Biography - Caswell Barnett

CASWELL BARNETT, who had a good record as a soldier during the late war, is numbered among the industrious farmers who are carrying on the agricultural interests of Johnson County, of which he is a native. He was born January 6, 1836, and his home is on a part of the old farm in Elvira Township that was his birthplace, and which is now in his possession.
The father of our subject was William A. Barnett, who was born in Tennessee September 10, 1808, a son of Robert Fields Barnett, who was an early settler of Tennessee, and served in the War of 1812. He came from Tennessee to Illinois in 1830, traveling on the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers, and landing at Cairo. He settled in what is now Alexander County at first, but a year later he came to Johnson County, and made his home with his son William in Elvira Township until his demise.
William Barnett passed his early life in his native State, and was in the vigor of early manhood when he came to Illinois in 1830. He was married in Arkansas early in 1835, and returning to this county with his bride, he located on a tract of Government land in Elvira Township. He at once commenced the hard task of clearing and developing a farm, and in the comfortable home he built up he closed his earthly career December 6, 1869, and thus passed away a useful and greatly respected pioneer of this county. The maiden name of his wife was Charlotte T. Mangum. Stie was born April 24, 1817, two and one-half miles west of Vienna, a daughter of Henry L. and Disa Ann (Fain) Mangum, and she departed this life July 23, 1892. She reared eight children: Caswell, Sarah V., Gilbert, Martha A., William J., Margaret E., Rhoda J. and Mary.
The subject of this biographical sketch was reared and educated in his native township. He attended the primitive pioneer schools of the time, that were rudely furnished with seats made by splitting logs and hewing one side smooth and inserting wooden pins for support, and the building was heated by means of an open fireplace. For many years after the family settled here deer and other kinds of game were very plentiful and roamed at will through the country, which was sparsely settled. Our subject resided with his parents until he was twenty-one, and then commenced for himself in a steam sawmill. He afterward ran a steam engine until his enlistment, which occurred August 22, 1861, when he became a member of Company D, Thirty-first Illinois Infantry. He went to the front with his regiment, and in the terrible years of strife that followed, his patriotism and valor stood well the test of many of the hard-fought battles in which he bore his part. He was on the field at Belmont when the Union and Confederate troops met in deadly encounter, and at Ft. Henry and at the siege of Corinth. At Burnt Bridge, Tenn., he was wounded, and still carries a rebel bullet in his body as a memento of the occasion. He did his duty as a soldier at Champion Hills and Jackson, Miss. While en route for Vicksburg he was captured and taken to Libby Prison. A few weeks later he was so fortunate as to be exchanged, and he joined his regiment at Vicksburg in season to bear his part in the siege and downfall of the city. The next important battle in which he participated was at Kenesaw Mountain, and he was an actor in the siege and capture of Atlanta, and in the battles at Jonesboro and Flint River, and with his comrades pursued Hood's army to Rome, Ga. In October, 1861, he was honorably discharged at the expiration of his term of service at Chattanooga.
After his return from the seat of war Mr. Barnett resumed his former occupation of operating an engine, and was thus employed until his marriage. He then turned his attention to farming, which he carried on on rented land. In 1882 he bought the part of the old homestead that he now owns and occupies, and has here a productive and well-tilled farm of sixty acres.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Zary V. A. Evans was celebrated in November, 1866. Mrs. Barnett was born in Tennessee February 14, 1845, a daughter of William H. and Eliza Evans, and was but an infant when her parents brought her to Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Barnett are blessed with six children: Eliza C., William A., Mary F., Sarah J., John G. and Albert C. Mr. Barnett is a stalwart Republican in politics. He is a worthy member of Vienna Post No. 221, G. A. R., and of Goreville Lodge No. 528, I. O. O. F.

Extracted 05 May 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 253-254

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