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Madera Biographies: BARCROFT

Joseph Barcroft

David Barcroft (age 12)

FRED BARCROFT: in his lineage, Fred Barcroft, an influential businessman of Madera, represents an old-established eastern family and also an aristocratic Castillian race. His father, R.W., was A son of John Barcroft, a merchant tailor of Cadiz, Ohio, and in that city was born, reared and learned the trades of merchant tailor and carpenter. During 1849 he crossed the plains with ox-teams and engaged in placer and quartz mining in Mariposa County, continuing in that occupation until 1899, when he retired. In addition, he also followed contracting and building. By reason of ill health he is now debarred from business activities and is living retired in Madera. After coming to California he married Rafaela Orosco, who was born near Casa Grande, Ariz., the daughter of a pioneer Spanish rancher who owned large tracts near Casa Grande and was murdered there by the Apache savages. Afterward his widow brought the children to California and about 1852 settled in Hornitos, Mariposa County. She died November 6, 1901, in Madera, at the age of almost eighty-four years. She was born in southern Arizona and was a member of the Herrera family. A devote Roman Catholic, she taught a private school for years, charging tuition when the children were able to pay, but teaching those who were poor without any charge whatever. Her principle object in teaching the children to read and write Spanish was that she might have an opportunity to inculcate in their hearts the doctrines of Catholicism. She was also a skilled needle woman and devoted considerable time to teaching fancy work.
    In the Family of R. W. and Rafaela Barcroft there were seven children, namely: Rafael, who is engaged in the hardware business in Merced; Fred, of Madera; David, a graduate of the University of California and of the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore, who died at the age of thirty-one years; Caroline, who died at the age of nine years; Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, of Stockton; Joseph, who is a justice of the peace in Madera; and Louisa, who died at sixteen years of age.
    In Hornitos, Mariposa County, Fred Barcroft was born July 31, 1858. During boyhood he attended district schools. When about seventeen years of age he was apprenticed to the tinsmith's trade in Merced under J. Kocher, with whom he remained for five and one-half years. At the expiration of his time he started in business for himself, opening a hardware store at Merced with a partner under the firm title of Branson & Barcroft. During the three years he remained I Merced a branch store was stared in Madera, December 23, 1883, and he came to this city to assume its management. October l, 1884, he sold his interest in the Merced store to his brother Rafael, after which he devoted his entire attention to the Madera business. For the first two years he rented a storeroom adjoining H. S. Williams' store and then erected a frame building on the site of his present establishment. The shop was neatly and conveniently equipped with every facility for the conduct of the business. In addition to carrying a stock of hardware and tinware, he had plumbing outfits and did considerable business in this line. July 19, 1886, the building was destroyed by fire. He immediately rebuilt, but the building was for temporary use only, it being his intention to replace it as soon as possible. Before he had commenced a new building fire again destroyed his shop, April 20, 1895. All that he saved was a punching machine of his own invention, used in the punching of sheet iron for tanks and well casing.
    After his second heavy loss by fire, Mr. Barcroft began to construct a more substantial building than those he had previously occupied. Brick was used instead of lumber, and every effort was made to secure a building that could not readily succumb to the fire element, the new structure being three stories and basement, the highest building in the city, and in dimensions 25x80 feet. Even this new building was not to escape unscathed, for the fiery element attacked it also July 2, 1904, with disastrous results. His shops in the rear were destroyed and also the woodwork in the rear and side of the building. But with that quality of grit that has characterized the Californian,, Mr. Barcroft set about restoring the damaged portions, extending his shop to 38x70 feet, including a two-story brick on the west side of his first building, 25x80 feet, which he leases. He devoted the basement and first floor to a line of heavy and shelf hardware, stoves and tinware. His shop and plumbing establishment are the largest in the City. He handles also gasoline engines and the "Aermotor" windmills.
    The Madera Chamber of Commerce numbers Mr. Barcroft among its active members. In politics he votes with the Republican party, and fraternally is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, United Workmen, Woodsmen of the World, Foresters and Fraternal brotherhood. His first marriage occurred in Hornitos and united him with Carmen Navarine*, who was born in that city and died in Los Angeles. Afterward he married Cornelia Reyes of Madera, a native of Watsonville, this state, and they have one daughter, Dolores.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 309.


* Added note: Fred Barcroft married Carmen Navarine on 19 Nov 1882 in Hornitos, Mariposa County. Carmine was the daughter of Alexis Navarrine and Catherine Poncabare of French descent who came to California via Mexico. Catherine's father was Augustin Poncabare (born in Oloron Pyrenees Atlantiques, son of Ignace Poncabaré and Catherine Dufau Baleste), who left France in 1849. 

