History of James Barker b. 7 April 1827, England

This history of the Barker Family was typed in Feb. and March 1961. It was re-typed in 1980 by the James A. Davis Family and now by Evonne in Oct 30 2001. + More was added from Martha E. Hosmer and Glenna Hosmer Rowe’s history in10 June 2002.

On April 7, 1827, a poor English couple, Frederick and Ann Blygh (Blyth, Bligh) Barker welcomed the birth of their first son. James Barker had already been preceded by two sisters, Marilda and Mary Ann, and was to become one of a family of eleven children.

It was fortunate for the Barkers that the government of England in 1830 was providing transportation for poor families who wished to emigrate to America. The family, which by that time had four children, decided to cross the ocean to this land that was offering refuge and fortune to so many of the world’s less fortunate.

The voyage was a difficult one for little James who was only three. The seas were rough and a siege of smallpox broke out on board their ship, the New Brunswick. Many passengers died, but after 13 weeks the Barker family arrived safely at Staten Island on June 22, 1830. The Lord was setting James hand to bring about His mighty work and a wonder in the last days as there was a stir in this Barker family when they were in far off England.

The Barkers established their first American home at LeRoy in Jefferson County, New York. In 1838 they moved a short distance to Watertown, New York. It was while they resided in Watertown that the Barker family was introduced to Mormonism. They became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1845. James grew to young manhood in New York, and there received a good education.

In 1846 their move westward began. It followed the pattern of the westward movement of many of the Mormon Pioneers. They resided in Leban, Van Buren County, Iowa, until 1849. In May of that year, they moved to Council Bluffs to prepare to join one of the companies crossing the plains to Utah.

The Barkers left Council Bluffs, Iowa, on July 7, 1849, as members of a company of emigrants to Utah. The Barker family was placed in the 100 of Allen Taylor, the 50 of Enoch Rhees and the 10 of David Moore, who later married James Barker’s sister, Sarah. David Moore was the secretary of the 100 and it is due to his precision in keeping records that the trip to Utah and other details have been procured. In the Company of 205 souls were 65 wagons, 298 oxen, 127 cows, 21 horses, and 148 sheep, besides quite a number of smaller domestic animals. James was a young man of 22 at the time, and did his share to insure the welfare of the company. He was a Bishop’s Counselor. They landed in Salt Lake City October 20, 1849 and 4 days later reached Ogden and went into Winter Quarters in Browns Fort, a group of cabins in the south west part of Ogden, near 30th St. and the Weber River, but during the spring of 1850, moved into Farrs Fort and located under the line of the present North Ogden Canal near the old Woolen Mills.

In the year 1850 Newman Greenleaf Blodgett and family arrived at Farr’s Fort. He and his family had immigrated from the New England States. They had accepted the gospel and had crossed the plains by foot. He was a descendant of Thomas Blodgett and Susan, who with their two children, Daniel and Samuel, immigrated to America from Stowmarket, Suffolk, England in 1635 and settled in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

After reaching Utah he remained for a time in Salt Lake City, where he was employed by David Randall. He joined the family in Mound Fort Ward.

It was at Farr’s Fort that Frederick Barker’s eldest son, James Barker, met Polly Emeline Blodgett. She had sparkling brown eyes and a lovable sense of humor. She was born at Bath, Grafton, New Hampshire a daughter of Newman Greenleaf Blodgett and Sally Smith Utley. Her grandparents were Benjamin and Polly Greenleaf Blodgett and Levi and Sally (Smith) Utley. Grandfather often referred to my grandmother as a “Blue-bellied Yankee”. Her ancestors had lived in several of the New Hampshire, December 1, 1832, and arrived in Utah in 1850 after crossing the plains by foot.

James Barker and Polly Emeline Blodgett were married by Justice of the Peace Daney on 2 Mar 1851. He was twenty-three and she was eighteen years old when their fortunes were joined. They had very little when they commenced housekeeping with a scanty supply of rudely constructed articles of household furnishings. He used to mention how his coat was minus one sleeve. They lived a little west and north of the Old Woolen Factory site, just below where the North Ogden Canal was afterward made, but in the fall moved back into Farr’s Fort on account of prospective Indian troubles. They later moved into Mound Fort on account of Indian troubles where their first child James Hyrum Barker was born 1852.

In the spring of 1853 they moved to North Ogden, Utah and located for the summer on Cold Water near where Joseph Orton afterward made a home. In the fall they had to move into the North Ogden Fort for protection against the Indians and located temporarily on what was afterward the Alfred Berrett Farm, where their second child Mary Ann was born in 1853. The next move was on the John Daniel’s lot east of the meeting house. There they remained until the general move south, going as far as Santaquin, Utah.

