The information is taken from "The History of Fresno County" by Paul E Vandor, published in 1919.
The growth and prosperity of Fresno is largely due to its diversified industries, although for more than thirty years its principal source of revenue has been and still is that of fruit raising in its various branches, among which the raisin industry is foremost. One of the most prominent fruit growers and shippers of Fresno was Robert W. Barnwell.
He was born in Gilmer, Texas. July 5, 1872. the son of D. M. and Martha (McGee) Barnwell. His father was a native of Georgia and a Confederate soldier during the Civil War after which he settled in Texas, where he was for a number of years a pioneer farmer and stock raiser, and was also engaged quite extensively in railroad contracting. He arrived in Fresno January 1, 1888, where he purchased forty acres of unimproved land in the West Park Colony Tract which he planted to a vineyard. From time to time he increased his holdings until he owned 220 acres of vineyard, being one of the large raisin growers of Fresno. He resided on the forty acre tract which he bought in 1888. He is a widdower.
He was a Mason since twentv-one years of age and is a member of Fresno Lodge, No. 247, F. & A. M. Robert W. received his education at West Park School, Fresno, under the tutelage of the well-known educator E. W. Lindsay, the former county superintendent of schools. As a young man he worked for a short time for his father in his vineyard, after which he became the first fruit buyer for A. L. Hobbs, which position he retained for six years. Later he was a buyer for J. K. Armsby for five years, then went back to Rosenberg for two years and afterwards went in business for himself buying and shipping green and dried fruit, in which business he has been very successful. The yearly shipments of dried fruit run from 1,000 to 1,500 tons, and green fruit from 200 to 300 cars; the total value of the fruit being $500,000.
Mr. Barnwell also owns a dried and green fruit plant in Parlier, and a green fruit plant in Clovis. He has a twenty-acre fig orchard, twenty-acre vineyard and 320 acres of grain land, all in Fresno County. In January, 1919, he sold his fruit business to Kelley and Simpson, and for the time being retired from active operations in the fruit business to look after his own and father's ranch interests.
Mr. Barnwell's father and a brother, D. M. Barnwell, Jr. (onetime County Clerk of Fresno County), were the only members of the Barnwell family still living in 1919. Two sisters and the mother are deceased. His wife was in maidenhood Miss Arah B. Holcomb of Texas, and they had one daughter, Achsah. Mr. Barnwell had a large circle of acquaintances and was one of Fresno's well known and highly respected citizens, always to be found at the front in anything that pertains to the welfare and prosperity of the city of his choice. He was a prominent Elk, also a Shriner and a thirty-second degree Mason.
Arah B Holcomb Barnwell
David Monroe Barnwell
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