Barnes, Charles Merritt (1855–1927)

By: Hobart Huson

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Charles Merritt Barnes, journalist, was born on January 6, 1855, in Waterproof, Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University and the military college at Baton Rouge. He enlisted in the Louisiana State Militia and in 1872 moved with his family to Texas, where he settled in San Marcos and was soon admitted to the bar. After living a short time at Luling, he went to San Antonio in 1874 and practiced law for several years. His interests then turned to journalism, the military, and politics. He enlisted in the Alamo Rifles in 1875 and remained with that group until 1917, when he retired with the rank of major. During this period he saw active duty along the Mexican border. He was color sergeant of Company G, First Texas Infantry (San Antonio Zouaves) in 1898, but he did not accompany his outfit to Cuba in the Spanish-American War.

Barnes became a reporter for the San Antonio Express about 1880. He gained considerable prominence with stories featuring exploits of frontier individuals. His articles appeared regularly in Sunday editions between 1902 and 1910. They were illustrated with line drawings by Leo Colton, a talented Express artist. In 1910 Barnes published Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes, a collection based on nineteenth-century San Antonio families, personalities, and events. He also published and wrote some verse. He retired from the Express just before World War I. Barnes died on April 7, 1927, in San Antonio.

O. V. Mergele, "Col. Chas. M. Barnes and the Flowers for the Living Club," Texas Pioneer 4 (September-October 1923). San Antonio Express, April 11, 1886, May 4, 11, 18, 1902, April 8, 1927.
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Hobart Huson, “Barnes, Charles Merritt,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994