Geneva Marks Barnes was an early pioneer of the Upper Ochoco country
Geneva "Jennie" Marks was born June 22, 1851, in Lebanon, Linn County, Oregon Territory. Her parents, William and Mary Hailey Marks, were early settlers in that region.
Her father came to the Ochoco country in 1868 and was among the first settlers in Central Oregon. The family soon followed him to live in a cabin he had built.
It is not certain of the spelling of Geneva's name. Her gravestone has Gineva, her death certificate has Geneva, her death notice has Genevra, and in "The History of Central Oregon," her name is spelled Ginevra. Elsewhere, her name was spelled Geniva. She lived on the family homestead upon her first arrival into Central Oregon.
She met George Barnes, who was also among the first settlers along Ochoco Creek. George had come with his father and a few friends to make the first settlement in the region in 1867. George's parents were Elisha and Susannah Glenn Barnes.
George and Geneva were married in 1870. They lived on his homestead farm just east of Prineville for seven years. Central Oregon at this time was a wild frontier, and there were few settlers. George and Geneva had 10 children with six living to maturity.
George studied law and became the first lawyer in Central Oregon, having his practice in Prineville. They established a home in Prineville.
Geneva was a stabilizing personality in the development of Prineville as she promoted education and social activities. Both George and Geneva were prominent residents of the community.
Geneva suffered from paralysis in her later years. She died suddenly on Sept. 25, 1907, in Prineville at the age of 56. George later moved to Canyon City and practiced law in that community. He eventually married again.
He was shot and killed on the streets of Canyon City by an embittered claimant in a case against George's wife. The shooting took place on June 26, 1911.
Both George and Geneva are buried in Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.
Steve Lent is a local historian and assistant director of the Bowman Museum. He can be reached at: 541-447-3715.