melissa's Ben F. Barnes. In 2002, a granddaughter of Frank D. Barnes, looked at the evidence and concluded that her grandfather and Ben F. Barnes are the same person, and that her father, Eugene, never appeared to have known anything about it. The Shacklett and Wimp people at Star Cemetery are also part of my family. Just a few feet from Armstead Barnes, the large marker inscribed, "Wimp," denotes the final resting place of several people including James A. Wimp and Armstead Barnes' sister, Jemima (Barnes) Wimp (1841-1909).
In everyone there is the urge to discover the events of their family's history. The really fortunate ones get their wish.