John Gary Barrow settled in Covington County circa 1831

Published 3:04 am Saturday, September 29, 2018

Today’s story is third in a series featuring three Barrow ancestors whose families settled in Covington County, Ala. John Barrow, born in Pitt County, N.C., was presented a few years earlier. Green barrow, born 1791 in North Carolina, was covered last week. The focus in this current column will be on John Gray Barrow, born in 1804 in Georgia. Recent DNA test results have revealed a very close relationship, likely brothers, between Green and John Gray, but it has yet to be determined if the earlier John is related. However, it is believed that he is of the same lineage. John Gray and Green appear to be the sons of James M. Barrow (1775-1829) and Nancy Andrews (1770-1860).

John Gray Barrow who arrived circa 1831 was one of the earliest settlers in Covington County. He chose to settle in the Montezuma community, which was located along the banks of the Conecuh River. John Gray built two gristmills, farmed, raised stock and taught school while teaching his own children at home. Other business adventures included owning and operating a hotel, the only two-story building in the settlement. He served his neighbors as a county commissioner for several terms. During the early years in the county, he engaged in several expeditions against the Indians until they were removed from the area.

Early on he was appointed to a second special commission in 1841 for the task of selecting a suitable and permanent site for the courthouse and to serve as county seat. The goal was not reached, but eventually the location of Andalusia was chosen and the town was born in 1844. John Gray Barrow was definitely a leading citizen in the development of the county.

John Gray migrated to the Pensacola, Fla., area as a young man where he met a widow, Gatsy Ann (Dunn) Gainer. Gatsy had a son, Meeker Gainer, by her first husband who was reared with her children by John Gray Barrow. In addition to Meeker, they were the parents of the following children: Gatsy Ann, b. 1826, d. 1856, m. Joshua L. Deen; Jacob G., b. 1827, d. 1895, m. Unity Ann Franklin (1827-1892); David S., b. 1828, d. 1908, m. Sarah K. Dean (1830-1906); Mary, b. 1829; m. David Foshee; Caroline, b. 1833, d. 1850s, m. Wiley Padgett (1813-1865); James Madison, b. 1835, d. 1892, m. 1853 Lucinda Avis Keen (1838-1908); Sarah Jane, b. 1836, m. William J. Riley; and John Julian, b. 1838, d. 1909, m. (1) ? Still (2) Elizabeth (Dixon) Caton (1825-1942). The first four children were born in Escambia County, Fla., and the last four were born in Covington County. There were four sons and four daughters, and all four sons rendered service in the Confederate Army.

The oldest daughter, Gatsy Ann Barrow, was married to Joshua L. Deen. They were the parents of the following children: Mary G., b. 1847, d. 1897, m. (1) William Foshee (2) Alfred Lint Caton; and Augustus William, b. 1849, d. 1900, m. (1) Jane Elizabeth Mitchell (2) Ida Garrett.

The oldest son, Jacob G. Barrow, who was born in 1826 in Escambia County, Fla., was married to Unity Ann Franklin, and they resided in Conecuh County, Ala. Before his marriage, he lived in his father’s household and probably helped operate the Barrow Ferry across Conecuh River. He enlisted in the Confederate States of America and was captured in Florida where he was held on Ship Island. Once he was released, he returned to serve throughout the war. Afterwards, he primarily worked as a farmer and owned considerable acreage in Conecuh County. He was married to Unity Ann Franklin in 1852, and their children were born between 1854 and 1860. In 1860, Jacob G. was prosperous and owned 6 slaves. He was identified as a registered voter in the county in 1867. Jacob G. and Unity Ann were the parents of the following children; Josiah M., b. 1854; Mary, b. 1856; Sarah, b. 1858; and Elizabeth, b. 1860.

The next son, David S. Barrow, was born in 1828 in Escambia County, Fla. He became one of the most outstanding citizens of the county. He was a planter, lumber man, miller, merchant and ferry operator. He built two mills on the site of his father’s and acquired as many as 3,000 plus acres of land. In 1860, he was credited with owning eight slaves. During the War for Southern Independence, he was captain of a company of 70 men, but the exact name of his unit was not found. In 1867, he was identified as a registered voter. He served as a county commissioner, and he was the first man to be made a Mason at the Fairmount Lodge in Red Level.

