Maggie Pauline Hinnant was born in Black Creek, Wilson, North Carolina as the daughter of Louzaine Hinnant and an unknown father. She married William Orangie Barnes at Maggie’s stepfather Dread’s farm in Black Creek, Wilson 22 October 1899. The couple would have 15 children, of which eight would reach an adult age: Lillian, Clara, Gladys, Nell, Willie, Mary, Ruth, and Mildred.
The family moved to Kenly, Wilson, North Carolina in 1904, which is where Barnes would live for the rest of her life. She worked as a housekeeper in a local Kenly hotel which housed lumber mill workers. She was an active member of Mincey Chapel O.F.W. Baptist Church, where her husband served as a deacon and Sunday School Superintendent. It was here where she was a Church Mother and taught Sunday School for 52 years. In 1949, Orangie and Maggie Barnes celebrated 50 years of marriage. The couple would remain together for nearly 57 years before William’s death in 1956.
Maggie Barnes died in Kenly, Johnston, North Carolina 19 January 1998 at the age of 115 years, 319 years. She was survived by 4 of her 15 children.
Mrs. Barnes was validated by the Gerontology Research Group. At the time of her death, she was the 3rd-oldest verified living person in the world, and 2nd-oldest in the United States after Sarah Knauss.