Name:                     Benjamin BARNES


Birth:                      abt 1764

Death:                     1827                       Southampton Co., VA

Father:                     Jacob BARNES (~1735-1796)

Mother:                   Elizabeth (~1741-)


Richard BARNES (abt 1530 - )

    Edward BARNES (1563 - )

        Edward BARNES (8 Jun 1595 - )

            Thomas BARNES (bef 1640 - bef 9 Jul 1683) & Diana BRAGG (abt 1645 - )

                James BARNES (abt 1668 - ) & Sarah JONES (abt 1668 - )

                    Edward BARNES (abt 1699 - 16 Jul 1761) & Elizabeth (abt 1699 - )

                        Jacob BARNES (abt 1735 - 11 Feb 1796) & Elizabeth (abt 1741 - )

                            Benjamin BARNES (abt 1764 - 1827) & Linney LEE (abt 1780 - aft 1840)

                                Marmaduke N. BARNES (abt 1815 - abt 1850) & Jane S. McMAINS (1811 -1872)

                                    Linia Ann BARNES (6 Mar 1840 - 5 Apr 1880) & Jacob Sylvester ARNEY (1839 - 1927)

                                        Mary Ellen ARNEY (1861 - 1935) & Joshua Newton MACHLAN (1859 - 1936)

                                            Linnie Ellen MACHLAN* (1884 - 1974) & Everett Elmer WALKER (1882 - 1948)

                                                Elsie Maureen WALKER (1903 -1983) & Leo Newton COFFEY (1901 -1998)



Much of the following is loosely extracted from “The Founding and Founders of Barnes Methodist Church, Southampton County, Virginia” by Joe H. Drake. He sent me (Fred Coffey) a copy of his article in response to queries about the Barnes family. The complete paper is in my files.


The Barnes Methodist Church was founded in 1803 (or earlier), and still exists. It is located in Southampton County, VA, about 3 miles south of Newsoms, VA, and about 3 miles north of the North Carolina border. If you are searching Google maps, is is on Statesville Road near the intersection with Barnes Church Circle.

(GPS  36.585924, -77.108039)



In his discussion, Joe Drake refers to “Old Jacob”, who is the father of our Benjamin Barnes. And he refers to “Young Jacob”, who is a son of Old Jacob and the brother of Benjamin. Also some of the following will refer to “Jacob D” or “Jacob Davis”, who is a son of Benjamin and brother of our ancestor Marmaduke. Got that?



“In the 1787 Census of Virginia, (a “census” based on the personal property tax records which included non-residents), Ben Barnes is listed separately, although Old Jacob is charged with the tax. (In all other census records he is referred to as Benjamin.) This indicates that Benjamin was more than 21 years of age. Jacob’s listing shows two white males between 16 and 21, no blacks, 4 horses, mares, colts and mules, and 15 cattle. No such information is given for Ben.


“There were two Benjamin Barnes in the 1810 census. OUR Benjamin had neighbors Reuben Whitefield and Dixon Furginson. This places his residence around what today is known as the Sunbeam-Mt. Horeb area, close to other Barnes families. In this census, Benjamin was 45+ and Linney, 26-45 with three males under 10, two males 10-16, one female under 10, one female 10-16, and one female 16-26. (LFC NOTE: I found this census image on, for Southampton County, VA. Benjamin was indexed as “Benja Barner”. As an addition to the above info, I note there is also one person entered for “other free persons” living in the household - - I interpret this to mean that they employed one free black.)


“In the 1820 census the Benjamin Barnes household had two males under 10, two males 10-15, two males 15-18, two males 18-26, and one male over 45, plus two females under 10, one female 15-26, and one female 26-45. (LFC NOTE: I also found this one. Would add that there were two free colored persons living in the household as well.)


“Linney. and not Benjamin, was listed as the head of household in the 1830 census of Southampton. (See notes with Linnie.)




“Benjamin Barnes, eldest son of Old Jacob, was an ordained Methodist Minister.  Benjamin was admitted on trial to the Methodist Conference in 1788.  In 1789 he was appointed to the Orange Circuit.  In 1790 Benjamin was admitted to the Church with “full connections” and appointed a deacon of the Church, in other words, Benjamin had now become a fully ordained minister and Elder of the Methodist Church.  He was appointed to the Bedford Circuit in that year.  In 1791 he was appointed to the Sussex Circuit, to the Brunswick Circuit in 1792 and the Bertie, North Carolina Circuit in 1793. 


 “In 1793 or 1794 Benjamin left the traveling Methodist Circuit to come back to Southampton (County) to raise his family.