March 4, 1854 Newman Greenleaf Blodgett came to North Ogden, Utah from Farr’s Fort to live. He had a small flock of sheep. The Indians stole them and after killing one and eating it they became sick, they being superstitious, returned the rest. He and family lived in a dugout.

This same year, 1854, Newman Greenleaf Blodgett and his son-in-law, James Barker, husband of Polly Blodgett erected in North Ogden on Cold Water Creek the first Grist Mill, a two story building of rock and adobes. It was run by water power with combined streams of Cold Water and Rice Creeks.

In bringing down logs from North Ogden Canyon they made the first trail which was later used as the road made through North Ogden Canyon.

It was at the Grist Mill an incident happened which caused an Indian uprising and nearly brought about the massacre of the citizens of the community. A large Indian desired a grist ground which had some sunflower weeds in it. The miller, Benjamin Gardener who run the mill, hesitated fearing it would make the next grist of wheat unpalatable and the Indian refused to wait his turn he became angry and an argument ensued. The miller hit the Indian, almost immediately an uprising started. The Indians in gaudy war paint giving vent to the most hideous yells encircled the home of Bishop Dunn, threatening to massacre all the inhabitants of the settlement. It was only with the greatest of effort and persuasion that Bishop Dunn was successful in buying off the warriors with beef and flour. But peace was finally restored and the owners of the mill and their miller, Mr. Gardiner, were permitted to continue converting wheat into the very essential bread stuff of that time. They used to thresh out the grain with two sticks.

James’s family had many happy experiences with the Indians to contrast to these more distressing experiences. My mother told me that she and her brothers and sisters had fun as children tossing the light fruit baskets down from the barn roof on the heads of the squaws who were working below. The squaws would laugh and play with the children.

James in response to a call from the General Authorities of the Church in Salt Lake City, Utah 2 December 1856, started back East. The company of Captain Hunt was made up of sixty mule and horse teams, they were sent to help the poor emigrants in from the Missouri River. The design was to meet the companies of William B. Blodgett and John A. Hunt’s wagons which they did. They were gone two weeks. They endured much cold, fatigue and extreme suffering. One night after they camped two of the animals strayed away. Grandfather, James Barker, and another teamster were sent to find them. It was very cold and dark, they hunted for a couple of hours before finding the animals. The company failed to keep the bonfire burning and they had to hunt for the camp. Through the exposure to the cold he contracted rheumatism which crippled his hands and feet. He was unable to work the rest of his life. He had to have hired help until his sons were large enough to help. He always used a cane to assist in getting around. He was always happy, I can still hear his hearty laugh and in my mind see him sitting by the flowing well that was southwest of the house with his cane in his hand.

A son, Fredrick George Barker, was born 1855. In 1857 James and his brother Henry, sons of Fredrick Barker, bought the old Rice place from Asa Rice. He was a trapper and as the people began to move to North Ogden he wanted to leave. His place had a creek running through it so they called it Rice Creek after Mr. Rice. They paid one hundred dollars in money and the rest in produce for the land. Newman Henry Barker was born 1858.

On other pages it mentions “The General Move South” and the return in 1859. That was the time when Johnson’s Army came to Utah. The government officials had heard that the Latter-Day Saints who had moved to the Rocky Mountains from the west, were building homes and raising fine crops. They feared they would prosper and gain strength and take over the government so they sent out the army to look things over. The Latter Day Saint leaders heard of their plans so they organized. All the families packed provisions and moved south as far as Santaquin, Utah. Enough men were left so if the army tried to take over the cities and towns they would set fire to all the buildings and they would find nothing but ruins. Some of the leaders met the army outside the city, made negotiations and the army promised they would move on south of Salt Lake City and camp. The army learned what they had heard was false and that the Latter Day Saints were peace loving people and only trying to make a living and build homes. So the Saints returned to their homes.

On their return from the move south from Santaquin, Utah in the spring of 1859, they located in the east part of North Ogden and made their permanent home. This spot was some of the most fertile land in the country. Establishing a home on this virgin soil was not easy but they enjoyed it.

In 1859 Frederick , father of James, came to North Ogden to live. He and his wife Ann separated and she married his brother George Barker, (at this time we do not know the circumstances). She was sealed to George 2 November 1855 in the Endowment House. Frederick married Jane Barbour Johnson, a widow, and was sealed to her 26 July 1853 in the President’s Office. He also married Elizabeth Thomas Jones, a widow of Evan Jones.

James Barker and Polly Emeline Blodgett

James and Polly were sealed in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah 2 Apr 1857, officiating was President Brigham Young with W. W. Phelps and S. L. Sprague as witnesses. Recorded in Book “C” page 154 #984. About ten months before their third son Newman Henry was born.

