Talk given at Henry Barker’s Funeral, 20 Feb 1918

Barker, Henry b. 1840 d. 1918

Barker Family History
This is a talk given by Frederick E. Barker [b 1861] at the funeral of Henry Barker [b 1840] in the North Ogden Chapel, on Wednesday, February 20, 1918.

My brethren and sisters and friends: I have not come prepared for the introduction I have received, and I fear that you will be disappointed. I am not prepared with anything definite to say upon this occasion, and therefore as I need, I humbly ask your sympathy and the exercise of your faith that I may have the assistance of the spirit of God while I stand before you.

Henry’s Nature: I have come to mourn with dear relatives and friends, to drop a tear, yea many of them, over the bier of a dear loved one; but yet I claim the right to say that I stand here to rejoice with you for the splendid record he has made. Henry Barker has been one who has been stalwart and effective as an honest and an honorable man. He has taken hold of this earth (which is destined eventually to be our eternal home) with a thorough and effective hand. He was not afraid to wrestle with the elements of nature. He was brave in life; he was brave also in death. I was told just this morning by a member of the family of an instance that I think was strong and significant. Years ago, a near friend of the family was suffering tortures, yet clinging to life. Said Uncle Henry to his wife, “Why don’t he give up and go?—I would.” Said Aunt Margaret, “When you get to where he is, you will feel as he does.” “No”, said Uncle Henry; and he didn’t. He said in his last hours and for days before the final summons came, that he did not fear death.

I have known Uncle Henry, as I have called him familiarly, since I was a small child, over half a century ago, when my father used to bring me up here to visit with his relatives after the decease of my mother [Jemima Newey]. Often, I have seen him pace the old parental home, between here and Ogden, where I was raised, as he carried the products of his prolific orchard and farm to market. Not infrequently, I have seen him as he went, and shared the sport of a game of ball. We all liked him because he was open and frank, buoyant in his spirits. He showed that he enjoyed life and he liked to see others enjoy it. In his younger days, he would go a long way to participate in a spelling match or an innocent game. He was free and generous in his nature. He would hardly deny any favor to a friend, and when he had accommodated anyone who found himself unfortunately unable to pay a financial obligation, Henry Barker was no one who was ready to appeal to the law and compel him. He was more than patient; he was willing to endure wrong rather than to do wrong.

Barker Ancestors: As we honored George Barker [1795] and Frederick Barker [1800], with their large and active families, as founders of Ogden and Weber county, so we honor Frederick and his sons James [1827] and Henry [1840] as founders and pioneers of North Ogden. The substantial work they have done you know better than I do; but I say the record of Henry Barker has been in keeping with that of his family.

England and Barker Coat of Arms: We trace the Barker family back to Norfolk, England, where in the 18th century, they were of enough importance to have a coat of arms’97a bear’s head, muzzled, showing tenacity of purpose without ferocity. There, in Shelfanger and Diss (as I believe I remarked from this stand at the funeral of Uncle James).

Ocean Voyage to New York, Henry Barker’s Birth: At the time the Lord was setting his hand again to bring about his “Marvelous work and a Wonder” in the last days, raising up a great modern seer and ushering in a new dispensation of the truth, there was a stir in this Barker family. George and Frederick and James and Harriet, of the older Barkers, with their extensive families, braved the Atlantic Ocean and came over and settled in northern New York, not far from the shore of Lake Ontario, in and about Watertown. There Henry Barker was born, October 6, 1840, on a farm [rented by the Frederick Barkers] that had produced Dimick Huntington, that wonderful missionary, Indian interpreter and patriot of Utah, and his great sister, Zina Huntington Young, now known in the church as Zina D.H. Smith [or Zina D.H.Young].

George Barker was First to be Baptized: The gospel reached the family in that vicinity in 1844, when they were visited by Jesse W. Crosbie, Benjamin Brown [probably from Diss, Norfolk, England] and Dimick Huntington, and then most of them were baptized in March 1844, and none of them opposed the message. They received the gifts and graces of the gospel in a distinguished way, and they continue. George Barker, patriarch of the family, as it were, was baptized still earlier, September 1842, and during the year 1844, as the Elders I have mentioned returned to Nauvoo, he traveled [with them] the long distance to visit his chosen people.

