San Francisco County







   JAMES LORING BARKER, importer of iron pipe and plumbers’ supplies at 407 Eighth street, Oakland, California, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 12, 1841, a son of George and Lydia (Pollard) Barker.  The subject of this sketch is a descendant in the seventh generation from the first American progenitor, Robert Barker, being a grandson of Loring, who was a son of Ebenezer, a son of Josiah, a son of Ebenezer, a son of Francis, a son of Robert of Duxbury, which was set apart from Plymouth in 1637.  The first mention of Robert Barker in the records of Plymouth colony is under date of January 20, 1632, and tradition claims for him and a brother a date only four years earlier.  The mention in 1632 seems to imply that he was serving an apprenticeship to the trade of carpenter which was to expire April 1, 1637.  He is next mentioned as having bought, on January 12, 1641, in company of others, “for three-score pounds, 100 acres lying at the North river.”  In 1645 he was constable and surveyor of highways.  At Mansfield, June 6, 1654, he was admitted a freeman, and was surveyor of highways in Duxbury.  His will, dated February 18, 1689-’90, disposed of much land, and show that he was then a widower, while the inventory of his personal estate, taken March 15, 1691-’92, indicates that he was then recently deceased.  The “Barker mansion,” built by him in that part of Duxbury now known as Pembroke, is still in possession of one of his descendants.

   Francis, the second son of Robert of Duxbury, date of birth unknown, was married January 5, 1674-’75, to Mary Lincoln, who was born in Hingham, April 10, 1648.  He was a selectman of Duxbury in 1685, and representative in the general court in 1686; was a Lieutenant and later a Captain of the Duxbury Military Company.  In February, 1713-’14, he divided his property among his living children, and styles himself “of Pembroke,” which had been set off from Duxbury in 1711.  Ebenezer, one of the younger of his ten children, was married at Scituate, November 1, 1710, to Deborah Randall, born August 23, 1693, a daughter of Isaac and Deborah (Buck) Randall, of that town.  His will, signed march 18, 1756, “Ebenezer Barker, of Pembroke, housewright,” was proved May 3, following.  Josiah, son of Ebenezer, married Sarah Macomber, who was born in Marshfield, October 27, 1713, a daughter of Thomas and Joanna (Tinkham) Macomber.  The youngest of their seven children was born February 6, 1754; and Josiah’s will, dated April 10, 1774, was proved July 4, 1774.

   Ebenezer, son of Josiah, born August 3, was married April 2, 1761, to Priscilla Loring, born in Plympton August 17, 1737, a daughter of Captain John and Ruth (Sturtevant) Loring, of that place.  Ebenezer Barker was a Lieutenant of the company raised to garrison the fort erecte4d at the Gurnett in 1776.  He served in 1776-’77-’78, and perhaps until his death, of chills and fever, July 10, 1781.

   Loring, son of Ebenezer, born in Marshfield early in August 1765, married a Miss Ross about 1790.  He was employed many years in the Charlestown navy yard, where his brother, Josiah (see Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography), was naval constructor from 1810 to 1843.  Loring Barker died April 9, 1848.  Of his children, Mrs. Edes and Mrs. Goodrich of Charlestown, and Mrs. Rice of Concord, died in 1890, aged respectively ninety-eight, eighty-seven and ninety-five.

   George, a son of Loring, born about 1805, was married about 1830 to Lydia P. Pollard, a native of Charlestown, was later a well-known sea captain, and was a part owner of the ship Sea King, on which he was lost on a voyage from San Francisco to Liverpool with a cargo of wheat, on September 12, 1862.  Mrs. Barker, a few years older than he, survived him four years.  Their children now living are: George Frederic, born July 14, 1835, an author of international reputation, Professor of Physics in the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia since 1873 and also associated with the renowned Thomas A. Edison as expert electrician (see Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography); James Loring, now of Oakland; Margaret Frances, born in 1844, now the wife of Robert D. Kelley, journalist of Fremont, Nebraska.

   The subject of this sketch, Mr. J. L. Barker, was educated in the public schools of his native city, and at about eighteen entered on a mercantile career, by serving an apprenticeship to the hardware business in Boston.  Coming to San Francisco in 1862, he continued in the same line as salesman for two firms in that city, --in all ten years.  In 1872 he commenced business on his own account as manufacturer’s agent and importer of iron pipe and plumbers’ supplies in San Francisco, continuing successfully eight years, when he sold out.  He had meanwhile acquired large landed interests in Berkeley, Alameda county, and in 1880 engaged in the real-estate business, chiefly in the line of development of his own property.  Since that date he has built nearly a hundred neat, modern and well-appointed cottages of one and two stories, which he has sold to a desirable class of residents.  His tract at North Berkeley, known as the Golden Gate Homestead, is delightfully located at an elevation of 225 feet above the bay.  While still continuing his building operations in Berkeley, he resumed business in his own line at 407 Eighth street, Oakland, December 1, 1890, being the direct representative of certain large Eastern manufacturers of plumbing and gas-fitting materials, which enables him successfully to compete with San Francisco dealers in supplying the trade on his side.

   Mr. Barker was the prime mover in inducing the Central Pacific Railroad Company to Berkeley, and it was largely due to his persistent efforts that the right of way and the necessary subscriptions for that improvement were secured, investing three months’ time and a considerable amount of money in bringing the enterprise to a successful issue.  He has felt great confidence in the future of Oakland and its suburbs, believing that this city is destined to be a great commercial center, supplying the cities and towns of the interior through regularly established jobbing houses.

   Mr. Barker was married in San Francisco, April 21, 1868, to Miss Mary C. Rasché, born in Germantown, near Philadelphia, May 3, 1843, a daughter of Frederick and Charlotte Rasché, natives of Hanover, Germany, but residents of the Untied States since about 1835, and married in New York.  The father died in San Francisco in 1863, past middle life, the mother surviving until 1884, being seventy-four years old at her death.  The children of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Barker are: Lydia Gertrude, born January 12, 1869; Georgiana Loring, November 7, 1870, still prosecuting her studies in the University of California; Frederic Pollard, August 28, 1873, a clerk with his father since June 1, 1890; and Loring James, born March 2, 1880.


Transcribed by Cathi Skyles.

Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, pages 322-324, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.

© 2005 Cathi Skyles.




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