LeRoy Barker son of William Barker and Mary Ann Pain Holt is the brother of my Great-grandmother, Harriet Matilda Barker Smuin.
This history was compiled by Lynette Chugg Herlan, his great-granddaughter.
LeRoy Barker was born on January 18, 1872 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah to William and Mary Ann Holt Barker. LeRoy’s parents each crossed the plains with the Mormon pioneers as a youth with their parents. William Barker was fifteen and Mary Ann Holt was twelve when they made the journey.
William Barker, LeRoy’s father, was born in Leroy, Jefferson, New York on December 26, 1833 to Frederick and Ann Bligh Barker.
LeRoy’s mother, Mary Ann Holt, was born in Johnston City, Williamson, Illinois on January 11, 1840 to James and Mary Payne Holt. LeRoy’s mother had a gift of being able to understand the Indians and communicate with them. She was an interpreter for the white settlers in transactions with the Indians.
When William Barker’s parents arrived in Weber County in October 1849, there were only twenty-three settlers located there. They settled in the district now known as “Five Points” in Ogden. In the fall of 1853, acting under orders received from Brigham Young, the settlers began the construction of a fort. They continued work on it for two years under the direction of Bishop Erastus Bingham, and the settlement was called Bingham’s Fort.
Brigham Young visited the people at Bingham’s Fort in 1856. He advised them to abandon the fort and move to the Ogden site, between the Ogden and Weber rivers, and help build a city there. This site was known as the Mound Fort and was built in 1854.
William was twenty-one and Mary Ann was fifteen when they married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on October 5, 1855. During the summer of 1855, great black swarms of crickets and grasshoppers settled everywhere on the crops. These pests devoured everything green. Hardly anything was raised for man or beast in the entire county. To climax the difficult situation, the summer was followed by an extremely bitter cold winter with exceptionally deep snow. The pioneers continued to speak of that winter thereafter as “the Hard Winter.”
William was called to take charge of a day school, and he is recorded as one of the first school teachers in Mound Fort. He taught school in a little frame building down by the Mound called Kemps Place. He also served a number of times as trustee of the school district.
William and Mary Ann at first made their home in a dugout in the hill east of town. Their first child Clarissa Ann was born July 11, 1856, but died December 18 the same year.
Their second child, William Frederick was born on September 27, 1857 and died on September 17, 1879.
The third child was Harriet Matilda born on September 23, 1859 at Mound Fort. She married John Smuin on July 25, 1878 and they were the parents of eleven children. Harriet died December 1, 1918 in Rexburg, Idaho.
The fourth child was James Albert born March 29, 1861. He died on October 13, 1881 at the age of twenty.
The family moved to North Ogden in the early 1860’s where William continued teaching school. Community members had built an adobe schoolhouse there in 1855. It was a one-room structure, 30 by 60 feet. The furniture was all homemade and an open fireplace provided heat. A tuition of $3 per term was charged, payable in cash or produce, fuel, janitor work, or boarding the teacher. Parents bought the books and helped select the course of study.
William and Mary Ann’s fifth child, Mary Jane, was born February 5, 1864 in North Ogden, Utah. She died on March 18, 1864.
The sixth child, Sarah Ellen, was born on June 17, 1865. She married Joseph Ezra Taylor on September 13, 1883. Joseph passed away in 1943 and Sarah died of a heart attack on May 24, 1945 shortly after she returned from a Relief Society meeting.
The seventh child, Lenora, was born on June 16, 1867 and married Simeon Alonzo Farley. She made her home in Ogden all her life until a few years before her death. She died on January 9, 1943 in Los Angeles, California.
The eighth child, George Franklin, was born on September 29, 1869 in North Ogden. He married Eva Shaw on May 6, 1892 in Blackfoot, Idaho. George died November 6, 1936 in Eden or Huntsville. Utah.
Shortly after George’s birth, on October 14, 1869, the family of William and Mary Ann relocated back to the Mound Fort in Ogden. LeRoy was the ninth child, born on January 18, 1872 in Ogden.
The tenth child, Leonard Overton, was born April 11, 1873. He died at three years of age on May 22, 1876.
