(Copied from “Men of Western N.Y. Volume II, George E. Matthews & Company, 1898)
Transcribed by Mary Rhodes - 2005
Enos W. Barnes, for many years one of the strongest forces in the journalism of the Southern Tier, was born in Yates county, New York, in 1836. His father, Enos Barnes, a prominent physician of central New York, moved his family to Geneva, at the foot of Seneca lake, in 1839, and there our present subject spent his boyhood. After attending the common schools of Geneva until he was seventeen years old, Mr. Barnes resolved to finish his education at the printer’s case. This has proved a veritable college for many an eminent writer, from Howells in our own day back to Franklin at the dawn of American literature.
Beginning his long career in the newspaper world in the office of the Steuben County Advocate at Bath in 1853, Mr. Barnes rose rapidly in his chosen calling. In 1856, when only twenty years old, he became local editor of the Bath Courier, and eight years later he acquired a half interest in the paper. Remaining in Bath for the next decade, Mr. Barnes changed his base of operations to Wellsville in 1875, when he assumed the ownership and management of the Allegany County Reporter. He was now a trained journalist of marked ability, and the results of his new venture were so encouraging that he established in 1880 the Wellsville Daily Reporter. This enterprise was likewise successful from the start. These papers were enlarged from time to time, and improved in various ways, and are still owned and published by Mr. Barnes’s sons, E. Willard and Charles M. For about a year, in 1886-87, Mr. Barnes extended his operations to the neighboring state of Ohio, publishing a family paper styled the Columbus Telegram. Failing health caused him to dispose of this property, and to give up some other promising plans connected with his publications.
In selecting newspaper work as his life occupation Mr. Barnes made no mistake. He was a leader in thought and in action, and made this leadership effective through his writings for the press. He possessed a forceful style - sometimes much too forceful for the comfort of his political opponents. His contests, however, were against principles, not against men personally; and he never cherished a grudge, nor displayed any kind of meanness in his controversies. He was, indeed, incapable of such things, and was singularly loyal in his friendships. It is worthy of note that he always kept his publications scrupulously clean and elevating in their moral tone.
Mr. Barnes filled various public positions with distinction. During his residence in Bath he was for four years assistant assessor and deputy collector of United States internal revenue. For somewhat more than a year he held the office of special United States pension examiner, resigning the position in 1883. In 1886 Governor Hill appointed him one of the three commissioners of the state of New York on prison-labor reform. The arduous work of this body fell largely into Mr. Barnes’s hands; and the report of the commission, which is regarded as a valuable public document, was written entirely by him.
PERSONAL CHIRONOLOGY- Enos Whittlesey Barnes was born at Rock Stream, NY., March 4, 1836; attended Geneva public schools; went to Bath, NY., in 1853 to learn the printer ‘s trade; married Sarah Hurd of Bath January 12, 1864; was connected with the Bath “Courier,” as local editor and half owner, 1856-75; was owner and editor of the “Allegany County Reporter,” Wellsville, NY’ from 1875, and of the Wellsville “Daily Reporter” from 1880, until his death January 8, 1888.