FL-GenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Gadsden Co. Biographies
BARNES, Benjamin Franklin
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
II, page 251, 1923.
BARNES, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, M.D. Besides the time he has given to the Florida State Hospital
at Chattahoochee as assistant physician Doctor Barnes has been prominent as a private
practitioner and has made himself one of the most prominent influences working for the civic
and prominent influences working for the civic and material advancement of his section of the
He is a native of Florida, born on a plantation near Monticello in Jefferson County, February 28,
1877. His father, BENJAMIN F. BARNES, Sr., was born at Madison, North Carolina, in 1843, and
died at Monticello, Florida, in 1920. His mother, DELIAH A. GILBERT, was born in Jefferson
County, Florida, where her father, R. M. GILBERT, was one of the first settlers. BENJAMIN F.
BARNES became a large landowner in Jefferson County, and operated a plantation with cotton
gins and water mills. He was a deacon in the Baptist Church.
Doctor BARNES spent his boyhood on a farm, acquired a country school education, attended the
high school at Monticello, and spent two years, 1895-96 and 1896-97, in the South Florida
Military and Educational Institute. In 1897 he began the study of medicine in the University
of Pennsylvania, spent two years there and one year in the University of Maryland, and received
his M. D. degree in 1901 from the Marion Sims College of Medicine in St. Louis. Doctor BARNES
returned to Monticello in June, 1901, and was in general practice there two years, and in 1903
removed to Chattahoochee. He continued general practice until 1910, when he was appointed the
first assistant physician to the Florida State Hospital. He resigned this post in October,
1914, and resumed his practice at Chattahoochee. He again became assistant physician at the
State Hospital in December, 1921.
Doctor BARNES is owner of the River Junction Drug Store. While at Monticello he served as
secretary of the Jefferson County Medical Society, and is now a member of the Gadsden-Leon
County Medical Society, the Florida State and American Medical associations. He was actively
interested in the Red Cross and other movements during the World war. In Masonry he is a past
master of Gee Lodge No. 21, F. and A. M., past high priest of Gadsden Chapter No. 30, R. A. M.,
at present is senior warden of DeMolay Commandery, K. T., U. D., a member of Morocco Temple of
the Mystic Shrine since 1908, and for two years served as district deputy grand master for
Gadsden, Liberty and Franklin counties.
In the interval between his services with the State Hospital Doctor BARNES was local physician
for the Louisville & Nashville, Seaboard Atlantic Coast Line and the Apalachicola Northern
Railroads. He was instrumental in incorporating the town of River Junction, and has served as
its mayor. He has been active in politics, serving on the executive committee for Gadsden
County in the Third Congressional District. He has been chairman of his school district for
over ten years. He was closely associated with others in the movement to secure Gadsden County's
cooperation in the issue of bonds for the building of the Victory Bridge over the Chattahoochee
River, one of the finest bridges in the state. Doctor BARNES is a director of the Gadsden County
Chamber of Commerce, and is a man ever ready to enlist his support in every constructive movement.
His recreation usually takes the form of hunting.
In 1903, at River Junction, he married Miss LENA JOHNSON, a native of Gadsden County, and daughter
of J. H. JOHNSON, now deceased, who was a farmer near Mount Pleasant. Doctor and Mrs. BARNES
have three children, MARY OLIVIA, BENJAMIN F., Jr., and MARJORIE.
Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn
©2016 Fran Smith
This page presented August 14, 2010