Justus D. Barnes

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Justus D. Barnes
Great train robbery still.jpg
Justus D. Barnes, from The Great Train Robbery
Born (1862-10-02)October 2, 1862
Little Falls, New York, U.S.
Died February 6, 1946(1946-02-06) (aged 83)
Weedsport, New York, U.S.
Resting place
Weedsport Rural Cemetery
Other names J.D. Barnes
Justice Barnes
Justus Barnes
Occupation Actor

Justus D. Barnes (October 2, 1862 – February 6, 1946) was an American stage and silent film actor. Barnes is best known for his role as an outlaw in the 1903 short silent Western, The Great Train Robbery.


Barnes was born in Little Falls, New York.[1] He appeared in his best known role, a bandit in the twelve minute silent Western The Great Train Robbery, in 1903.[2] He began acting on the stage before making his film debut in 1903 in The Great Train Robbery. The film was one of the first American films to emphasize narrative. In a memorable scene, Barnes' character points his gun directly at the camera and fires a shot. The film went on to become one of the most successful and best known commercial films in the early era of silent films.[3]

In late July 1908, Barnes was hired as an actor in the stock company for the Edison Manufacturing Company, a film production company owned by Thomas Edison.[4] In 1910, he signed on with the Thanhouser Company in New Rochelle, New York. From 1910 to 1917, Justus appeared in more than seventy films for the Thanhouser. He portrayed Ham Peggotty in David Copperfield, the oldest known film adaption of the 1850 novel by Charles Dickens.[2] He also played supporting roles in Nicholas Nickleby (1912), Aurora Floyd (1912), and A Dog of Flanders (1914). He made his final onscreen appearance in 1917.


Barnes died on February 6, 1946 in Weedsport, New York at the age of 83.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1903 The Great Train Robbery Bandit who fires at camera Uncredited
1910 Young Lord Stanley The girl's father Alternative title: His Only Son
1911 The Declaration of Independence Samuel Adams
1911 David Copperfield Ham Peggotty
1912 On Probation The Rich Old Widower
1912 Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas' Uncle Ralph
1912 The Baby Bride The Minister
1912 When Mandy Came to Town The Father
1912 The Portrait of Lady Anne Lady Anne's Father in 1770
1912 Cousins Father on Farm
1912 The Voice of Conscience Doctor Credited as Justice Barnes
1912 Aurora Floyd Aurora's father
1912 The Star of Bethlehem Gaspar, a Magi
1912 With the Mounted Police Mounted Policeman
1913 When the Studio Burned Director
1913 While Mrs. McFadden Looked Out Mr. McFadden
1913 For Another's Sin Bank Examiner
1913 A Victim of Circumstances The Father
1913 When Darkness Came The Senior Partner
1913 The Farmer's Daughters Father
1913 He Couldn't Lose Green, a lawyer
1913 A Beauty Parlor Graduate Uncle Bill
1913 An Amateur Animal Trainer Belle's father
1914 Joseph in the Land of Egypt Undetermined role
1914 Percy's First Holiday Undetermined role Uncredited
1914 A Leak in the Foreign Office Abdool - Trevor's Afghan companion
1914 A Can of Baked Beans Mr. Morton
1914 Their Best Friend Jack's Father
1914 Cardinal Richelieu's Ward Huguet Credited as Justus Barnes
1914 A Debut in the Secret Service Abdul
1914 The Infant Heart Snatcher The Judge
1914 The Mohammedan's Conspiracy Abdul
1914 A Dog of Flanders The Rich Miller Lost film[6]
1914 From the Shadows Stage Manager Alternative title: Out of the Shadows
1914 His Enemy John Baird
1914 The Harlow Handicap George Carnes
1914 Arty, the Artist Mr. Miles - May's Father
1914 Gold The Village Bully
1914 The Mettle of a Man John Ross
1914 The Harvest of Regrets Mr. Sheldon
1914 The Diamond of Disaster The Bandit
1914 Lucy's Elopement Ezra Jenkins
1915 The Home of Silence Ralph's father
1915 Helen Intervenes Store Manager
1915 The Smuggled Diamond Chief of the Secret Service
1915 The Adventure of Florence Mr. Clark - Florence's Father
1915 The Final Reckoning Judge Granger
1915 Bianca Forgets Bianca's father
1915 Love and Money The American Suitor's Father
1915 The Heart of the Princess Marsari Paul's Wealthy Uncle
1915 God's Witness Judge Lost film[7]
1915 Bud Blossom Bud's grandfather
1915 The Country Girl The Squire, her Guardian
1915 Old Jane of the Gaiety Choreographer
1915 His Two Patients The Blacksmith
1915 The Marvelous Marathoner Ewing Webster
1915 Snapshots Henry Spear - Editor
1915 From the River's Depths William Hewins - Dorothy's Father Alternative title: A Call from the Dead
1915 Weary Walker's Woes Lawyer
1915 Mr. Meeson's Will Mr. Meeson
1916 Outwitted The Contractor
1916 Fear Jasper
1916 Arabella's Prince The Prince
1917 Her Life and His Political Boss
1917 Hinton's Double Detective Denton
1917 The Candy Girl Officer Quinn
1917 An Amateur Orphan Dave's Father Credited as Justus Barnes
1917 It Happened to Adele Vincent's Uncle
1917 Cy Whittaker's Ward Simmons Credited as J.D. Barnes


  1. ^ Vazzana, Eugene Michael (2001). Silent Film Necrology (2 ed.). McFarland. p. 30. ISBN 0-786-41059-0. 
  2. ^ a b "Justus D. Barnes; Stage and Screen Actor, 84, Dies in Weedsport, N.Y.". The New York Times. February 8, 1946. p. 19. 
  3. ^ Erish, Andrew A. (2012). Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood. University of Texas Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-292-74269-X. 
  4. ^ Musser, Charles (1991). Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. University of California Press. p. 417. ISBN 0-520-06080-6. 
  5. ^ "The Final Curtain". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 58 (7): 87. February 16, 1949. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  6. ^ Tarbox, Charles H. (1983). Lost Films, 1895-1917. Jef Films Inc. p. 19. ISBN 0-961-09160-6. 
  7. ^ Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913–1929. McFarland & Company. p. 233. ISBN 0-786-48790-9. 

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