Biography of James H. Barlow of Woodward, Iowa

No history of Woodward would be complete without mention of James H. Barlow who built the first business house and sold the first goods in the town. He has been closely associated with its growth and the part which he has taken in its upbuilding makes him one of its honored and representative citizens. For twenty-five years he has resided here, while the period of his residence in the county covers almost a third of a century.

He arrived in Dallas county in February, 1876-a young man of about twenty-six years. Be was born in Elmira, New York, February 26, 1850, and is a son of Eli A. Barlow, a native of Delaware county, New York, where he was reared. Having attained his majority he married Miss Esther Moore, a native of Pennsylvania, and ten children were born unto them during their residence in the Empire state, where the father followed the occupation of farming. In the year 1857 he removed with his family to Illinois, settling in Kane county, in the vicinity of Geneva and St. Charles and again the father gave his attention to agricultural pursuits. There he reared his family and spent his last years. Five of the sons and three of the daughters reached years of maturity, but only two are yet living, the sister being Mrs. Sylvania Penn Herrington, a widow residing in Greenville, Iowa. The eldest brother, Banajah P. Barlow, was a soldier of the Fifty-second Illinois Infantry and died while in the service of his country in August, 1863. Hiram G. Barlow, another brother, was a member of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Illinois Infantry and served through the war. Later he married and settled in Kane county, Illinois, and at his death left a wife and two daughters. The next brother, Cyrus W., died in the state of New York in 1856. A sister, Dolly, became the wife of N. P. Atwood, who was a soldier of the Thirty-third Illinois Infantry and served through the war, later settling at Belvidere, where his wife died. The other sister, Anna, died unmarried.

James H. Barlow, whose name introduces this review, was reared to manhood in Kane county, spending his boyhood and youth on the farm, where he followed the plow or worked in the harvest fields when not busy with the text-books which brought him a good common school education. Having attained his majority he made arrangements for having a home of his own through his marriage to Miss Jane Siglin, the wedding being celebrated on Christmas day of 1873. Mrs. Barlow was born and reared in De Kalb county, Illinois, a daughter of Jacob Siglin, one of the pioneers of that county, who lived to the ripe old age of ninety-two years. Mr. and Mrs. Barlow began their domestic life in De Kalb county, where he engaged in farming for three years and then, removing to Iowa, in February, 1876, purchased land on section 1, Beaver township, Dallas county, where Mr. Barlow broke the sod and developed a farm. He fenced his land, erected good buildings and carried forward the work of improvement, successfully operating his farm until 1882 when he came to Woodward and built the first business house of the town and sold the first goods here. Opening a hardware and implement business, he continued in that line until 1893, when he sold out. It was not until 1902 that he again entered the field of mercantile operations, opening a grocery store in which he has met with success, now carrying a large and well selected line of staple and fancy groceries and shoes. He has built up a good trade and is well known as an enterprising and reliable merchant whose success is well merited by reason of his straight-forward dealing and progressive methods.

Mr. and Mrs. Barlow have one daughter, Gertrude, the wife of Dr. A.M. Slatten, a practicing physician of Des Moines. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Barlow is one of the charter members of the Odd Fellows lodge at Woodward. He has several times been elected to all the offices of the order and for fifteen years acted as conductor to every member initiated. He was also district grand deputy for one term and he and his wife are connected with the Rebekah lodge. Although reared in the faith of the Jeffersonian democracy his father supported John C. Fremont for the presidency in 1856 and became an ardent advocate of republican principles. He has followed in his father’s footsteps in this regard and also votes with the republican party. He has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking and in fact has always preferred that others should occupy the political positions, but for several terms he was the mayor of the city, and brought to bear in the discharge of his duties the same fidelity and enterprise which he has ever manifested in his business life. He is ever public-spirited and helpful and Woodward’s citizens acknowledge and appreciate his worth.


Wood, Robert F., Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, Chicago, IL: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907.

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