BARLOW, Oswald: History of a St. George Pioneer

Barlow Oswald
Oswald Barlow

Oswald Barlow was born on July 20, 1829, in Prestwich, Lancashire, England. He was the oldest of eight children born to James Barlow (b. 3 Nov 1802, d. 22 Jul 1849) and Ann Crompton Barlow (b. 28 Aug 1804, d. 18 Oct 1887), who were married on February 13, 1831, in St. Mary Eccles, Lancashire, England.

Oswald was born prior to the marriage of James and Ann Barlow. His father was never named, but his last name was Fogg. After James and Ann were married James adopted Oswald and was thereafter known as Oswald Barlow. It is said that at an early age, he learned the trade of dying fabrics. During his youth in England, Oswald learned to play the fife and drum, and also learned the trades of a mason and stone cutter. These became important roles in his life later on.

On November 17, 1839, Oswald’s father, James, was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in England. Oswald himself was baptized less than three months later, at the age of 10, on February 10, 1840. Then Oswald’s mother was baptized on February 14th of the same year. His brothers and sisters were also baptized in the years that followed as they became of age. Oswald’s brothers and sisters were:

  • Richard Barlow (b. 18 Dec 1831),
  • Nancy Barlow (b 29 Nov l 833),
  • Martha Barlow (b. 30 Sep 1835),
  • John Barlow (b. 3 Aug 1838),
  • Jane Barlow (b 23 June 1841),
  • Alice Barlow (b. 27 Jan 1844),
  • Joseph Barlow (b. 11 May 1848).

In March of 1848 at Manchester, England, when Oswald was 18 years old, he married Catharine Nightingale (b.17 Mar 1827), who was also a member of the Latter Day Saints church. Their first son, James, was born on October 22, 1849. Soon after this, Oswald made preparations to immigrate to America to be with the main body of the Saints in Utah. He would leave his wife and son in England until he made enough money to send for them later.

He sailed on the ship Josiah Bradlee and arrived in America in 1850 at the age of 21, then came across the plains with the Edwin Wooley Company, led by President , arriving in Utah in 1852. Oswald actually drove President Young’s team during the trek, and upon arriving in Salt Lake, he lived with and worked for Brigham as a teamster. He drove President Young in his carriage when he would visit the Saints in their various locations in Utah. This very carriage was once on display in the Utah State Capitol Building, but it is now most likely in the DUP building in Salt Lake City.

While living in Salt Lake City, Oswald took a second wife by the name of Mary Jane Oliver (b. 1831). They were married in the Endowment House circa 1853. That same year, he sent for his wife Catherine and his son James in England to come to Utah. Catherine and James sailed for seven weeks on the ship Falcon. Then they came to Utah with the Appleton Harmon Company, arriving in Utah on October 9, 1853. Oswald and his new wife, Jane, went to meet Catherine soon after their arrival when Oswald took a load of supplies into Salt Lake City.

Mary Jane Oliver was born May 8, 1831, in Woolwich, England. She was the third child of William and Mary Martin Oliver. Her father was captain of a ship, which he owned, and was well enough off that his family enjoyed many of the comforts of life. Mary Jane joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized in 1859. About two years later, she left her home and parents to come to Utah. When she arrived in St. Louis, she had all her money, clothing, and jewelry stolen and was left with only what she stood up in. She worked in St. Louis for one year until she had enough money to come to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City in 1852. After arriving there, she worked until she married Oswald Barlow. She had a hard time adjusting herself to the rough pioneer life.

Around 1856, Oswald was called by President Brigham Young to move his family to Payson, Utah. Other men had also been called to do the same in order to keep their families safe while the men fought Johnson’s Army. While helping to hold the Army back at Echo Canyon, Oswald acted as a Captain. Once Johnson’s Army retreated, the Barlow families (now including five children) returned to Salt Lake City circa 1859. While in Payson, their daughter Melinda was born in the old school house.

During his time in Salt Lake City, Oswald Barlow was a member of Utah’s first martial band, directed by Professor Thomas. Not only did he play the fife and drum, but he was also an expert dancer. So, in 1859, Oswald opened up his own school of dance. Many of the Saints were glad to receive instruction from him, and the arts were strongly encouraged by Brigham Young. In fact, several of Brigham’s daughters were among the first pupils at his school. Oswald also had a splendid bass voice and was a good entertainer; therefore, many people loved to hear him sing.

