George Eames Barstow

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George Eames Barstow

Birthplace: Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Death: April 30, 1924 (74)
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: Barstow, Ward County, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Amos Chafee Barstow and Emeline Mumford Barstow
Husband of Clara Drew Barstow
Father of Caroline H. Barstow; George Eames Barstow, Jr.; Herbert Symonds Barstow; Helen Louise Barstow; Harold Carleton Barstow and 3 others
Brother of Emeline Eames Barstow; Anna Jane Barstow; Amos Chafee Barstow, Jr.; Mary I. Barstow; Sarah Sophia Barstow and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
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About George Eames Barstow

George Eames Barstow, capitalist and irrigation pioneer, was born on November 19, 1849, in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Amos Chafee and Emeline (Mumford) Eames. He was educated at the public school and at Mowry and Goff's English and Classical School in Providence. The son of a manufacturer and banker, Barstow himself began a business career at the age of seventeen. He eventually founded, financed, or organized five worsted and paper industries in Rhode Island. He became a member of the Providence school board at the age of twenty-one and served for fourteen years. He also served four years on the Providence common council and three terms in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He married Clara Drew Symonds on October 19, 1871, and they had nine children.

For a number of years Barstow was involved in irrigation projects and in the draining of swamp lands. His attention turned to the Pecos valley in Texas after the state legislature passed an act in March 1889 to encourage the development of irrigation in West Texas. The Pioneer Canal Company, with Barstow as treasurer, was chartered on July 6, 1889. On September 30, 1889, Pioneer took over the Ward County Irrigation Company. Barstow served as president of at least one of the Pioneer Canal Company's later incarnations, the Pecos Valley Land and Irrigation Company. An ad for the latter company, with a picture of Barstow as president, appeared in a 1909 issue of Cosmopolitan.

In 1891 Barstow joined other land developers in a project to promote a town on the Texas and Pacific Railway in western Ward County. The townsite, laid out in 1891, was deeded by Mr. and Mrs. B. K. Brant and O. F. Brant to the Barstow Improvement Company in 1892. Disagreement surfaced early over a name for the town, but by 1895 the community had taken the name of Barstow. Barstow himself moved to Barstow in 1904 from New York City. He also reportedly participated in organizing other irrigation and drainage systems throughout the West. He was president of the National Drainage Congress in 1907-08 and of the Eleventh International Irrigation Congress in 1908-09. He also served as vice president of the Texas Conservation Commission and president of the West Texas Reclamation Association. He was a member of the Conference of Governors in 1908, a delegate to the World Court Congress in Cleveland in 1915, a life director of Euphrates College (Turkey), a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London), a member and fellow of the Society of Applied Psychology (San Francisco), a member of the committee on conferences of the American Agricultural Association, and a member of the advisory committee of the University Forum (New York). He was also a member of the American Society of International Law, the National Institute of Social Sciences, the Southern Sociological Congress, the National Child Labor Committee, the National Civic Federation, the American Institute of Civics, the Academy of Political Science, the American Society of Judicial Settlement of International Disputes, the International Peace Forum, the League to Enforce Peace, the International World Conscience Society (Rome), the Navy League, the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the New York Museum of Natural History. He was also a councilor of the World's Purity Congress. In addition, Barstow wrote pamphlets on such varied subjects as immigration, cooperatives, Sino-Japanese relations, and Americanism. He was a Republican and attended the Congregational church in Providence and the Methodist church in Barstow. He died in Barstow on April 30, 1924, and was buried in the Barstow Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 2, 1924. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 18. Texas Permian Historical Society, Water, Oil, Sand and Sky: A History of Ward County (Monahans, Texas, Junior Chamber of Commerce, 1962). Ward County Historical Commission, Ward County, 1887-1977 (Dallas: Taylor, 1980?). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.

Claudia Hazelwood

Source: The Handbook of Texas Online



History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations


NY: The American Historical Society, Inc.


pp. 56 - 58:

"GEORGE EAMES BARSTOW - The Barstow family is of French Norman extraction and emigrated from Normandy to England at the time of William the Conqueror advent into English History. According to 'Magna Brittanica', the Lordship of Barstow was held in the reign of Richard I of England by a cadet of the ancient family of Fitz Haman. He was a man of great distinction, and through him his descendants obtained the designation of de Barstowe.

In 1247 John de Barstowe obtained a grant by charter to hold a market in the Manor de Barstowe. The estate descended to Richard de Barstowe, who in 1367 made a grant of the manor. The 'de' and final 'e' was dropped from the name during the fifteenth century. The family was for several generations located at Naburn Hall, East Riding, Yorkshire, England, where many of the name still reside.

