Born Dot Henry Robinson, she grew up in Pageland, S.C. with four sisters and one brother. She attended Pageland High School. She earned, during the very tough times of the 1930's Great Depression, a college degree in education from Winthrop College. She went on to become a respected teacher and author. Her first two books Head Into The Wind, and Shadow On The Water were published in the 1960's. Head Into The Wind was a Christian Herald Bookshelf best-seller. Her latest book, a memoir entitled Years from Home, was published when she was 90 years old. In her professional life Mrs. Barnwell taught English on the high school level at various schools including over a decade at Walter Williams. Mrs. Barnwell was a member of the Burlington Writers Club and received numerous awards for her writing over the years.