©Barlow Genealogy 1998-2005


Honorable Charles Averill Barlow   Ohio ~ Kern Co California


No industry has contributed in greater degree to the wealth of Kern county than that of oil development and probably no firm has been identified more intimately with the advancement of the industry during the past decade than that of Barlow and Hill, a title familiar to all who have kept in touch with local progress. Since the organization of the firm in 1902 they have organized many companies, all of which have been successful, and the six which they now operate have shares of stock that are quoted as gilt-edged security with a continuous tendency to rise in public and private markets. Besides the six companies they are at present interested in Maricopa and Midway oil properties and in addition have been successful in establishing a national reputation for Sunset road oil, which is extensively used in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Idaho and, in fact, as far east as Kansas City. To the enterprise, knowledge and direction of the two members of the firm. Kern county is in a great measure indebted for its present high standing as an oil-producing section. No temporary discouragement has lessened their faith in the oil industry of this region and in the natural mineral wealth of the state. Thoroughly optimistic in temperament, yet conservative in action, they stand for that large element of loyal citizenship in dissolubly associated with the progress of city, county and commonwealth.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17, 1858, Hon. Charles Averill Barlow is a son of Hon. Merrill and Ann Frances (Arnold) Barlow, the former distinguished attorney in Cleveland, who during the war administration was selected to serve as quartermaster- general of Ohio. About 1872, when forty-eight years of age, he was stricken suddenly with apoplexy and passed from earth before he had achieved financial success, but in the midst of a remarkable professional career that had brought him fame as a leading criminal lawyer of Cleveland.

Surviving him were his wife and four children, the latter named as follows: Coralinne, now the wife of James S. Rice, a retired orange- grower living at Tustin, Orange county, Cal.; Charles Averill, of Bakersfield; Edward Sumner, who resides on the old home farm at Ventura, this state; and Belle Remington, now the wife of Frank Bates of Ventura.

When the family came to California about the year 1875 they settled at Ventura-by-the-sea and C.A. then a youth of seventeen years began with eagerness to study western conditions, resources and prospects, meanwhile earning a livelihood on farms and in various occupations in town.

Possessing ideas that were in advance of his time, he joined enthusiastically in many reform movements and for such work he found a favorable opening when he and a partner, Mr. Tuley, established and conducted the Reasoner, a weekly paper that became the Populist organ for San Luis Obispo county. As early as 1888 he began to support the free silver cause and for years he was the leading exponent of that movement in his part of the state. During 1893 the Populist party elected him to the state legislature, where he served not only with fidelity, but even with distinction. With the assistance of the votes of free silver Republicans Mr. Barlow in 1896 was elected by the Populist party to the Fifty-fifth congress as the representative from the sixth congressional district which at that time included the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz.

In congress he distinguished himself for his uncompromising stand in favor of reform measures. Credited to his efforts was the passage of a bill setting aside the Pine mountain forest reservation, comprising several million acres of land extending south almost as far as Pasadena. Other measures for the permanent benefit of the state and the people received his steadfast aid. When the principles of the Populist party were to some extent adopted by the Democrats, he turned to the older party organization, in which since he has been an active worker. During 1912 he was chosen one of four delegates-at-large from California to the national Democratic platform of that year favorable to mining and the oil industry.

During 1901 Mr. Barlow and his accomplished wife, who was formerly Miss Elizabeth McDonnell, of Ventura county, established their home in Bakersfield, where they erected and now occupy a beautiful residence fitted with all modern improvements and conveniences. Since his removal to this city Mr. Barlow has become a very prominent citizen and has served ably as president of the Kern county board of trade, besides being a large stockholder and one of the directors in the new Security Trust Company. In business circles he enjoys a high reputation. Fraternally he has been actively associated with the Woodmen, Elks and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Since 1902 he has been a partner of W.H. Hill, a resident of California and Bakersfield from the year 1901 and a native of Genseo, Livingston county, N.Y., born November 19, 1848. While yet very young, Mr. Hill began to work in the lumber business and for years he gave to that occupation his entire time and attention. For twelve years he served as chairman of the board of supervisors of Schoolcraft county, Mich. Since coming west he has become known as a well- informed, accurate businessman and his counsel is much sought, particularly by those wishing to embark in the oil business. He is a stockholder and director of the First National Bank of Bakersfield and the Producers' Savings Bank. Like his partner, he owns a fine home in Bakersfield and is a firm believer in a prosperous future assured for the city.

