J. G. BARROW is numbered among the citizens who came to northwest Cooke county in pioneer days and have shared in the arduous work that has led to the development and permanent improvement of this section of the state. He was born in Chambers county, Alabama, on the 15th of April, 1839, and was reared to farm pursuits, while his early education was rather limited yet nevertheless he has acquired a good practical knowledge through observation, experience and reading. His parents were Josiah and Louzania (Bass) Barrow, both of whom were natives of North Carolina but their marriage was celebrated in Alabama. The paternal grandfather, William Barrow, was likewise born in North Carolina and was of Irish lineage, his ancestors having settled in that state at an early day. He married a Miss Heath and removed later to Alabama. He was a farmer by occupation and without aspiration for office gave his undivided attention to his agricultural pursuits, carefully conducting his business affairs. When he had reached the evening of life he and his wife removed to Louisiana and spent their declining years in the home of their son, both dying there. They were loyal to their profession as members of the Missionary Baptist church and instilled into the minds of their children lessons of integrity and uprightness. They had five sons and a daughter, Josiah, John, James, Jackson, Lafayette and Mrs. Mary Meadows.
Josiah Barrow was born in North Carolina and in his youth accompanied his parents to Alabama, where he was reared to manhood and married. He then took up his abode upon a farm, living there at the time when the Seminole Indians had their reservation in that state. He purchased land and improved his property, carrying on the work of farming until after the most of his children were born. He became a prominent agriculturist and slave owner of that locality and there resided until 1856, when he removed to Louisiana, where he purchased a plantation and engaged in the raising of cotton and corn. He prospered in his undertakings, giving his attention to his farm and as the years passed by his labors were crowned with a very desirable measure of success. The cause of the Confederacy awakened his deep sympathy and interest at the time of the Civil war but he was too far advanced in years to enter active service. He lived, however, until after the close of the war and during the period of hostilities much of his earnings of a lifetime were swept away through the emancipation of slaves and the ravages of his property occasioned by the foraging of the two armies. He afterward assisted in promoting and erecting a cotton factory, of which he became a large stockholder and one of the directors. This was known as the Arizona Cotton Factory of Louisiana and he gave most of his attention to the management of the plant. He was making good progress in the enterprise and had placed it upon a safe, financial basis when he became ill and passed away in the village of Arizona in 1871. No longer enjoying the benefit of his stimulating influence and efforts, the factory ceased to be a profitable industry and soon afterward the business failed entirely. Mr. Barrow as born in 1808 and had lived an active life during much of the century. He was a broad-minded spirit, and in public matters was helpful and energetic. Everywhere he was highly respected for his integrity and character worth and he left to his family an untarnished name. His wife, surviving him, passed away in 1874. Little is known concerning the history of the Bass family. She had, however, two brothers and a sister: Rev. Isaac Bass, a Baptist minister, who engaged in preaching in Jackson, Mississippi; Edwin Bass, also living in that locality; and Mrs. Pinny Wilhite.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Barrow there were born thirteen children: Elizabeth, who married a Rev. Barrow, who was a preacher of the Primitive Baptist church; Mrs. Harriet Gray; William, who served throughout the Civil war, in which he was twice wounded, and has since died; Mary A., and Martha, who died unmarried; James G.; Mrs. Sarah Glover; Josephus E., who served throughout the Civil war and is now in Indian Territory; John B. K., a resident of Louisiana; Mrs. Margaret E. Brown; Mrs. Francis Marsh; Mrs. Ida Fortson; and Mrs. Emma Jarrell.
James G. Barrow, whose name introduces this review, accompanied his parents on their removal to Louisiana, when eighteen years of age. In 1861 he enlisted for sixty days’ service in the Confederate army and went to Richmond, Virginia. He took part in the opening scenes of the great Civil war, remaining at Richmond for about one month and afterward participating in the battle of Manassas, subsequent to which time he returned to Louisiana and joined Company C, of the Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry, under command of Colonel Hodges. The regiment was assigned to the army of the Tennessee under General Joseph Johnston and he was also under command of General Hood. He took part in all of the campaigns under those two famous and brilliant military leaders and acted as one of General Johnston’s body-guards, being second to Wade Hampton in that service. He took part in the battles of Monterey and Shiloh and at the latter sustained a slight bullet wound in the body, the bullet piercing a double blanket and passing through a canteen and his clothing. Mr. Barrow took part in other hotly contested engagements, long marches and important campaign service, continuing with the army until the close of the war. He had pleasant, social intercourse with both General Johnston and General Hood and other prominent officers and during the latter part of the war had charge of General Johnston’s outfit of horses and other equipments. At the time of General Lee&39;s surrender the command was at Charlottesville, North Carolina, and Mr. Barrow was t here parolled. He had capably and fearlessly performed his full duty as a soldier, faithfully discharging every task assigned to him and he was often in the thickest of the fight. He underwent all of the hardships and depredations of military life and never faltered in his allegiance to the cause he espoused.
