HENRY F. BARSTOW. The making of homes in Western Kansas required a struggle lasting for years and involving phenomenal patience, self sacrifice as well as industry. No one knows that better than Henry F. Barstow, of Larned. Mr. Barstow a number of years ago passed the critical period of his life strugule, and now surrounded with children and grandchildren, some of whom have already reached an age where they can prove their individual usefulness, he can survey the past with equanimity and look forward to the future without fear.
Mr. Barstow and family were settlers of Pawnee County as early as 1878. At the time he was thirteen years of age. He had accompanied the family to Pawnee County from Fairfield County, Connecticut, and in the Town of Stratford in that state he was born July 11, 1864.
His father, Bertle W. Barstow, had lived at Stratford from boyhood but was born in London, England. His early circumstances were close to poverty. He had sold newspapers on the street and at the age of seventeen he followed his mother to the United States. They first lived at Peekskill, New York, and from there went to Stratford, Connecticut, where Bertle W. Barstow learned the carpenter's trade. He followed that trade in Kansas. His wife's maiden name was Anna Thompson. Her father had come from the north of Ireland to America and was of Scotch stock and was a local preacher. Bertle W. Barstow and wife had four children, and all of them except one son came to Kansas. They got off the train at Larned and Bertle W. Barstow homesteaded a claim, the southeast quarter of section 24, township 22, range 15 in Logan Township. On that claim he erected a box house 13 by 20 feet. His yoke of cattle which he bought were protected with a sod shed or stable.
It was in February, 1877, that Bertle W. Barstow came to Pawnee County and his family followed him in 1878. The first season he broke out half a dozen acres and raised some sod corn. In June, 1877, he plowed up twenty-seven acres for wheat and had good luck with the crop, harvesting thirty-three bushels of "Little May" wheat to the acre. It was perhaps unfortunate that he had such good crops, since it encouraged him to continued efforts, but the results did not justify them. In 1879 there was barely half a crop.
A better resource for making a living was his trade as a carpenter. At that time settlers were coming in rapidly to Pawnee County and they needed help in putting up their pioneer homes. Thus Bertle W. Barstow found ample employment, and this more than anything else kept the wolf from the family door for several years, until the farm really became dependably productive. He proved up his claim, carried on numerous improvements, and spent the rest of his years on the old homestead. Bertle W. Barstow was a man of influence and real public spirit in that section where he lived. With the aid of the Government he established in 1882 the Pointview postoffice, and was its postmaster for fifteen years. He was active in everything affecting his community. He was one of the charter organizers of the Pointview Cemetery, which has the distinction of being the first cemetery to be chartered by Kansas. He also helped organize school district No. 44, was one of its officials, and was holding the office of treasurer of Logan Township when he died. Though growing up a republican, he afterwards became actively identified with the Farmers' Alliance. He was reared in the faith of the Episcopal Church, and was a strong temperance man both in principle and practice. He always maintained himself in good standing in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The death of this worthy citizen and pioneer of Pawnee County occurred March 27, 1891, at the age of forty-nine. His first wife and the mother of his children died in May, 1875. Her children were Henry F.; Theresa B., wife of E. B. Sayler, of Seward, Kansas; Edmond T., of Topeka; and Bertle W., who died in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The father married for his second wife Mary A. Blamey, who is now living in Topeka.
Coming to Kansas at the age of thirteen, Henry F. Barstow stood face to face with the various hardships and difficulties of pioneer existence as above described. He had obtained most of his education an the common schools of Connecticut, and also attended a term or two in district school No. 44, which his father helped organize. At the age of sixteen he gave up his studies and at seventeen he was herding cattle in Stafford County on the cattle and sheep ranch of William Sterling. He had the experience of the cowboy for two years, his wages at first being $8 for six weeks and then $8 a month and finally $10 a month. After that for several years he worked as a farm hand. On reaching his majority Mr. Barstow bought a relinquishment and proved up the northwest quarter of section 24, township 22, range 15. His first improvement was a board shack, which after being equipped with a few simple household supplies he occupied as his home and the shelter of his bride, whom he had just married. He and his wife had together a team of mules, a cow and half a dozen chickens. He borrowed machinery from his father for farming, and with all his industry and self denying economy he was unable to make a living off the farm for a number of years. When the Missouri Pacific Railway was built he worked with his team on the grading. For a number of seasons when crops were short he worked either with or without his team, as the case warranted. He finally determined to leave Kansas temporarily and sought employment on the Rock Island Railway. He was with that railroad for a number of years and had many promotions. He began in the boiler shop, was also in the machine shop, was hostler's assistant, was finally given a run on the road as fireman, and held that post for some time. His run as fireman was from Eldon, Iowa, to Rock Island. It was the death of his father which caused him to resign his post in railroad service and return to the farm.
In the meantime and later he kept up the improvements on his homestead and when he left it it had a substantial six room dwelling, a barn 40 by 40 feet, three granaries, sheds for stock, and all the land was fenced. Mr. Barstow now owns this place and also that of his father. He gives his active supervision to its management, though his home and family are in Larned while the younger children are getting their education. Mr. Barstow has also filled various offices, including membership on the school board, township trustee four years and township treasurer two years. In politics he is a democrat and like his father has strong prohibition leanings.
The greatest incentive to all the efforts and struggles of himself and wife during the past thirty years were the children growing up in their household. Mr. Barstow was married October 6, 1886, to Mass Mellie C. Miller. Her father, Henry Miller, came to Kansas from Wooster, Ohio, and was a homesteader and farmer in Kansas. He lived in Stafford County, where he died at the age of seventy-eight. His wife passed away at seventy-two. Besides Mrs. Barstow their children were Frank, of Hutchinson, Kansas; William, of Pawnee County; Charles, of Logan Township; and George, of Logan Township.
Thirteen children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Barstow, and while the younger ones are still at home and attending school at Larned the older ones are already showing wisdom and energy in their respective spheres. The oldest is Bertle W., a teacher and farmer in Pawnee County, who by his marriage to Etta Posey has a daughter, Elizabeth. Theresa A. is the wife of John Gleason, of Stafford County, and has two children, Elmo and Maynard. Franklin H. is a volunteer for Government educational training for war service; Edna was connected with the Moffet Brothers National Bank at Larned until she married Z. W. Doll, of Pawnee County. Helen is now Mrs. Ledru Umberger, of Pawnee County and has a daughter. Harold and Howard are farmers in Pawnee County. The younger children are Paul, Waldo, Chesley, Thelma, Hazel and Alton.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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