Born: Dundee (Yates County), New York
Died: November 18, 1912, Olympia, Washington.
Spouse: Mary Ann Kandle (Married July 1842)
Started from Fort Wayne, Indiana by team, Spring of 1848. Arrival on coast: Oregon City, Oregon, Fall of 1848. Spent the winter there and then wagoned to the California mines where he stayed until November 1849 when he and his wife took ship for New Orleans via the isthmus and up the Mississippi river to Fort Wayne, Indinana. After passing the winter there, Barnes, his wife, his father, and family came across the plains to Portland, Oregon in 90 days. He arrived in Portland in August 1850 and opened a general merchandise store. In 1852, he sold out the store and came by schooner to Olympia where he continued in the merchandise store business. Later he organized the First State Bank of Olympia and erected Olympia’s first brick building. He continued in business 23 years in all, and then retired to a quiet life.
Mr. Barnes served on the first Portland Council and helped organize the Olympia (Town Board) on which he served several times as well as school boards. Mrs. Barnes was a Pioneer Hostess.
George A. Barnes was appointed to the first Town of Olympia Board of Trustees which convened for its initial meeting on February 12, 1859. At that meeting, he and fellow Trustee Elwood Evans were appointed as a Committee to draft ByLaws for the Town Board. On February 24, 1859, the committee of Barnes and Evans presented recommended ByLaws to the Town Board, which were unanimously adopted.
Mr. Barnes was elected to the Town Board in Olympia’s first general election of Trustees, April 4, 1859. By request of his fellow Trustees, he served as Chairman of the Board for one week, from April 7 – 14, 1859. On April 14, 1859, the Board conducted its first annual election of officers. Elwood Evans was appointed by the Board to serve as Town President for 1859 and George A. Barnes was appointed as Treasurer.
George A. Barnes was subsequently elected by his fellow Trustees as President, Town of Olympia Board of Trustees in 1862, 1866 to 1869, and Mayor in 1880.