San Francisco County





T. L. BARKER, a well-known citizen of Oakland and formerly a member of the City Council, was born in Branford, New Haven county, Connecticut, March 13, 1828, a son of Timothy and Martha (Leonard) Barker. The first Barker settled in Branford in 1647, and the Leonards were early settlers in Massachusetts. Grandfather Justin Leonard, a native of that State, served as a fifer in the army of the Revolution, being quite young at enlistment. In mature life he was a miller and farmer near West Springfield, Massachusetts, and moved in 1835 to a farm in Cayuga county, New York. He was over seventy-five at his death; and his widow survived him many years, dying at the home of her daughter, Mrs. T. Barker at the age of ninety-one. Grandfather Timothy Barker was over eighty-five at his death. His son, also named Timothy, the father of the the (sic) subject of this sketch, learned the trade of shoemaker and engaged in that line of manufacture, in connection with his farm, employing a few men. He was a member of the local troop of militia and felt honored by being a member of the escort of General Lafayette in 1825.

      T. L. Barker was educated in the local schools and in an academy at Auburn, New York, where his uncle had settled. At the age of sixteen he became a clerk in a store and resided in Auburn until he left for California. He came out as a member of the Cayuga Joint-Stock Company, organized in February, 1849, comprising seventy-nine members. Owning vessel and cargo, they came out by way of Cape Horn, arriving at San Francisco, October 12, 1849. About twenty members, including Mr. Barker, went to mining that winter at Agua Frio, near what is now Mariposa, but with no marked success. Meanwhile others of the company engaged in getting out shakes and shingles in the redwood forest of that day across the bay from San Francisco, In January, 1850, Mr. Barker returned to San Francisco, and worked for a time conveying shakes and shingles by boat from the embarcadero at San Antonio to San Francisco. In February, 1850, the company disbanded, and in May, with five others of the company, he went to mining on Bear river, with little gain, and then Big Ravine, three or four miles below Auburn, where they did fairly well. From August to December, 1850, they worked within two miles of what is now Newcastle, a great center of the fruit industry, but where then the only product was gold dust. Up to that time everything earned went into the common fund, and on winding up, Mr. Barker found the capital stock of $500 was reduced to $350. January 1, 1851, he went to work in a wholesale grocery store in Sacramento as clerk, and one of his customers was Charles Crocker, then engaged in freighting to the mines. In 1853 Mr. Barker came to Alameda county, and farmed with two comrades one season, renting a squatter’s claim near Haywards. The second season he farmed alone, raising grain, being among the early producers in that line, and closing his farming venture in the fall of 1855. In the spring of 1856, in connection with L. A. Booth and C. T. Wheeler, he bought the business of Kleinhaus & Co. In Sacramento, Kleinhaus & Co. Retaining an interest as special partners, and established the firm of Booth & Co., Mr. Barker representing the firm in San Francisco as buyer. In 1858 they bought a part of Kleinhaus’ interest, and in 1860 the remainder was purchased, and L. A. Booth was replaced by Newton Booth, afterward Governor of California. In 1863 Mr. Barker sold his interest to his partners and accompanied by William Hardy, of Gold Hill, Nevada, made a trip to the East, by the overland stage route from Folsom, California, to Atchison, Kansas, which was in striking contrast to the modern Pullman palace car. Soon after his return he resumed his post as buyer in San Francisco for Booth & Co. In 1868 he became a member of the firm of Wellman, Peck & Co., of San Francisco, retaining that connection until 1880. Appointed by Governor Booth a trustee of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institution in December, 1872, he served until 1876, when he resigned. Meanwhile he had settled in Oakland in 1874, and has resided there since. He was elected to the City Council in 1885, serving one term of two years. From early manhood he has been keenly alive to the political issues of the times, and was in sympathy with the old Free-soil party before he was a voter. In 1852 he voted for General Scott, the last Whig candidate for president, and in 1856 for Fremont, the first Republican candidate. He still takes an active interest in local politics, and was Treasurer of the third Ward Republican Club in the campaign of 1888. His voice and vote can always be relied on for good government in city and county, as well as in the State and nation.

      Mr. Barker became a member of Sacramento Lodge, No. 2, I. O. O. F., in 1856, and in 1859 was transferred to San Francisco Lodge, No. 3. He has had the unusual honor of being elected a Noble Grand from the floor of the lodge, and was Lodge Representative to the Grand Lodge in 1874.

      Mr. Barker was married in the old First Congregational Church of Oakland, June 12, 1872, to Mary R. Simpson, a native of New York city, and daughter of William and Mary (Richardson) Simpson, both deceased in middle life and buried in Greenwood cemetery, near that city They have one child, Mary Simpson Barker. 

Transcribed 1-2-06 Marilyn R. Pankey.

Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, Pages 282-283, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.

© 2005 Marilyn R. Pankey.




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