In 1861, Oswald was called to the to settle southern Utah. He loaded up both families (now including nine children) into one covered wagon drawn by two yokes of oxen. While on the road, four of the children had mountain fever. This, along with many hardships, made the journey a trying one. After three weeks of traveling, they arrived in St. George on December 3, 1861. As soon as they arrived, the Saints made preparations for a Christmas social. A large tent (owned by Asa Calkins) was set up in the Adobe Yard (where the pioneers had set up camp), and here they held their first church meetings, as well as that first Christmas social. It was a grand celebration with wrestling matches, hop-step and jump contests, foot races, and a program of singing. Later that evening, a dance was held. It was Oswald Barlow’s orchestra that provided the music for this first dance. The older people danced inside the tent, and the space outside the tent was cleared for the young people to dance. They were surprised by the warm weather in Dixie, that such activities could be held out of doors in December. It was many of the young pioneer children in attendance that recorded their memories of this first Christmas social.

The Dixie Pioneers camped at the Adobe Yard for two and a half months until the city had been surveyed and lots were drawn up. Then the Apostle Erastus Snow put Oswald Barlow to work on building homes for the Saints. He was soon able to purchase a lot in the west part of town, where his family lived in a tent while he built their house. The Barlow family suffered the hardships of pioneering and often had only pigweed to eat, but they later prospered along with the rest of the Saints.

Oswald Barlow, a stone mason by trade, spent seven years working on the St. George Tabernacle. He also laid the foundation and walls of the courthouse. Since he had been called by Erastus Snow to build homes for the Saints, he did not work on the St. George Temple, but his sons did, including his oldest son James, who was born in England. Oswald helped build all the prominent homes in St. George, some as far north as Beaver, Utah, and as far west as Pioche, Nevada. He went out to Pioche, Nevada to do the mason work on the courthouse there. He took his second wife and children to Nevada but left them at Panaca. He built a number of homes in Panaca for the people there.

Oswald was also a member of the first martial band in St. George. It was first directed by Edward P. Duzette who had trained in the famous Nauvoo Legion Band under William Pitt. When Duzette was called to settle Rockville, Oswald Barlow became the band’s new leader in 1863. They held band practice in his home every Saturday evening. His drummers were Wilford and William Terryl, Joseph Worthen, Erastus and Joseph McIntyre (both of whom also played the fiddle), and Joseph Earl. Fifers included: Edwin T. Riding (who later married Oswald’s daughter Malinda), Elisha Cragun, George F. Jarvis, Thomas Bleak, Alex Fullerton, and Horatio Pickett. The band’s bass drum (owned by Alex Fullerton) was the first bass drum brought to Utah and had been used as a signal drum during the Echo Canyon War in 1858 (then owned by Alonzo Russell). The story of this drum is included in this book.

Barlow’s band played at all the holiday events, especially the July 4th and July 24th celebrations. They also participated in the military training of the local militia twice per year and had the honor of joining with the community brass band in greeting Church officials, including Brigham Young, with ceremonial music when they arrived in St. George. The band was known for its unique appearance, for they wore “cocked hats and feathers.”

After Oswald’s death, Horatio Pickett directed the band for several years, and later Oswald’s son-in-law, Edwin Taylor Riding assumed the position. He directed the Barlow band for thirty years, keeping alive the airs made famous by Captain Oswald Barlow.

When Utah became a state in 1896, this band came to be very much in demand and stayed active for years after Riding’s death in 1911. The band’s famous bass drum stayed with the band and was last known to be possessed by Fred Riding (son of Malinda Barlow and Edwin T. Riding) of St. George, Utah. It is now located in the Daughters of the Pioneers Museum in St. George.

Oswald Barlow died shortly before his 47th birthday on April 27, 1876, in St. George, Washington, Utah. He was the father of eighteen children, nine by his first wife, Catherine Nightingale Barlow, and nine by his second wife, Mary Jane Oliver Barlow.

Catherine later moved to the Snake River Valley in Idaho to live with her daughter, Adrienne Barlow, and her husband, Henry Hardy Wilson Jr., who moved there with a group of Saints in 1892. Catherine died on May 21, 1904, in Twin Groves, Fremont, Idaho.

Oswald and his family went through the hardships of the pioneers, but they prospered with the rest of the Saints.

The life of his second wife, Mary Jane, was always one of sacrifice for others. She spent much time with the sick, going out at any time or any place where needed. She was an expert seamstress and helped earn clothing for her children by sewing for others. She was so anxious to have her children look nice, that she sat up at night to wash and dry their clothes to have them clean to put on in the morning while darning, making quilt blocks or knitting. Mary Jane died with her knitting in her hands on January 18, 1900, in St. George, Utah.

