Biography of William Barlow

WILLIAM BARLOW. – The proprietor of the beautiful Barlow ranch in Clackamas county, which is on the line of the Oregon & California Railroad, and supplied with a way station and warehouse of its own, is the son of Samuel Kimbrough Barlow, a pioneer of 1845, who did so much to open Oregon to settlement. William Barlow, the subject of this sketch, was born September 26, 1822, in Marion county, Indiana, and in 1836 settled with his father in Illinois, and in 1845 came out to Oregon, performing a journey, the details of which are found in the sketch of his father.

A winter journey back into the Cascade Mountains soon after his arrival in Oregon was as severe as anything on the plains. It was undertaken in order to furnish provisions to a party of men left to guard a cache made by his father. Upon reaching the mountains with his pack horses, the young man and his companions found snow five or six feet deep, which had been crusted by rain and subsequent freezing; nor would it always bear the weight of a horse. Nevertheless he pushed on, occasionally breaking through, and burying his horses up to their backs in snow, when it would be necessary to unpack, tramp down the snow and thereby get the animals out and on their legs once more upon the crust, and then drive on again. Reaching the cache he found the guardsmen comfortable, – having made a snug camp, and killed a wild cat and some “star-spangled weasels,” to serve as provisions. Honorable Daniel Stewart, Mr. Barnes and Mr. Bonner composed the company; and the latter was so much disgusted with his first introduction to our state that he returned East the next year. Mr. Stewart remained, and is now a well-known resident of Walla Walla.

In 1849, Mr. Barlow went to the California mines; but owing to ague, and lack of success in consequence, he offered to sell his claim and all his dust to anyone who would wash a shirt for him. The companion who took up the offer was filled with chagrin to find less than a dollar’s worth of dust in his pouch.

Returning to Oregon, Mr. Barlow was happily surprise to discover that his property at the Falls had trebled in value, and immediately entered successfully into real-estate speculations. In 1852, he was married to Miss Martha H. Allen, and engaged with H.F. Hedges in the mercantile, milling and steam-boating business, which he continued for many years. The engine for the old Canema, and another for the sawmill, were the first shipped to Oregon, and were obtained at Connellsville, Ohio.

He purchased the old Donation claim of his father, and, after living on this farm for several years, went down to Canema and there laid off the town, creating the present attractive village. In 1870, he moved back to the farm and by purchase added to the original domain, increasing it to fourteen hundred acres of as handsome land, diversified by woods and prairie, as is to be found in the state. He has built upon this a beautiful residence, which is one of our best advertisements, and a most cheering greeting to the intending settlers as they pass by. Mr. Barlow is a man of public spirit, and fond of enterprises which bear fruit in the development of the country, and is also quick to see the business bearings of a speculation. He has been of essential service in founding and building our state.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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