George Barker Helped Guard the Nauvoo Temple: At Nauvoo, he met the Saints, but in sorrow, for since he and his family had received the gospel, they had lost the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum, and laid them in martyrs’ graves. And in the midst of persecution, George Barker assisted them, standing guard during the winter of 1844-5 while they were working upon the temple. Then, in the year 1845, he made his way clear back to the family, and the next year they were moving westerly on that long and then tedious journey to join their chosen people at Nauvoo. It seems they were full of faith, and I have been assured by older members of the family that before they started westward it was revealed to them through the mouth of Mary Ann Barker, an elder sister of Henry Barker, by the gift of tongues and interpretation that followed, that many of them would journey westward with the church to the Rocky Mountains and further that their Prophet Joseph should become a martyr for his people and for the truth. That gifted woman, who, however, was but one of many such in the family, herself filled a martyr’s grave, through the persecution of her enemies and the hardships she endured.

From Mount Pisgah to Lebanon, Iowa: When the family finally arrived at Nauvoo [in late February 1846], they found it almost deserted through the great exodus. Sadly, they gazed upon the beautiful temple, and even made their way upon its roof, and then the same day they were forded [by ferry] across the Mississippi with their horse teams and went to join the camps of the Saints. They stayed a short time at Mount Pisgah, and then, following the counsel of their leaders, made their way to Indian Prairie, now Lebanon, Iowa, where they recuperated, and also succeeded in a material way until they were well fitted out for the journey to the mountains.

Salt Lake City and Ogden in 1849: During the summer and early autumn of 1849, they wended their way over the dreary plains and up the steeps of the Rocky Mountains, arriving in Salt Lake City, October 20, 1849. After spending but one day, Sunday, and hearing Orson Pratt preach, following the counsel of their leaders, they journeyed northward to what afterward became Ogden City. They spent their first winter at the junction of the Ogden and Weber rivers, and a few years later, Henry Barker with his father and one of two brothers, came to North Ogden. And well have they pioneered this place, which you all know so well.

Henry Barker was Unpolished but Sterling and Stalwart: A few years later, along in the sixties, Henry Barker, obedient to a call from his leaders, drove a team clear over the mountains and plains again to assist in bringing a company of poor Saints to the valley. As I say, Henry Barker was of sterling and stalwart stuff. His record is one with that of the worthies of this family, most of who have now passed away. He imbibed deep in the philosophy of nature. Some may say he was not so polished in his appearance or his manners on the surface as many would have desired him to be. How could he be expected to be, growing up here from a 9-year-old boy in the rough conditions of pioneer life?

But how nobly has he laid the foundation for culture, for education and development in his family. He and his faithful helpmate, who endured probably greater hardships than he had, having made her way across the plains with a handcart, becoming an orphan during the journey, have lived a life that has been so far from being narrow or selfish, as they laid the foundation and afforded the opportunity for the culture and development of their children.

Henry’s Sons: I will pause to say that as many as three of their boys were like members of my family during the years they were studying at the university, in Salt Lake City; and as they lived in my family, I learned to love them almost as my own children. And now, as we look back, what shall we say of the record of Henry Barker? It speaks aloud; it speaks for volumes in its own way. And how impressive have been the records and the lives of the old worthies of our family! Henry’s record may be classed, I believe, with the others that I have known so well, who were implicit in their faith in the gospel, who were certain of the resurrection of the body, that when they laid their bodies down and went to the other side, they would meet their parents and dear ones there.

Testimony and Book of Job: How can I voice their testimony and their record? I think in no way so well as in the words of the old Patriarch Job. In the midst of his affliction and contemplating an early departure from this stage of existence, he said: “My witness is in heaven! My record is on high.” (Job XVI, 19), and then those beautiful words:

“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in a rock forever. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins [veins] be consumed within me.” (Job XIX). [Job 19:23-27]

And now as to the young people of the family, the young men and women who have been so well educated and developed through the efforts and the guidance and the love of Henry Barker and his worthy helpmeet. What shall we say: “How beautiful upon the mountains are their feet, who publish glad tidings…Who say unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.”

Blessings for Henry Barker’s Posterity: I pray that the blessings of the Lord may be with the immediate family of the deceased, that the spirit of comfort may be with them, that they may realize that the hand of providence is in this, as in everything else in the life of our dear brother, whose remains lie before us. And may his work and example be emulated and followed to a complete fruition by his posterity, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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