KANAWHA COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA - BIOS: CARNES, James N.
Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 25, 1999
History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
JAMES N. CARNES, cashier of the Citizens National Bank of Charleston, and
inter-ested additionally in a number of other business enterprises in Kanawha
County, also in Colorado and Ohio, is a representative business man of this
city. He was horn at Lancaster, Ohio, in 1858, and is a son of Arthur and a
grandson of Col. Robert Carnes.
The Carnes family is of Scotch-Irish origin and the name of Carnes appears
among the Scottish and Irish nobility, being' particularly prominent before
the Restoration. In more re-cent times, Lord Carnes, Scotch-Irish nobleman,
was a member of Parliament. Col. Robert Carnes, the grandfather of the
subject of this sketch, came to America from Ireland about 100 years ago,
settling in Fairfield Coun-ty, Ohio, where he spent his subsequent life on a
farm. In his native land he married Nancy Stewart, an admirable woman in his
own station of life, who lived to be quite aged. Nine children were horn to
them, of whom Arthur, the father of James N. Carnes, was the young-est. All
the sons became farmers, with the exception of James, who was a military man
and was killed at New Orleans during the Civil War.
Arthur Carnes, who followed an agricultural life, died when he was about
forty years of age. He was a man of sterling character and religious
temperament and he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church. He
married Caroline M. Miller, a daughter of Martin and Annie C. Miller, who
came direct frpm Germany, their native land, to Fairfield County, Ohio, in
which locality Mrs. Arthur Carnes still resides-at Lancaster, 0., bearing
well her weight of seventy-eight years. They were the parents of three
children-Anna, El-len and James N. Anna, who married W. H. Keller, is now
deceased. Ellen resides with her mother at Lancaster.
James N. Carnes was offered excellent educational advantages, including a
business course at Painesville, Ohio. Prior to April, 187q, when he came to
Charleston, he was engaged in business in his native state. After removing
to Kanawha county, he became associated with George Davis, a well known
citizen in the hardware business and their business relations continued until
failing health made it necessary for Mr. Davis to remove to Colorado. Mr.
Carnes then came to the Citizens National Bank, of which he is now a
director, having continued with this institution since i896, first as
assistant cashier and later as cashier.
On February 24, 1904, Mr. Carnes was married at Wilson, N. C., to Miss
Elizabeth Crowe!l, who was born and reared in that place and who is a
daughter of Jonas Williams and Virginia (Vick) Crowell, and a descendant of
Oliver Cromwell. In 1674 John and Edward Cromwell, two brothers of the House
of Cromwell, sold their estates in England and emigrated to America to escape
the persecutions visited on the family under the Stuart dynasty after the
Restoration. While on board ship they decided to change their name, and this
was done with solemn ceremony by writing the name in full, and then cutting
out the "m" and throwing it into the sea, thus making the name "Crowell."
They first settled in Woodbridge, N. J. Afterwards John Crowell went south
and settled in Halifax county, N. C., at a place now known as Crowells, and
which 'is the original home of the North Carolina Crowells. The family became
planters and large slave holders, several of them were active in the
Revolutionary war, and in general they have been closely identified with the
growth and development of North Carolina.
Col. James B. Crowell, the great grandfather of Mrs. Carnes, was born and
reared there; also Col. John Crowell, who in early life re-sided in Georgia
and was for many ycars a congressman from that state. Col. James B. Crowell
was a large slave holder. He married Miss Tabitha Williams, by whom he had
two sons-the late Jonas Crowell, who went to Ala-bama and became a wealthy
manufacturer of that state, and William Crowell, the grandfather of Mrs.
Carnes, who remained in east-ern North Carolina and married Miss Mary Ellen
Hamilton, whose family was a branch of the noted English family of that name.
He had one son, Jonas Williams Crowell, the father of Mrs. Carnes.
Jonas Williams Crowell was born in Nash county, N. C., and was attending
school at the Southern University, at Greensboro, Ala., at the outbreak of
the Civil War. He thereupon enlisted in the Fifth Alabama regiment. After
two years with that regiment he secured a transfer to the Thirtieth North
Carolina regi-ment, which was composed of so many of his old friends, and
with this regiment he remained until the surrender at Appomattox. He then
returned to eastern North Carolina, and engaged in the dry goods business. He
married Miss Virginia Vick. After following mercantile business for several
years, he became a prominent politician and for many years was known and
loved throughout eastern North Carolina. He was a Knights Templar Mason. He
died in Wilson, N. C., January 23, 1904, universally beloved and esteemed.
On the maternal side Mrs. Carnes is descended from the Von Veekes of Holland
and the Bailies and Whiteheads of Scotland, who settled in eastern North
Carolina about two hundred years ago, and became large planters and slave
holders. Members of these families have married and intermarried with some of
the most prominent and representative people of North Carolina. Col. Asel
Vick, of Nash county, N. C., the grandfather of Mrs. Carnes, was one of the
most prominent men in his section of the state and one of the largest slave
holders. Mrs. Jonas W. Crowell still survives and resides with her daughter,
Mrs. Carnes was carefully educated; she was instructed by private tutors and
for several years was tutored by an ex-member of the faculty of Yale-who in
consequence of failing health was sojourning in the South.
Later she attended school at the Convent of Mt.-de-Sales near Baltimore, Md.,
from which institution she was graduated.
>From childhood Mrs. Carnes has been a great reader and an enthusiastic lover
of good books. She is an active member of the oldest and most exclusive
literary clijb in the city.
She and her husband are moving spirits in much of the pleasant social life of
Charleston. They have no children. In his political sentiments Mr. Carnes is
a Republican, but is not actively interested in politics. He has long been
identified with the Masonic Order, and is serving as treasurer of Kanawba
Lodge No. 20, A. F. & A. M., Tyrian Royal Arch Chap-ter, No.13, Kanawba
Commandery No.4, and Beni-Kedem Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is
Past High Priest of Tyrian Royal Arch Chapter No.13 and Past Eminent
Commander of Kanawha Commandery No.4. He is a man of business ability and one
who takes a practical interest in whatever is calculated to promote the moral
and material welfare of the community in which he resides, while ample means
enable him to enjoy life by the gratification of refined tastes
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