The Frederick Barker Orchard, Ogden Utah


From “Our Pioneer Heritage”, by Kate Carter–page 240–Written by Rodephia S. Jones–Moundfort.

In the spring of 1850, George & Frederick Barker, Francillo Durfee, David Moore, Amos Andrews & Clinton Bronson secured farms at the Mound Fort Settlement & joined with the Shaws, Chases & Hubbards in enlarging the ditch dug the previous year from the Ogden River. The canal became known as the “Mound Fort Irrigation Ditch”. Also in the year 1850, the Barker family made another ditch, taking water out of the river farther upstream & bringing it to the farming land. Practically all of these pioneer irrigation ditches are still being used, which shows the engineering ability of the early settlers.

Minerva P. Shaw wrote the following ” Having recently attended the Barker Family Reunion at North Ogden, the present owner of the property on which stood for about 54 years one of the first, if not the very first, apple orchards planted in Weber county, I was moved to pen the following lines to express my feelings about this orchard and what it meant to so many. It was grown from seed planted by Frederick Barker about the year 1853 between the present 12th and 13th Streets at about where Lincoln Ave. will be opened.

The Barkers, George and Frederick, with their families, Pioneers of 1849, located on this and adjoining lands. Byron Barker fell heir to the old orchard. In 1877 he conveyed it to Ambrose Shaw, who in turn conveyed it to his wife Minerva Pease Stone Shaw in 1905. In 1907 I had the trees removed; but, remembering what it meant to family, friends, neighbors and schoolchildren, of long ago, I have written the following.”

I stood and gazed in mute dismay, upon the havoc wrought,
This cherished scene of girlhood days, unheeded and forgot
Till now, your trunks are sear and bare, beneath the burning sun,
By woodman’s axe and human power, this grievous was done.
You dear old trees, you’ve stood the test of winter snows and sleet
And summers sown your luscious fruit beneath the children’s feet.
When mountain winds like hurricanes have swept the valley through
Your towering crests and sheltering arms proved valliant and true.
Your foliage and blossoms, swayed by every gentle breeze,
Gave rest and joy to warbling birds, and succor to to the bees.
When nestlings chirped their baby songs, amid your welcome shade,
They little dreamed what would befall the home their God had made.
It wrings my heart to see you torn by man’s relentless hand,
And in your stead to gaze upon a stretch of fruitless land,
Though time may glide on golden wings, as floats the summer breeze,
Yet, memory will cling to you, You Pioneer Old Trees.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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