“Benjamin was married to Linna Lee on January 22, 1795 in Gates County North Carolina.  It is not known at this time if Gates were a part of the Berte Circuit to which Benjamin was assigned in 1793, but if it were it could well be that Benjamin met his wife to be while ministering to that Circuit.


(MEMO: Benjamin Barnes and his wife are mentioned in three deeds involving sale of land inherited jointly by several of the children of Old Jacob. The siblings are consolidating their interests under single owners, by selling their shares to brothers. In the three deeds Benjamin’s wife’s name is spelled variously Lenney, Linnea and Linney. (See Northampton Co. NC DB 12, pages 79-80, 80-91, and 231-2.))


“On November 19, 1804, Young Jacob married Lucy Barrett, daughter of Benjamin Barrett, a trustee of the church.   Benjamin Barnes performed the wedding.


“Oddly, Benjamin was perhaps the best educated of the first trustees of Barnes Church; probably better educated than his father or brother Jacob.  Yet, Benjamin was the only one of the first trustees of Barnes Church who died intestate.  Whether or not that fact reveals a sudden and unexpected death is not known.


“Benjamin and Linna had either 8 or 9 children who survived to maturity.  We are able to identify 8 of these thanks to Peggy Vaughan McKinney whose research revealed a chancery case to divide Benjamin’s estate.


“Like their father, Jacob D. and Robert S. Barnes also became Methodist Ministers.  Jacob removed to Iowa, while Robert served more than 18 years as an assistant pastor to Barnes Church.   In addition, Robert was also a trustee to Mount Horeb church.  (Memo: Jacob D. will be discussed farther in the notes with his brother, Marmaduke. All census reports list his occupation as "farmer", but he could have been preaching as well.)



(Benjamin Barnes was closely involved with the Barnes Methodist Church, and is referenced in the deed. Joe Drake has constructed the following PROBABLE scenario regarding The Founding of Barnes Methodist Church:)


“The Founding of Barnes Methodist Church

A Probable Scenario (by Joe Drake)

 “In 1790 Old Jacob Barnes made out his will.  His eldest son Benjamin was in Bedford County on the Methodist Circuit, so Old Jacob named his next eldest son, Josiah, executor, and named his wife Elizabeth co-executor.


 “In 1793 Benjamin Barnes left the Methodist Circuit, and would marry a bit more than a year later.


 “1793, Benjamin Barnes and Exum Everett were ministers with a church (the congregation), but without a church building.  Looking about the neighborhood they found an ideal site for a meetinghouse.  The point selected was where the Fish Road (now Statesville Road), the Boone Road (now Rochelle’s Swamp Road) and the Cypress Road (now Sands Road) converge.  The land was owned by Benjamin’s father, Old Jacob Barnes.


 “Old Jacob committed to giving the land and construction began, but Old Jacob passed away before he could change the will or convey the land to the Church. (This paragraph is a bit speculative but based on known facts.) 


 “The land upon which the Church was built was devised to Young Jacob.  Under the law of the period, the title to the land could not vest in Young Jacob until he reached his 21st birthday.  Thus it did not matter what anybody intended or hoped, until that date the property could not be viewed as belonging to the Church, though it is suspected that the congregation occupied and used it as a church meetinghouse. 


 “In late 1800 or early in 1801, Young Jacob reached the age of 21.  The following year Young Jacob’s brother and executor of their father’s estate, Josiah, settled the estate.  The year after, on January 22, 1803, Young Jacob conveyed the property by the deed discussed to the trustees of Barnes Methodist Church.


 “Note that the deed that conveys the property to the church does not appoint Benjamin Barrett, Benjamin Barnes, Exum Everett, Nathan Britt and Evans Pope as the trustees to the church.  In the latter part of the deed, after the bounds of the property were given, it was implied that these men had been nominated or elected as the trustees previously, thus their participation in the deed.   Such a nomination or election prior to the making of the deed would most likely have been by the members of the congregation of the church.  This indicates an active congregation before the January 22, 1803 date of the deed.  Young Jacob would have had no authority to appoint the trustees for the church, and the wording of the deed seems to verify this. 


 “The deed concludes by establishing the governance for the trustees of the Church.  It is believed these guidelines reflected Methodist Doctrine of the era.  A clause was also added to the deed that required those who would preach there be Methodist Ministers.  It is doubtful that Young Jacob having just attained the age of 23 would have had the presence or maturity of mind to include such a statement in a deed.  It is, however, exactly the type wording an ordained Methodist Minister, Deacon, and Elder of the Church of age 42 would include in to a deed.  Benjamin Barnes was the likely driving force behind the deed to Barnes Methodist Church.


