Ingham County Biographical Sketches

Hon. Orlando M. Barnes

Hon. Orlando M. Barnes, of Lansing, was born at Cato, N.Y., Nov. 21, 1824, and is the son of John and Anna Barnes. He is a descendant in a direct line from John Barnes, one of the early Pilgrim Fathers who landed at Plymouth Rock, and in many of his characteristics recalls those of his good old Puritan ancestry. In June, 1837, the parents of Mr. Barnes removed with their family to Michigan, and settled in Aurelius, Ingham Co. After having acquired the usual elementary education in the schools of that day, Mr. Barnes entered the University of Michigan, and graduated with honor in the class of 1850. On leaving college he chose the law for his profession, and, after devoting one year to preparatory studies, was admitted to the bar and located himself in Mason, the county seat of Ingham County. Here his strict attention to the duties of his profession, his eminent ability, and profound knowledge of the law soon secured him a large practice. In the spring of 1852, on the death of the prosecuting attorney, Mr. Barnes was appointed to fill the vacancy. On the expiration of the term, in the ensuing autumn, he was elected to that office, and in 1854 was honored by a re-election. In 1871 he withdrew from the active practice of his profession, in order to devote his entire attention to the interests of the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad Company. He has been secretary of the company since its organization, and has served it in the legal capacity of counselor and general attorney with marked ability, and to the entire satisfaction of the corporation. Since 1872 he has been land commissioner. In this position, which requires the management of the vast tracts of land granted to the company, and to which labor and responsibility commensurate with its importance are attached, his performance of duty has been above criticism. In political circles Mr. Barnes' talents have secured honorable recognition. In 1862 he was elected to the State Legislature, where he served one term, and in April, 1877, he was called to the office mayor of the city of Lansing. He is president of a national bank in Lansing, and is held in the highest estimation by his fellow-citizens of all classes. Personally, Mr. Barnes is of fine appearance and commanding presence. There are few subjects of interest of which he not made himself master. During the years of 1872-73 he traveled in Europe, gaining information as well as enjoyment. His conversational powers are of a superior order, and in his hours of relaxation from the cares of business his a most genial and interesting companion. Mr. Barnes is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has held various official positions in that body. He is a Royal Arch Mason, and also a Knight Templar. He recognizes his Puritan ancestry in professing the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church, of which he is a member. Mr. Barnes married at Albion, Mich., June 26, 1852, Amanda W. Fleming, daughter of the late John Fleming.

Taken from:
"History of Ingham and Eaton Counties Michigan, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers", by Samuel W. Durant.
Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1880.


Michigan Biographies Project

Sondra Higbee