Francis Henry Barlow

Francis Henry Barlow was born 1826 in Rome, Oneida County, New York.

In 1820 there was one Francis Barlow living in Western, Oneida County, New York, and in 1830 there was one Elisha Barlow living in Rome, New York.

In any case, Francis was married to Canadian-born Caroline L. “Carrie” (Beebe) on July 3, 1847, in Oakfield, Genesee County, New York, and they had at least three children: Ellen “Nellie” Jane (b. 1851, Mrs. Glenn Buchanan), Mary Louisa (b. 1854, Mrs. Marshall Daggett) and Effie Carrie (b. 1857, Mrs. Silas Barrows).

According to one of their daughters, the family was living on St. Helena island in the straits of Mackinac when Ellen was born and on Thunder Bay island on Lake Huron (13 miles offshore from Alpena) when Mary was born in 1854. (Caroline was reportedly attended by only “a half-breed Indian woman as her midwife and nurse.) By 1856 when their daughter Effie was born they were reportedly living in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

Around 1857 they settled in Lamont, Ottawa County, where Francis (known generally as “Henry”) ran a cooper shop. Franklin Tubbs, whose family also lived in Lamont, and who too would in the Third Michigan, claimed in later years that he had boarded with the Barlows at various “intervals prior to 1861.” In fact Mrs. Barlow said later that Franklin did board with them while he attended school, as did one Thaddeus Tubbs. By 1860 “Henry” was working as a cooper and living with his wife and children in Tallmadge, Ottawa County. According to his wife, by the time the war broke out Francis was still running a cooper shop in Lamont. His wife moved her family into Grand Rapids after Francis enlisted.

Francis stood 5’11” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 35-year-old mechanic and cooper living in Ottawa County when he enlisted as Corporal in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) According to Simon Brennan, formerly an officer in Company I, there had been some question about Francis being mustered in with the regiment in June of 1861. In fact, according to Brennan Francis did not leave Grand Rapids with the regiment on the morning of June 13 but left soon afterwards and caught up with the regiment as it was passing through Pontiac, Michigan, and that he was not officially mustered in until the regiment reached Washington.

In any case, Francis soon became quite ill. Brennan thought he had typhoid fever. He noted that Francis “was all run down, very much emaciated from his sickness & could hardly walk.” He thought Francis had been sent to the regimental hospital. Indeed, Francis was discharged for chronic rheumatism on October 12, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia. Apparently there was some problem at first with his discharge. Again, according to Simon Brennan, he remembered Barlow well “because Col. McConnell [commanding the Third Michigan] & Cap Weatherwax [commanding Company I] had quite a row about having him mustered out of service. It was claimed by the Col. that because of some informality about his muster in, he was not entitled to a discharge certificate.”

After his discharge from the army Francis returned home to Michigan, probably to his family in Grand Rapids, where, according to his widow, he attempted to work as a cooper for Elijah Dart, who was then running a cooper shop in the city. However, since Francis was unable to support his family his wife felt compelled to take their children and move to the house of her brother, Levi Beebe, in Morris, Grundy County, Illinois. She left in February of 1862.

Francis meanwhile moved in with his brother John in Paris, Kent County. According to Lansing Rathbun who lived about 1/2 miles from the Barlow brothers, John was a blacksmith and “the shop was large enough so that Henry had his cooper shop in a part of it. However, Francis became increasingly worse and his wife felt compelled to return to Grand Rapids to take care of him which she did in the fall of 1862. The family initially lived on Turner Street before moving to a house on the corner of Third and Broadway Streets.

By February of 1864 he was living in Grand Rapids when he applied for a pension (application no. 40611, cert. no 873024).

According to his wife since his return from the army Francis had been treated by Dr. Woodruff, Dr. Hempel (a German physician), Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Maynard and Dr. Garlock. Francis claimed in his sworn statement that “During the latter half of September of 1861, owing to cold from exposure while on picket and guard duty, and uncomfortable camp accommodations, straw for bedding . . . tents thin, and duty constant at Arlington Heights, he took cold, which settled in his lungs, and also rheumatism in his knee, hip, ankles, shoulders and his left side generally, and in consequence was discharged.”

And his wife claimed years afterward that upon his return home he suffered from an inflammatory rheumatism in his hips which caused him to go around on crutches. “He also had a terrible cough, then, had gatherings in his throat, and raised a good deal of corruption from his lungs. He complained of great pain in his side and was never able to work enough to earn his board, after he came home from the war.”

Francis died of tubercular consumption, at his home on Broadway between Third and Fourth Streets in Grand Rapids on June 14, 1864, and his funeral was held at the Presbyterian church on the west side of the Grand River (the same church to which James Bennett, formerly of Company B, belonged); the service being read by Rev. Platt the Presbyterian minister. According to his widow Rev. Platt had visited Francis a number of times before he died. Allen Durfee was reported to be the undertaker in charge of the arrangements (in fact it was quite probably a Mr. Judd was then the leading undertaker in the city and for whom Durfee was working at the time).

According to his widow Francis was buried in Oak Hill cemetery in Grand Rapids. Another source reported that he was in fact buried in the Soldiers’ Lot in Valley City cemetery. Lansing Rathbun of Paris, Kent County, testified in 1894 that at one point after Francis died he “was talking with his brother John about his death . . . and he couldn’t tell just the location of the grave. He knew he was buried in the Valley City cemetery, in the Soldiers’ lot, but he couldn’t tell which was the grave as it was not distinguished by any mark.” This was in fact most likely the area presently known as the Watson GAR Post lot where the majority of interments are presently marked as unknown.

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 399541). In July of 1864 Caroline remarried Marshall Barrows. According to Olive Cook, a friend of Caroline’s, she “was quite surprised when I heard of her remarriage so soon [five weeks] after her first husband’s death.” (Caroline’s sister Jane Waycott and her own brother Levi Beebe were both reportedly equally surprised to hear she had remarried so soon after Francis had died.) By 1870 they were living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward (they had two children: Myrtle, b. 1867 and Jenny, b. 1869).

After Marshall’s death in 1891 Caroline was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 399541). In 1895 a pension was also granted on behalf of a minor child, Michigan resident Ellen J. Buchanan (no. 444263).

In 1894 Caroline was keeping a boarding house at 499 Canal Street in Grand Rapids.