Shelby  County  Indiana
Newspaper  Articles


The  Adams  County Free Press
Corning, Adams County, Iowa
Thursday, January 27, 1938
Page One
Pioneer  Reaches  90th  Year
          A visit with  Mrs. M. Barker  Saturday afternoon revealed the fact that Mrs. Barker was looking forward most eagerly to a 90th birthday party to have been held Wednesday of this week at the home of her son,  W. B. Barker.  Unfortunately on Sunday a telegram came telling Mrs. Barker of the death of her daughter,  Mrs. Lethia Lawrence  of Forsythe, Montana, who had been in ill health for some time.  Mrs. Barker was also taken quite ill Sunday morning as she was preparing to come to town to Sunday School and so the plans have been changed materially.
          Mrs. Barker is a little woman, (89 pounds with her heavy coat on) and her life in the community is one of unusual importance.  Seventy-seven of the ninety years have been spent in the locality of Nodaway where she came in 1861 from Shelbyville, Ill. where she was born.  She was  Eunice Jane Victor  before her marriage to  Melchi Barker  in 1869.  She and her young husband cut away the timber and brush and broke the soil to make ready for the first plantings.  The cradling and binding of the wheat was done by the men, but Mrs. Barker worked right along with her husband, doing the shocking.
Deeply  Religious
          Mrs. Barker has always been religious and loves her church.  Her ealy religious life centered upon the ministrations of  Uncle Joe Peregrine  and  Rev. Andrews,  father of  O. F. Andrews  who did practically all the preaching for the entire county riding about on horseback in all kinds of weather to be of service.  She is devoted to the Corning Baptist church to which she belongs.  She says at her funeral she wants the whole congregation to sing and not just a choir.
          She has never see a real picture show but was persuaded by her grandsons recently to go with them to see an agricultural picture which represented the different farm implements used from the very early days.  She thought it very wonderful.  However, even now other movies do not tempt her.
          Mr. Barker died December 10, 1928 and since that time Mrs. Barker has lived in their old home and the family insists she can still bake the best biscuits they have ever tasted.  Her grandson,  Donal Barker,  son of  Mr. and Mrs. William Barker,  has stayed with her every night since the grandfather died.
Loves  Her  Home
          There are many things Mrs. Barker cannot do, but she loves being in her home and doing the little chores which have become a lifetime habit.  She still can see well enough to sew, and the members of the family see to it that there is always a great number of needles already threaded in the house in order that she can put in her time sewing if she feels like it.  She cannot easily thread a needle now, and this is only one the the thoughtful arrangements made by the family.
          Four sons live to make glad the later years of Mrs. Barker's life:  Frank of Canada;  Beach,  Theran  and  Will  of this locality.  Mrs. Lawrence died in Forsythe, Montana, Sunday, and a son,  Emmett,  and a daughter,  Hattie,  died in early life.  Ninety years is a long time and the many friends of this dear old pioneer congratulate her, and wish her health and strength for many more years.
Contributed by Brent Heeren

