Barnes Family

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The name Johanna Barnes is mentioned frequently on this website and it is important to give a little background on this individual and her family.  On this page, you will find articles relating to Johanna and some genealogical information about her family. Unfortunately we have no photos.

On June 26, 1899, the house next door to the “sallie house” was deeded to Mrs. Barnes.  Johanna was recently divorced and mother of four children.  Only three of her children lived with her during the time she lived next door to the Finney’s.  The oldest daughter, Lydia, was sent to live with Johanna’s sister and her family in Texas for reasons unknown.

Johanna Wright was born on February 16, 1863 in Illinois to James Henry Wright and Mary Ann Ahern.

James Wright was born November 29, 1825 in Bristol, Pennsylvania, and Mary Ann Ahern was born October 4, 1837 in Munster, Cork, Ireland. They were married February 21, 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Their first child was Elizabeth, born in 1860 in Pennsylvania.  Elizabeth later married Francis T. O’Dowd and moved to Temple, Texas.  Elizabeth died on September 25, 1900.

James and Mary’s third child was Robert Edward, born June 22, 1864.  He married Mary Elizabeth Vandiver.  Robert died March 2, 1902 in Cummings, Kansas.

Lydia, born in 1866, was James and Mary’s fourth child.  She married John B. Sisk.  Lydia Wright Sisk died in 1913 in Kansas City, Missouri. Death Certificate for Lydia Sisk.

James Henry Wright Jr. was born to James and Mary on August 13, 1868, and two years later on September 12, 1870, his brother, Joshua, was born.  Both boys died within four days of each other.  James died on February 21, 1871, and Joshua joined him on February 24, 1871.  In 1872,

James and Mary welcomed another child into their family.  Lizzie was born in 1872, but she only lived for five years.  She died on January 3, 1877.

In 1880, Johanna’s father, James, died.  Johanna Wright married Frank Barnes on December 26, 1883 in Cummings, Kansas.  Marriage Certificate for Johanna Wright and Frank Barnes.

Their first child, Lydia Laura Barnes, was born on October 21, 1884 in Cummings.  Two years later, their second child, Anna Harriet Barnes was born in August of 1886.  Less than one year after her second child was born, Johanna’s problems began.

In April of 1887, Johanna Barnes was committed to the state asylum in Topeka, Kansas, after being found of unsound mind by a judge in Atchison.  What happened between April 1887 and November of 1889 is not known.

More than likely, she spent that time in the asylum, and was then released, possibly because of her financial situation, or their inability to treat her condition, or perhaps they believed that they had cured her.  Whatever the reason, Johanna’s third child, Elizabeth Catherine Barnes was born on November 23, 1889.

On November 28, 1898, Johanna filed for divorce.  At some point the divorce was finalized, on July 13, 1899, however Frank Wright Barnes was born on June 26, 1899. The house next to the “Sallie House” was deeded to Johanna, and she lived there with her daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, and her only son, Frank.

They lived in the house until April 18, 1906, when Johanna deeded the house to Agnes Finney.  It is not known when this happened, but sometime before 1906, Johanna and her ex-husband, Frank, remarried and decided to move the family to Kansas City.

Before they were remarried, according to an account in the Atchison Daily Globe, Johanna and two of her children moved to Kansas City, Missouri and then she left them alone and headed to Colorado.  An aunt found them, likely it was her sister Lydia Wright Sisk who contacted Frank Barnes, Sr.

After that incident, Frank and Johanna were remarried.  Five months later, in Kansas City, Missouri, Johanna attempted suicide.  She failed to take her own life, but succeeded in taking the life of her only son, Frank.

Discrepancies in Frank’s age, as it was reported in two different newspapers, has raised some question as to whether Frank was six or seven at the time of his death.  Perhaps the newspapers simply made a mistake.

Less than one year later, Johanna’s mother, Mary Ahern Wright, died. She died April 2, 1907 in Kansas City, Missrouri. Death Certificate for Mary Ahern Wright.

After the death of Frank Jr., the family moved to San Gabriel, California.  Anna married Stewart MacKenzie on August 30, 1913 in San Gabriel, California.  Anna and Stewart had two children, Anna May and John R..  Anna Barnes MacKenzie died on January 14, 1919, and her husband Stewart, joined her in 1922.

Anna’s sisters, Lydia and Elizabeth, raised her two children.  Lydia Barnes never married, she died on January 12, 1970 in Alpine, California.  Elizabeth Catherine Barnes married Jonas Ely on May 8, 1920 in Delano, California.

Johanna lived to see two of her daughters marry, and buried one; she died in July of 1926.  Whether Johanna was ever admitted to another mental asylum is not known, and the diagnosis of her condition is also unknown


A quick overview of the family:

* Some notes on Joanna ( Wright ) Barnes :

We know she went to a Asylum in Topeka Kansas in April of 1887 Neighbors said she was violently insane

Unsure of what happened to her from April, 1887 to Nov. of 1889

Johanna/Joanna (Josie)(Wright) Barnes
Born- Feb. 16, 1863 Keithsburg, Mercer Co, Illinios
Died- July 1926 in San Gabriel , Los Angeles Co, California

Parents :
James Henry Wright

Born- Nov. 29, 1825 Bristol Pennsylvania
Died 1880 Kansas

Mary Ann (Ahern) Wright
Born- Oct. 4, 1837 in Munster, Cork, Ireland
Died- April 2, 1884 Kansas City Missouri
James Henry Wright & Mary Ann Ahern married 1860 Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Johanna/Joanna Wright & Frank Barnes
Dec. 26, 1883 Cummings Kansas
Joanna filed for divorce Nov. 28, 1898 The divorce was finalized July, 13, 1899
Then sometime before 1906 Joanna and Frank remarry