Concerning the firm of Barlow and Hill we quote the following from the oil review edition of the Morning Echo, Bakersfield, February 28, 1911: "California has no better known industry than oil and the oil industry has no more well known firm than Barlow and Hill, for the past nine years doing a business in Bakersfield and Kern county as dealers in oil land and producing oil companies, essentially the latter. The personnel of the firm C.A. Barlow and W.H. Hill, assures its high standing and gives confidence to its constantly increasing clientele. Barlow and Hill formed a partnership in August 1902, to deal in oil lands. Since that time they have organized many oil companies, all of which have become producers, and Barlow and Hill have never taken a dollar of their clients' money but what in each case the company joined the ranks of the paying producers. They have six oil companies of their own and are extensively interested in Maricopa and Midway oil properties. They rehabilitated three oil companies which were sold to eastern capitalists and have produced oil in quantities as claimed by the firm, frequently in excess of their estimates. Among the many successful ventures which Barlow and Hill have had to deal with was the making of the countrywide reputation for Sunset road oil. They took hold of the Sunset companies at Maricopa when it was considered unprofitable and well-nigh impracticable to handle this oil, owing to its being too heavy and hard for fuel purposes. But Barlow and Hill were not discouraged and by dint of their well-directed effort Sunset road oil or its equivalent has become a part of the specifications in road-building with oil as demanded by municipalities on the Pacific coast and elsewhere."

A Half Century of Progress, Bakersfield and Kern County, 1912, in mentioning the progressive business efforts of Barlow and Hill, give the following summary of their work in the oil industry and the importance of this industry to the development of local wealth: "It should be a matter of the liveliest satisfaction to the people of California to know that no single corporation or group of individuals is controlling the destiny of the state's oil industry by the monopolization of territory, rate of development and production, or the fixing of arbitrary prices. The petroleum interests of California are too big for any combination of capital to swing and manipulate at will for any period of time. Petroleum apparently exists in every section of this big commonwealth, so blessed by nature in the glories of sky and air, in the ocean about it and in its pregnant soil, blessed even in the bowels of its earth, which yield in a rich return to man's labor almost for the asking. There are any number of safe investments in Kern county open to inspection. Money must be active to make quick and large profits. Slow money slowly responds with slow interest. The investor who is content with the latter is out of joint with the times and in the rear end of the race for competency and wealth. No class of speculative investment is safer or promises larger profits than investment in oil companies backed by unlimited capital and experience, and directed by reputable men. Such is the character of the six oil companies backed by Barlow and Hill, a firm established in 1902 to deal in oil lands, and that since has been one of the effectual forces in the building up of the oil industry in Kern county. Among their many successful ventures was the making of a country-wide reputation for Sunset road oil. The two partners in the firm are widely known and are numbered among the most influential men of the community, taking an active interest in all measures for the advancement of Bakersfield and her commercial interests."

History of Kern County by Wallace M. Morgan / Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA - 1914


Nature chose Charles Averill Barlow as a magnet for ideas. Those who knew him best felt the gathering around him of creative forces that through him sought release and utterance. He imbued kindred spirits with his zeal, energy and enthusiasm and stirred the state and its people to greater and broader achievements. Endowed with the courage, the vision, the resourcefulness of the true pioneer, he erected the guide-posts of progress and success and furthered California's development along many lines. As a congressman and a member of the state legislature he established a notable record of public service, becoming a recognized leader in projects for the development and utilization of the natural resources of California, and for more than a quarter of a century Bakersfield was honored by his citizenship.

