Photo of the Week – Sarah Ophelia Barnes, née Rose, of Grantham Township, NC

This beautiful portrait of Sarah Ophelia Rose Barnes (1863-1936) came to us from a second cousin, Betsy Coleman. It was taken in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina at the A.O. Clement Photography Studio.  The family thinks it was taken around the time Ophelia’s daughter, Bessie Pauline, married Thomas W. Coleman in 1910.  One way to try and date pictures is by searching for a biography of the photographer.  Albert O. Clement was a well-known photographer in Goldsboro in the early 20th century, working there from 1904 until his death in 1936.

Ophelia was born near Bentonville, Johnston County, but the family moved across the county line to Grantham Township, Wayne County in 1868. From the time she was young Ophelia preferred using her middle name over her first name of Sarah, and that’s they way most of the records note her. Growing up on a large farm in Grantham Township, Wayne County, NC that belonged to her parents, George Pinkney & Nancy Brent (or Brunt) Rose, she married a local boy from Wayne County, Thomas Whitley Barnes (1861-1892), on 28 February 1884. They farmed on a large piece of family land in Grantham Township. They had three children: Ernest Howard in 1885, Bessie Pauline in 1886, and George Herbert in 1889. Sadly, Tom died of consumption (now called TB) when he was only thirty years old. Ophelia never remarried, and she continued to farm the land with the help of her family, children, and day laborers.

Our family has a bible that belonged to Ophelia dating from 1928, and I enjoy seeing the notations she left on various pages. There’s an old cloth bookmark, with its faded outline, at The Book of Ruth, one of my favorite books of the Old Testament.  From family memories I know she was a devout Christian that enjoyed reading her bible from cover to cover. I’m sure this bible was only one of many that she had used throughout  the years. After her children had married, she went to live with her daughter, Bessie, in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County where she died of heart disease on 10 May 1936. She was buried next to her husband in the Rose Family Cemetery back in Grantham Township.

The Rose clan, of Johnston and Wayne counties in North Carolina, have researched many generations of their family history, going back to an ancestor named William Rose, born in Scotland circa 1720, the first Rose of our line in the United States. He died between 16 March 1785 (date of will) and 24 October 1797 (date will proved), in Surry County, Virginia.

The photo below (click on it to enlarge), lent to us by Ophelia’s  great-granddaughter, Betsy Coleman, was a mystery until a distant cousin of my husband’s, Guy Potts, solved it. He saw a reprint of the center part of the picture that had been printed in the newspaper, Goldsboro News Argus,  during March 1981. Under the headline, “Yesterday’s Scene” was the Joel and Molly Rose Family of the Grantham Community attending a family reunion in 1918. Joel Rose (1859-1932) was one of Ophelia’s brothers. Another mystery photograph solved! When my husband first saw this photo he remarked on how similar he looked to the men and boys of the family.

Our family is indebted to the Rose Clan for research collected throughout the years, and especially to Guy Potts for all he has shared with us. In this day and age, a lot of genealogy can be found online, but the backbone of all the record recording was done through decades of old fashioned sleuthing.  We’re so happy the Coleman family reached out to us with their unknown photographs of the Barnes and Rose families, that had been in a trunk belonging to Ophelia.  Thanks to Sarah Ophelia Rose Barnes in doing her part years ago in saving these two, and many other pictures, we continue to make family connections.

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