The History of Thomas J.S. Barlow Sr., Founder of

Four Accounts of Thomas J.S. Barlow and Barlow & Co.-

The first account of Thomas Barlow and Barlow & Co. is from the obituary of Thomas J.S. Barlow, 111, a retired RCA Vice-President-

Barlows Were Active...
Thomas 111, was the son of Thomas J.S. Barlow Jr., who built the Barlow Mansion as their home on the entire block of land at Mill rd. and Spruce ave. in the 1920s.

Thomas J.S. Barlow, Sr., along with his two sons, Junior and Fred Barlow, were among Maple Shade's (then Chester Township) first developers of any size, constructing the bungalows on farm land and meadow known as Maple Heights.

The development began at Main Street and Fellowship rd. and included Chestnut, Cherry, Walnut, Holly, Pine, (Cedar), and Boulevard aves.

The bungalows were sold as Barlow Built Bungalows (BBB) and older residents complained because they said they were too small.

Thomas Sr., served as Chairman of the Chester Township Committee (now Maple Shade Township Mayor).

He also served as a charter member of the Delaware River Bridge Commission.

He and his sons were also responsible for the necessity of the water and sewer utlities.

The Barlow & Company real estate offices were located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Forklanding rd. and is still standing and known as the Barlow Building. For awhile it carried the name of Moorestown's George B. Evans, Esq., (the Evans Building) who acquired it through foreclosure proceedings when the Barlows lost it during the great depression as they held second mortgages on the building and also the Barlow Built Bungalows.

Barlow Sr., resided at Main Street and Holly ave., now Inglesby-Givinish Funeral Home, and Fred resided at Main Street and Pine ave., which became the American Legion Home which was demolished and now is the funeral home parking lot with a beautiful flower garden and Veterans Memorial.

Maple Heights at Pine Avenue, circa. 1927

The second account of Thomas Barlow and Barlow & Co. is from the book-
South Jersey A History
1664- 1924, Volume V
Alfred M. Heston
Lewis Historical Publishing Co.

THOMAS J.S. BARLOW- Since 1921, Mr. Barlow has been retired from active business life although he still takes an intense interest in all that pertains to the welfare and advancement of Maple Shade, which is his home community and which, since 1911, he was largely instrumental in promoting as a residential section.

Thomas J.S. Barlow was born April 26, 1857, at Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Thomas and Agnes (Marr) Barlow. He came with his parents to live in Philadelphia when he was but six months old. Here he attended the public schools and also took a course in night school. He started to work at the tender age of ten years at the Kattel Worsted Mills, Darby, Pennsylvania, and went from there to the Topeka Woolen Mills, at Fairmount, Pennsylavania. His next scene of employment was at Howard Thomas and Company, at Haddington, Pennsylvania, the firm name being later changed to Davis Brown, Jr., & Company. Mr Barlow remained here for thirteen years as superintendent, at the end of which he resigned in order to establish himself in the merchant tailoring business in West Philadelphia, and conducted this sucessfully for twenty- five years. In 1908, he moved to Maple Shade and three years later became interested in real estate promotions and operations. At that early date Maple Shade boasted of a population of ninety people, comprising forty voters, twenty children and forty homes. In 1924 the population of this community was five thousand- two thousand voters, nine hundred children and one thousand homes- and in no small way did Mr. Barlow help to promote this section of homes. In 1913 he started in to develop Maple Shade with a will, and his efforts meeting with quick and satisfactory returns, he branched out and commenced development in many other sections, meeting with marked success in every venture. In 1921, when he retired, his sons took over the business and it was incorporated under the firm name of Barlow & Company, Inc., the organization being today one of the largest of its kind in New Jersey.

Mr. Barlow is a Republican in politics, and holds membership in the Republican Club of Maple Shade. He was appointed by Governor Fielder on the Inter- State Bridge and Tunnel Commission on March 15, 1916, reappointed to the same office by Governor Edge in 1917, and again re- appointed by him in 1919. In 1922 he was appointed by the Assembly to serve a five- year term, during the time of the erection of the bridge from Philadelphia to Camden, and the building of the traffic tunnel from New York to Jersey City, 1922- 1927. He is vice-chairman of the Bridge Commission; member of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce; and during the World War took an active part in all the Liberty Loan drives. He affiliates with Mount Holly Lodge, No. 848, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and his religious affiliation is with the Roman Catholics.

