Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement
The Pioneer Barrows Family
When in 1849 William C. Barrows came to Sheboygan from his home town, New Haven, Conn., he caught his first glimpse of
our then embryo city from the deck of a lake steamboat plying between Buffalo and Chicago, from which he landed at the
first pier, located at a point between Wisconsin and Center avenues, and some of the piles of which are visible to this
Mr. Barrows was accompanied by his wife, Marilla, and his only child, Addison David Barrows, who was then two years of
age, but who distinctly remembers that on the lake trip to Sheboygan his cap fell into the water and was soon lost to
sight as the steamboat continued on its way unmindful of the youngster's unrecovered head covering.
The little Barrows family did not tarry in Sheboygan but proceeded immediately to Greenbush, where they resided about
half a year and then settled down in Plymouth, where his father pursued his vocation as a maker of garments for the beaux
of that then village until the Civil war broke out and he enlisted for a three year term, which he served out, and then
he re-enlisted and served until the end of the great conflict between the North and the South, after which he returned to
Plymouth and lived there until 1871, when he moved to Rock Falls, Ia., where he died in 1874, and where a second son,
Frederick Bertram, was born, who died in 1899 in his 25th year.
Addison David Barrows, the first son of the pioneer, William C. Barrows, and who is already above referred to, went to
work at the Plymouth hub factory for several years at the age of 16 years, where he acquired the rudiments of the
occupation of steam engineering, which he followed for many years thereafter, save for an interim of two years, during
which he worked on the farm of Enos Eastman, near Plymouth. He then resumed his calling as steam engineer, taking a
position in the machine shop of Horace and George Trowbridge at Fond du Lac.
In 1867 young Barrows assumed the position of engineer in the Dillingham flour mill at Glenbeulah, and later he was
employed in the same capacity and at the same time and still later as superintendent of the Dillingham woodworking
factory, which later was removed to Sheboygan, where it developed into the manufacturing plant which today stands out
prominently among the great industrial units of our city, and with which Mr. Barrows is still identified, and in which
he, together with his son, Harrison Elmer, since 1921, own a major interest, when they acquired it by purchase from the
widow of the founder, J. T. Dillingham. The Dillingham Manufacturing company makes refrigerators and special lines of
furniture. Otis H. Clark is vice-president and treasurer.
In 1880 A. D. Barrows bought a half interest in a sawmill at St. Cloud in Fond du Lac county, which interest he sold when
he removed from Glenbeulah to Sheboygan with the Dillingham concern in 1884. His son, Harrison Elmer, better known both
in business and social circles as "Harry," besides with his father owning interests in the Dillingham Manufacturing
company, is its secretary and general manager.
A. D. Barrows, now in his 77th year, still takes active interest in the Dillingham Manufacturing company, going to the
office every day, both before and after noon, and together with his estimable wife, (a daughter of another Plymouth
pioneer, Henry Brown) and who was a Miss Martha E. Brown, a native of England, and to whom he was married in 1870, they
spend their winters in their cozy home at 636 Erie avenue in Sheboygan, and their summers in their country home,
beautifully situated on Elkhart Lake, surrounded by a 17-acre plot commanding an engaging view of that lake, which plot
Mr. Barrows acquired by purchase from the widow of William Schwartz in 1905. This property was long ago known as the
Davison resort, the improvements on which had many years preceding its purchase by Mr. Barrows been burned to the
ground. On this site Mr. Barrows erected the present beautiful summer home soon after acquiring its ownership. Here Mr.
Barrows has indulged his horticultural hobby and his good taste and ability along that line to his hearts content, the
effect of which is a delight to the many who come and go there and enjoy the charm and generous hospitality of the
Barrows' summer home.
That "A. D." possesses a good memory is already proven in the lost cap incident related in the second paragraph of this
biographical sketch, He well remembers when the locomotive was drawn by a 20-ox team over the plank road from Sheboygan
to Fond du Lac through Plymouth. This locomotive was thus laboriously transported that it might reach Fond du Lac and be
placed on the rails of a railway being built out of there within the time limit called for by the terms of the charter
under which it was built. At this time young Barrows was a mere "kid," but he well remembers how the oxen tugged at the
ponderous load as the broad cartwheels bumped over the plan road, to the delight and wonderment of the youngsters of the
When the Civil war broke out, young Barrows was working on the Eastman farm, as already stated, and he persuaded David
Jenkins, then an engineer on the railway running between Sheboygan and Plymouth to take him to Sheboygan to see the
soldiers drill and to attend a mass meeting held in a big "wigwam" here in the course of Lincoln's first presidential
campaign. Mr. Barrows also remembers well the building of said railway to Plymouth where a turntable was installed and
operated until the railway was extended to Glenbeulah, and in 1868 to Fond du Lac.
Mr. Barrows father, a soldier in the Civil war, already referred to above, kept his family and friends in Plymouth well
informed on the progress of the great war, and the Barrows home was the news headquarters for all the "war widows" for
miles around, and although this news from the seat of war was often several months old before it reached Plymouth, it was
just as eagerly welcomed as were the war bulletins posted during the World war bringing the news of battles fought only a
few hours before such posting!
Copyright 1997 - 2005 by Debie Blindauer
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