In the Autumn of 1845, an ox wagon train left a point ten miles northeast of Lebanon, Tennessee, on Rock Creek, the migrants seeking a new home in the new state of Arkansas. They traveled over a military road from Memphis to Batesville then followed a country trail to the mouth of Buffalo River, stopping in the Buffalo-Tomahawk section in December 1845. Included in the group were three brothers, namely: Joshua, Peter and Asa Reeves, and their half-brother John Reeves.
Joshua Reeves was married to Mahala Grinder and a son, Bob Reeves (Uncle Bob) was born to them July 20, 1845, a short time before the wagon train left Tennessee. This family stopped at Keeling Spring on Tomahawk. In 1848, Joshua and family moved to Texas to grow cotton where Mahala died in 1849, and is buried at Belton, Texas. Joshua and his children then returned to Arkansas by way of Ft. Smith and Springfield, MO. He soon married again--the children were not popular with the new wife and they went to make their home with David Barnett and wife, who reared Uncle Bob Reeves along with their own family.
Peter Reeves, who had married Katie Grinder, sister of Mahala, settled with his family on Buffalo River, taking a government patent on the land along the north side of the river where US Highway 65 now bridges Buffalo. Their home was in the Joel Baker hollow at a point just north of where Highway 65 now leaves the valley. Fletcher Reeves and James Reeves were sons of Peter. There were two daughters, Louisa who married Cass McKinney and Jone who married Andy Mckinney. Fletcher Reeves was the father of Redin Reeves and Tennessee Reeves who married John Henry Barnett.
Asa Reeves settled on Silver Hill. The half-brother John Reeves patented the lands along Bear Creek know now as the Dana Peek place. There were two children, Bruin and Cyntha.
Included in the wagon train was Aunt Becky Baker, mother of Jessie, John Riley, and Redin Baker and Aunt Sarah Mays. Aunt Becky was the sister of Joshua, Asa and Peter Reeves.
Another sister of Aunt Becky’s married a Baker, the father of Jasper and Calvin Baker. They settled on Bear Creek in the present Baker Hollow community. This may account for the first county seat of Searcy County, located in the Baker Hollow Area, being named Lebanon. Clay Hensley’s mother and Jeff Stephenson’s mother were sisters of Jasper and Calvin Baker. Therefore, the mother of Jasper and Calvin Baker and also the grandmother of Clay Hensley and Jeff Stephenson, on the Baker side, --the mother of Jessie, John Riley and Pedin Baker and Aunt Sarah Mays --were sisters of Joshua, Peter and Asa Reeves.
The wagon train from Tennessee carried several unmarried young people, including Marget F (Flurry) Grinder, her brother Bob Grinder and David Barnett. No direct kinsman of David Barnett emigrated from Tennessee at this time. Bob Grinder later became the father of George Grinder.
Shortly after reaching Arkansas, David Barnett patented land along Dry Creek and married Flurry Grinder. It has been noted above that Bob Reeves made his home with David Barnett after he was five years of age. He was a nephew of Flurry and a first cousin to the following children born to David and Flurry:
When the Civil War broke out David Barnett wet to Springfield, Mo., to join the Union Army. Later Bob Reeves and James Reeves, Peter’s son , slipped away under cover of night, and made their way also to Springfield to fight with the Federal forces. As a reprisal by the Confederates, Joshua, Bob’s father, and Peter were taken away in a chain gang. Joshua was released some six moths later but Peter was never heard of again.
Later Bob Reeves and Siegel Barnett became famous as hunters of wild game. It was their responsibility to furnish the large family with meat of deer and turkey and it is said they always kept a good supply of meat on hand.
After Flurry passed away in the late 1870’s, David married Sarah Jane Cross in 1879. One son was born to this marriage: Noah, April 10, 1880.
David Barnett’s third marriage was to Cyntha Reeves in the early 1880’s. To this union was born two sons:
David Barnett passed away March 3, 1915 and Cyntha passed on June 15, 1934.*
*As told to W. F. (Frank) Reeves in 1903 by Joshua Reeves and re-told to James Barnett by Frank Reeves, June 4, 1954. Mrs. George Jackson Barnett (Ida Jane Lowrance) gave this copy to her son, Ray, December 15, 1966.
