Monday, October 17, 2016

The Barker Family Left Its Mark on Sandusky

If you have ever seen Barker School (now a Day Care Center) or driven down Barker Street on Sandusky’s west side, then you are familiar with the surname of a family whose many members  have made contributions to the development of the city of Sandusky. Zenas Ward Barker, who served in the War of 1812, moved his family from Buffalo, New York to Sandusky, Ohio in 1834. He was one of several individuals who helped organize Grace Episcopal Church in Sandusky in 1835. He was Erie County Clerk in 1838-1839. In the early 1840s, he was one of the directors of Sandusky’s public schools, and was Sandusky’s Mayor in 1846. This Zenas W. Barker died in Sandusky in 1879. His father, also named Zenas Ward Barker (1765-1834) was a pioneer settler of Buffalo, New York. One of the sons of Zenas W. Barker (1818-1879) also named Zenas W. Barker (1834-1861), became a First Sergeant in Company E of the Ohio 8th Volunteer Infantry. He lost his life during military service on August 28, 1861. 

Another son of Zenas Ward Barker, the former Sandusky Mayor, was Jacob A. Barker.

Jacob A. Barker began working at the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad in 1846. He eventually became the freight agent for the railroad. From the early 1860s until he retired in 1891, he was the local agent for the United States Express Company. He was a member of the Sandusky City Council, the Board of Education of Sandusky City Schools, and he was a senior warden of Calvary Episcopal Church for several years. An article in volume 14 of the Firelands Pioneer said of him: “He was possessed of a generous, kind disposition and many instances of his generosity will be gratefully remembered by the recipients.” Jacob A. Barker died on December 22, 1898, and he was buried in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, the former Mary E. Paterson, and four sons. 

The son of Jacob A. and Mary Paterson Barker was George P. Barker:

He was born in Sandusky in May of 1852, and was associated with the United States Express Company in Sandusky for over forty years. From 1915 to 1929 Mr. Barker was storekeeper at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. During the Spanish American War, he rose to the rank of Major. He began with Company B of the Sixteenth Infantry, and mustered out with the Sixth Infantry. For four months Major Barker held the position of military governor of the district of Santa Clara in Cuba. On January 24, 1930 George P. Barker died as a result of heart disease. Funeral services for Major Barker were held on January 27 at Grace Episcopal Church, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery following a military salute at the gravesite. Many other members of the Barker family are also buried in the family lot in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

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