The eleventh child, Amy, was born May 25, 1876. She married Thomas Saville Johns on May 15, 1901. Amy died July 7, 1950 in North Ogden after a long illness.
The twelfth child, John, was born on December 3, 1877. He died three months later on March 4, 1878.
The thirteenth and last child, Fidelia, was born on October 25, 1880 in Ogden. She died at three years of age on April 14, 1884.
LeRoy was baptized on August 15, 1880. When he was nine years old, his father served a mission to Minnesota from April to October 1881 leaving his mother to care for eight children at the time. William was called home early due to the death of his fourth child, James Albert.
On October 30, 1888 at sixteen years of age, LeRoy was called to be the assistant secretary in the Y.W.M.I.A. This would be the first of many church callings and assignments he filled during his life.
On January 7, 1889, the Weber Stake Academy opened with two teachers and 98 pupils in attendance. The work was equivalent to a high school level and LeRoy was a member of the first class to attend the academy. The course of study included theology, German, philosophy, physiology, bookkeeping, history, arithmetic, grammar, geography, reading, and other subjects.
On Friday, May 24, 1889, the school celebrated the close of its first year with a special program. In March of 1890, when LeRoy was eighteen, his parents sold their property and the family moved to Pleasant View, Utah. His father’s health began to fail and he passed away November 19, 1902.
On January 20, 1892 at the age of twenty, LeRoy married Mary Ann Cragun, also of Pleasant View, Utah, in the Logan Temple. Mary Ann Cragun was born on October 15, 1871, the oldest child of Wilford Elisha and Mary Ann Ellis Cragun. Mary Ann or “Manie” as she was affectionately called by her brothers and sisters, had beautiful auburn hair like her grandmother,
Sarah Grace Barnaby Ellis.
Mary Ann’s mother was sixteen years old when she was born and they were more like sisters than mother and daughter. When Mary Ann was engaged to be married to LeRoy, her mother became afflicted with a cancer of the breast which made it necessary for her to go to Provo for treatments. Mary Ann and LeRoy were advised by the church authorities to get married and take care of the young family of nine children while Mary Ann’s mother was away.
The Wilford Elisha Cragun home was set back from the main road, Pleasant View Drive, in the heart of Pleasant View. Mary Ann and LeRoy lived in a home down the lane from her father’s home which he built close to the highway. The church and the village store were both just a short walk away.
Mary Ann’s father was a musician and could play several instruments. He was anxious for Mary Ann to learn all she could so at an early age he taught her what he knew to play on the family organ and then she was given instructions by her Aunt Joan Seamon Cragun.
LeRoy was also very talented musically, playing the trumpet, violin, accordion, banjo, mouth organ, and in singing. Mary Ann’s brother Wilford liked playing the trumpet and all of the family loved to sing and entertain with music at home. The children got along well while their mother was away for cancer treatments.
LeRoy had deep dimples and brown hair. He was a man of great faith. He exercised his priesthood and his calling as head of his family. He was exemplary in his dealings with God and his fellowman. He served faithfully in the church, in whatever calling he was called to. He expected to serve, to go the extra mile and Mary Ann supported him in all his efforts.
LeRoy and Mary Ann were united in their dedication to the Lord and taught their children and their descendants to do likewise, both by example and by word of mouth. Seeking to build faith by telling faith promoting experiences of their life and giving their descendants books of faith promoting stories to build in them a “Faith in God” that would carry them over in times of stress or test for they recognized that trials are an intricate part of life and to be expected and accepted and faced knowing that whom the Lord loves he chastens, that growth and service might result from trials.
LeRoy and Mary Ann had eleven children, all born in Pleasant View, Utah.
Their first child, Wilford Leroy, was born May 5, 1893. He married Eva May Higley on May 14, 1913. He died January 10, 1963.
On January 3, 1894 LeRoy was called as a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Their second child, Clara Mahala, was born on December 5, 1894. She married Irvin Leonard Perry on January 8, 1913. She died March 2, 1970.
LeRoy’s musical ability led him to be a charter member in the Pleasant View and Weber county bands. He would play the violin and Mary Ann would play the piano at dances, entertainments and socials in the early part of their married lives. They took their oldest children right along with them and the children soon loved to dance, also.
