Family Stories: James and Pearl Barnes



In the third installment of the family stories series, we are sharing memories of Jonathan's maternal great-grandparents, James and Pearl Barnes. The story is told from the perspective of Jonathan's sister, Julie.

James Arther Barnes was born on April 1, 1904 and died on May 29, 1995. Pearl Fortner Barnes was born on August 22, 1906 and died on May 10, 2000. They were married for 77 years. Their love for each other and their love for their family and God made them the happiest two people I have ever known.

Each Sunday, my family would visit Mommie and Daddy Barnes in Blackland. They lived in a two-story house owned by Vester Coats. They were sharecroppers who lived and worked someone else's land for most of their lives, but they were always happy.

When I was seven, Mommie and Daddy Barnes bought an FHA home in Jumpertown, Mississippi. This was the first home they had ever owned. The joy and happiness on the faces of my great-grandparents was indescribable. They finally had a home of their own. I can remember going to their house and having Sunday dinner with all of the family. There was always a lot of family there, because my mother has four sisters and four brothers.

My great-grandparents had lived in the little house in Jumpertown for several years when Daddy Barnes passed away in 1995. Mommie Barnes moved into a nursing home in Corinth, Mississippi a few years later. I remember her telling me that she just wanted to see her little house once more time before she died. She was so proud of it and so happy the day they moved in.  I'm glad my great-grandparents were able to have a home of their very own, even if it was only for a short time. It brought so much happiness and joy to their lives.

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