Migrational Tale
Issac & Tillie Barnes

This page last updated September 6, 2003

Sometime in the latter part of 1894 a covered wagon pulled by a team of horses came to the hill at the east side of Yates Center. The horses were thin and very tired. The team, wagon and people in it had come from Enid, Oklahoma and were headed for Nebraska. Some of the hills between Enid and Yates Center were long and steep, and in some cases the horses could not pull the wagon to the top of the hill, so the people would get out and walk up the grade to ease the load for the faithful horses who were their only hope of reaching Nebraska. By the time that the team got to the top of the hill one of the horses was very sick. The people had very little money - just $1.50. They spent their last cent for medicine for the horse and to their great sorrow the horse died the next morning.

The occupants of the wagon were Isaac Daniel, his wife Matilda, and children, Homer, Elmer, Walter and Clara. While they had not planned it and hard for them to believe it, Woodson County was to be their future home, and soon they established themselves here.

Isaac Daniel Barnes, in later years known better by the initials I. D., was born October 21, 1859, in Owen County, Indiana. He was the son of William Landrum and Elizabeth Ellett Barnes. His wife, Matilda Jane (Tillie) Taylor was born November 18, 1862, at Spencer, Indiana. She was the daughter of Charles Markley and Eliza Jane Clark Taylor. Isaac Daniel and Tillie were married at Spencer, November 12, 1881.

Like many others the lure of the west had fired the pioneer spirit and in the spring of 1883, I. D., Tillie and a year old son Homer, loaded their possessions in a covered wagon and started west. In time they arrived in Polk County, Nebraska, where they soon engaged in farming for a couple of years. Here their son Elmer was born, March 1, 1885.

Hearing homesteads were to be had in Colorado, they again pulled up stakes and headed farther west in the late fall of 1885. Accompanying them were old friends, the S. G. Davis family from Spencer, Indiana. They arrived in Sedgewick County, Colorado in the middle of a blizzard. The only shelter available was in the home of two bachelors who were living in one room twelve by fourteen foot sod house. They stayed in the sod shanty for three days as the blizzard was so fierce a person could see only a few feet away. There were six adults and four children in this one room. As soon as the weather permitted, they dug a small dugout of their own. This was their home until a better one could be made. When spring came they built a new sod house.

Times were very rough in Colorado, it seldom rained and the winters were very severe. During their eight years in Colorado the Barnes family raised only two crops. Sedgewick County is in the northeast corner of the state. They lived south of Julesburg. Venango, Nebraska was their closest trading place. In the late spring of 1894, they realized the wheat they had sown earlier in the fall had not sprouted as there had been no rain for a long time. They sold out for $150.00 and supplies and left Colorado in a covered wagon along with the Davis family. In the meantime, there were two more additions to their family, Walter and Clara Dulcie.

This time they went to Oklahoma to find work and establish homes. But Oklahoma was in a deep drought so there were no crops and no work. Although discouraged but still determined they left Enid and began their trek to Nebraska.

For many years, I. D. and Tillie lived on the farm along Owl Creek, five miles east and three quarter miles south of Yates Center. After arriving in Woodson County two more children were born, Emma Anna and Otis.

Obituaries of Issac & Tillie Barnes

Submitted by Charlottes Barns Lewin

Source Material: In The Beginning Published By The Woodson County Historical Society Yates Center, Kansas Vol. 11 - No. 41 1978


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