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William Anderson Barker

BARKER, MANCHESTER, SHAFFER, HOOTMAN, SHEROD, FRESHWATERS, CALHOUN, SMITH, BOTT, TRUE, WORKMAN

Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/3/2001 at 22:18:36

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890 County
WILLIAM ANDERSON BARKER
William Anderson Barker, who since 1839 has been a resident of Van Buren County, now resided in Section 6, Van Buren Township, in a magnificent home, where comforts and luxuries abound as the result of his own enterprise and industry. His occupation is that of farming and raising stock, and by the exercise of good business principles he has become one of the substantial citizens of the community. The history of his life is as follows.
Mr. Barker was born on July 3, 1833 in Carroll County Ohio, being the sixth child of Joseph and Anna Manchester Barker. We have no authentic record concerning the early history of the family. His father however was a native of Washington County Pennsylvania where he grew to manhood receiving a limited education as far as schools were concerned, but by self-culture, he became a well-informed man. He learned the carpenter trade in his youth and followed that occupation as a means of livelihood until he had accumulated enough to purchase a farm, when he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, continuing that business during the remainder of his life. When about twenty-one years of age he left his native state and removed to Ohio, where he shortly afterward married Miss Anna Manchester, who was born in 1808, and was the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Manchester. The fruits of this union were seventeen children, fourteen of whom grew to maturity, while ten of the number are still living. Alfred, the eldest, died in infancy; Eunice died at the age of seventeen years; Elizabeth died aged five years; Eliza J. became the wife of Henry Shaffer, and died in Davis County Iowa, about 1857, leaving two children; Mrs. Mary Hootman of Van Buren Township is the mother of ten children; W.A. of this sketch is the next younger; Mrs. Hannah Sherod died in 1863, leaving three children; Almira now Mrs. Freshwaters, is living in Van Buren county; Mrs. Isabel Calhoun, makes her home in Birmingham, Union Township, Van Buren County; Arnold C. is engaged in farming in Washington Township; Joseph A. died in Lebanon Missouri, while in the United States’ services in 1863; John S. is engaged in farming in Davis County; Catharine is the wife of William Bott of Lick Creek Township; Maria T. is the wife of L. Sherod, of Union Township, and Hugh B. is a merchant of Mt Zion, and another died in infancy.
The father of this family, Joseph Barker is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County of 1839, in which year he and his family took up their residence upon a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of Government land, which he had entered. He became one of the prominent citizens of the community, and took an active part in both politics and church work. In 1854 he identified himself with the Republican Party and continued one of its stanch supporters until his death. He was also a zealous member of the Presbyterian Church. He died in November 1882, at the age of eighty-three years. His wife, whose death occurred the year previous, was a devout Christian woman and a follower of the Calvinist doctrine.
Amid the wild scenes of pioneer life W.A. Barker was reared to manhood. His advantages were necessarily limited and he was obliged to assist in the arduous labors of farm life in those early days. From 1840 until 1854, during the winter seasons, he attended school in a log schoolhouse, and at the age of twenty started out in life for himself.
The discovery of gold in California had awakened hopes in his breast and with the desire of rapidly acquiring wealth he crossed the plains to the Golden State. He gave a cow and $15 in cash for the privilege of driving an ox team, and was six months in making the trip. He remained on the Pacific Slope until November of 1859, engaged in mining and farming, but not meeting with the success he anticipated he decided to return. Once more he resumed farming in Van Buren County, and during the thirty-one years which have since elapsed has continued that occupation. His first purchase of land consisted of an eighty-acre tract only partially improved, upon which he raised corn and hogs, but the boundaries of his farm have since been extended until he now owns eight hundred and fifty acres, the greater part of which is situated in one body. For the past five years he has engaged in the raising of sheep, keeping on hand an average of about eight hundred head of a good grade. He also raises horses, cattle and hogs, and no inferior animal will be seen in the whole lot. He takes a pride in raising fine stock, and has done not a little to advance the grades of stock in this county. As before intimated, he has met with success in his undertakings, and in the years of industry and ceaseless activity, which have passed since his return from California, he has worked his way upward to a position of wealth and affluence. As a citizen, he is highly esteemed and is regarded as a leading member of the Republican Party in this community. But notwithstanding he has ever felt a deep interest in the success and welfare of the party he has never aspired to official distinction, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests.
In 1860 Mr. Barker married Miss Rebecca D. daughter of Wesley and Sarah Sherod True, both of whom were native of Ohio. Her mother died when she was an infant but her father is still living and makes his home in Miami County Kansas. By their union there have been born ten children, seven of whom are yet living: Frank, born in 1861, died at the age of fourteen months; Zora, born in 1863, is at home; Elna L., born in 1864, is the wife of T.L. Workman, of Van Buren Township, and the mother of two children—Blanche and Hazel; Della born in 1866, is still with her parents; Walter G., born in 1869, died at the age of two years; Lelia O. was born in 1871; Bessie L., in 1873; Wilda A., in 1876; William W., in 1878; Claude, who was born in 1883 and died in 1888, completes the family. Mr. and Mrs. Barker, together with several of their children, are members of the Presbyterian Church, of Mt. Zion, in which the father holds the office of Elder. He gives liberally to the support of the church, is an active worker for its interests, and is also a warm friend to the cause of education. The home of this family, whose members we have just individually mentioned, is probably the finest in Van Buren County. The large and elegant brick dwelling, is neat and tasty in architectural designs and elegant in finish. It is also furnished handsomely, though not gaudily, and is surrounded by a large and well-kept lawn and beautiful shade trees. Outlying buildings indicate that ample provision has been made for the care of the stock, and the farm may truly be called a model one.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


 

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