Julian Joseph Barnier

Julian Joseph Barnier

Julian Joseph Barnier was born on July 25, 1885 in Méaudre, Isère, Rhône-Alpes, France, the son of Joseph Amedee Barnier (1868 - 1942) and Marie Adeline Repellin (spelled Ripelin in other references) ( ?? - 1904). Joseph was the son of Julien Barnier (1814 - 1882) and Henriette Recollin-Bellon (1820 - 1890). This Julien's father was also named Julien Barnier (1764 - 1834), and his mother's name was Francoise Barnier (1782 - 1859), according to family record.  This family record spells all of the Juliens with an "e", however all other records show Julian Joseph Barnier's name was spelled with an "a", including his own writing and headstone.

Julian Joseph's parents, Joseph and Marie Barnier, had 4 children; Julian and his 3 siblings Marguerite Barnier (married to Joseph Mante; they had a son Albert Mante who married Simone Garnier), Albert Barnier (January 30, 1893 - February 8,1975) (married to Julia LaFord, they had 4 children; Peggy, Beverly, Charles, Bernard), and Lucie Barnier (July 4, 1896 - 1969) (married to Anthelme Favier (1888 - 1932); they had a son Julien Favier, married to Renee Barnay).   

According to the border crossing manifest, Julian immigrated to Quebec, Canada, arriving on July 01, 1906 on the ship SS Pomeranian.  Click here to see a picture of the steamship. On December 5, 1907 Julian crossed into the United States from Canada, through Portal, North Dakota. Portal sits along the Canadian border and, to this day, is a major port of entry into the United States for road and rail traffic. Julain's destination was Yakima, Washington where he planned on working as a farm laborer.  It appears that Julian may have been traveling with two men from Belgium, Maurice Constant and Alfred Pirast as all three are listed on the manifest one after another, all from Forgot, Canada and all three traveling to Yakima Washington. Julian was 22 years old, a single man. His last place of residence was Forget (pronounced more like 'For-jay'), Canada. He listed no relatives or friends in Canada.  Julian's manifest states he was 5' 5.5 inches tall, with brown hair and eyes, and a scar over his left eye.  He had $75.00 on him and paid his own way.

Julian eventually found his way from Washington State to Montana, where he homesteaded, and began his family.

Julian was granted a homestead patent on November 12, 1915 which contained 320 acres in Roosevelt County, Montana (see Enlarged Homestead Act). The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed the government "...To Secure Homesteads to Actual Settlers on the Public Domain,..." "Land patents and other forms of land ownership covered in The Land Patents were historic vehicles to encourage the settlement and development of America’s vast tracts of land by American citizens."

On September 7, 1917 Julian married Mary Leford (also spelled LaFord in other documents).  Julian was 32 years old, Mary was 30 years old.  Both were living in Bainville, Montana.  They were married by a Justice of the Peace in Culbertson, Sheridan County, Montana. It was Julian's frist marriage, Mary's second.  Read more about Mary here.

Julian and Mary had four children; Albert Moses Barnier (Feb 25, 1917 - Jan 02, 2011), Margaret Lucille Barnier (Rebo) (May 22, 1919 - September 5, 2010), Lawrence Andrew Barnier (August 18, 1921 - November 15, 2008), Adeline Denise Barnier (Porta)(Giese) (February 28, 1924 - October 5, 2006).  Read about Albert, Lawrence and Adeline here.  Read about Margaret Lucille Barnier (Rebo) here.  To see pictures of Julian's children, click here.

On September 12, 1918 Julian registered for WWI.  He and Mary were living in Bainville, Sheridan County, Montana where Julian was a self-employed farmer.  He is described as 5' 7" tall, with brown eyes and dark hair.  It is also noted that he had 2 fingers missing, the 1st and 2nd on his right hand.

Five years after Julian first homesteaded his brother, Albert Barnier, was also granted a homestead patent of 160 acres in Roosevelt County, Montana on July 01, 1920.  Brother Albert had also immigrated from France, 4 year after Julian, in 1910.  Albert crossed on the S.S. St. Louis, from Cherbourg, France, with his final destination given as Williston, North Dakota.

