Barnard Timmons was born on January 1, 1835, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, the eldest son of John and Elizabeth Timmons. In 1850 the Timmons family lived in Jefferson County, Kentucky, where John, an Irish immigrant, worked as a brick maker and had real estate valued at $2,000. Elizabeth Timmons continued to live in Jefferson County in 1860, but there is no mention of her husband John or son Barnard. Her son Robert worked as a bricklayer. Barnard attended the Kentucky Military Institute in Frankfort, Kentucky. He moved to LaGrange, Texas, in 1856, practicing law there, and using his military education to do surveying for the state boundary commission. He also taught mathematics at the Texas Military Institute.
Barnard Timmons began his military career as first lieutenant, Company A, of the Ninth Texas Infantry Regiment. This regiment mustered in from Fayette County, Texas. In early 1862 the regiment disbanded after six months of service. While serving in the regiment, Barnard Timmons was promoted to captain. He then enlisted with Waul’s Texas Legion Infantry Regiment at Brenham, Texas, in early 1862. Timmons was promoted to lieutenant colonel on May 29, 1862, and given command of the First Infantry Battalion. In October 1862 the infantry companies of Waul’s Legion were transferred to Mississippi where they served under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. Later in October 1862 the companies were transferred to Maj. Gen. John Clifford Pemberton. By March 1863 Timmons and the First Infantry Battalion were engaged in skirmishes at Fort Pemberton and ultimately took part in the battle for that fort. On May 16, 1863, Timmons took part in the battle of Champion’s Hill and on May 18 joined other Confederate forces in Vicksburg, Mississippi, to defend that city from Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s siege. When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, Timmons and the other men in Waul’s Legion surrendered and were taken as prisoners of war. At the end of the siege the regiment reported 47 killed, 190 wounded, and 8 missing out of the 381 engaged in action.
Timmons and the other men of Waul’s Legion received their paroles on July 9, 1863. On July 17 Col. Thomas N. Waul granted his men a forty-day furlough. Waul’s Legion reorganized in Houston, Texas, in the fall of 1863 and was assigned to duty protecting the Texas coast in the region of Galveston. On September 18, 1863, Colonel Waul received a promotion to brigadier general and was given command of the First Brigade of Walker’s Texas Division. With Waul’s promotion, Barnard Timmons was promoted to colonel and assumed command of the legion until the end of the war. The unit was officially discharged on May 5, 1865.
After the war Barnard Timmons returned to La Grange, Texas, and began a law firm with Josephus Brown. As of June 27, 1870, he was a lawyer living alone in his home in La Grange. Sometime between that date and June 3, 1880, he married Debra Gault of Kentucky. The couple had no children. Barnard Timmons died on June 17, 1884, of consumption, at his LaGrange home. His wife died in 1919. They are buried in the State Cemetery, Frankfort, KY, in the Gault family plot. The Timmons and Brown law firm continued to carry his name on into the 1890s.