The  Council  Bluffs  Nonpareil
Unknown  Date
before 1928
Life Story of Mr. and Mrs. 
M. Barker of Adams Co.
Worthy of Emulation
And Passing of Such Characters
Suggest Need of Preservation of
Stories of Pioneer Life on
Iowa Virgin Soil.
(By Ora Claytor Moore.)
            CORNING, Ia., Aug. 15. -- There is something very inspiring about the pioneers of early days -- they sturdy men who followed the trail of the immigrant, who broke the broad, rolling prairies, and followed the oxen-drawn single ploy with his gun by his side as a protection and in case of unexpected game.  These men have made history, but not alone.  By his side is the tiny slip of a woman who left the comforts of the east and traveled across the color-splashed prairie, daring unknown and undreamed of dangers with a high courage equal to her companion, her courage all the more wonderful because she lacked much of the physical strength which was his.
            Adams county is rich in these splendid men and women and the number is diminishing as the years go by.  Iowa should treasure every bit of pioneer history coaxed from the memories of these splendid people.
          In the old farm home just off the federal road west of Corning, Mr. and Mrs. Malachi Barker will come from the "chores" and tell the simple stories of that rugged life with a charm which enthralls.  Their story is rich in history, sweet in memories, throbbingly vital in incident.  They have known the terror of the prairie fire, the peace of the early day, church service, the hardship of the terrible winters and the fun of the pumpkin drying and the spelling school.
Company  Dainties  of  the  Day.
           Sometimes they almost forgot the taste of wheat bread and grew weary of cornbread and hominy.  But after all, they had venison, prairie chicken and other dainties of which we never knew.  Salted and dried prairie chicken breasts!  Can you imagine it?  Mrs. Barker assures us that they were delicious and figured in the company dainties of those days.
          Mrs. Barker is such a little person one can't imagine her ever hauling logs and plowing corn behind the oxen.  But she has, and many times she left this kind of work when it needed to be done so desperately, to care for sick neighbors whose need was even more imperative.
          Mrs. Barker loves to talk about those long, happy evenings of the sixties when the wool which had been taken from the sheep's back and carded by  Chris Harrigon  of Eureka, was spun, woven, and dyed and made into warm garments.  And, with a sly twinkle in her eye, Mrs. Barker adds, "Those dresses came below the knees and had sleeves."
Their  First  Oil  Lamp.
          All this was done by the flickering light of a candle which had to be constantly snuffed out to brighten up a bit.  Mr. Barker didn't have a bit of luck with the first oil lamp.  Dr. Walker, the "storekeeper" at old Quincy, persuaded them to buy one of the new fangled things, but it simply wouldn't work.  Mr. Barker threw it in the yard and when he found the next morning that it was still intact he took it back to Dr. Walker.  With wonderful salesmanship for a professional man, Dr. Walker convinced them that it really would work if not turned too high.  They tried again with fine results, this is, fine until electricity came along.
Two  Interesting  Iowa  Pioneers
          Romance and adventure lurks in the tales she tells of the old stage coach line which used to run through here from Quincy to Carbon, to Selola and thence to Red Oak and to Omaha.  She has cooked many meals for those adventure seekers who passed through and the courage of these men who made the hazardous trips is still a marvel to her.  She has helped to pull many a poor fellow back to life who was nearly frozen in those western blizzards which swept the prairies.
          Their first school house, "Prairie Gem," was a tiny affair with only one inch boards between the pupils and the cold winter blasts.  This little building was a community center for miles around.  Their spelling schools and singing schools were social events as well as improvement centers.  L. V. Richey  led the voices of these happy young people in songs and note reading.  Mr. Richey was the father of  Mac Richey  who still lives in the neighborhood and who also has contributed much in a musical way to the community.
The  First  Sky  Pilot.
          The "Sky Pilot" of those days was Uncle Joe Peregrine.  His spiritual ministrations will ever by insolubly linked with those early days with loving memories.  This neighborhood only heard him every fifth Sunday as he was needed in other localities, but preaching day was a great day and everyone went regardless of the weather.  One winter is especially remembered when people came to revival meetings through two or three feet of snow and came for miles every night.  Many were baptized in water from which the ice had been cut to provide nature's baptistry.
          The old United Brethren church where these people worshiped had to give way to progress when the federal road went through.  The dirt scrapers actually took a corner off the steps.  The building was sold and the material went into the home of their son,  William Barker,  who lives across the road from the old home place.  As Mrs. Barker sat in the home of her son recently and listened to three sermons and sacred music, she said, "Good for the old church, it can still be a place of worship."
          And still this worthy couple live in the home which they built in 1863 and where they reared their family.  They have, in a sense, retired as the farm activities have been turned over to their son, William, but Mr. and Mrs. Barker prefer to retire on the farm, and they still have their chickens and cows and garden without which they would be quite miserable.
Proved  Home  Builders.
          Both Mr. and Mrs. Barker came to Adams county in the early sixties, settling here about the same time.  They were married April 18, 1869.
          Three of their children live within two miles of the home place.  They are  William,  Theodore  and  Beach.  Frank lives at Newton, Manitoba, Canada, and  Mrs. Frank Lawrence  at Forsythe, Mont.
          This worthy couple are home builders and citizens of whom Adams county is justly proud.  Their loyalty to the old farm is very beautiful.   No wonder they lover every acres of the 200 which they own.  Those wheat fields were one time cut with a scythe, and raked with a hand rake.  Their first pigs were driven to the St. Joseph market on foot.  What a long way they have traveled, hand in hand, in farm development.  Is it any wonder that town life offers nothing to this pioneer couple who have toiled, loved, sacrificed in the development of their acres.  No other home could be so fraught with memories as the home which they built fifty-six years ago.  True it was then only "18x21" and the new rag carpet made the only partition, but it was and is "Home Sweet Home."
Contributed by Brent Heeren

The  Shelbyville  Democrat
Monday, January 15, 1912.
Page One
          Miss Bertha Barker,  of Boggstown, has gone to Blue Ridge to care for  Mrs. Martha Willey, an aged resident of that place, who is lying at the point of death from paralysis and dropsy.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Shelbyville  Republican
Monday, March 6, 1911
          Mrs. Lon Barker  has gone to Martinsville, having been called there on account of the illness of  Mrs. Baldwin.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Daily  Evening  Democrat
Tuesday, January 3, 1882
Page 4   column 1
L O C A L     N E W S.
          James Barker,  of Boggstown, was a welcome caller at this office to-day.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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