William Barnes died 7 May 1871

William Franklin Barnes was born January 17, 1806 in Pittsford VT, son of William and Christina Barnes.  Sometime during William’s boyhood, his parents moved to Ohio for canal work, while William stayed with Elijah Boardman in West Rutland.

In 1827, the Vermont Chronicle, (Bellows Falls, VT) Friday, August 10, 1827 reported that a wall collapsed while the workmen were slating a roof on a three-story building.  William Barnes was reported as having his arm broken and skull injured.  However, I’m not sure if it is the same person.

William married Daphne Proctor about 1830.  They had at least seven children, although several died from childhood diseases. 

In 1836, William discovered the marble deposit near Rutland, and he was a pioneer in that industry.  The quarry was at Humphrey’s Cove, and the company name was Columbia Marble Co.  They also used the name Barnes-Clement and Gilmore.  In about 1838 he studied in Methodist Church in Center Rutland, but later he became an Episcopalian.  He provided a meeting place for the church members, before Grace Church was built.  He built a large home on Barnes Street in 1845. 

In 1851, London hosted a World’s Fair.  The Vermont Chronicle, (Bellows Falls, VT) Tuesday, February 25, 1851, reported that the American frigate St. Lawrence headed to Southampton, England (not sailing from Vermont).  Articles were sent on the ship representing the state.  William Barnes of Rutland sent maple sugar. 

William served in the Vermont state legislature in 1855 and 1856.  He also served as town clerk.  Newspapers report that in January, 1870, William F Barnes of Rutland has agreed to quarry for several years, two hundred thousand feet of marble per year.  His quarry was considered of the highest quality. 

William died May 7, 1871 as a result of being crushed by a block of marble. The Vermont Chronicle, (Bellows Falls, VT) Saturday, May 13, 1871 reported that William F Barnes, Esq., the widely known marble dealer of West Rutland, met with a terrible accident Friday afternoon, last week.  While engaged in superintending the work in one of the quarries of the Rutland Marble Company, a block of marble weighing about 100 pounds, which had been lying in a pile at the top of the quarry, became undermined by the rain and fell a distance of over  sixty feet, striking Mr. Barnes on the head and crushing the skull so terribly that the brain was exposed.  Incredible as it may appear, Mr. Barnes retained his consciousness under the frightful injury.  Mr. Barnes died on Sunday evening. 

William’s will was dated 5 May 1871, so perhaps he maintained enough consciousness that he was able to handle that task even after he was injured. 

Daphne died in 1881, and both are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Rutland.



  1. Bridget Bedard said,

    December 18, 2011 at 17:24

    Susan, I found your article most interesting. I lived in the house built by William Barnes, located on 25 Barnes Street, from 1979-1980. It was a wonderful two-family home with many antiques and old photos of the former occupants. The owners of the house at the time told me the story about Barnes’ accident, and how he died in one of the bedrooms on the first floor. They also mentioned that one of Barnes’ small children died on downstairs on the sofa, which was still there when I lived in the 2nd floor apartment. One of the owners of the property also told me about a worker who was working on the 2nd floor and fell to his death on a marble sidewalk below. I dont’ know if you believe in ghosts, but after living there, I certainly do! I drove by the house a few years ago, and apparently the family who owned it while I was there sold it to someone who broke up the house into 10 small apartments. Such a corruption of a landmark historical home. Thank you for this wonderful story.

    • sooze471 said,

      December 18, 2011 at 18:45

      Thank you for contributing to this story. This house does sound like a good candidate for being haunted. Maybe even more so now that the house has been so terribly disturbed.

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