William Barstow, a son of Thomas Barstow (the latter being a brother of Michael Barstow, a prominent merchant of York, whose portrait still hangs in Naburn Hall), when he was twenty-three years of age, came in September, 1635, in the ship 'Truelove' to America. He was one of the proprietors and signers for the incorporation of the town of Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1636, and appeared before the General Court in June of that year. He married at Dedham, Massachusetts, May 8, 1638, Ann Hubbard, who was admitted to the church, July 16, 1641. William Barstow removed to Scituate, Massachusetts, and became the first settler of that part of the town which is now called Hanover. In 1664 he contracted to build a bridge and keep it in repairs in that town. He was a man of high respectability and a most worthy and enterprising citizen; a man of note and an extensive landholder. He died in Scituate in 1668. His children were: Joseph, born April 6, 1639; Mary, born October 28, 1641; Patience, born October 3, 1643; Deborah, baptized August 18, 1650; William, see below; and Martha, baptized April 22, 1655.

William (2) Barstow, son of William (1) and Ann (Hubbard) Barstow, was baptized in Scituate, Massachusetts, in September, 1652, married and occupied his father's homestead in his native town. He was possessed of a saw mill besides other property and to some extent was engaged in the business of ship building. His will bears date of 1711, his property being bequeathed to his seven children.

Of this family Benjamin Barstow was the youngest son, being born July 22, 1690. He married (first) December 2, 1709, Mercy Randall. She died December 17, 1728, in Hanover, Massachusetts. His second wife was Sarah Barden (or Burden) of Middleboro, Massachusetts; her death occurred about 1738; he married (third) November 22, 1738, Mrs. Ruth Wilson. Mr. Barstow lived on the old homestead in Scituate, Massachusetts, and was a shipwright by trade, his yard being located near the 'N" river bridge. He is said to have been the father of twenty-one children.

Caleb Barstow, youngest son of Benjamin Barstow, was born in 1740, and married, November 23, 1770, Sylvina Magoun, of Pembroke, Massachusetts. Caleb Barstow died in Windsor, Connecticut, March 17, 1800.

Nathaniel Barstow, the youngest son of Caleb and Sylvina (Magoun) Barstow, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, April 28, 1788. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. He married Sophia Chafee.

Amos Chafee Barstow, son of Nathaniel and Sophia (Chafee) Barstow, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, April 30, 1813. He was educated at the public and private schools in his native city. He decided to forego the advantages of a collegiate education on account of his passion for mechanics and commercial pursuits. His first position was in a retail store, where he remained only six months, having been tendered employment at double the wages he was then receiving. He advanced from one position to another until 1836, when he became a partner in a small iron foundry at Norton, Massachusetts, engaged in the manufacture of stoves. Here he gave evidence of his mechanical genius; wood at this time was the principal fuel used in America. Anthracite coal was just beginning to come in use for factory purposes, but found its way slowly into houses for use in grates. A small amount of soft coal was imported from England. The stoves for cooking purposes were arranged for the use of wood only; the variety was small, the workmanship faulty and coarse, and their demand limited. Mr. Barstow had for some time been working with a view to making improvements in the manufacture of stoves and made his first pattern in the fall of 1836. In the spring of the following year the result of his improvements was placed upon the market and the stoves met with a ready sale. The capacity of the factory was doubled in size, and in the fall of 1844 removed to Providence, Rhode Island, where it was enlarged from year to year. The products manufactured were sold in all parts of America, in the islands of the Pacific, China, Norway, Sweden, Germany and England.

Mr. Barstow was originally an old time Whig, but in the organization of the Republican party became identified with it, and he became prominent in the temperance and anti-slavery movements. He was elected in 1851 a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and in 1870 was made speaker of the house. He was elected mayor of Providence in 1852, and declined a re-election on account of the pressure of his personal business and a natural disinclination for public life. President Grant appointed him in 1875 a member of the United States Board of Indian Commissioners, which office he held until 1880 and he was chairman of the board during the last two years. Mr. Barstow was president of the City National Bank, president of the Mechanics Savings Bank, president of the Providence Gas Company and Mechanics Mutual Fire Insurance Company, a director in the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company, and an officer in various religious and benevolent organizations, national as well as local. Notwithstanding the engrossing demands of his business, he was always ready to work in the cause of philanthropy, either as a private or a public citizen.

Mr. Barstow married, May 24, 1834, Emeline Mumford Eames, daughter of James and Sarah (Mumford) Eames, of Providence, Rhode Island. His death occurred at Providence, September 5, 1894.

George Eames Barstow, son of Amos Chafee and Emeline Mumford (Eames) Barstow, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, November 19, 1849. He received his education in the public schools and Mowry & Goff's English and Classical School of Providence, Rhode Island. His business career commenced when he was only seventeen years of age. He acquired a thorough knowledge of textile manufacturing, financiering and a complete training in general affairs. He has financed, founded or organized the Barstow Thread Company, the American Writing Paper Company, the United States Envelope Company, the Providence Warehouse Company, the National and Providence Worsted Mills, the Barstow Irrigation Company, the Barstow Town Company of Barstow, Texas, of which he is president.

