In the chapter relating to the Bench and Bar of Greene County mention is made of the official services of Judge Moses Barlow, many years ago judge of the court of common pleas, who died at his home in Xenia in the spring of 1888. Wholly self-educated. Judge Barlow came to be a man of profound learning and of a ripeness of judgment that placed him easily among the leaders of his profession in Ohio. The extent of his erudition may be inferred by recalling the fact that he was jocularly known among his friends and associates at the bar as "the walking library;" and when it is further recalled that he gained the elements of learning by his own incessant application to the contents of such books as he could command during the days of his boyhood and that the basic points of his legal learning were acquired by poring over law books while working at the cobbler's bench, the observant reader must give credit to the ambition that fired the heart of this humble student and to the indefatigable industry with which the instinctive scholar pursued his studies in the face of difficulties that would have daunted any but the most persistent lover of learning for learning's sake. Judge Barlow was gifted with a wonderful memory and thus was able to store away in his mind the essential points of the books he read, with the further ability to revert to these points when needed; his associates at the bar often relying upon him to save them an hour of research when seeking a citation that would fit a case in hand. Not all of his time did the Judge give to his books, however; for, even as much as he loved his books, his affection for them was divided with his devotion to his beloved violin. The Judge was a violinist of rare skill, another accomplishment he acquired untaught of professionals, and his close friends often were entertained by his playing at his own fireside. When Judge Barlow, after having studied his precious law books in such leisure as he could command, by the candle light of an evening or from the open page of the book propped up alongside his knee at the cobbler's bench—for he was a shoemaker before he became a lawyer—went to Columbus to enter the examination for admission to the bar, he carried with him such a fund of elements of the law and of the basic principles of practice that he was given the highest grade that had ever been given to any applicant for admission in this state.
Judge Barlow was a native of the state of New York, born at Duanesbiirg, in Schenectady county, that state, March 22, 1819, son of Thomas and Polly (Clark) Barlow, also natives of that state and both of English stock, who came to Ohio with their family about the year 1832 and located at Xenia, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Thomas Barlow had for a time taught school and though in no position to extend to his children the benefits of an education in colleges or higher institutions of learning was able to inculcate in their minds a love of learning and to impart to them the rudiments of a practical education, and it was thus that Judge Barlow, who was but one of the thirteen children of his parents and was thirteen years of age when the family settled in Xenia, early became a close and observant student. By application to his books he qualified himself for teaching and for a while was thus engaged, teaching in the schools at Yellow Springs and at Oldtown, in this county. He also had early learned the shoemaker's trade and during the periods when not engaged in teaching continued working at the cobbler's bench until he felt himself qualified for admission to the bar, when he passed the examination above referred to and entered upon the practice of his profession at Xenia, where he spent the rest of his life. In 1868 he was elected judge of the common pleas court and occupied that position until failing health compelled his retirement, and the last nine years of his life were spent under an invalidism which incapacitated him for practice. The Judge died in March, 1888 and is buried in Woodland cemetery at Xenia. His widow survived him for more than twelve years, her death occurring in November, 1900.
In January, 1844, Judge Moses Barlow was united in marriage to Philipina Schroeder, who was born in the kingdom of Hanover, near the city of that name, April 19, 1822, and who had come to this country with her parents in the days of her girlhood. Mrs. Barlow was a gentlewoman of many graces of mind and heart and was ever a devoted and valued helpmeet to the Judge. To that union were born four children, namely: Henry, who is now living retired in the city of Columbus, this state; Philipina, widow of Horace Sabin, who is still making her home in Xenia; Mrs. Henrietta Walton, also of Xenia, and Mrs. Amy Laughead, of Xenia. The Judge and Mrs. Barlow were members of the Presbyterian church. The Judge was a member of the local lodges of the Free and Accepted Masons and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A.Broadstone, editor. B.F.Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918