Barrows, Henry Walter (1886–1961) and Leonora Camilla (Olsen) (1884-1936)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: October 5, 2022

Henry and Leonora Barrows were missionaries in China. Henry Barrows is remembered for his business accounting skills, notably as treasurer and auditor at the Shanghai office of the Asiatic Division and as an auditor at General Conference headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Early Years

Henry Barrows was born at West Brookfield, Vermont, on February 10, 1886, to Willis and Jennie (Sumner) Barrows. His father was a farmer. His siblings were: Susan Hannah (b.1884), Jesse Sumner (b.1888), George A. (b.1890), Jennie Vieva (b.1892), Victor Ira (b.1894), Chester E. (b.1896) and Helen Ruth (b.1900).1 He obtained his education from South Lancaster Academy and Washington Missionary College. He was baptized in 1905 at South Lancaster.2

Denominational Service

Henry’s career began at his Alma Mater, South Lancaster Academy. During the 1907/1908 academic year he was the school principal Benjamin Machlan’s secretary. He then served as the school’s assistant business manager from 1908 through 1914.3 A young lady of Norwegian heritage, Leonora Camilla Olsen, had also attended South Lancaster Academy and was employed as their accountant.4 Henry and Leonora were married on September 24, 1909, with Elder Milan Andreasen performing the ceremony.5 They continued in their roles at South Lancaster Academy until, in 1915, Henry spent several months as billing clerk in the Review and Herald Publishing Association office, Washington, D.C. It was a temporary assignment while preparations were made for him to transfer to the Asiatic Division.6

On November 12, 1915, the General Conference Executive Committee appointed Henry to be the treasurer and auditor for the Asiatic Division with headquarters in Shanghai, China.7 He and Leonora arrived in Shanghai on April 4, 1916.8 He was obliged to travel and audit mission accounts in Japan, Korea, Manchuria, the Philippine Islands, Malaysia, the China Union Mission offices, and mission institutions in Shanghai such as the Signs Publishing House and the China Missions Training School. He lamented the fact that some mission treasurers were unqualified for their task and should be released to engage in evangelistic work for which they were best suited. He also concluded that mission enterprises should aim to be self-supporting in order to relieve the General Conference finances. Fifty percent of the General Conference income, he said, was being allocated to the Asiatic Division, a situation that was unsustainable.9

During their early years in Shanghai Henry and Leonora were blessed with two children, Henry Walter, Jr. (b.1917) and Irene Marguarite (b.1920). In 1922 the Barrows family returned to America on furlough, and Henry attended the General Conference Session in San Francisco.10 After a further three-year term in Shanghai as treasurer and auditor of the Asiatic Division the family returned once more to the homeland, and Henry attended the 1927 Fall Council of the General Committee, held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.11 They returned to China for a third term of service until 1931. In the final year of their stay Leonora worked in the business office of the Shanghai Sanitarium.12

On permanent return to America Henry was appointed to the Auditing Department of the General Conference, Washington, D.C., where he spent more than twenty-five years until his retirement in 1958. He began as one of three assistant auditors.13 On February 5, 1936, Leonora passed away after a prolonged illness. She was only fifty-two years of age.14

Henry married Lillian Audrey Anderson in 1936.15 Lillian was of Swedish heritage and had been a church school teacher in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.16 In the course of his work Henry was sometimes required to travel and audit church accounts overseas. For example, he visited Brazil for that purpose in 1953.17 In 1957, one year before his retirement, he was appointed chief auditor of the General Conference.18

Less than three years after Henry retired he passed away at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, on March 9, 1961, not far from the General Conference offices where he had given many years of service.19 Lillian enjoyed good health, passing away on May 25, 1998, aged ninety-three.20

Sources

Barrows, Henry W. “Report of Treasurer.” Asiatic Division Outlook, April-June 1907.

“Henry Walter Barrows.” ARH, April 27, 1961.

“Henry Walter Barrows.” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022. Accessed April 22, 2022. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L714-KD1.

Henry Walter Barrows. General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7298. Folder: Henry Walter Barrows. Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

“In Attendance at the Fall Council.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, September 1927

“Lillian Audrey (Anderson) Barrows.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, August 31, 1998.

“Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Barrows and two children…” Asiatic Division Outlook, April 15, 1922.

“Notes.” Asiatic Division Mission News, April 15, 1916.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907-1958.

Shoup, Harvey L. “Leonora (Olsen) Barrows.” ARH, March 12, 1936.

Notes

  1. “Henry Walter Barrows,” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed April 22, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L714-KD1.

  2. Henry Walter Barrows. General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7298. Folder: Henry Walter Barrows. Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

  3. Ibid.

  4. Harvey L. Shoup, “Leonora (Olsen) Barrows,” ARH, March 12, 1936, 21.

  5. “Henry Walter Barrows,” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed April 22, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L714-KD1.

  6. Henry Walter Barrows. General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7298. Folder: Henry Walter Barrows, Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

  7. Ibid.

  8. “Notes,” Asiatic Division Mission News, April 15, 1916, 4.

  9. Henry W. Barrows, “Report of Treasurer,” Asiatic Division Outlook, April-June 1917, 63.

  10. “Mr. And Mrs. H.W. Barrows and two children…” Asiatic Division Outlook, April 15, 1922, 12.

  11. “In Attendance at the Fall Council,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, September 1927, 12.

  12. Harvey L. Scoup, “Leonora (Olsen) Barrows,” ARH, March 12, 1936, 21.

  13. “General Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1932), 5.

  14. Harvey L. Shoup, “Leonora (Olsen) Barrows,” ARH, March 12, 1936, 21.

  15. “Henry Walter Barrows,” ARH, April 27, 1961, 24.

  16. Henry Walter Barrows. General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7298. Folder: Henry Walter Barrows. Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

  17. “Henry Walter Barrows,” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed April 22, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L714-KD1.

  18. “General Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957), 10.

  19. “Henry Walter Barrows,” ARH, April 27, 1961, 24.

  20. “Lillian Audrey (Anderson) Barrows,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, August 31, 1998.

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Hook, Milton. "Barrows, Henry Walter (1886–1961) and Leonora Camilla (Olsen) (1884-1936)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 05, 2022. Accessed April 09, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6896.

Hook, Milton. "Barrows, Henry Walter (1886–1961) and Leonora Camilla (Olsen) (1884-1936)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 05, 2022. Date of access April 09, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6896.

Hook, Milton (2022, October 05). Barrows, Henry Walter (1886–1961) and Leonora Camilla (Olsen) (1884-1936). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 09, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6896.