Cassius McDonald Barnes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cassius McDonald Barnes
Cassius McDonald Barnes.jpg
4th Governor of Oklahoma Territory
In office
May 24, 1897 – April 15, 1901
Appointed by William McKinley
Preceded by William Cary Renfrow
Succeeded by William Miller Jenkins
Personal details
Born (1845-08-25)August 25, 1845
Livingston County, New York
Died February 18, 1925(1925-02-18) (aged 79)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) 1 Elizabeth Mary Bartlett Barnes
2) Rebecca Cagle Forney Barnes
Profession Lawyer, Soldier, Statesman

Cassius McDonald Barnes (August 25, 1845 – February 18, 1925) was a soldier in the Union army in the American Civil War, and a lawyer and Republican politician who served as the 4th Governor of Oklahoma Territory.


The son of Henry Hogan and Semantha Barnes, Cassius McDonald Barnes was born in Livingston County, New York on August 25, 1845. Barnes spent the first few years of his life in New York, but his parents later moved to Michigan. He attended both public school and the Wesleyan Church Seminary in Albion, Michigan.

In 1861, the American Civil War broke out, and Barnes, just 16 years old, joined the Union army as a volunteer soldier. His experience in telegraphy earned him a position in the Military Telegraph and Engineering Corps of the Union army. Barnes served for the duration of the war, spending a portion of his enlistment as the secretary to Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. Barnes left the army at the age of 20 and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. During his time in Arkansas, he married Elizabeth Mary Bartlett of North Adams, Massachusetts, in Little Rock on June 4, 1868.[1] His second marriage was to divorcee, Rebecca Cagle Forney, in Chicago in 1910.


In 1876 Barnes, a Republican, moved to Ft. Smith, Arkansas where he accepted a position as Chief Deputy United States Marshal over the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas where, the year before, US President Ulysses S. Grant had appointed Isaac Parker as District Judge over that court.

Barnes gained a friendship with the powerful Clayton family, most notably former Governor of Arkansas and (then) Senator Powell Clayton. Through his friendship with Clayton, Barnes was appointed, by President Benjamin Harrison, Receiver of the United States Land Office at Guthrie in 1890 with the opening of Oklahoma Territory. He held that position for four years.[2]

During his tenure as Receiver, Barnes studied law and passed the bar exam in 1893.[3] He served as a member of the 3rd and 4th sessions of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature from 1895 to 1897. During the 3rd session, he was the Legislature’s speaker.

When President William McKinley, a Republican, took office in 1897, he appointed Barnes to replace the outgoing Democratic William Cary Renfrow as Governor of Oklahoma Territory. Barnes formally took the oath of office on May 24, 1897. During his four-year term, Barnes defeated the attempts of the 6th Legislature to create numerous additional territorial institutions justified by the growing idea for the formation of the State of Oklahoma. Barnes promptly vetoed this legislation. His term in office ended on April 15, 1901 when William Miller Jenkins took the oath of office as his successor.

Governor Barnes continued to live in Guthrie for where he served as the President of the Logan County Bank. He was elected to and served as mayor of Guthrie in 1903–1905 and again in 1907–1909.[4] During his second term as mayor of Guthrie his wife, Elizabeth, died on May 27, 1908. After their marriage in 1910, Barns and his second wife, Rebecca moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, where she served as an instructor in a girl's seminary and he became a postal telegraph operator in Leavenworth.

Death and legacy[edit]

In his late years, his health began to fail. This caused him to move to New Mexico, where he died at Albuquerque on February 18, 1925. His body was returned to Guthrie and interred at the Summit View Cemetery.[5] Barnes was a member of the Episcopal Church, serving as a senior warden of the Guthrie church for many years. He was an active affiliate of both the Scottish and York rites of the Masonic fraternity.


  1. ^ "Cassius McDonald Barnes". Chronicles of Oklahoma. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Cassuis McDonald Barnes". Chronicles of Oklahoma. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Cassius McDonald Barnes". Oklahoma Digital Prairie. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Cassius McDonald Barnes". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cassius McDonald Barnes". Find A Grave. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Cary Renfrow
Governor of Oklahoma Territory
Succeeded by
William Miller Jenkins