George Washington Barnett, early settler, son of William and Margaret Barnett, was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, on December 12, 1793. He attended Waxhaw Academy in South Carolina, received medical training, probably under direction of a preceptor, and began practice in Williamson County, Tennessee. In 1823 he went to Mississippi and in 1834 to what later became Burleson County, Texas. Later that year he purchased a farm near the site of present-day Brenham and resumed the practice of medicine. Barnett's name appears on the petition of July 2, 1835, requesting permission from the "political chief" of the Mexican government to form the new Municipality of Washington. On July 20, 1835, he was chosen captain of one of four volunteer companies under Col. John Henry Moore, organized to attack the Tawakoni Indians. He joined Capt. James G. Swisher's Washington Company on October 8, was elected second lieutenant on October 27, and was discharged on December 22, 1835, after participating in the siege of Bexar. He represented Washington in the Convention of 1836, after which he joined the army but left it to look after his family, which was involved in the Runaway Scrape. He spent the spring of 1836 at San Augustine transporting supplies for United States troops under Edmund P. Gaines. Between July 3 and October 3, 1836, he was enrolled in William W. Hill's company of rangers. On December 18, 1837, Barnett received a bounty certificate for 320 acres of land as payment for his services with Hill. On January 5, 1838, he received a headright of a league and a labor. He was a member of the Senate of six congresses of the Republic of Texas, from September 25, 1837, to January 16, 1843.
In 1846 Barnett moved to Gonzales County. On October 8, 1848, while hunting deer fifteen miles west of Gonzales, he was killed by marauding Lipan-Apache Indians. He was buried in the old cemetery at Gonzales. The Texas Centennial Commission set up a monument to his honor in 1936. Barnett was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He married Eliza Patton in Tennessee on July 6, 1820, and had six children.
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Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
L. W. Kemp,
“Barnett, George Washington,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 23, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1994