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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Columbia County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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J. W. Barrow, a member of the firm of J. W. Barrow & Bro., wholesale and retail grocery merchants at Magnolia, was born in Claiborne Parish, La., in 1859, and is the oldest living child born to John W. and Mary (Finley) Barrow, both natives of Alabama. The parents moved to Louisiana at an early day, and immediately after the birth of our subject they returned to Alabama, but still later on came back to Louisiana, where the father was engaged in farming for some time. During the late war he was in the Confederate army and died during the siege of Vicksburg. He owned considerable property in Louisiana, consisting of land and negroes, and after his death his widow married Thomas A. Grubbs. She died in 1878. She became the mother of four children by her first husband, but only two are now living. J. W. Barrow was educated in Louisiana and in Calhoun County, Ark , where his stepfather moved and resided for seven years. He then returned to Claiborne Parish, La., and when seventeen years of age began life for himself, first as a farm hand. He then attended school for a year or so, and then entered the dry goods and grocery store of P. T. Talbert, of Summerfield, La. He worked for this gentleman for seven years, and in 1886 came to this city. Here, with his brother, he engaged in the present business, opening with a stock of groceries valued at about $3,000. They do a cash business, and their annual sales equal about or from $50,000 to $75,000. Both gentlemen are active and progressive business men, and have succeeded in building up an extensive and lucrative trade, of which they are eminently deserving. They do the largest grocery business of any firm in this section of the State, employ three clerks, and with J. W. Barrow as book-keeper and W. J. as managing salesman, theirs constitute one of the leading establishments. The stock carried might without much exaggeration be called immense, and consists generally of a complete line of groceries of excellent quality. J. W. Barrow is a member of the K. of P., Columbia Lodge No. 24, and is also a member of the Baptist Church. W. Joe Barrow, the junior member of the firm of Barrow Bros., was born in Louisiana in 1861, and is the younger child living of the family born to John W. and Mary A. (Finley) Barrow. W. Joe was educated in the same schools with his brother, and when sixteen years of age he engaged as clerk for A. W. Barrow, at Homer, La., and was with Barrow & Gladney for eight years at the same place. He then came to Magnolia and engaged in his present business. He was married in December, 1883, to Miss Olivia Wilder, of Homer, La., and daughter of J. B. and C. C. Wilder, nee Lawrence, who were natives of Louisiana, and early settlers there. Mr. and Mrs. Barrow are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and Mr. Barrow is a deacon in the same. He is a member of the K. of P., Columbia Lodge No. 24. He is a gentleman of excellent business qualities, persevering, active and enterprising, and is highly deserving of the success which is attending his efforts. The paternal grandfather of the above mentioned gentlemen was a planter in the State of Alabama, where he amassed considerable property. He moved to Louisiana about 1850 and bought a large tract of land, owned over 100 negroes, and was among the leading planters. He died there in 1877. During his life he took quite an active part in local politics, but was not an office-seeker, and would accept no position. He was a minister in the Primitive Baptist Church. The maternal grandfather, A. H. Finley, came from Chambers County, Ala., and located in Claiborne Parish, La., and was an extensive planter. He died about 1888. He was the father of a large family, most of whom are residing in Louisiana at the present time. He died in Alabama.

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This family biography is one of 106 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Columbia County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Columbia County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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