Their first home was a log cabin, which grew to be a fairly large home as the family increased. The huge fireplace in one end of the kitchen was used to hang iron kettles, in which the food was cooked. The first log cabin had one room with a rock fireplace. The second cabin had two rooms, a big room with a lean-to washroom added later. There were springs on the property and he dug a hole in the ground to form a dirt well to get drinking water.

They were the parents of eleven children, besides the four previously named were Sarah Jane born 1860, Sally Ann born 1863, Polly Emeline born 1865, Joseph born 1867, Harriet Louise born 1879, Lyman born 1872, Horace Alonzo born 1875 and died 3 April 1875. The eldest son James Hyrum died 19 February 1852, he lacked one month of being ten years old. The second son Fredrick George died 12 December 1864, he would have been nine years old in seven more days. The other eight children lived to maturity and were married.

They could not purchase clothing so Polly Emeline and her daughters corded the wool from their sheep and spun it into yarn on the large spinning wheel which set beside the hearth. She colored the yarn and wove it into yardage to make their dresses and clothing. (And at this date, 6 March 1961) her Davis grandchildren have a few pieces of the material she wove, as a keepsake. She made preserves and hand made soap in huge brass kettles over an open fire out in the yard.

Their log house had three rooms, the kitchen on the west end, the fireplace was on the west wall of the kitchen. The entrance and porch was on the south, windows on the north side of the house. The mother and daughters used to dry the fruit, which was grown on the farm. Grandfather, James Barker, developed one of the finest farms in Utah. He was an Agricultural leader in the community. The first red apples in Utah were raised by him and he encouraged others to raise the red apples that has helped to make Utah famous.

They built one of the finest homes in the vicinity, a two story frame home, on the ground floor, parlor, porch, two bedrooms, bath room and a brick kitchen on the east side with a pantry.

(from another source) James was the architect of this home; however, most of the actual construction was done by his father-in-law and brother-in-law. His father-in-law was Newman Greenleaf Blodgett.

When the home was originally built, it had four bedrooms upstairs, and a living room, and two bedrooms on the main floor. A stairway led upstairs and was located between the living room and a bedroom with a closet built under it. There were two closets upstairs for the use of the four bedrooms. The rooms were high ceilings and most have ornate woodwork, some with the original gold paint still on them. A kitchen was added later with two pantries, one containing the cream separator. After the cream was separated from the milk, it was put in a tub by the well.

The upstairs bedrooms were often used by converts to the Mormon church whose passageway from England had been financed by Mr. Barker. They would work as hired hands on his farm to pay back the money they owed him.

Later still, one pantry was torn out of the kitchen area and modern plumbing was put in.

The home is a frame house with plastered-lathe walls. The kitchen is made with brick walls. The walls inside were papered. The living room walls are papered half way down from the ceiling, with pine finished panels on the lower portions of the walls.

Each room downstairs had an individual chimney and was equipped with a pot-belly type stove, with a cook stove in the kitchen. There was a woodshed close to the house, which was kept loaded with fruit tree logs.

They had a wonderful farm and orchards where they raised all kinds of fruits and berries, apples, peaches and pears, as well as corn, tomatoes, potatoes and onions. He being one of the first men in the country to attempt raising of this vegetable, (onions) which he took special pride, and one year harvested a crop which yielded fourteen hundred bushels to the acre. They had five flowing wells on their farm to furnish water for the farm and also one at the house. They really lived the commandment to love their neighbor as themselves. I can remember him sitting in a chair by the well, his cane by his side.

James was deeply interested in the development and improvement of his country and helped build many of the roads and bridges, and was interested in many local enterprises. He was for some years a stockholder in the Rock flour Mills.

They had several cows which furnished them with milk and cream for butter. The surplus butter was sold to steady customers.

Polly Emeline Barker had many talents. She helped the people in the community in many ways. They became friendly with the Indians. She became known as a doctor among the Indians and early settlers. She had a special talent for caring for the sick with herbs and setting bones. When her children were no longer small, all of them married but the four youngest ones, two girls and two boys. Besides raising her large family and helping her husband and her household duties she went to Salt Lake City, Utah and studied under Dr. Ellis Ship to be a Midwife. Following is a letter written to the sisters of Weber County and elsewhere.

Salt Lake City, 20 May 1881.
Dear Sisters;
This is to certify that Sister Polly Barker has been under my tuition for sometime as a medical student – studying principally Obstetrics. I consider her a woman of sterling integrity and noble principles. Possessing good judgment and rare presence of mind. She has been an industrious student and has made good progress in her studies and is in every way deserving the confidence and patronage of the sisters. I consider you are greatly blessed in having such a woman to depend upon in ordinary cases as well as in cases of emergency. I would therefore advise you to show your appreciation in sustaining her by your faith and works.
So the separation from me, I feel to pray God to bless her as she truly merits, with success in her earned endeavors and may He ever bless all that are interested in the amelioration of woman’s condition is the sincere prayer of your sister in the gospel.
Ellis R. Ship M. D.

