Five generations of Barnes women.

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Wilson Daily Times, 20 April 1950.

The caption identifies this as a photograph of five generations of an African-American Barnes family that lived on the Edwin Barnes farm, “one of the fine old plantations of the state.” There is no mention of the age of the photograph (I would guess approximately 1900-1910) or its provenance. The names of the young woman and baby at bottom left were unknown. “Old Aunt Rose” is at bottom right. Standing at top right is “Aunt Sylvia,” who was a cook for Edwin Barnes and then his daughter Mrs. J.T. Graves for forty years and was “famous for her chicken stew.” At top left is Aunt Sylvia’s daughter, Jane Barnes Simms.

To my surprise and disappointment, I have not been able to document Rose Barnes, her daughter Sylvia, and granddaughter Jane Barnes Simms. Can anyone help?


  1. this is a phenomenal picture, but I wonder about it dated 1950 because the blouses and skirts look like they’re from the late 19th century. But maybe that’s just when the picture was published? What do you think?

  2. You did a story of my uncle Clyde Tillery in World War II. This story of the Barnes reminds me of the story of my grandfather, John, and his brother marrying 2 Barnes sisters. Was this the Barnes Family he married into? Did you come across that information in this Barnes story, since it was about 5 generations?

    1. Barnes is the most common surname in Wilson County by far. There are thousands of Barneses, even today. I’m not aware of any link between the Tiller’s and this set of Barneses.

      1. Thank you for your answer. This is such a beautiful site and I am so grateful for it.

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