The development of the United States mail service has been rapid and sure, but not until recent years has it attained its highest efficiency, although it at present ranks with any in the world. The various improvements made, the cutting down of expenses in every department and the general rapidity with which the mail is handled have kept pace with the increase in the amount of matter handled by the government employes, and this speaks well for the ability of those who have been entrusted with the management of this branch of governmental work. William Uriah Barnett, one of the well-known citizens of Buncombe, Illinois, has been connected with the mail service during the past five years as assistant postmaster and postmaster of this village, and during this time has not only proven himself a valued and efficient official, but by his courteous and genial manner has won wide popularity. He was born on a farm two and one-half miles east of Buncombe, Johnson county, Illinois, and is a son of Gilbert and Mary (Johnson) Barnett.

William A. Barnett, the grandfather of William Uriah, was a native of Tennessee, who located in Johnson county during the 'twenties, taking up government land and becoming one of the earliest settlers of this part of Southern Illinois. He was married to a Miss Mangum, also of an early pioneer family of this section which originated in Buncombe county, North Carolina. Gilbert Barnett, who was born in Johnson county, was engaged in farming here throughout his active life, and became well and favorably known to the citizens of his vicinity. He served during the Civil war for three years, as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Twentieth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and his death occurred on March 22, 1911, when he was seventy-three years old. He and his wife had the following children: William Uriah; Narcissa A., deceased; Thomas C.; Flora A.; George H.; John G., who is deceased; Francis M.; Rosa; Robert F.; and an unnamed child who died in infancy.

William Uriah Barnett received his education in the district schools and was reared to the life of an agriculturist, which he followed until he was twenty-five years of age. From 1886 until 1906 he was engaged in operating a threshing machine on the farms of Johnson county, and in the latter year became assistant postmaster at Buncombe. On April 6, 1911, he was appointed postmaster, a position which he has held to the present time to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. Mr. Barnett is the owner of a business building and two residence properties in Buncombe. Fraternally he is connected with Buncombe Lodge and Vienna Encampment, I. O. O. F.; and the Modern Brotherhood of America. His religious views are those of the Presbyterian church.

On October 5, 1884, Mr. Barnett was married to Miss Amanda Bell Boomer, daughter of Benjamin F. and Emily J. Boomer, natives of Indiana, and later farming people of Johnson county. Five children have been born to this union, namely: Mrs. May Kerr, of Buncombe, who has two children, Marie and Pauline; Charles, who is a telegrapher by occupation; and Maude, Jennie and Fay, who live with their parents. Mr. Barnett is a public-spirited citizen and one whom all can depend upon to support movements of interest or benefit to his section. He keeps himself well informed on the movements of his party, and is well read on all current topics, finding a great help in his excellent memory.

Extracted 07 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George Washington Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1482-1483.

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