Edwin Barrows was Trustee from 1865 to 1908 and Treasurer from 1891 to 1908. Edwin's father Albert Barrows had been a Trustee from 1845 to 1853.
Edwin was born in 1834, and prepared for college at Pierce Academy in Middleborough, MA. He graduated from Yale in 1857, and taught school for two terms, then served as clerk for the Wheaton Manufacturing Company. His business experience led him to become President of the Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company in Providence, R.I, Mr. Barrows built and lived in the house that was later named in his memory.
A quiet, retiring man, Barrows was central to the rejuvenation of the Seminary at the turn of the century under the leadership of Samuel Valentine Cole. His detailed reports evaluating the campus buildings and grounds and investments helped Dr. Cole to develop a campus worthy of becoming a college in 1912. Barrows invested Wheaton Seminary funds in utility and transportation companies, particularly railroads.
In their memorial resolution following his death in 1908, the Trustees noted that Mr. Barrows had served the Board for a longer period than any other member (43 years), and that “the accuracy, prudence and integrity which he brought” to the office of Treasurer “ensured a wise and successful administration of its affairs.” Barrows was described as “uniformly courteous, cautious and conciliatory” in his “carefully framed opinions and cordial cooperation” on Board decisions.
Barrows House was named for Edwin Barrows.