WVPLEASA-L ArchivesArchiver > WVPLEASA > 1999-04 > 0924705918
From: "west" <>
Subject: Re: WVPLEASA-D Digest V99 #45
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:45:18 -0400
The following is a letter to the Editor written by B. L. Herrington of St.
Marys and appeared in a local newspaper. It is not dated but on the back
is a grocery ad and bread was 8 loaves for $1.00 and pork chops were $.69
a pound. I think it was 1969 because article says Earl will be 80 in Dec.
1900 Census said he was 10. Perhaps this will be of
interest to Mrs. John Barkwill.
Perhaps most residents of St. Marys could direct a stranger to Barkwill
Street, but how many know how the street got its name? How many are still
living who remember "Uncle Sam" Barkwill, at one time perhaps the best
known and most colorful member of the community.
The story of the Barkwills is partly written history, partly family
tradition. May I ask your help and that of your readers, in gathering as
much information about the family as possible. Some one may have old
letters, records in family Bibles, or half forgotten memories which should
be recorded and preserved. If so, I would like to hear from them. We know
that Sam Barkwill once owned much of the land where the city is now
located. Robert Pemberton, former editor of the St. Marys Oracle wrote in
his History of Pleasants County (1929) that the First National Bank was
built on the site of Sam Barkwill's farm house. The house itself was moved
to the rear and (in 1929) was occupied by the Pleasants County Leader.
>From the same source, we learn that the school grounds between Washington
Street and the Ellenboro Pike, and the grounds now occupied by the Baptist
Church were once part of the Barkwill farm.
Earl Barkwill, who will be 80 next December, wrote of Sam Barkwill: "He
was quite a character, quite tall and patriotic. He secured an "Uncle Sam"
suit and wore it on the slightest provocation such as picnics and other
celebrations. He was quite a "cut-up". It is of interest that Sam
Barkwill was the first person to be granted U.S. Citizenship in Pleasants
County after its formation in 1851.
More information is recorded in his obituary written by "A Friend". From
it we learn that Samuel Barkwill was born in the County of Cornwall in
England in 1821. He was selected to be one of Queen Victoria's life guards
but he declined the honor preferring to accompany his parents who were
emigrting to America. They settled near Grape Island. Sam became a river
boat pilot. He knew the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and the lower
tributaries of the Mississippi River so well that he never made a mistake
or sank a boat. He was a resident of St. Marys from 1843 until his death
So much is recorded, but who were Sam's parents? Did he have brothers or
sisters? Family legend gives a little more information. Earl Barkwill,
who thinks that Sam was his father's uncle, tells this story. "Three
Barkwill brothers came together from England. The names of the three were
Sam, John and William, and the emigration came about in this way. The
brothers had a sister of marriageable age and the priest of the community,
who seemed to be the absolute ruler, decreed that she must marry a certain
Catholic man who was very desirous of making the union. The family was
strictly against it, and to defeat the plan, the four of them took ship for
America. I believe the girl's name was Nan and she married an Ohio man
named Echols. This is family legend. Earl was not born until 68 years
In his application for U.S. citizenship, Sam declared that he came to this
country in 1841. If John and William came with him, who was the Barkwill
who worked for Thomas Brouse at Grape Island in 1840? (See p. 42 of
Pemberton's History of Pleasants County.)
We know the story of Sam Barkwill who resided in St. Marys for many years,
but what became of John and William? Which one, John or William, was
grandfather of Earl Barkwill, and of O. C. Barkwill who became sheriff of
Pleasants County and the Postmaster of St. Marys? Earl does not know. Who
were Sam's parents who settled near Grape Island? They were not mentioned
in Earl's story of the emigration, and neither Nan, John nor William were
mentioned in Sam's obituary.
Dr. Bernard Barkwill of LaMesa, California, has an old Bible which raises
more questions. The fly leaf is inscribed: "Francis Barkwill,
Independence Township, Washington County, Ohio, 1845". Under the heading
Births, he made these entries:
John Barkwill Aug. 1811
William Barkwill May 7, 1816
Benjamin Barkwill Dec. 20, 1818
Sam Barkwill Mar. 14, 1821
Francis Barkwill May 29, 1826
Under marriages, he recorded:
William and Edith Barkwills, married Dec 5, 1844
Benjamin and Clarissa Barkwills, married Sept. 5, 1847
Samuel and Rachel Barkwills, married Nov. 24, 1847
Francis Barkwill and Lonia Harvey, married Aug. 22, 1845
We can recognize the names of John, William and Sam, but who was Benjamin
and who was Francis. It seems probable that they were brothers but the
record does not say so, and there is no mention of Nan.
Who can supply more information about these early settlers, about their
parents, their wives and descendants? Where did they live, what was their
occupation, whom did they marry, when did they dies, where are they buried?
If you can provide a clue, will you please write to B. L. Harrington.
B. L. Herrington
(Note: Spelling of his last name is spelled both ways:
Submitted by Thelma Wells West, Dover, OH. I have no connection with this
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