Home News John “Barney” Barnhart, Pickaway County Archaeologist and Historian

John “Barney” Barnhart, Pickaway County Archaeologist and Historian

John “Barney” Barnhart, Pickaway County Archaeologist and Historian (from Defenbaugh Wise Schoedinger Funeral Home)

Circleville — A well-loved man prominent in local archaeology and history was buried Tuesday. John Michael “Barney” Barnhart, age 80, passed away on June 23rd – doing what he loved, at the Summer Solstice Festival at Serpent Mound.

I knew Barney as a emissary of the Pickaway County Historical Society and Mound City Chapter of the Ohio Archaeological Society. He was always willing to chat from his lifetime of learning Pickaway County history and prehistory, balancing fun and education with storytelling and self-admitted goofiness and chuckles.

I asked fellow archaeologist Gary Argabright of Chillicothe, former high school Latin teacher and prominent local archaeologist in his own right, about Barney.

Argabright said Barney learned archaeology as a youth from his father Emmett – as well as precise record-keeping, which is an important component of modern archaeology. He said the young Barney would have also known all significant local archaeologists.

Read more in my follow-up story.

Barney at the 2017 annual “Archaeology Day” at the Ross County Heritage Center.

From Barney’s obituary by Defenbaugh Wise Schoedinger Funeral Home:

John was born on December 12, 1943, to the late Emmett and Miriam (Barnes) Barnhart in Columbus. John graduated from Circleville High School.

During college he was drafted and served in Vietnam. John enjoyed his trip in June to Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight.

“You would find John at events teaching people about archeology, or with the Masons, assisting at church, or helping friends.”

Barney is survived by his his sister Betsy Yors, daughter Wendy Fraley, and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Barney received vistation and a Masonic Funeral Monday, with another visitation and a funeral service Tuesday. He was interned in Reber Hill Cemetery with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Barney’s honor were requested to be made to Honor Flight Columbus. The mission of Honor Flight is “to honor America’s senior veterans with a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the nation’s memorials.”

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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.