 “Among the first five trustees of the new church were Old Jacob’s son (Benjamin Barnes), Old Jacob’s son-in-law (Evans Pope), and the son of Old Jacob’s brother-in-law (Benjamin Barrett).  Exum Everett and Nathan Britt may have also had family connections with Old Jacob that are not now apparent. 


 “Church lore has it that the Church was named for Jacob Barnes who donated the land.  Research shows this is likely true.  What has been lost through the last two centuries is the proof that the Jacob who gave the land, and the Jacob who conveyed the land by deed, were not necessarily the same Jacob, but rather father and son. 


 “In his will of 1856, Young Jacob did not refer to the land of the Church as “the one acre I gave to the Church”, nor “the one acre I sold to the Church”, but rather “the one acre I deeded to the Church”.  The semantics of this statement have significance.  Such a statement in a will worded in such a way is very rare, but if it was Old Jacob who had given the land for the church, and Young Jacob fulfilling his father’s intentions (by “deeding” the land), how else could he have described the land upon which the Church stands?


 “Human nature being what it is, it is hard to imagine Old Jacob’s son, son-in-law, and son of his brother-in-law naming the Church after the baby brother of the family nearly 20 years or more their junior.  It is very easy, however, to accept the likelihood that they would name the church for a recently departed father figure – Old Jacob Barnes.



The text of the deed to the Barnes Church Property, from DB 10: 119


This Indenture made this 22nd day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three between Jacob Barnes of Southampton County and State of Virginia on the one part, and           Benjamin Barrett, Benjamin Barnes, Exum Everett, Nathan Britt and Evans Pope, of the same County and State, aforesaid on the other part.


  Witnesseth that in consideration of one dollar by said Benjamin Barrett, Benjamin Barnes, Exum Evertt, Nathan Britt, Evans Pope to the said Jacob Barnes truly paid before sealing & delivery hereof the receipt whereof the said Jacob Barnes doth hereby acknowledge and for divers other consideration (to) him thereunto moving the said Jacob Barnes hath granted, bargained and sold and by these presents doth bargain and sell unto the said Benjamin Barrett, Benjamin Barnes, Exum Everett, Nathan Britt and Evans Pope their heirs and assigns forever one acre of land with a meeting house thereon situated in the County and State aforesaid and bounded as follows,


Beginning at a pine tree being a corner tree between Jacob Barnes and Benjamin Barrett, Thence a straight line 70 yards to a lightwood post, thence North by West 70 yards to a lightwood post, Thence south by west 70 yards to a lightwood post, thence to the beginning. Together with all the ways and privileges to the said premises appurtaining thereunto, and all the profits there of with all the right titledge and interest in law and equity.  To have and to hold the said land and other premises to the said Benjamin Barrett, Benjamin Barnes, xum Everett, Nathan Britt and Evans Pope their heirs and assigns forever.  Nevertheless upon special trust and confidence and to the interest that they and the survivors of them and the Trustees for the time being do and shall permit the preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and no other persons to have and enjoy the free use and benefit of the said premises that they may therein preach and expound Gods Holy Word from time to time and at all times forever; and upon further trust and confidence that as often as any of these trustees shall die, remove, or cease to be members of the Methodist Society, the Trustees for the time being as soon as conveniently may be, shall and may choose another Trustee or Trustees in order to keep up the number of five Trustees forever.


            IN WITNESS whereof the said Jacob Barnes hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed:  Jacob Barnes



The above shows the church as it appeared in early years, and as it appears now.




Marriage:                 22 Jan 1795              Gates Co., NC


Spouse:                   Linney LEE

Birth:                      abt 1780

Death:                     aft 1840                   Parke Co., IN



Linnie Barnes is found as the head of the family with males 10-14, and 15-19 and females 10-14, 15-19, and 40-49. Linnie was indexed as Pennie Barnes. Note that the slave schedule also shows four free colored persons living in the household, two under age 10 and two ages 24-36. I believe the male age 10-14 would be Jacob, and the male 15-19 would be Marmaduke.)



Benjamin BARNES was involved with the founding of the Barnes Methodist Church. And in 1831 this church merited a footnote in American history. Benjamin was gone by then, but his wife Linnie, and their children, would have been there – and quite likely all attended church on a fateful day:


Nat Turner was an American slave who led a slave rebellion that resulted in 55 deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising in the antebellum southern United States. He gathered supporters in Southampton County, Virginia. On Saturday, 13 Aug 1831, there was an atmospheric disturbance that Turner interpreted as a final signal from God. Next day (Sunday) he preached to a crowd of people outside of Barnes Methodist Church, while Reverend Richard Whitehead, a slaveholder, preached inside. And the next Sunday, on August 21, he began his rebellion. (Whitehead was among those killed.)



