Barlow Twp. cemetery full of stories

The Barnett Ridge Cemetery along Barnett Ridge Road in Barlow Township isn’t the area’s largest graveyard, but some interesting figures are buried there.

One is Peter Barnett, 56 years old when he moved his family from their native Albermarle County, Va., to Washington County, Ohio in 1845, according to a family history by the late Glenn W. Barnett II of Columbus, a direct descendant of Peter Barnett.

Peter’s wife, Anniyaya (Bowles) Barnett, had died in 1844 back in Virginia, just a year before the family moved to Ohio.

Glenn Barnett wrote that Anniyaya’s father was a British Loyalist officer who had a family with a Native American Cherokee woman. He said Anniyaya’s name was derived from what the Cherokees called themselves in their native language-Aniyunwiya, which means “principal people.”

Peter Barnett was a mulatto who would have had to present his “free papers” when he and his family crossed into Ohio and settled in Barlow Township.

“He brought about 11 people with him-sons and daughters,” said Bob Barnett, 61, who lives near the Barnett Ridge Cemetery, and is a brother of Glenn Barnett.

“I don’t believe he was ever a slave, but at that time any man of color would have been issued freedom papers and had to carry them and show them wherever he went,” Bob said.

He said Peter most likely brought the family north out of Virginia because of the unrest brewing that would eventually lead to the Civil War.

“He was a farmer, and probably one of the first Barnetts to move into this area,” Bob said.

Peter Barnett died in 1875 at around 86 years of age after, according to a death notice in the Athens Messenger, he “recently fell into the fire, receiving injuries from which he died on the following day.”

Also among the approximately 215 graves in the Barnett Ridge Cemetery are two Civil War veterans, Thomas Stiles and Charles Striblin.

Thomas B. Stiles was born in 1834 and died in 1865, according to local historian Scott Britton with Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.

He said Stiles enlisted in the 70th Ohio Infantry, Company D on Sept. 10, 1861 and was discharged with the rest of his company on Aug. 14, 1865 at Little Rock, Ark.

Britton noted during his term of service Stiles had been promoted on Jan. 31, 1963 from the rank of private to first sergeant, and on Jan. 6, 1865 to First Lieutenant of Company F, which would have been quite unusual at the time.

“The 70th fought at Shiloh under General Sherman, and was also with Sherman in the battle of Vicksburg as well as at Fort McAllister which led to the fall of Savannah, Ga.,” Britton said.

Charles Striblin was born Oct. 14, 1844 in Loudoun County, Va., and died Sept. 24, 1914 in Belpre.

Britton said Striblin enlisted in Barlow Township in April, 1864, with the 27th U.S. Colored Troops, Company F.

“He was promoted to corporal at that time and later to sergeant in May 1864 before being discharged with his company on Sept. 21, 1865,” he said.

Striblin married Alice Barnett and was a member of the Barlow Post 434 Grand Army of the Republic.

Britton said the 27th was one of two USCT units from Ohio.

“They saw a lot of action during their first year of service,” he said. “In what became known as the ‘Battle of the Crater’ they blew up an underground mine just outside of Petersburg, Va., near Richmond.”

The explosion caused the surface above the mine to cave in, leaving a deep hole in which many of the unit became trapped.

“They suffered 74 casualties because men couldn’t get out of the hole,” Britton said.

He added that the 27th also fought hand-to-hand in an assault that took the fort at Wilmington, N.C. for the union forces.

Britton and fellow Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War member Dan Hinton believe there may also be a third Civil War soldier interred at Barnett Ridge Cemetery.

Thomas Still was born on June 5, 1826 in Newport or Grandview Township, the son of John and Christy (Davis) Still, Britton said.

Still enlisted on Aug. 16, 1864 in the Fifth USCT, Company K, as a private from Wesley Township. He married Harriet Shaver and died of a stroke on March 4, 1918 in Vincent.

He’s listed as buried in Barnett Ridge, but there’s no headstone for Still, Britton said.

“Thomas Still and Thomas B. Stiles may be the same man, but neither Dan nor I know for sure,” he said.”They could be two separate people and Thomas Still just does not have a headstone. Regardless, that is a question which will necessitate more investigation on our part.”

Hinton, who is coordinator of the Sons of Union Veterans Graves Registration database agreed, noting one purpose of maintaining the electronic record is to maintain accurate information about the final resting places of Civil War veterans.

“This is an ongoing project of our group, and anyone who may have information about Thomas Still can contact myself or Scott,” he said.

Hinton can be contacted at (740) 525-2133, and Britton at (740) 525-5913.