Barnet Sampson Hopkins was born on December 1, 1827, in Cattaraugus County, New York, the son of Asahel (b. 1797) and Olive Sarah (b. 1797-1874).
Both Rhode Island natives Barnett’s parents were married in 1815 in Rhode Island but by at least 1824 had settled in New York State. By 1845 Asahel had moved his family to Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan, and by 1850 Barnett was working on the family farm with his parents in Lyons, Ionia County.
Barnett was probably living in Ionia when he married New Yorker Harriet Ann Reynolds (1827-1906) on May 19, 1851, in Lyons, Ionia County, and they had at least eight children: Ellen (b. 1852), Barnett S. Jr. (, called “Sampson,” b. 1855), George W. (b. 1856), Jerry or Jared (b. 1859), David (b. 1861), Isabell (b. 1862?), Ida (b. 1867) and Charles (b. 1868).
By 1860 Barnett Sr. was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Portland, Ionia County.
Barnet stood 5’7” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 35 or 25 years old and possibly living in Westphalia, Clinton County when he enlisted in Company B on February 10, 1863, at Westphalia for 3 years, crediting Westphalia, and was mustered the same day at Detroit. (He was possibly related to Reuben Hopkins who had enlisted in Company B in 1861.) Barnett joined the Regiment on March 5 at Camp Sickles, Virginia, and was treated for dysentery in the regimental hospital December 11-20, 1863, for influenza December 24-27, 1863, for pleurisy on January 28, 1864 and for pneumonia on January 31. He was admitted to Carver hospital in Washington, DC, on February 2, suffering from acute pleuritis and was furloughed on March 7, returning in on April 4, 1864. He was absent sick from February through May of 1864, and was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.
He was admitted to Satterlee hospital in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as convalescent from acute pleurisy, on September 10, 1864, and deserted on November 27, returned from desertion on January 19, 1865 and returned to duty on January 25. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Barnett eventually returned to Michigan, probably to Ionia County. In any case, by 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Pewamo, Lyons Township, Ionia County. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his family in Bushnell, Montcalm County. It appears that Barnet and Harriet were divorced in 1885 but subsequently remarried. In any case, by 1888 he was residing in Palo, Ionia County and back in Bushnell, Montcalm County in 1894.
According to Dr. D. C. Spaulding of Lyons, Ionia County, who once treated Barnet, he had a burn scar on his face. And indeed, Mrs. Olive Hopkins, Barnet’s niece, testified that “it was the right side of his face – it twisted one corner of his mouth around. It was both sides of his face were burnt but one side was scarred a good deal more than the other. One eye was drawed down in corner and to his nose.” She added that “he fell right into the fireplace and a keg of water tipped over at the same time and he was burnt in his face and down on his stomach and for a long time they didn’t think he’d live.
In 1880 he applied for and received a pension (no. 593837).
Barnett may have been residing in Palo when he died on December 1, 1900, and was buried in Sunny Hill cemetery, Montcalm County.
His widow was residing in Michigan in December of 1900 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 519303).