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BARKER, Valentine Stephen

    Cambria Freeman, 6 Apr 1906, Contributed by Patty Millich

Death Claims Prominent Citizen of Ebensburg
Valentine S. Barker of the Firm of Barker Bros., Passed Peacefully to the Great Beyond
Last Sunday Morning Was Waiting for the Church Hour

Valentine Stephen Barker, senior member of the mercantile firm of Barker Brothers of Ebensburg, died at his home on High street on Sunday morning about 9:30 o'clock as the result of paralysis of the heart, aged sixty-two years, seven months and sixteen days.

The death of Mr. Barker furnishes another most forcible example of the uncertainly of this mortal life. With the exception of a slight attack of lumbago, to which he was subject, Mr. Barker had been enjoying his accustomed health recently and was able to be at his desk every day in the big store of which he was the senior partner. On Saturday he was at the store all day and didn't leave his desk until about 9 o'clock in the evening just prior to closing, when he walked to his residence located about a block away.

As was his custom, upon arriving at his home, he chatted with his family for sometime and after, retired for the night, apparently as well as usual. About two o'clock Sunday morning, Mr. Barker aroused his wife and complained of severe pains in the region of the heart. His wife prepared a plaster for him and applied it to the affected part and the pain ceased. Mr. Barker suffered no further annoyance and attributed the pain to stomach disorder.

At six o'clock Sunday morning he arose and after completing his toilet, partook of breakfast and did not complain of any illness. After breakfast he was about the house and sometime previous to 9:30 he went to his library and was seated in an arm chair waiting until it was time to start to church.

When the final summons came, his wife was in the library with him, and without a moment's warning of his illness, his head sank back upon the arm chair, pallor came over his face, his heart ceased to beat, there was a gasp and his eyes closed forever. Members of his family thought he had fainted. Mrs. Barker hastened to his assistance and held his head while Dr. F. C. Jones was being summoned. He uttered no response to the solicitations addressed to him by his wife, and a little later Dr. Jones arrived and pronounced him dead. He intended as has been his life long practice to attend the morning service in the Presbyterian church and was waiting to hear the church bell call the members of his religious faith to worship the Lord, but the Divine Master's solemn summons preceded and his spirit passed into the great beyond.

V. S. Barker was a son of the late Hon. A. A. and Lousina P. Little Barker and was born in Lovell, Oxford County, Me., on August 15th, 1743 (sic probably should be 1843). He came to Cambria county with his parents in November, 1854, and located at Carrolltown, where the family remained for two years after which they removed to Ebensburg where they have since resided.

Mr. Barker was a quiet, unobtrusive man and one of Ebensburg's best citizens. As a merchant he was progressive and very attentive to his duties as a "buyer" for the big mercantile firm of which he was the head. The morning of his death marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his firm's existence. On April 1st, 1879 the deceased and his brother, Mr. C. H. Barker, formed the partnership known as V. S. Barker & Brother. In 1882, Mr. F. H. Baker was taken into the firm and ever since the business has been conducted under the firm name of Barker Brothers. Mr. Barker first engaged in the mercantile business upon his return from the Civil War or not long after, when he purchased an interest in the general store of E. J. Mills, about 1864. The business was conducted under the name of E. J. Mills & Co., until 1867 when Mr. Barker bought Mr. Mill's interest in the business and conducted the store himself until 1875. At this time he went out of business for himself and took charge of his father's general store which he continued to manage until 1879 when the partnership of V. S. Barker and Brother was formed.

In 1862 Mr. Barker enlisted in the Union cause in Company F of the 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for nine months. After serving the full term of enlistment he returned to Ebensburg and has since been engaged it the mercantile business. The deceased took no active part in politics. In his fraternal relations he has been identified with Summit Lodge No. 312, F. and A. M.; Portage Chapter R. A. M. of Johnstown, No. 195; Kedron Commandery No. 18 at Greensburg; Highland Lodge No. 428, I. O. O. F. and Captain M. Jones Post No. 556, G. A. R. at Ebensburg.

Religiously Mr. Barker was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ebensburg, having been an elder of the church for upwards of twenty years as well as church treasurer for many years.

Valentine S. Barker was married twice. His first union was with Jennie L. Evans. To this union were born two children: Myrtle and Mabel. In 1873 his wife and the two children just named were stricken with diphtheria and all three died within a week and their remains were interred in Lloyd cemetery. In 1876 Mr. Barker was united in marriage to Cassie Williams of Indiana county, who together with the following children, survive: Mrs. Edith, wife of J. Milton Connell of Ardmore, near Philadelphia; and Miss Edna Barker, who is attending a seminary at Luthersville near Baltimore; Alta, Aretas and Austin Barker, other children of the deceased to the last union preceded their father to the grave, Austin Barker having died June 17th 1905. Mrs. Barker and her daughter, Mrs. Connell, who is visiting in Ebensburg, were with Mr. Barker when he died. Besides the above named relatives, the deceased is survived by three brothers, F. H., C. H. and Judge A. V. Barker, all of Ebensburg.

It will be impossible for members of the family to notify Judge A. V. Barker of his brother's death. The judge left Ebensburg on Friday for a ten days tour off the southern coast of Florida and the family know of no way by which he can be intercepted with the sad message. He is expected to arrive at Miami, Florida, today and will immediately board a steamship for a voyage among the keys. The judge is traveling in company with several of his old college friends and after boarding the boat, they expect to remain off shore until they are ready to return home.

The funeral cortege moved from the Barker home about 1:15, arriving at the Presbyterian Church soon after. While the mourners were being seated a mixed quartet composed of Mrs. Cyrus W. Jones, soprano; Miss Fannie Lloyd, alto; James W. Leech, Esq., tenor and E. H. Davis, Esq. bassoon, chanted, "Blessed Are the Dead." After a touching invocation by the Rev. S. G. Craig, pastor of the church, the quartet sang, "Only One Sweetly Solemn Thought." The Rev. Craig read the Scripture lesson and the Rev. J. Twyson Jones, pastor of the Congregational church, made the prayer of the service. After another selection by the quartet, the Rev. Craig delivered an eloquent eulogy on Mr. Barker's life.

The singing of "Lead, Kindly Light" concluded the service at the church. Beside the grave in Lloyd Cemetery, the Rev. Crag read the short Presbyterian burial service and the Masonic and G. A. R. organizations went through with their rituals.

The local lodge of Masons furnished the active pallbearers who were as follows: Sherman Tibbott, Walter R. Thompson, Webster Griffith, Herman T. Jones, all of Ebensburg; Morris C. Williams of Barnesboro and Al Clark, of Hastings.

These members of the G. A. R. accompanied the remains as honorary bearers: Thomas J. Hughes, William H. Davis, Edmund James, C. T. Roberts and W. A. Jones, all of Ebensburg and H. E. Rheinhold of Meade Post, Philadelphia.

Out of respect the store and business houses were closed Wednesday from noon until after the funeral of Mr. Barker.

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