Barrow ancestors settled in Oak Grove in Walton County

Published 1:45 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

Several years earlier John Gray Barrow’s family and descendants were featured in this column. He was an early settler and leader in the Montezuma settlement during the 1820s and 1830s. In today’s column another John Barrow who lived about the same time and in the northern section of the Florida Panhandle will be presented.

Some researchers believe these two John Barrows were related. One suggestion is that John Gray was the son of the other John’s brother, Absalom, but no documentation has been found. Others believe John Gray might even have been the son of the other John. It is known that John Gray came to Montezuma from Pensacola where he had married the widow, Ghatsy Gainer. Other references indicate he came from Barrow’s Ferry in Walton County. Various records such as the American State Papers, 1824-1828, which are housed in the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, state that the First Precinct of Barrow’s Ferry, included Pensacola and Escambia County. And John Gray did establish his Barrow’s Ferry across the Conecuh River at the Montezuma settlement.

Other relevant documents state that in 1826, just after the second John Barrow’s death, John Gray Barrow petitioned for his own land. Also, in 1829, a petition to Congress was signed by Reuben, Richmond, and John Gray Barrow, and Reuben and Richard were sons of the second John Barrow A later petition included the same three Barrows along with Jerry (Jeremiah) Barrow, a young brother of Reuben and Richmond. So the question is, just how was John Gray related to the other Barrow men?

This second John Barrow was one of the earliest white men to establish a residence in what became the Oak Grove settlement on the Yellow River in the northwest corner of Walton County, Florida. He has also been mentioned as the first white settler in the Baker, Florida, area. He was enumerated in the 1820 census of Walton County with six females in his household. None of these have been identified with absolute certainty, but his suspected sons are fairly well known.

However, it is strongly believed that two of John’s daughters were Tabitha Barrow who married Absalom Fuqua and Mary Barrow who married Charles Archileus. The fact that Tabitha named one of her first daughters Elizabeth and one of her first sons John is very supportive of this belief that John and Elizabeth Barrow were her parents. Also, in 1830 in Covington County, Tabitha and husband, Absalom Fuqua, were living just three households away from Charles and Mary (Barrow) Archileus – Mary and Tabitha appearing to be sisters and the daughters of John and Elizabeth Barrow.

In 1840, Tabitha and Absalom had returned to Walton County, Florida, and were residing between a younger John Barrow who appears to be her brother, and Jesse Senterfitt who was their step-brother. It has been learned that Jesse Senterfitt’s father, Henry Senterfitt, was married to Milbry Barrow, after each of them were widowed back in Georgia. Milbry was the mother of John Barrow, so she would have been the grandmother of Tabitha and Mary.

John Barrow had a brother, Absalom Barrow, who is not to be confused with John’s son-in-law, Absalom Fuqua, who came to South Alabama along with John. In 1820, he lived only a short distance from John in Conecuh County.

The lineage of Absalom and John Barrow has been traced at least as far back as Virginia. John Barrow, Sr. is their earliest known ancestor. He was born circa 1643 in the State of Virginia and was married circa 1667 in Old Albemarle County, North Carolina, to Sarah Sutton, daughter of George and Sarah (Tilden) Sutton. In addition to performing the traditional farming, John Sr. was very active in local government. He was a member of the Council of Albemarle County and the House of Assembly along with being a Justice in Perquimans Precinct. He owned 300 acres at Yawpin Creek in Berkeley Precinct where he and Sarah reared their family of six sons and four daughters. John died in 1718 in the Perquimans Precinct, Albemarle County. Sarah was baptized in 1650 in Scituate, Maine, and died in 1714 in Perquimaris County, North Carolina.

John and Sarah’s son, William Barrow, was born in 1671 in Berkeley County, North Carolina, and died in 1715 in Hyde Precinct, Bath County. He owned more than 2400 acres near Bath. He worked as a customs collector and served as a captain of the militia as well as a vestryman in the Parish of St. Thomas. He was married circa 1695 to Elizabeth Elkes, daughter of Richard and Ann (Belliott) Elkes. Elizabeth was born in 1678 in Perquimans Precinct and died in 1741 in Bath, Hyde County.They survived survived an Indian attack of 1711.

William and Elizabeth Barrow reared the following children: William Jr., b. 1697, d. 1946, m. Mary Frorne in 1719; Col. John, Sr., b. 1699, d. 1781, m. (1) Myrian Boutwell (ca 11710-1752) (2) circa 1753 Martha Spring (1720-1790)); Richard Sr., b. ca 1701, m. Mary ?; Ann, b. ca 1702, m. William Campbell; Samuel, b. ca 1704, d. ca 1734; Joseph Sr., b. ca 1705, d. 1752, m. Jane Bergeson; Sarah, b. ca 1707, m. William Harris; and James Sr., b. ca 1709, m. Rachel ?.

William and Elizabeth’s son, Richard Barrow, Sr., was born in circa 1701 in Bath Towne, Pamptecough County, North Carolina, and died in 1764, probably in that state. He was married to Mary whose surname is not known. They reared the following five children: Abraham Sr., b. 1723, d. 1799, m. (1) Elizabeth Burney (2) Sarah ?;Benjamin, b. 1725; Richard Jr., b. 1733, d. 1804, m. Marie Godwin; Joseph B, b. ca 1740; and Reuben, b. ca 1745, d. 1812, m. Milbre ?. The first child was born in Onslow County, North Carolina; the next three in Pitt County, and the last was born in Beaufort County.

Around 1805, when he was about 30 years of age, Reuben, the youngest son moved to Pulaski County, Georgia. He then acquired about 1200 acres in Jefferson and Warren Counties, where he was a farmer. This was about the time of the Revolutionary War, so he served in Bickham’s Company, Georgia Militia. In August 1774, he was granted 150 acres in St. George Parish, Georgia, by Governor James Wright. Later he received a Georgia bounty of 187.5 acres in Washington County for his Revolutionary War service. He also won a lot in Wilkinson County in the Land Lottery of 1807. He amassed quite a large land holding, and in addition to farming, he owned and operated a gristmill.

Reuben was married to Milbre/Milbry (possibly Bledsoe), and all their children were born in Pitt County, North Carolina, before his death in 1812 in Pulaski County. They had the following children: Ferriby, b. 1767; Edy, b. 1770, m. Moses Williams; James M., b. 1775; John, b. 1777, d. ca 1825, m. Elizabeth ?; and Absolum, b. 1779, d. before 1840, m. ?; After Reuben’s death, Milbry married a widower, Henry Senterfitt, in 1817. She died a few years later circa 1823 in Pulaski County. Henry’s son, Jesse Senterfitt, followed the Barrows to Oak Grove, Florida and lived near them.

There is more lineage data available on some of these lines, so next week’s column will feature the John Barrow, Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth, who were introduced and covered to some extent in the last column.

Sources for this writing include the family records of Barbara Martin, Sharon Marsh, and Pauline Barrow who are all Barrow descendants. Appreciation is expressed to them for their in-depth research.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above data or additional information on the Barrow family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; call 334-222-6467; or e-mail:


Anyone who has any information on the old McQueen Cemetery in the Oakey Ridge community is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at the above addresses. The cemetery is located some distance off Whatley Road on property owned by Velt Newton. It is believed that the last burial occurred in the 1960s and that McQueens, Cassadys, and Turners as well as other families are buried there. Plans are to write a brief history of the cemetery and to encourage any restoration and maintenance that might be done.