The Barnetts left Virginia when the boy was about two years of age and moved to Huntington, and it was there he laid the foundation of his education in the public schools. Later he attended school at Ironton, Ohio, and passed from there to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he studied for one year. He then matriculated at the School of Medicine of Howard University where he won his M. D. degree in 1899. This simple recital of the years spent in school gives no adequate idea of the years of patient hard work, the close economy and steady perseverance which went into the making of the man. Those years saw him doing hotel work, barbering, and in the Government service, in order that he might equip himself for the real work of life. He taught school two years in Kentucky.
He began the practice of his profession at Huntington in 1901 and his work has become widely known. After several years of general practice as a physician and surgeon he saw the opportunities of a hospital for colored patients at Huntington. Accordingly the Barnett Hospital was established in 1912 and has prospered. The institution has 30 beds, and a Nurse Training School has been established in connection with it. Recognition has come as the work of the hospital has come to be understood so that now it is the official city hospital for colored patients. It is also a State hospital and also one of the hospitals of the C. & O. R. R. It has been recognized by the War Rick Insurance Bureau of the Federal Government and has treated a number of soldier patients.
In politics Dr. Barnett is a Republican and is prominent in the councils of his party. He has twice represented his State as delegate at large to the National Convention. In 1920 he enjoyed the distinction of leading the ticket. He has for years been on the County Executive Committee. In religion he is a Baptist and is a trustee in his local church. He belongs to both the State and National Medical Societies and for twelve years has been Assistant City Physician of Huntington.
Dr. Barnett has been married twice. His first marriage was in July, 1901, to Miss Katie Whiting of Ohio. She passed away in 1909. Subsequent to her death Dr. Barnett married on October 9, 1912, Miss Clara B. Matthews of Farmville, Va. Mrs. Barnett was educated at the Virginia Seminary and College and is also a graduate trained nurse from Lincoln Hospital, New York. Dr. Barnett believes that the fundamental need of the race is intelligence--the right sort of education. He is himself a living example of what that will do for a man.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center