Mr. Barlow was born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17, 1858, a son of Merrill and Anne (Arnold) Barlow, natives respectively of Ohio and New Jersey. The father was of French descent and served as quartermaster-general of Ohio during the Civil war. The youth of Charles A. Barlow was a period of hard and unremitting labor and his education was practically self-acquired. In 1876, when eighteen years of age, he journeyed to California in company of other young men of adventurous spirit, and in 1878 his parents and their three children came to this state. For a time he worked on a ranch in Ventura county and was next employed in a harness shop at San Luis Obispo. In San Miguel he was identified with the operation of a flour mill and early developed an interest in agriculture which influenced much of his later efforts in the solution of farm problems. About 1900 he came to Bakersfield and soon afterward formed a partnership with W.H. Hill. They were associated in the promotion of oil and other mineral industries of Kern county and the relationship was continued until the death of Mr. Hill, which occurred a short time before the demise of his partner. Mr. Barlow owned and developed large tracts of land in Kern and Tulare counties and was one of the most successful growers of citrus fruit in this part of the state. A deep student of that industry, he utilized the most effective methods in the development of his orchards and materially advanced the standards of agriculture and fruit growing in California. His brother, Edward Barlow, resided twelve miles southwest of Bakersfield and for many years was numbered among the leading ranchmen of the Arvin district. Charles A. Barlow was a stockholder in the United Security Bank and Trust Company and served on its board of directors for a considerable period.

In 1914 Mr. Barlow married Miss Julia Lillis Caldwell, who was born in Great Village, in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, September 22, 1878, a daughter of George O. and Susan (Finley) Caldwell, and of English descent. Their adopted daughter, Mamie Barlow Woodsworth resides in Bakersfield where Mrs. Barlow is also living, occupying the home at No. 1905 Eighteenth street.

Early in the '80s Mr. Barlow served in the state legislature, performing his duties in a manner that won for him the strong approbation of his constituents in San Luis Obispo county, and in 1896 he was elected by the populist party to represent the sixth district in the fifty-fifth United States congress. During his tenure of office,which covered one term, he was identified with much constructive legislation and assisted in securing an appropriation of a quarter of a million dollars for the improvement of the Los Angeles Federal building. Through individual effort, he obtained an appropriation of four hundred thousand dollars for the improvement of San Pedro harbor and was instrumental in securing the passage of a bill for quarantine against fruit disease. In 1912, he was chosen one of the four delegates-at-large to the democratic national convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and was for years an influential member of the state central committee of the party. The later years of his life were spent in untiring efforts to benefit the dry portions of the state through a coordinated plan of drainage and irrigation. He organized the State Irrigation Association of California, becoming its president, and as a result of his efforts the state authorized preliminary surveys of the project. Mr. Barlow also influenced the state to include the famous Kern River highway the first link in the proposed highway to Mt. Whitney, in the state highway budget. In handling public problems he brought to bear rare judgment and a comprehensive grasp of every subject which engaged his attention. His fraternal affiliations were with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Woodmen of the World, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For two years he was president of the Exchange Club of Bakersfield and was one of its charter members. Reading constituted his chief source of recreation and he was particularly well informed regarding the subjects which most interested him -- agriculture and history. Mr. Barlow had a great heart and a great mind and there was perfect accord between them. He was so ruggedly honest, so unselfishly patriotic, so splendidly altruistic in every act of his official and private life that his associates were drawn close to him by ties of admiration and love. He attained the age of sixty-nine years, passing away October 3, 1927, in Bakersfield, and left behind him the imperishable monument of splendid dreams realized.

History of Kern County, California    By Thelma Miller   Clark Publishing, Chicago, Ill. (1929)


Civil War Document signed by Ohio Quartermaster General Merrill Barlow

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