Barkers Were Large Tobacco Dealers Before Coming To Sequatchie Valley, Hixson

Friday, June 16, 2017 - by John Wilson

John Barker was master of the ship Abraham that sailed to Virginia from London Nov. 20,1635, with 51 passengers. His descendants made their way to Iredell County, N.C., then on to the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee and finally to Hixson in Hamilton County.

The Barkers settled in Surry County, Va.,where they were large dealers in tobacco. A deed in 1653 mentions John Barker purchasing tobacco from Barbados. The same year, Theodrick Bland sold John Barker a plantation on the Upper Chippokes Creek for 10,000 pounds of "good tobacco.'' This property was sold by John Barker in 1678 to Benjamin Harrison for 16,000 pounds of tobacco. The Barkers were on the side of the insurgents during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. The uprising was led by Nathaniel Bacon against a group of tidewater aristocrats who held sway over the government. John Barker afterwards had to pay damages for destruction at the home of Arthur Allen, and Thomas Busby was cited for failing to properly post a guard. This was John Barker Jr., whose wife, Grace, was apparently the daughter of Thomas Busby. The sons of John Barker Sr. also included Joel and Jethro. John Barker Sr. was apparently first married to Letitia. He later married Ann Marshall, widow of George Marshall.

The Barkers were neighbors in Surry County in the 1680s of Hinchea Mabry, Hinchea Gilliam, William Howell, Howell Edmunds and Howell Briggs. Over a century later, the names Hinchea, Gilliam and Howell would still be handed down through the Barker lines. The Barkers, Busbys, Briggses and Howells were fined for not attending parish church on the Sabbath. It was explained that many who were thus cited did so because they were Quakers. Another reference says the Barkers were Church of England until after the Revolution when many of them became Methodist.

A John Barker who was born in Surry County about the 1720s made his way to Iredell County about 1776. He married Elizabeth Cooper,whose father, William Cooper, died in Surry County in 1759. John Barker died at Iredell in 1808, leaving 11 slaves, "goods, chattels and household furniture, and stock of all kinds as horses, cattle, hoggs and sheep.'' Son Burrell Barker and daughter Mary White were also given five shillings. Apparently, John Barker had already distributed his land. The children of John Barker included Howell who married Martha Clanton, Hinchea, Burrell who married Milly Robey, William, Elizabeth who married a Foot, Mary who married John White, and Susannah who married a Cheatham. Howell Barker lived to be 96 years old and he had many slaves on his plantation in Lincoln County, N.C. His children included Gilliam, Howell Jr., Rebecca who married a Millsaps, Mary, John, Nancy, Martha who married Robert Gwaltney, Lucy who married Louis Wiles, Joel and Elizabeth.

Gilliam Barker, who was born in 1774, married Mary Houston, a daughter of James Houston. Gilliam Barker was still in Iredale County in 1810. But he afterwards made his way to the Sequatchie Valley, residing near Dunlap in a place that came to be known as Barkertown. He died there in 1824. The children of Gilliam Barker included William who married Ruth Farmer, Howell G. who married Elizabeth Hudson, Sally who married Howell Marler, James who married Ruth Hendricks, Mary, Martha,Rebecca who married Elijah Hudson, and Patsy who married Alex Hilliard.

John H. Barker, a son of Howell G. Barker, married Rebecca Van Hooser. Their children were Burrel W. who married Rebecca Elizabeth Holloway, James W. who married Hettie Smith, Sarah Elizabeth who married Joseph A. Grayson, Elijah H. who married Cordia Deakins, Amanda who married David F. Holloway, Sophronia who married Joseph H. Condra, Jacob Howell who married Ida Teague, Gilliam Van who married Jane Harris, and William Francis who married Ada Louise Hardyman. 

Another son, John H. Barker, was born in 1805. He married Nancy Easterly. The John H. Barkers were apparently the first of the Barkers to move to the Hixson settlement in Hamilton County. Their children included Louisa, Lydia who was the second wife of J.C. Rogers, Mary who married Ephraim Foster Hixson, Joel W., Charlotte, Martha, Harriet who married George Washington Selcer, Sarah and Nancy. Joel W. Barker was living in Falling Water when he died in 1918. He married Lucretia Vandergriff, a daughter of Joseph Vandergriff. Their sons were John L. and William A. Barker.

The children of William and Ruth Farmer Barker included John Gilliam who married Fannie Barto Jones, Moses Easterly who married Alice Stewart, Nancy who married Houston Hixson, Louisa, William Houston who married Zilpha Hixson, Sally, James Anderson who married Martha Stewart, Burrell, Abner, Zachary Taylor and Leona Rebecca who married George Stewart.

Henry and Howell H. Barker, two other sons of William and Ruth Farmer Barker, also made their way to Hixson. Henry Barker married Malinda Hixson and Howell H. Barker married Sarah Stewart. Henry Barker's children included Euphemia who married J.J. Kelly, Margaret who married Frank Selcer, Ruth who married Bert Abberger and then J.P. Coulter, Melissa who married Joseph Thurman, William Houston who married Gertrude Rogers, Floyd who married Carrie Wilson, and Carrie who married Silas Brown. The children of Howell and Sarah Stewart Barker included William S. who married Sarah Thomas, Mary Elizabeth who married John Hixson, Laura J. who married Alec Gray,John H. who married Lettie Stewart, James L. who married Rebecca Brown, Alice who married James Russell Moore, George and Edgar who married Minerva Rogers. Sarah, Alice, Martha and George Stewart were children of William Stewart Jr. of Sequatchie Valley. His first wife was Achsah Deakins. After her death, he married Ruth Hendricks Barker, widow of James Barker. Sarah and Alice Stewart were by the first wife and George and Martha by the second wife. Martha Stewart Barker had a twin, Jane, who married Burrell Farmer.

John H. Barker was living in North Chattanooga when he died in 1918. His five children were Elmer L., Frank Stewart, Hugh H., Mary Lou and Fred Condra Barker who married Minnie White.

Judge Mickey Barker, who was a Hamilton County Circuit Court judge and then became Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, is a descendant of Howell G. and Elizabeth Hudson Barker. His father, Frank Barker, was one of the children of William Francis and Ada Hardyman Barker. William Francis Barker was the youngest child of John H. and Rebecca Van Hooser Barker and grandson of Howell G. Barker.

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