Ohio Biographies

Capt. John Barnes

Captain John Barnes to whom close application and aptitude for successful management have brought a measure of success the will enable him soon to retire from active connection with commercial interests, has for a long period been known in the trade circles of Cincinnati as a dealer in tobacco. He came to this city in 1850 from Xenia, Ohio, where he was born and spent his youthful days. In early life he learned the printer’s trade which he followed at various places and with varied success until 1861. Eleven years prior to that period he had established his home in Cincinnati and was connected with the field of journalism here, but with the outbreak of the Civil war he felt that duty to is country was paramount to all else and joined the Union army as a private of the Twenty-third Kentucky Infantry, on the 27th of November. He was made first lieutenant of his company and on the 16th of May 1863, was promoted to the rank of captain in recognition of bravery and meritorious conduct. He served as captain of a Color Guard Company throughout the remainder of the war. He was with the Army of the Cumberland on its Atlanta campaign and during his service at the front participated in seventy-five battles and skirmishes including some of the most important engagements of the entire conflict. It was at the battle of Stone River that he was promoted to the rank of captain. He also participated in the engagements of Perrysville and New Hope Church and at the latter the Union troops lost sixteen hundred and eighty men in twenty minutes. He was in the battles of Resaca and of Chikamauga, where he was left on the field for dead and was so reported. He took part in the engagements at Kenesaw Mountain, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, Columbia, Franklin and Nashville, which was the last engagement in which he participated, being mustered out in March 1865. He was indeed a creditable record, for he never faltered in the performance of any duty, whether called to the firing line or stationed on the lonely picket line. He has since maintained pleasant relations with his old army comrades in his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic and in the Union Veteran Legion.

When the war was over Captain Barnes returned to Cincinnati and for three years was connected with the Enquirer. He was also associated with the United States mail service two years and in 1879 turned his attention to the tobacco business as senior partner of the firm of John Barnes & Company. From the outset the new undertaking prospered and capable management brought it to a prominent position in connection with the trade in this city, such being the prosperity that has attended Mr. Barnes that he expects to retire from business in the fall of 1911. He was the originator of the La Auroa brand of tobacco, which he has handled for a number of years. It is a hybrid of Mexican and Havana tobaccos and in grown in Claremont county, Ohio. The plant is a large one, thoroughly equipped with modern machinery necessary for the conduct of the business, and the most amicable relation s have ever been maintained with the trade because the methods of the house are thoroughly reliable and honorable.

In 1866 Captain Barnes was married to Miss Arabella Osterhouse and they now have two daughters: Winifred, the wife of A.H. Reader, of Dayton, Ohio; and Esther, the wife of Dr. T. McLaughlin, of Cincinnati. For sixty years Captain Barnes has been a resident of this city and comparatively few are more familiar with its history than he, having been a witness of the changes that have occurred and the improvements that have been wrought. At all times he has manifested a sympathetic and at many times an active interest and has always done his full duty on the work of progress and improvement and in the conduct of his personal interests he has aided in upholding the commercial stability of the city.


From Cincinnati, The Queen City, Volume III by Rev. Charles Frederic Goss, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912