Samuel or James? Son of Hiram J. Barnett

Samuel Barnett was born about 1835 in Tennessee, the oldest child of Hiram and Sarah (Webb) Barnett. He is listed in Hiram’s 1850 census household in Hardeman Co., Tennessee as 15 years old, born in Tenn. Hiram’s household (listed as H.J. Barrett) is again found in Hardeman County in the 1860 U.S. census, but Samuel is not listed in the household. A further search of Tennessee marriage records and census records finds no sign of Samuel Barnett. What happened to him, where did he go?

On 24 Oct 1855 in Hardeman County, James Barnett married Narcissa Box. Jas Barnett (age 24, born Ten) and Narcissa Barnett (age 20, born Ten) are listed in Hardeman County in the 1860 U.S. census with two children: Sarah E. Barnett (age 4, born Ten) and Mary J. Barnett (age 2, born Ten). A Box family history stated that Narcissa Box married James S. Barnett (Hardeman County, Tennessee Family History, vol. 2).

Neither Samuel or James Barnett were found in the 1870 U.S. census, but James (age 44, born Tennessee) and Narcissy (age 40, born Tennessee) were listed in Greene Co., Arkansas in the 1880 U.S. census. Included in the household were a daughter, Jane Shelten (age 21, born Tennessee, widowed) and a granddaughter Henry Shelten (age 3, born Arkansas).

S.J. Barnett paid taxes in Greene County in 1877 and 1878 (“Court Records,” Greene County, Arkansas GenWeb, accessed 7 Aug 2012 online at and S.J. Barnett was also listed in a reconstructed 1890 census (accessed 7 Aug 2012 online at

Samuel J. Barnett (born Oct 1835 in Tennessee, widowed) was listed in the 1900 U.S. census in Greene Co., Arkansas with one grandson: Josiah R. Miller (born Jan 1892 in Arkansas). Mollie Shelton married Jacob M. Miller, 19 Mar 1882 in Greene Co., Arkansas.

No where do Samuel and James Barnett appear in the same records at the same time. These facts taken together seem to point to the conclusion that Samuel Barnett and James Barnett are probably the same person. Samuel James Barnett married Narcissa Box in Hardeman Co., Tennessee in 1855 and had at least two children: Sarah E. and Mary J. Barnett. Mary J. is probably the Jane Shelten in the 1880 census record and the Mollie Shelton who married Jacob M. Miller. Jacob and Mollie (Shelton) Miller may have been the parents of Josiah R. Miller listed in Samuel’s 1900 census household.


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