When the war was over Mr. Barrow returned to Alabama and made a visit, after which he went to his home by way of New Orleans. He resumed work upon the farm and in September, 1866, he was married, the lady of his choice being Miss P. E. Spears, who was born in Alabama, July 26, 1850. She has been a worthy wife and good helpmate to him and is a most estimable lady. Her parents were John W. and Mary A. (Goldsmith) Spears, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Alabama, in which state the marriage was celebrated. Her grandfather was Wilie Spears, of North Carolina, a prominent farmer and slave owner. He was also a leading member of the Methodist church, and, living an earnest Christian life, he won the esteem and trust of all with whom he came in contact. He died in Louisiana, while his wife passed away in Alabama. In their family were the following named: John W.; Mrs. Sallie Sewell; Mary, who became Mrs. Havis, and after the death of her first husband married Mr. Tompkins; Green; and Brigs, who died in his fifteenth year.
John W. Spears was reared to manhood in North Carolina and Alabama and at the time of his marriage began farming, while later he turned his attention to merchandising and also operated a cotton gin. He continued to reside in Alabama until after the birth of his children. In 1855 he removed to Louisiana, where he settled upon a farm, there continuing until he joined the army and took part in the campaigns of General Johnston and General Hood. He served in the same company with Mr. Barrow of this review, and was with his command until after the cessation of hostilities. He then returned home and resumed farming, remaining in Louisiana until 1873, when he came to Texas, joining Mr. and Mrs. Barrow, with whom he found a good home. He died while visiting a neighbor in 1873 and his wife survived him, passing away at the home of her daughter in 1885. Her father was John T. Goldsmith, who was of Irish descent and was a prominent agriculturist, spending his entire life in Alabama. In his later years he was converted and became a preacher of the Baptist church. His children were: William, who died in early manhood; Mrs. Elizabeth Shaw, who after losing her first husband became Mrs. George; Elbert; Martha; Mrs. Mary A. Spears; Sarah and John. By a second marriage there were four children: Amanda, Fannie, George and Sophronia.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Spears were born three children: Wilie, who came to Texas, and died leaving four children: James T., of Quanah, Texas; and Sarah, now Mrs. Barrow. Unto our subject and his wife have been born four children: Lucius L., of Haskell county, Texas; Ladonia, the deceased wife of Rev. J. P. Rutledge; Etta I., the wife of J. Cochran, who is postmaster and a merchant of Marysville, Texas; and John, who died at the age of twenty-two months.
At the time of his marriage Mr. Barrow began farming on his own account and after raising on his own account and after raising one crop he invested all his means in the stock of the Arizona cotton factory, which later failed and he never regained but twenty-seven dollars on all that he had put into the enterprise. He had some slaves before the war and the loss of those together with the losses in the factory left him almost penniless, but with stout courage and strong heart he began farming and so continued until 1870, when he came to Texas prospecting tour. Being pleased with the country he engaged in the cattle business here, gathered a herd and drove them to Kansas, after which he returned to Texas and later to his home in Louisiana. In 1871 he brought his family to this state and settled in Cooke county on land which he had purchased, a tract of one hundred and ninety acres, on which he yet lives. He had added to this, however, from time to time as his financial resources have increased until he now owns over one thousand acres of prairie soil. He has engaged in cattle-raising and farming, having one hundred and eighty acres under cultivation. He has been quite successful and although he has lost quite heavily through going security for his friends he yet is in possession of a comfortable competence acquired through his own labors. In the school of experience he has learned many valuable lessons and is today a gentleman of broad, practical knowledge and culture. He took part in one Indian raid soon after coming to this state. The red man ran off a large herd of horses and Mr. Barrow and other settlers pursued them and brought them to a stand, having a fight in which several Indians were killed. The settlers succeeded in regaining possession of the stock and there were no casualties among the white men. When Mr. Barrow located here but little farming was done. Corn was a much needed commodity and the settlers made an agreement that twenty bushels was the limit that could be sold to one man. Buffaloes, deer and game of all kinds were very plentiful upon the prairies and in all the forests. Mr. Barrow has aided in planting the seeds of civilization and has watched the rapid prosperity and progress of the county. He has seen villages established, churches and schoolhouses built and the work of the improvement carried forward until it is almost impossible for the traveler today to believe that within two or three decades past this was an almost unsettled country. In politics Mr. Barrow is an earnest Democrat who has used his influence to aid this party and upon its ticket he has been called to various offices of public honor and trust. He has served as county commissioner and in all positions has been loyal to the general welfare and to honorable principles. He was a member of the Missionary Baptist church and served as one of its clerks for a number of years but at the present time is connected with no church organization. His wife, however, is a member of the Baptist church. Mr. and Mrs. Barrow are well known in this part of the state and the hospitality of many of the best homes of Marysville and the northwestern part of Cooke county is cordially extended to them.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 642-644.