Polly and her half-brother’s wife, Sarah Susanna (Kit) Blodgett, assisted at the birth of most of the babies in North Ogden and other communities. Polly used to ride a horse to take care of the mothers on the Pole Patch, which is at the foot of Ben Lomond Mountain. She would care for the mother, baby and family for a week and if they could not pay her that was alright. One day she came home from caring for a family, her two daughters Polly and Harriet L were preparing dinner. Harriet had made a cake for dinner, their mother told them about the family she had just left. They had not tasted cake for so long, she said, “You don’t care if I take your cake to them do you? You can make another cake.” They willingly let her have the cake.

Besides all this work with the sick, she was counselor in the Relief Society. She also was a teacher in Sunday School and meanwhile ably assisting her husband in developing and building up their home to be second to none in the vicinity.

They enjoyed their church duties. He was sustained as president of the Elders Quorum 14 February 1859 with R. Jenkins and William M. Jones as counselors and L.F. Harmon as secretary and continued in that position a great many years over 18. On 14 January 1863 he was appointed with Joseph Godfrey and David Garner to establish the United Order in North Ogden. December 19, 1863 is appointed a Ward Visiting teacher and worked in that capacity for many years.

June 6, 1866 he raised his barn—- nearly the first in the place.

In 1866, was appointed a member of the school board and served several years when the Subscription System was in vogue.

March 28, 1868 he was ordained a seventy by Lorin Farr. Afterwards acting many years as one of the presidents. April 15, 1868 he succeeded Abraham Chadwick as second counselor to Henry Holmes- President of the North Ogden Branch.

March 28, 1869 he was appointed president in the 76th Quorum of Seventy, continued on until it was merged into the 38th Quorum 9 December 1888. His associate Presidents were W. F. Critchlow, D. H. Perry, Joseph G. Folkman, William Hall, Enoch Farr, & Edward Edwards. He then continued as president of the quorum until his advanced age necessitated a recommend to the High Priests Quorum.

October 14, 1869 he was appointed Superintendent of the North Ogden Sunday School with Robert G. Berrett and Sidney Stephens as assistants. Two years later he was succeeded by Thomas Kirby. July 8, 1877 he was released as President of the Elders Quorum having served eighteen years, four months and twenty-four days. He served many years as Ward Director and many other positions of trust and honor among the people of his ward.

March 25, 1984 was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Ward continuing for some time in that capacity.

His father Fredrick Barker died 4 November 1866 at North Ogden, Utah. His mother Ann B. died 18 September 1876 at Ogden, Utah. Her father Newman Greenleaf Blodgett died 24 August 1882 at North Ogden, Utah. Her Mother Sally S. U. died 24 October 1838 at Golden Point, Illinois.

James and Polly gave each of their sons a farm near their own when they were married. For their daughters they did everything possible to see that their needs were taken care of.

One day one of his sons-in-law was helping haul hay, as they were about finished he told them to load all the hay that they could get on the wagon. They thinking he was having it loaded extra large for tithing, they did as he said. Then turning to his son-in-law, Edward Davis, said, “Take this load over to your place.” One can imagine his surprised look.

When we grandchildren would go to visit our grandparents we would like to go through the garden and orchard, then we would have to go upstairs, as our house did not have an upstairs. This was a real treat as our home was only one story.

When our sister, Nellie Davis, was staying with our grandparents for a visit, grandmother told her of an experience that happened when she was a small girl in Nauvoo, Illinois, before they came to Utah. She was bothered with sore eyes. She told her folks she knew if the Prophet Joseph Smith would just look into her eyes and ask her what was the matter with her eyes, they would be healed. One time as he was speaking to the different ones he spoke to her and asked about her eyes, they were completely healed.

When they no longer needed the old log home, they stored ice in one room in sawdust. The other rooms they used to put the apples and peaches in as they picked them. They stored their apples in a special room in the barn fixed with double walls, with sawdust between the walls to keep it the same temperature.

Grandmother Polly died 5 Aug. 1911 at the home of her daughter, Mary Ann B Garner while on a visit with her daughters and family at Preston, Franklin, Idaho, caused by a stroke. She would have been seventy-nine years old in December.
Grandfather, James , Died 14 Dec.1915 at 5:30 a.m. at his home in North Ogden, Weber, Utah with his children around him though his passing away was so peaceful it was scarcely observed. He would have been eighty-nine years old 7 Apr 1916. He was survived by seven sons and daughters, fifty grandchildren and seventy-two great grandchildren, His youngest living son, Lyman Barker and family were living in part of his home.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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