John G. Barnard was born in Boylston, Massachusetts, in 1779, and lived in Auburn, Massachusetts, where he was a farmer. On January 8, 1810, he married Betsey Dodge, the daughter of Daniel Dodge. They had several children, including Charles Porter Barnard. John G. Barnard died on March 26, 1862.
Charles Porter Barnard was born in the late 1820s and moved with his wife Emma to a farm in Prescott, Wisconsin, sometime before 1859. They later lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, with their four children: Hattie, Charles P., William F., and Robert O.