When the early pioneer families settled in Pleasant View, their first homes were built of logs. A splendid patch of trees, tall and straight, suitable for poles and building purposes, stood at the foot of Ben Lomond on the upper edge of the Pleasant View townsite.
Mary Ann’s father, Wilford Elisha Cragun, had built a little two-room cabin up in the Pole Patch, shortly after he and Mary Ann’s mother were married. They raised a good garden and Wilford walked down the hill each day to help his father and brothers milk the cows and care for their farm and cattle. Wilford and his wife had some trouble with the Indians and decided to move closer to members of the community.
LeRoy and Mary Ann also lived up in the Pole Patch when their children were young.
The third and fourth children of LeRoy and Mary Ann were twins, Albert William and Elbert Simeon, born on February 28, 1896. Albert married Edith Rosetta March on June 26, 1918. Albert died March 21, 1973. Elbert Simeon married Estella Doris Sneed on October 11, 1915. Elbert died on August 27, 1975.
Mary Ann’s father died on August 8, 1896 after being poisoned while serving a mission in the Midwest. Sometime before he died he gave a pasture to LeRoy and Mary Ann in the lower part of Pleasant View.
LeRoy and Mary Ann lived on 1000 West for many years. Their home is pictured below.
LeRoy’s mother lived nearby on 1000 West, also, until her death in 1916. In the early days, the Indians camped in this spot in the winter.
The fifth child born to LeRoy and Mary Ann, George Edmund, was born on September 27, 1898 and died on September 25, 1913.
The sixth child, Julia Lillian, was born on February 6, 1901. She married David Kunzler on December 1, 1920. Julia died February 14, 1981.
The seventh child, Mary Ellen, was born on March 20, 1903. She married Karl Willis Chugg on March 19, 1924. After Karl’s death, she married Charles Herbert Walton on December 23, 1936. Mary Ellen died on August 16, 1958.
After two daughters, LeRoy was hoping for more sons to help him on the farm. He even had a name picked out for the next boy, Peary Bliss Barker. However, the next child was Eliza Grace born on August 16, 1905. She married Ralph Mansel Thompson on May 6, 1925. Grace died on July 6, 1992.
The ninth child, Joan Louise, was born on April 25, 1908. She married Esper Douglas Miller. They divorced twenty years later and Joan married Ezra Vernon Thompson on October 15, 1934. Joan died in April 1983.
How happy LeRoy must have been when Peary was born on January 17, 1911. He finally got another boy! Peary married Jenness Viola Wright on May 12, 1932. Peary served as mayor of Pleasant View for many years and lived on his parent’s farm. He passed away on July 4, 2001.
The eleventh and last child, Violet Salina, was born on February 18, 1913. She married Joseph Lewis Coletti on September 5, 1933. Violet died on May 23, 1999.
The Barker family, like other families of their day, had coal oil lamps and lanterns to light the way so they could milk the cows, do their chores, eat their meals, read the Bible, and carry on their daily life. The coal oil lamp was carried wherever the family gathered.
The Barker family lived down the lane when electricity came into being so they did not have it for many years. They went on using the coal oil lamps just as they had done all their lives.
On September 28, 1924 the Ogden Standard Examiner reported the following: “The most elaborate family reunion ever held in North Ogden was that in the ward chapel annex and amusement hall Friday evening when hundreds of the descendants of four lines of the Barker ancestry assembled from different parts of the state. After a hearty handshake and get acquainted period, a march to the sound of music was taken to the amusement hall where a fine luncheon was served. Then the return march was made to the auditorium, where under the direction of Desmond J. Barker, a program appropriate to the occasion was given.”
Included on the program was a duet and encore by the Barker sisters, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Barker.
In 1926, LeRoy’s mother-in-law, Mary Ann Ellis Cragun passed away and in 1927, LeRoy and Mary Ann mourned the loss of their newborn twin grandsons, Elbert and Delbert Chugg, sons of Karl and Mary Ellen Barker Chugg.
LeRoy was a very religious, humble, man. A man of God, who loved and read the scriptures and taught his family who they were and where they came from and why they were here.