On 10 September 1838, land patents were taken in Indiana under the names Benjamin N., Jacob D., John E., Linnea, and Marmaduke. This would have been coincident with the family's move to Indiana. See notes with son Marmaduke for further discussion.



Indexed as “Sinneary” Barnes, next door to son Marmaduke. One male 20-30 (Jacob), one female (20-30), and Linnie is “50-60”.



I received an interesting note from Mr. Wayne Modlin, who said he descended from a sister of Benjamin Barnes’ wife Linnia. And he argues that her birth name was not “Lee”, as shown in the abstract of the marriage records for Gates County, but “See” or “Seay”. His story is interesting, and maybe plausible. Let me offer his note, and then comment at the end:


Wayne Modlin:

“It is certainly easy for me to understand why her name was incorrectly transcribed from the handwriting of the day.  For one thing, neither she nor her husband were from Gates County, and therefore she was not known to the clerk who wrote her name.  For another, an L and an S with bold flourishing swoops look very much alike, and Lee is a fairly common name in that area.  SEAY is not a common name, and when spelled as SEE, it would not likely be a name familiar to Gates County folks.  Seay is the correct spelling, but it was a name sometimes written as it was pronounced, which is See or Sea.


“Linnia Seay was born in Bertie County, NC, the daughter of Isaac Seay, who died in 1788/1789 (an inventory of his estate was prepared in Feb. 1789) in that county.  Her mother's name is not known to me.  It is possible that she may have been a Baker, though.  Linnia's younger sister was named Judith Baker Seay. She had as her middle name the Baker surname.  A William Baker was a bondsman for Linnia's marriage to Benjamin Barnes.  Judith Baker Seay (c1782-c1835) was my ancestress.  She married Dempsey Peele in 1799 in Southampton County, Virginia.  He lived in Bertie County, NC, and must have known her there.  They returned to Bertie County to live after the marriage.  She may have been living with her older sister Linnia at that time of her marriage (they were orphans after their father's death in 1788/89.)


“Isaac Seay was born about 1748, either in King William County, Virginia, or Bertie County, North Carolina.  His father was Dr. James Seay, born about 1715-20 in King William County, Virginia.  His date of death was approximately 1745 in that county.  James Seay moved to Bertie County in the late 1740s apparently.  His wife is also unknown at present.


“James Seay was the son of Isaac Seay of King William County, Virginia.  Isaac Seay was born in the 1690s in King William County.  His father was Matthew Seay, who was apparently the immigrant ancestor.  The first record of his existence in Virginia was a court record dated 1685.  His date of birth is estimated as around 1660, but that is only very approximate.  His death was apparently sometime in the 1720s in King William County.  Since King William County early records burned, it is harder to be more definite.


“Since most persons who immigrated to the Virginia colony during this period were from England, it is assumed that he was from England.  There are plenty of folks on the Internet who think he was a French Hugenot, and some who think he was Irish”



I went to the Clayton Library, and studied the estate and court records for Bertie County, NC. And it would appear that what Wayne says about Isaac Seay, and his father Dr. James Seay, is indeed well supported. There are many references to them and to their estates.


But there are also several references therein to the ORPHAN CHILDREN of Isaac Seay. And since Isaac Seay died in about 1789, one would expect to find Linney (born about 1780) and Judith (about 1782) to definitely be among the listed orphans. 


In various places it names guardians (John Granberry and Reuben Norfleet), and names orphans William and Robert Seay. But there are NO references to any other children.


So until I see some evidence that Linnie is a daughter of Isaac Seay, I will leave this as an interesting and plausible, but UNPROVEN idea.



Benjamin BARNES (abt 1764 - 1827) & Linney LEE (abt 1780 - aft 1840)

    Richard BARNES

    Benjamin H. BARNES

    Robert S. BARNES (1804 - ) & Matilda WORRELL

    Martha F. BARNES

    John E. BARNES

    Marmaduke N. BARNES (abt 1815 - abt 1850) & Jane S. McMAINS (15 Dec 1811 - 6 Aug 1872)

    Mary BARNES & Edmund GARRETT

    Jacob Davis BARNES (abt 1820 - aft 1870) & Catherine McMAINS (abt 1826 - )


Please report corrections or additions to...  FredCoffey@AOL.COM