JOSEPH BARCROFT: Both through his intimate association with the Republican party in Madera county and through his efficient service in the office of justice of the peace, Mr. Barcroft has become well known to the people of this part of California. Few men of his party are better posted than he concerning its history, its principles and the platform upon which it stands, and he is therefore qualified to take a leading position in matters relative to its local organization and management. In 1900 he was chosen secretary of the Republican county central committee and continued to hold that responsible position until 1902, meanwhile accomplishing much in the interest of the party.
    The genealogy of the Barcroft family appears elsewhere in this volume, in the sketch of Fred Barcroft, a brother of the subject of this article. Their parents, R.W. and Rafaela(Orosco)Barcroft, were natives respectively of Cadiz, Ohio, and southern Arizona, the latter being of Spanish family. The homestead was at Hornitos, Mariposa County, Cal., and there Joseph Barcroft was born June 27, 1870. The days of his boyhood and youth wee quietly and uneventfully passed in attendance upon local schools. When he came to Madera, in August of 1887, he entered his brother's store and there acquired a practical knowledge of the hardware business. Feeling, however, that his education was incomplete, he resigned his position and entered Chestnutwood Business College at Santa Cruz, where he took the regular course of study. On leaving college he again took up work in his brother's store and continued in the same position (with exception of two years in the mines of Mariposa County) until he was elected justice of the peace. His election to this office occurred in November, 1902, when he was chosen to serve for the third township of Madera county, and received a majority of eighty-one. January 5, 1903 he took the oath of office for a term of four years. Four-fifths of all the cases in the county come before him and his court, which occupies a room in the county court-house, is in session all of the time. As a justice he is strictly impartial, efficient and painstaking, and his service has been eminently satisfactory to all concerned.
    The marriage of Mr. Barcroft was solemnized in his native town of Hornitos and united him with Harriet Collins, who was born the daughter of English parents who came to California in an early day and bore a part in the pioneer development of the state. Justice Barcroft, with his wife and their two children, David and Isabel, occupy a comfortable home in Madera and are respected throughout the entire circle of the acquaintances.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 369.



    Sky Expert David P. Barcroft, a Madera attorney, keeps track of the Apollo 8 Moon flight. Barcroft is an avid amateur astronomer and a moon crater has been named after him by the British Astronomical Association.
    David P. Barcroft, a local attorney, has more that the average person's interest in the Apollo 8 moon orbital-flight. He is an amateur astronomer and over the years has become so well known in the field that a moon crater was named after him.
    The honor was bestowed on him by the late Dr. H. P. Wilkens of the British Astronomical Association. The two became acquainted on a tour of California observatories. Barcroft say the crater named after him is a small one, which was formally known as Dollond B.
    Barcroft will be 72 next birthday. He says he hopes to live long enough to read about future moon explorations but believes he was born too soon. "Maybe if such present-day accomplishments were possible when I was 21 I might have been interested in being an astronaut," he says.
    At one time Barcroft had one of the best astronomical libraries in the state but now claims "I am not going to live forever' and has sold and given away many of the books. He was born and reared in Madera and ha practiced law of r more than 50 years.
    He still has the first book on astronomy that he bought I Fresno at the age of 12--his first trip to the city of Fresno. Barcroft says that when he became interested in astronomy there were fewer books available on the subject and he often traveled the length of the state to compare notes with other amateur astronomers.
    He eventually became so well known as an astronomer that he cold not answer all his mail on the subject. He says he belongs to about every astronomical organization that an amateur can belong to and in the early 1950's he helped form the San Francisco Astronomical Association.
    Barcroft says his hobby has been hard on his law practice. He has taken many books on the subject from his office to his home but many still remain in the office.
    He still has a telescope at home, but says it takes a lot of endurance to go out and look at the skies night after night, summer and winter.

David P. Barcroft, B: January 30, 1897, Madera, CA; D: August 13, 1974, Madera, CA

By Darrell Maddox, Fresno Bee Staff writer, 1970


Discovered prior to 1880:  "Known as the Enterprise Mine"
R. W. BARCROFT of Hornitos was first owner of record.  Quartz vein strikes northeast of and dips 30 degrees SE.  Slate and greenstone wall rocks.  Mine was intermittently active 1880-1912, 1935, and 1940. Last two shipments of ore ran about 0.3 oz of gold per ton and 1/2 oz of silver.  Had a 120 foot inclined shaft in 1904 (Wilkinson 04:10).
From Mariposa Gazette 1880
"The BARCROFT mine is turning out very well and the out look for it is very promising. As yet, no clean up has been made, and therefore no decisive opinion can be formed, but it is the general impression of all experienced miners that it will be fully equal to anything yet found around this part of the county
From a later date- 1957-  California Division of Mines and Geology, Vol. 53- Mariposa Mines and Mineral Deposits-
 This is a lode gold mine. Claim, Group or Mine: Enterprise (BARCROFT). Owner: as of 1957: H. L. GORTON, of Turlock owns two unpatented claims, the Enterprise and Enterprise Extension No 1:  Horace Meyer, Cathay, et al., owns one patented claim, the Enterprise Extension No 2 consisting of 20.66 acres. Location: Sec 34; T 4S; R 16E; Sec 2,3; T 5S; R 16 E.

Related Contact: Harriet Sturk gentree@comcast.net

Last update: May 23, 2008
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