The area around Barnesville was settled by pioneer families, mostly Quaker, around the early 19th century. These early settlers arrived in the area after leaving Maryland, Pennsylvania and the southern states. A meeting house was built and cemetery was established to the east of the future site of Barnesville. This early settlement attracted the attention of a certain Maryland farmer.
Barnesville was first “laid out” in 1808 by James Barnes, who had travelled to the area hoping to create a new Quaker settlement in a rural setting. He found rolling landscape along a Drovers’ road ideal for a site and soon platted out lots and roads for his new town.