Frank Barnes
Born- Oct. 28, 1859 in Cummingville, Atchison Co, Kansas
Died- Nov. 12, 1940 in San Gabriel, Los Angeles Co, California

Parents for Frank Barnes :
Asa Barnes

Born- abt. 1825 in New Brunswick
Died- abt. 1888 Atchison Co. Kansas

Harriet (Cook) Barnes Unsure of a marriage date for Asa & Harriet ( Cook ) Barnes

Harriet Cook’s parents were Daniel & Elizabeth ( ? ) Cook

Children :

Lydia Laura Barnes
Born- Oct. 21, 1884 Cummings, Atchison, Co, Kansas
Died- Jan. 12, 1970 in Alpine Co, California
Lydia Barnes never married she lived with Elizabeth and Jonas in 1930

Anna Harriet Barnes
Born- Aug. 1886 Cummingsville, Atchison Co, Kansas
Died- Jan. 14, 1919 San Gabriel,, Los Angeles Co, California

Anna H. Barnes married Stewart Mackenzie on Aug. 30, 1913 in San Gabriel California
They had two children Anna May/Mae Mackenzie. June 26, 1914 and John R. MacKenzie b. Jan 2, 1917 and d. Oct 13, 1987 in Houston, Texas.
Stewart Mackenzie died in 1922 and after Anna’s death, her sisters, Lydia & Elizabeth took care of their children through 1930

Elizabeth Catherine Barnes
Born-Nov. 23, 1889 Cummingsville, Atchison Co, Kansas
Died- Dec 20, 1973 California

Elizabeth C. Barnes married Jonas Ely on May 8, 1920 in Delano, California
There were two children from a previous marriage, John Ely and Ruth Ely.

Elizabeth and Jonas had two children: Fred b. May23, 1922 los Angeles Co, California d. march 4, 2002 Orlando, Glenn Co, California, and Martha b. abt 1924 also in California.
Frank Wright Barnes Jr.
Born- June 26, 1899 Cummingsville, Atchison Co, Kansas
Died- Sept. 24, 1906 Kansas City Missouri

Joanna Barnes attempted suicide by turning on the gas she lived and Frank Jr. died.

Frank Barnes was born to Asa Barnes and Harriet Cook on October 28, 1859 in Cummingsville, Kansas. His father was a prominent citizen of Atchison county.


Frank Barnes

Frank Barnes was born to Asa Barnes and Harriet Cook on October 28, 1859 in Cummingsville, Kansas. His father was a prominent citizen of Atchison county.

He was born on July 13, 1899 to Johanna Wright Barnes and Frank Barnes. He lived with his mother and sisters at 504 N. 2nd St in Atchison until 1906, when the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. His short life came to an end on September 24, 1906 at his family’s home at 330 Park Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri. Whether his death was accidental or intentional, is unknown. The writers of the articles below, seem to believe that it was intentional, but no charges were ever filed against her.


From the History of Atchison County, Kansas:

“The name of Barnes figures prominently in the early history of Kansas and Atchison county, and the history of the family in Kansas dates from the spring of 1858 when Capt. Asa Barnes came from the ancestral home of the Barnes family in New Jersey, and settled in Mt. Pleasant township, Atchison county, and immediately identified himself with the Free State Party.

Asa Barnes was born in 1821, and became a papermaker in New Brunswick, where several of his children were born. In 1858 he disposed of his belongings and property in New Jersey and migrated to Kansas, settling in Mt. Pleasant township, Atchison county.

His wife and children followed him in April, 1859. When he first came to Kansas he was a Democrat in politics, but changed his political belief soon afterward and espoused the cause of the Free State Party. He took a prominent and active part in political affairs and became well known throughout the State as an able and influential champion of freedom.

On two different occasions he was elected to represent Atchison county in the State legislature and served the people with distinction and ability. When the civil war broke out between the States he organized Company A of the Twelfth Kansas cavalry and served as captain of the company; he also helped to organize a company for the Thirteenth Kansas infantry.

He was further distinguished by his war service in a manner which reflected credit upon himself and his home county.”

Frank Barnes, though, led a fairly unremarkable life. He owned land and worked as a farmer, thresher, and other odd jobs. Frank married Johanna Wright on December 26, 1883. After his divorce, Frank took jobs out of the state, sometimes as far away as Colorado.

He remarried Johanna sometime before 1906, and they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked for the railroad. After Johanna’s death, Frank did not remarry. He died on November 12, 1940 in San Gabriel, California.

Sources: Census, Family trees, Atchison Daily Globe.

Please note genealogy is not 100% Names, dates, Birth Places can be wrong. Sometimes they used a first name on one census then a middle or nickname on another. Spellings are often off. Records referenced within this site can be backed up by census or other online records or references.


Where to next:

>> Owners and Neighboring Properties

>> Briefly Speaking; Historical Occupants  


Are you interested in specific individuals and families?

Finneys | Hyatt | Barnes | Pomeroys | Bayes | Anderson | Humbard | Sallie| Pickmans | Fish |Liggett 

About Debra Pickman

After living in an extremely haunted location with my husband who was physically and mentally brutalized by an unseen force my husband and I became experienced investigators applying our knowledge to other locations. We continue to speak at events, conferences and on radio shows around the world. Contact me at

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