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Orphaned Barnhills 1880 in Mississippi - HELP!
Posted by: Cynthia Stewart (ID *****6454) Date: May 12, 2008 at 17:27:12
  of 1661

For almost 50 years our family has been searching for the family of my g-grandfather. I have been looking for the last 10 years.

The story was that my g-grandfather Len and his brother "Reen" were orphaned when still quite young. First their father died and then a couple years later their mother. They were born in Mississippi in the mid 1870's and were found living with a "very mean old lady" by a Jack and Liz Magee. The Magees took Len with them and left "Reen" with the old lady. The Magees ended up in Arkansas and raised Len until adulthood. We were told his surname was "Bonhill" and little else was known.

Recently I started pouring through line by line the 1880 Mississippi census records and low and behold I found them living in Beat 4, Tunica County, Mississippi with a Sam Armstrong and his wife Sarah. They are Barnhills! I had suspected for a long time that the "Bonhill" name was wrong.
When my mother told my grandmother that her father's last name was not "Bonhill" my grandmother replied, "I know it isn't - it WAS Barnhill and I don't understand why they changed it!"

I was thrilled but I know nothing of Barnhills except for what I've been reading this past week on this forum and other searches.

The census states that their father was born in Ohio and mother was born in Mississippi. For various reasons I believe the wife Sarah is their mother. "Reen's" name is actually "Sam" and "Reen" must have been a nickname or middle name that my grandfather remembered.

I can't find any info on either of the parents and "Sam" I'm unsure of because that is all the info I have. There are so many redundant names through out the generations of Barnhills - I'm confused! I did find a couple "Leonards" in Tennessee or Kentucky if he was named after a family member - his full name was Leonard Allen (Bonhill) Barnhill if this helps.

This is very important to our family - especially my soon to be 92 year old grandmother who never really new her father because he died when she was 2 yrs in the flu epidemic of 1918. She has dementia and is getting worse but still has occassional moments of lucidness. I'm hoping that something will jog her memory and she has her grandparents first names (expecially grandfather's) locked inside her mind and will come out with them.

Several of you are quite knowledgeable about Barnhills... Can someone please help me discover our family's lost heritage?!?!?

Any replies will be greatly appreciated!

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