David S. Barrow was married circa 1850 to Sarah K. Deen (1830-1906), daughter of Ransom L. and Sarah Deen. Ransom was the first sheriff for Conecuh County, Ala. David and Sarah lived in the Montezuma community where his two-story house stood on the west side of the Conecuh River. He and Sarah were the parents of the following children: Zenobia, b. 1852, d. 1892, m. J.E. McKiver; John D., b. 1853, d. 1855; Sarah, b. ca 1857, m. S.A. Jones; Jeptha D., b. 1860, d. 1903, m. Mary Ann ?; John Julian II, b. 1860s; Ella G., b. 1869, d. 1908, m. J.H. Tollison; Eldora D.; and unnamed infant.

Daughter Caroline Barrow was born in 1833 after the family had moved to Covington County. She was married in 1840s to Wiley Padget, son of William (1782-1843) and Elizabeth (1790-1856) Padget. William was a mill overseer, and the family resided in the Fairfield community before moving to Conecuh County. In 1863, William enlisted in the Sixth Alabama Cavalry to serve in the Confederate Army. At some point during the war, he was captured, and it appears he died in a military prison. He and Caroline were the parents of the following three children: Mary, b. 1849; William, b. 1850; and John, b. 1852.

Another son, James Madison Barrow, was born in 1835 in Covington County. Like his father and brothers, he engaged in farming and helping with the ferry. In 1853, he represented the Andalusia Baptist Church at the Bethlehem Association meetings. In 1857, he was married to Lucinda Avis Keen (1838-1908), daughter of Josiah H. Keen and Martha D. Caton of Stewart County, Ga. In 1860, he owned considerable land and had five slaves. He rendered service in the Confederate Army as a private in Capt. J.T. Brady’s Company. Following the war in 1866, he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace.

James Madison and Lucinda Barrow were the parents of the following children: Josiah Henry, b. 1859, d. 1938, m. Susan A. Thompson (1857-1937); Mary Virginia, b. 1861, m. Wesley Garvin; Gatsy Eufame, b. 1863, d 1957, m. George James Foshee (1860-1935); Martha Jane, b. 1865, d. 1952, single; John Gray, b. 1866, d. 1952, m. Susannah Antoinette “Anna” Harper (1867-1943); James Madison Jr., b. 1868, d. 1869; Caroline “Carrie” Zenobia, b. 1870, d. 1946, m. James Henry Tollison (1872-1933); Alice Bliss, b. 1872, d. 1883, d. young; Meeker Greenleaf, b. 1874, d. 1952, m. (1) Malissa Margaret Acree (2) Evie D. ? (1874-1909) (3) Leona Victoria Parker (1893-1984); George McIntosh, b. 1876, m. Isabel “Belle” Purnell; Sarah Frances, b. 1877; and Effie Irene, b. 1879, d. 1956, m. Henry Terry Huggins Sr. (1873-1947).

The youngest child, John Julian Barrow, was born in 1838 in Covington County. Like his brothers, he was a farmer and ferry operator. In 1860, he was a member of the Andalusia Volunteers and eventually enlisted in Company G, 1st. Florida Regiment of the Confederate Army. He was first married to a Miss Still, and then circa 1865, he married Elizabeth (Dixon) Caton (1836-1942) who was the widow of a Confederate soldier. She and her Caton husband had one child, Marion Caton, b. ca 1861.

John Julian and Elizabeth Barrow were the parents of the following children: Minnie, b. 1869, d. 1896, m. 1888 Haston Gilbert Ballard (1857-1935); Lula Beatrice, b. 1871, d. 1942, m. 1888 Burris Hastings Gail Ballard (1856-1931); John Henry, b. 1874, d. 1931, m. 1900 Sallie Bernice Dixon; and David Samuel, b. 1876, d. 1938, m. (1) Maggie Barrow (2) Nancy Viola Chance (1884-1975).

There are many descendants in the succeeding generations, but space does not permit covering them in this story.

Sources for this narrative include,, Joseph Barrow’s records, Wyley D. Ward’s Early History of Covington County, 1821-1871, and Lisa Franklin’s family records.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:



The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 4, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. New Compatriot David Floyd will present the program. Guests and prospective members are encouraged to attend.