In 1883, at West Philadelphia, Thomas J.S. Barlow married Annie T. Lafferty, daughter of James and Margaret (Mullen) Lafferty. Mrs. Barlow prior to her death on February 26, 1926, was vice- president of Barlow Company, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Barlow were the parents of four children: 1. Agnes Marie, born February 7, 1885, married Charles Frederick Vogdes, and has two children: Charles F., and Thomas J.S. 3rd. 2. Thomas J.S., Jr. born November 25, 1886, who is president of the Barlow Company, Inc., and married Rosa Farro, to whom have been born the following children: Thomas Joseph, Marie, James L., and Annie. 3. James Lafferty, born December 19, 1888 deceased. 4. Frederick, born April 16, 1890, secretary of Barlow Company, and married to Florence Grinnen, to whom have been born the following children: Thomas F., Florence, Edward and Frederick.

The third account of Thomas Barlow and Barlow & Co. is from the book-
Maple Shade
A Story of Three Hundred Years
1682- 1982
by Arthur N. Cutler, Charles C. Cutler, Edith P. Cutler

Thomas J.S. Barlow, Sr. and his son, Thomas, Jr., together with several other businessmen, formed the Maple Heights Land Co. in 1908. The company purchased from John R. and Margaret W. Mason their farm and dwelling, a part of the original Roberts plantation surveyed in 1682. The tract was south and east of Main Street and Fellowship Road and known as Maple Heights.

The Barlow office was a small frame building on the southwest corner of Main Street and Forklanding Road, and the Barlow home was at Main Street and Holly Avenue. The residence is now used as a funeral home.

Nineteen- hundred ten saw the organization of Barlow Company by Thomas, Sr. and his son, Thomas, Jr., with son Fredrick and adopted son Edwin D'ancona as salesmen. Fredrick's house was the large house at Main Street and Pine Avenue, until recently used as headquarters of the Antrim- Mentz Post of the American Legion. Thomas, Jr. built a large villa type house at Mill Road and Spruce Avenue which became, in time, the Villa Capri restaurant before it was destroyed by fire. Edwin D'ancona and his wife opened The Sweet Shoppe at about 113 E. Main Street. It was a favorite spot for children and adults alike.

Horace Roberts, of Moorestown, bought several farms in Maple Shade, had them laid out in one acre lots, and made Barlow Company his agent. As business increased the small office was moved and a one story brick building was erected. In later years a second floor was added. The building is now a series of stores and apartments, and was at one time known as the Evans Building. Maple Shade's first dentist, Dr. Schiff, had his office there.

Many people, attracted by the promising advertisements, bought land from the two real estate companies. Some came during the warm months to plant gardens, and some came and had homes built or built their own. Maple Shade was really beginning to reach out , both from the north and south from the Main Street.

The fourth account of Thomas Barlow and Barlow & Co. is from the book-
Encyclopedia of American Biography: New Series, Volume 5,
by Winfield Scott Downs, American Historical Company, 1936
(Phila. Free Library)

(segments here and there only)

After the good English fashion, Thomas J.S. Barlow learned a trade. He became a tailor, one of the best, and prospered as a resident and business man of Philadelphia. He also became thoroughly familiar about the Quaker City, and realized that there would be a constantly increasing tide of people who, while living in the city, wanted to live outside its bounds and would move to the most desirable nearby towns. There was a small hamlet in New Jersey of a hundred citizens, known as Stiles Crossing, which impressed him as having possibilities of improvement and expansion. Mr. Barlow purchased all the land he could acquire about and in Stiles Landing, and started a real estate development, to which he gave the descriptive title, Maple Shade. He was the originator of the Barlow one-acre farm idea, which soon became one of the leading realty businesses in New Jersey, with branch offices all over the southern part of the State. Under his direction and promotion, Maple Shade is now a place with a population of thirty-five hundred residents.