Wife Mary was granted a homestead patent for 320 acres on April 20, 1921, again in Roosevelt County, Montana.  Note that Mary is also referenced by her previous name, Mary Leford

On March 26, 1924 brother Albert homesteaded another 40 acres in Roosevelt County, Montana. 

(To access Bureau of Land Management records, click here. For more information on land records, click here.)

Living through the 1920s and 1930s was difficult by any measure.  First there was the Great Depression, followed by 8 years of severe drought in the 1930s, one of the longest and hardest droughts on record.  The severe lack of rain for years on end, combined with unsustainable farming practices at the time, left farmers unable to raise anything on their land.  Years of no harvesting, dust bowl conditions and the overall economic depression left many farmers with no choice but to leave their land in search of work in order to provide for their families.  Julian's daughter, Lucille, talked about the days when her father was one of many who lost their farm while trying to find a way to feed and provide for his children and family.  PBS.org published the following description of daily life in the dust bowl of the 1930s:

“In the dust-covered desolation of our No Man’s Land here, wearing our shade hats, with handkerchiefs tied over our faces and Vaseline in our nostrils, we have been trying to rescue our home from the wind-blown dust which penetrates wherever air can go. It is almost a hopeless task, for there is rarely a day when at some time the dust clouds do not roll over. 'Visibility’ approaches zero and everything is covered again with a silt-like deposit which may vary in depth from a film to actual ripples on the kitchen floor.”

To add insult to injury, Lucille spoke of a horrific fire, that burned their house to the ground.  They literally had nothing left but the clothes on their backs.

There is record of Julian and Mary conveying 53 acres on September 24, 1919 to William C. Evans (Recorded March 29, 1920 in Book 12, Page 219).  Beyond that it is not clear what year(s), or how much of their land Julian and Mary lost to tax foreclosure, but we do know that by 1940 Julian had gone to Idaho to generate an income mining, while temporarily maintaining a home for his wife and two youngest children who remained in Montana.  The 1940 US Census shows Julian living in Idaho alone, listed as Head of Household, but no others currently in the household.  He was working as a miner in a lead and zinc mine located in Mullan Village, Shoshore County, Idaho. Julian was renting a room for $3.00 a month.  The census lists Julians income in 1939 as $1,611.  That same census shows that while Julian was in Idaho, working as a miner, his wife, Mary, and their two youngest children temporarily remained in Montana.  The 1940 US Census lists their 18 year son as Head of Household, although with the name of "Julian A.", for unknown reasons.  The age indicates it was son Lawrence A.  Perhaps Lawrence's nickname was Julain.  The son is listed as a farmer, on his own farm. It's not clear what land they were living on at that time. Mary is listed as mother to Head of Household and Adeline as Sister.

That same census indicates that on April 01, 1935 Julian's residence was Fort Peck, Valley County, Montana.  He was, no doubt, one of the 10,546 workers employed from 1933 to 1940 to build the Fort Peck Dam.  It was one of the public works projects which was part of the New Deal, Congress' and President Franklin D Roosevelt's efforts to rebuild the country following the Great Depression.  The New Deal focused on the "3 Rs," Relief, Recovery, and Reform: relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy to normal levels, and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression."  Julian's son-in-law, Fred Rebo (daughter Lucille's husband) also worked on the dam.  At that time Fred and Lucille lived in New Deal, Montana. They, also, found their way to Idaho where Fred worked in the mines following completion of the dam.

It is not known if the same fate came of brother Albert's homestead in Montana, but his obituary states that he had moved to Arlington, Washington in 1933, where he lived the rest of his life.

When Julian registered for WWII in 1941 he and Mary were again together, living in Mullan, Shoshone County, Idaho where Julian continued working as a minor.  He was employed by the Federal Mining & Smelting Company.

Sometime between 1941 and 1950 Julian and Mary moved back to Bainville, Montana where Julian died on January 27, 1950. Julian is buried at Bainville Cemetery, in Bainville, Roosevelt County, Montana.

See pictures of Julian, and wife Mary, here.