Oswald Barlow’s children:

Born to Catherine Nightingale Barlow

  • James Barlow (b. 22 Oct 1849 Manchester, England) – married Anna Carlson (b. 18 Jul 1860 Asverge, Denmark) md. 13 Feb 1878 in St. George, Utah, helped with construction of the St. George Temple, moved to Richfield, Sevier County, Utah where he was a farmer and a stockman.
  • Oswald Franklin Barlow (b. 11 Aug 1854 Salt Lake County, Utah)- married Dorothy Heath in 1877 in St. George, Utah, moved to Price, Utah where he drove the first mail coach route from Price to Vernal that began in 1886.
  • Amanda Barlow (b. 23 Jul 1855 Salt Lake County, Utah) – married Mr. Cramer of Springville, Utah
  • Malinda Barlow (b. 7 Apr 1858 born in the old school house in Payson, Utah)- married Edwin Taylor Riding in St. George, Utah, died 25 Sep 1935 in St. George, Utah
  • Adrienne Barlow (b. 19 Oct 1859 Salt Lake County, Utah) – married Henry H. Wilson Jr. 26 Nov 1878, moved to St. Anthony, Idaho 1892, died 13 Feb 1940
  • Henrietta Caroline (Caddie) Barlow (b. 17 Jun 1861 Salt Lake County, Utah)- married John Luke and lived in Manti, San Pete County, Utah, and later in Junction, Paiute County, Utah
  • Willard Barlow (b. 12 Jun 1863 St. George, Utah) – married Elizabeth Luke in 1888, moved to Paiute County, Utah
  • Joseph Barlow (b. 3 Nov 1865 St. George, Utah) – moved to Leeds, Utah, married Adelaide Angell of Leeds in 1889
  • Heber F. Barlow (b. 1867 St. George, Utah) – died as an infant

Born to Mary Jane Oliver Barlow

  • William H. Barlow (b. 6 Aug 1855 Salt Lake County, Utah) died young
  • Limes Barlow (b. 21 Mar 1857 Payson, Utah) – married John Barlow (brother to Lunes’ father Oswald) md. July 26, 1875 in Salt Lake City, Utah, lived in Cedar Valley and Richfield, Utah
  • Alice Louise Barlow (b. 13 Feb 1859 Salt Lake County, Utah) – married John Blake April 19, 1875
  • David H. Barlow (b. 15 Sep 1860 Salt Lake County, Utah) – died 22 Nov 1870, never married
  • Albert George Barlow (b. 24 Jul 1862 St. George, Utah) – died 13 Jan 1864 St. George, Utah, never married
  • Mary Adelia Barlow (b. 12 Sep 1864 St. George, Utah) – died 6 Aug 1869, never married
  • Emma Jane Barlow (b. 29 Jul 1865 St. George, Utah) – died 29 Aug 1869, never married
  • Heber Franklin Barlow (b. 6 Sep 1866 St. George, Utah) – died 6 Aug 1867, never married
  • Herbert Arthur Barlow (b.6 Aug 1871 St. George, Utah) – married Clara Elizabeth Woodbury March 10, 1897, died 6 Dec 1905

Oswald’s Obituary reads as follows:

BARRLOW, OSWALD (son of James Barlow and Ann Crompton, born Aug. 27, 1805, both of Manchester, Eng.). He was born July 22, 1829, at Manchester. Came to Utah 1852, driving a merchant team overland.

Married Catherine Nightingale (daughter of John Nightingale and Jane Brown, the latter coming to Utah with last handcart company of 1856). She was born March 17, 1827. Came to Utah Oct. 9, 1653, Appleton Harmon company. Their children: James b. Oct. 22, 1849, in. Anne C. S. Carlson Feb. 13, 1878; Oswald F. b. Aug. ’11, 1854, m. Dorothy Heath 1877; Willard b. June 12, 1863, in. Elizabeth Luke1888; Joseph b. 1865, m. Adelaide Angel 1889 (both dead); Heber P. b.- 1867, died. Family home Salt Lake City, Utah.

Married Mary Jane Oliver (daughter of William Oliver), who was born 1831. Their children: William H. b. Aug. 8, 1856; Lanes b. March 21, 1857, In. John Barlow Jan. 26, 1875; David H. b. 1860; Albert George b. July 4, 1862; Heber Franklin b. Sept. 6, 1866 (all deceased); Arthur b, Aug. 6, 1871, m. Clara Woodbury.

Settled at St. George, Utah. Mason by occupation.

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