Besides his successful business career, Mr. Barstow has always taken an active part in municipal, State and church affairs, and in public education. A member of the Congregational church from youth, he has served in many important offices in that denomination. A Republican in politics, he was for fourteen years a member of the school board of the City of Providence, the last year of his service being president. He was for four years a member of the Providence Common Council, and was elected a representative in the Rhode Island General Assembly for three successive terms. During his legislative career, he served on several important committees. He was the father of the act putting into operation the Bertillion System for measuring criminals; also an amendment to the criminal law concerning the punishment of habitual criminals and the so-called 'Anti-Lottery Act'.

Mr. Barstow was the pioneer in irrigation of arid lands in the Southwest, and in 1894 he founded the town of Barstow, the county seat of Ward county, Texas. Simultaneous with the founding of the town, he constructed substantial works capable of irrigating thirty thousand acres of land which were located in the Pecos valley surrounding the town of Barstow. The products obtained from the land under this system became famous throughout the United States. By Mr. Barstow's energy, foresight, and persistent application, two blades of grass grew in this desert land where nothing but mesquite grew before.

Notwithstanding that Mr. Barstow has been untiring in his application to public and private affairs, he has always found sometime to spend with the best writers of history and fiction. His various contributions to the press, both in prose and song, have discovered not only his ability, but also his love of association with those elements that lead to refinement in life and character. He is the author of 'Good Government Co-operative Societies', 'Creation of a World Centre of Communication', 'Shall We Bar the Immigrant?' 'Applied Psychology', 'Shall Democracy Endure?' and 'Shall Democracy Endure in the United States?' etc.

Mr. Barstow was president of the National Drainage Association, 1906-07; the International Irrigation Congress, 1908-09; upon invitation of President Roosevelt he was a member of the Conference of the Governors at the White House, May, 1908, and was the guest of the president on the trip down the Mississippi river; he is vice-president of the Texas Conservation Congress, and president of the West Texas Reclamation Association; a member of the American Forestry Association; chairman of the Pan-American Committee National Irrigation Congress; and a life member of the Luther Burbank Society, Santa Rosa, California.

As an advocate of peace amongst the nations of the world his love of travel has not only made him familiar with all parts of his native land, but he has paid visits to countries of other peoples to study their habits and enter into the full enjoyment of their productions in art and music and revel in all the beauties that nature has there produced. He is a member of the American Association for International Conciliation; the National Conservation Association; the National Committee for the Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of Peace among English Speaking Peoples, of New York; of the National Executive Committee; United States Progressive Federation; Societe Academique d'Historie International, Paris; The Citizens National Committee for the Third Conference at the Hague of New York; The International League to Enforce Peace of New York; the International World Conscience Society of Rome, Italy; The Sulgrave Institution, New York, and London; Royal Society of Arts, London; American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes.

Mr. Barstow is a life director of the Euphrates College at Harport, Turkey; was a trustee of the Hartford Theological Seminary of Hartford, Connecticut; is a life member and fellow of the Society of Applied Psychology of San Francisco, California; a member of the American Society of International Law, Washington; the National Institute of Social Sciences of New York; the World Court Congress of Cleveland, Ohio; the Southern Sociological Congress of Nashville, Tennessee; a correspondent of the Mohonk Lake Conference; a councilor of the American Institute of Civics; a member of the American Academy of Political Science of New York. He is a member of the National Child Labor Committee; has been honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America; a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society; the Southern Historical Association; is a member of the National Geographic Society of Washington, D. C., the Museum of Natural History of New York City, the Pennsylvania Society of Fine Arts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the National Arts Club, New York.

Mr. Barstow is well and favorably known in social, business and patriotic circles. He is a member of the Empire State Society of Sons of American Revolution; of the Navy League; member of the Committee of Presentation of the Lincoln Statue, London; World's Court League, New York; he is an honorary member of the Chamber of Commerce of Dallas, Texas, and has been a member of the Lawyer's, New York, and Republican clubs of New York City; also the Hamilton Club, of Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Barstow married at Providence, Rhode Island, October 9, 1871, Clara Drew Symonds. Mrs. Barstow was born September 10, 1852, was a daughter of Jacob and Caroline Amelia (Hartwell) Symonds. Her father was a member of the well-known firm of Taylor, Symonds & Company, of Providence, Rhode Island, and was at one time a member of the Legislature of that State. The children by this marriage are six sons and three daughters: George Eames, Jr., Herbert Symonds, Harold C., John P., Putnam, Donald, Caroline Hartwell, Helen L., and Marguerite."

from the RI Historical Cemeteries Database Index:



BARSTOW, AMOS CHAFEE 1813 - 5 SEP 1894 PV003


buried in Barstow, Texas:

GEORGE E. BARSTOW 1848 - 1924

CLARA D. BARSTOW 1852 - 1929


view all 12

George Eames Barstow's Timeline

November 19, 1849
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Rhode Island, United States
March 21, 1875
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Rhode Island, United States
March 25, 1878
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
June 1, 1879
November 12, 1883
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
February 11, 1886
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
April 12, 1889
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States