David Barnett of Searcy County Arkansas and his three wives, Flurry Grinder, Sarah Cross and Cynthia Reeves
David Barnett, father of 19 children, from his three marriages, raised his family at Duff on Dry Creek, between St. Joe and Gilbert, Arkansas in Searcy County. Many of the Barnetts from Boone, Marion, Searcy and Van Buren counties are direct descendants of David Barnett. (2)
David Barnett's father, James Elemuel Barnett, was born in North Carolina October 22, 1792. He married Martha Kempt (or Kemp) July 3, 1812 and emigrated to middle Tennessee where David Barnett was born November 30, 1827. (2)
In the autumn of 1845 David Barnett, age 18, came to Arkansas with a group by ox wagon train, leaving his home in McMinn County, Tennessee. The emigrants were seeking a home in the new state of Arkansas. They traveled over a military road from Memphis, Tennessee to Buffalo City, Arkansas then followed a country trail leading north west until they came to a little place called Yellville. From there they went southwest to the Buffalo River, stopping in the Buffalo-Tomahawk section in December 1845 near Gilbert, Searcy Co., Arkansas. This was the only place the Buffalo was crossable at that time of the year. (6) There were several other unmarried young people including Margaret Flora Grinder and her brother, Bob Grinder. (2) All stayed and camped for the winter. David fell in love with one of the crew, Flurry Grinder, and they got married. They settled on the tract of land where they camped. They built a house and homesteaded the land and lived most of their lives at this place. (2) (6) The lands patented by David Barnett on Dry Creek were located some 3/4 mile north of the point where the present Gilbert road leaves U.S. Highway 65. (2)
Ten children were born to David and Flurry Barnett. Also, Bob Reeves made his home with them after he was five years of age. Bob’s mother had passed away and he was the nephew of Flurry and a first cousin of the eight children. The ten children of David and Flurry were: Nancy Barnett, James Perry Barnett, William Jackson Barnett, Roena Barnett, Robert Martin Barnett, David O. Barnett, Samuel Siegel Barnett, John Henry Barnett, Martha Elizabeth Barnett and Mary Catherine Barnett. (2)
Bob Reeves and Siegel Barnett became famous as hunters of wild game. It was their responsibility to furnish the large family with meat of deer and turkey and it is said they always kept a good supply of meat on hand. (3)
It is said according to Noah, David’s son, when the Civil War come up David and a bunch of other men got together and did not aim to take sides in the war. But the Rebel Army heard of them and sent soldiers to capture them and chain them together two and two like cattle, making them walk while the soldiers road at a fast gait. At Little Rock David and the other men were made to sign up in the Rebel Army. Affidavits to his pension file indicate that in the month of November or December 1861 he had joined an organization known as the Yellow Rag (the spelling of this is not clear), a Union group, but before the parties that belonged to the organization had time to get to the Union Army, the Confederate authorities took them and chained them together and put them in the Confederate Army and he served under Captain Dawson. (6) The group was also known as a Peace group and many others part this group and treated the same way. The choice he was given was to enroll or be shot. The only record of this service is his enrollment. (9)
According to Noah and the affidavits in David’s pension file, the first chance David got he ran away—came back home a few days then went to the Federal Army and joined them. David’s pension file indicates he enrolled in the Union Army in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 1, 1864 as a private in Company M, Third regiment of the Arkansas Cavalry. (1) However, all of this does not explain if he actually served in the Confederate Army from December 1861-Janauary 1864 (two full years) or if he spent quite a while at home before joining the Union side. He was in one big Battle of Pea Ridge Arkansas. (6) He was honorably discharged at Lewisberg, Arkansas on May 22, 1865. (1)
Margaret Flurry Barnett, David's first wife, passed away October 12, 1878 and her grave stone in Osborn Cemetery near St. Joe carries the message that "She was a tender mother, a faithful friend, and a follower of Christ." (2)
David Barnett's second marriage was to Sarah Jane Cross on July 4, 1879. To this union was born one child, Noah Barnett on April 10, 1880. This marriage soon ended in divorce and Noah was raised by his mother on Tomahawk. (2)
David Barnett was married the third time on August 16, 1881 to Cyntha Reeves. To this marriage was born eight children but only two lived to be grown and raised families, namely Granville Murphy "Murph", and Absalum Andrew "Drew". (2)
Noah wrote in a letter that he never was with his father until he was 25 years old—then David sent to tell him to come to his 80th birthday dinner. (Note according to Noah's and David's birthday Noah was not 25 when David was 80.) He wanted all of his children to be there and they was all eight there—and a great day it was. (6) Another descendent of David recalls yearly birthday parties every fall for David. The annual birthday group was so big they used the wash tub to cook the chicken and dumplings for the crowd. (4) The family picture taken outside the split-rail house that includes all eight children with David and Cyntha was probably taken at one of these birthday parties in 1907.
David fell and broke his hip on about February 18, 1915. At least that is when Dr. James A Heuley saw him. Dr. Heuley saw him again on February 26, 1915 and David Barnett passed away March 3, 1915. Dr. Heuley wrote on David’s death certificate, "Fell—fracturing femur at surgical neck producing a complete nervous breakdown." David’s tombstone was erected by the government and reads, Colonel David Barnett of the 3rd Ark Cavlery St. Joe Ark.
Cyntha passed on June 15, 1934. She was buried in Osborn Cemetery near St. Joe beside David, several of their children and others of the Barnett family.
David Barnett was 5'9" tall, had blue eyes, and dark hair. He was a farmer. When asked in his pension application if he had any marks it looks like he wrote "one eye out." (1) He had broad shoulders and weighed about 180 pounds. He enjoyed good health and was a hard-working man. He had no education to speak of. He was a Republican in politics and a Missionary Baptist religiously. (6)
David had a cabin on Dry Creek and a house on the hill above the Buffalo River. The house still stands along Highway 65. The split-rail logs are weathered but the house has had additions of a screened porch on front and back. The old stone fireplace is on the south side of the house. There is a spring near the crest of the hill where "Grandma Cynthia" used to go and wash the greens and onions.(4) The present-day owner of the building believes the house was built in 1871. Another version from a descendent of Siegel is that the house was built by Seigel and David in 1890.
Revised October 1997
Written by Erma Stevenson. 1330 70th Ave. SE, Salem, OR 97301 (503)399-9184 at ERMA STEVENSON
NOTE FROM TERRI: This is my family too. For more great Pedigree info: BALDRIDGE FAMILY