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Allen Barlow

ALLEN BARLOW was born in Windham, Greene County, N.Y., September 17th, 1810. He was the son of Alanson and Mary Ann Barlow. His uncle, Joel Barlow, was U.S. Minister to France (appointed in 1811 by President Madison).

The family were very prominent in Greene County. Allen received a common school education, and was afterward graduated in a select school at Andover, Mass., paid for by his own labor, which heimproved to the utmost extent. When seventeen years of age he was called to teach in his own school district, which he accepted. Afterwards he went to the next district and taught three or four years, then to an adjoining town, and next to Lexington and Hunter, where he remained teaching some five or six years.

He next took charge of a high school in the same town (Lexington) for two terms, subsequently clerked in a store near by, where he remained some two years and became familiar with the business. He then purchased the interest of the store at Lexington Heights, where he had clerked about two years.

In September, 1838, he was married to Lucina Denton Blakeslee, daughter of Colonel Enoch Blakeslee, a well known military man of that day. After marriage he began to look for a desirable place to permanently locate. He had saved some $400 while teaching, which was his capital to purchase the business in the store. Subsequently he sold out and went to Prattsville, Greene County, N.Y., purchased a village lot of Colonel Pratt for $100, worked with his father one season, engaged in peeling bark and getting out timber for building his house on his lot in Prattsville. An aged man, a carpenter, Captain Munson, offered to lay out the work for the frame of his house to be built in Prattsville, ten miles distant. With his assistance he made the frame work and built the house with his own hands under instructions from his friend Captain Munson. A schoolmate, Cyrus Smalling, who had become a carpenter and builder, finished the house and waited for his pay. The next season he received his money. By means of this practical work he had become proficient as a carpenter and joiner, entered the employ of Cyrus S., the carpenter, and continued with him two or three years, as journeyman, at the trade. When he had paid for his house and lot and had earned some $700 ahead, in the spring of 1849, he went by the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco, arriving just after a terrible fire that had nearly destroyed the town.

He went with a party of thirty other acquaintances to seek his fortune. He purchased a chest of carpenter's tools after arrival in San Francisco for fifty dollars, and began his labor at ten dollars a day for his services as carpenter. He boarded at the U.S. Hotel, in San Francisco, slept in a hammock in the garret, paid two dollars per day for his board. In the fall of the same year he concluded to try mining and selected the southern mines, went on a steamer up the San Juan River to Stockton, thence sixty miles to Sonora. He engaged with B. Cruthers in manufacturing mining apparatus, entered his employ at six dollars per day, continued with him until the next spring, then he went into partnership with him, carrying on a general merchandise store, his capital consisting of $700, his partner furnishing the balance. He went to San Francisco and purchased goods. The firm did a very large business, as sales were from $100 to $1,000 per day, with customary 100 percent profit. One year's business placed the firm out of debt. During the year 1851 a mining company was formed to build a sluice-way from the mountains leading to the valley of Sonora. Mr. Barlow was solicited to become superintendent of the company. He accepted the position, but still continued as partner in the mercantile business. The destruction of Sonora by fire during this year included the firm's store. Everything was consumed. However, the firm re-built the store within the space of five days, purchased more goods and continued one year in trade when they were again in imminent danger of being burned out, but the store narrowly escaped. Previous to this the firm had built a hotel to accommodate one hundred boarders, which was almost completed and in running order, when it was completely destroyed by the second fire. He continued in trade till 1853, when he sold his interest and came home to New York.

He remained in Greene county and built a house for his brother-in-law, made a trip through the country with his wife in search of a desirable location for business, and finally reached Binghamton in 1854, partly negotiated for his present home and subsequently completed this negotiation. In 1856 he entered a drug store as clerk for one year, in the village of Binghamton. He then purchased a half interest in a drug store with L.M. Rexford, in the village of Binghamton, N.Y., and in a short time afterward he became sole owner of the same. In 1857 he sold out and during the civil war he was appointed U.S. gauger, one of the first appointed under the new law. He held this office, with the exception of the years 1872 to 1878, up to 1884, when he resigned. During the war he was most active in supporting the government.

He is a self-made man and one of independent thought. While in this office he carried on the manufacture of stencil work, which he has continued, and subsequently added the rubber stamp manufacturing, which has grown into an extensive business, occupying a basement within the block which he now owns on Washington Street, city of Binghamton N.Y.

A History of Broome County, New York. Syracuse: D. Mason and Co., 1885, contributed by John F. Barlow


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Author: Allen Barlow, 1810-   Title: Allen Barlow papers, 1855-1925.  Description: 20 items (ca.)

Notes: Merchant, manufacturer.
Two books of business and domestic accounts containing construction expenses for a residence in 1855, a business block in 1885-86, and other jobs; household receipts, magazine articles, and political letters to local newspapers. Also minutes of board of trustees of Barlow School of Industrial Arts, Binghamton, 1889-1925; and other papers and correspondence regarding transfer of Oak Street property of school to city. Card catalog.

Subjects: Broome County, New York -- Business activity    Business activity -- Broome County, New York    Broome County, New York --

Education. Education -- Broome County, New York.   Construction trades. Minutes. Correspondence.

Location: Broome County Historical Society, Roberson Center or the Arts and Sciences 30 Front Street Binghamton, New York 13902

Control No.: NYHV271-A

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