Business provided only one outlet for Mr. Barlow's enterprise and energy. Politics interested him, but mainly as a means of getting things done. He was chairman of Chester Township for years and served in other public capacities. He was treasurer of the old New Jersey Bridge Commission, which for a long period tried to persaude Pennsylvania to build a bridge across the Delaware at Philadelphia. In 1916 he was appointed by Governor Fielder of New Jersey on the Inter State Bridge and Tunnel Commission, and was reappointed on this same commission the following year by Governor Edge...

On April 14, 1933, at his home in Maple Shade, New Jersey, Thomas Joseph Stanislaus Barlow died after an illness of several weeks. The flags of the Philadelphia-Camden Bridge fluttered at half-mast, while folk from his home place, and the two states, joined in part by his labors as a public servant, paid their last tribute to a useful life and the career of an authentic contributor to the progress and prosperity of a wide and populous area. He lives in the hearts of the many who were his associates and friends, but he has left three great monuments to his devoted activities; The Town of Maple Shade; the great bridge across the Delaware; and the Holland Tunnel which joins the two states.

Two Obituaries for Thomas J.S. Barlow Sr.-

The obituary at right is from the Moorestown News. Thomas Barlow did have friends in Moorestown! In the article, they know a lot of informations but do not have it put together correctly. You have to take things with a grain of salt. The same goes for a few things said in other quotes above. In the South Jersey History book they give too low of a beginning population number. There is 105 names in a 1907 directory which would indicate 2-3 times that with family members. In the Cutler's book they state that Barlows bought the Mason's house as well. They did not. They sold it back on a few lots the next day.

The Barlow Building (above), and Barlow & Co. family (left)

Barlow Building, Maple Shade, NJ

The Barlow Building, 2 West Main Street, after the second floor was put on and the addition to the rear. The first office on this corner was a frame building. In 1917 a brick one story office was erected. In 1923 a second story was added, as well as a large rear addition also having a second story. The building, now 100 by 80, had its first floor used as real estate offices and the second floor as a hall.

Prior to the Barlow Building, you took the trolley to Holly Avenue to the Barlow's home. (As seen in a 1913 Barlow advertisement)


Here are most of the local subdivisions specifically to be developed by Barlow & Company-

In Maple Shade- Maple Heights, Maple Heights Farms, The Orchards, Evergreen Terrace, Maple Shade Farms, Maple Park, Maple Croft, Orchard Heights, Maple Terrace, Barlow Terrace, Maple Shade Manor,

In Mount Laurel- Fellowship Heights

In Lenola- Clover Leaf Farm, Lenola Acre Farms, Lenola Heights, Lenola Park, Lorraine Farms, Lenola Gardens (?),

In Cherry Hill- Merchantville Terrace, Merchantville Acre farms (?), Today these are lumped together and referred to as the "Barlow Section" of Cherry Hill.

The first vehicle procession over the "Benjamin Franklin Bridge," prior to its opening in 1926, was the funeral cortege of the funeral of Annie T. Barlow, Thomas Barlow's first wife. Newspaper articles will say Bridge Commissioner Thomas Barlow's "mother." I believe they say this as Thomas Barlow Sr. was very sick at the time and perhaps his son Thomas Jr. filled his position at the end. Thomas Barlow's second wife was Frances M. Barlow.

I didn't see Thomas Barlow in the 1908 tax rateables (could have missed) but he is there in 1909.
We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he moved to Maple Shade in 1908.


Thomas J.S. Barlow and Annie Theresa Barlow, his wife
took title on December 10, 1908
under Deed book 441, page 178
from the Maple Heights Land Company

Lots 1, 2, and 3 of Maple Heights Plan
South of Main Street and East of Holly Avenue

Barlow family 1916 tax rateables. The "Club House" was Joseph B. Stiles' mansion.

Here are some further reads-

Barlow & Co. full page ad (Large file)

Barlow newspaper clip 1 (Large file)

Barlow newspaper clip 2

Barlow newspaper clip 3