He did not seek for the fortunes of the world, rather he enjoyed the simpler things of life, valuing the lasting things. He was kind and retiring, not given to boasting, but rather to being an example. He always put Heavenly Father first in his life. If given to talk, it was to bear his testimony in the Pleasant View Ward on Testimony Day to express his love of God and the truthfulness of the gospel plan.
The creation must have played an important role in LeRoy’s understanding of the Gospel for he was gifted by God at being able to recreate it in the scenes of the valley he loved. He could see the beauty of a peaceful scene encompassing trees and bushes, flowers, hills and mountain peaks, animals leisurely standing in the pasture and rivers and streams as they rushed from the canyons. Not all men pause to reflect the majesty of the world around them, but LeRoy depicted in his paintings the things he observed, the harmony of nature. He had an eye for color and detail. The vast expanse of sky and the delicate leafy tree or bush or flower. Talents are to be shared and used for other’s enjoyment and growth and blessing.
LeRoy shared the gifts and talents he possessed. He respected all the beauties of nature, observed them and in his spare time, took time to put them down on canvas for others to enjoy and be brought to an awareness of God’s creations and goodness to his children.
Although he could not afford special training in Paris or abroad, he had been recognized by an authority who had offered to send him there to study. However, LeRoy recognized his first duty was to his family and the commitments he had made in this life, and so he never did have the specialized tutoring of the great artists of the world. However, this did not keep him from painting and developing his gifts to the best of his ability. Many of his paintings hang in the homes of prominent people.
At an age when most men retire, LeRoy was called on a mission. On Friday, October 31, 1930, one year after the panic on Wall Street, a farewell party was held in the Pleasant View ward building for LeRoy. A program was arranged by a committee and it included a vocal solo, readings, a vocal duet, a piano solo, a clarinet solo, remarks by the Bishop, and a farewell address by LeRoy Barker. Afterwards a dance was held at 9:30 p.m.
Elder Barker left Salt Lake November 6, 1930 for the central states mission. He left his wife in the care of our Heavenly Father. Trusting in the Lord to protect her until his mission was completed.
He was a man of great faith, a man of trust, a man of vision, a man who respected knowledge and truth, and who was always reading and growing intellectually. He was an avid book reader and scriptorian. At 69 years of age he began learning Gregg Shorthand.
He painted landscapes and portraits using oils and watercolors. The eighth annual art exhibit sponsored by the Ogden branch of American Association of University Women was held in March 1943 and LeRoy’s art was included in the exhibit.
Also, that same year, in the fall, LeRoy exhibited beef cattle in a show. He received an FFA award in January 1945 for food production. Members of the FFA earned a minimum of 350 points from three fields of production to qualify for the certificates. LeRoy was 73 years old at the time.
Well into his retirement years he spent many, many pleasant hours traveling to the temples doing temple work. He served 34 years as a High Priest Secretary in the L.D.S. church. He also taught Sunday School and various classes for 60 years.
One of LeRoy’s grandchildren related the following: “It was fun to go to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, and everyone seemed to gather together in one big group to visit and enjoy one another’s company. There was a large barn and barnyard, where the cows were gathered to be milked at night. There were always little kittens and a mother cat.”
One day as LeRoy was standing at the side of the family home a vision of the future events that would transpire were opened up to his mind and he was permitted a glance into the future and the calamities that would befall this part of the world. Later at a family reunion at the Pleasant View ward, with all of his descendants in attendance, in the cultural room LeRoy with great feeling and humility related, for all his posterity to hear, the things that Heavenly Father had made known to him through vision. It was a very spiritual day and tears coursed down his cheeks as he spoke.
LeRoy and Mary Ann’s mutual love of music was one of many things that brought them together. They would sing together each night before retiring. The night before LeRoy’s death, he and Mary Ann sang “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”
At the age of 78, LeRoy passed away on August 25, 1950. All of his children were married in L.D.S. temples, except for one son who died at the age of fifteen. At the time of his death, he had 105 living descendants.
Scrapbook belonging to Iris Kunzler Meservy.
“The Immigrant Barkers” compiled by Gary Hanson.
Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper articles.
History of William Barker submitted by Marianne Holtsclaw, located on Family Tree.
History of Mary Ann Cragun Barker written by her sister, Eva Cragun Heiner.
“Beneath Ben Lomond’s Peak” by Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Weber County Chapter.