DANIEL P. BARKER is one of the fine old residents of Sparta, Illinois, where he has been variously connected in business and where he is now secretary and accountant of the Sparta Gas & Electric Company. Mr. Barker was born in Monroe county, Illinois, the date of his nativity being the 5th of March, 1842. He is a son of Daniel M. Barker, a native of Massachusetts, who removed west in 1812, driving to Ohio in a wagon with his brothers. In 1817 he came to Illinois by keel boat. While in Ohio he took part in the state militia drills preparatory for service in the war of 1812. He was a farmer by occupation and he lived in Monroe county, this state, until the close of the Civil war, when he located at Redbud, Illinois, where his death occurred in 1868. He was a Whig in politics but never entered party confabs for personal advantage.
The paternal grandfather of him to whom this sketch is dedicated was Zebediah Barker, a corporal in Captain Samuel Johnson's company, in a regiment commanded by Colonel Johnson in the Revolutionary war. He enlisted as a soldier in the war for independence on the 14th of August, 1777, and received his honorable discharge on the 30th of November of the same year. On June 12, 1778, he re-enlisted in Lieutenant Jeremiah Blanchard's company, of Colonel Thomas Poor's regiment, and was discharged on the 29th of January, 1779. His sons, Abner, Isaac and Asa, were among those who came west to Illinois with Daniel M. Barker and settled in the New Design neighborhood of Monroe county. Daniel M. Barker was twice married, his first wife having been Mary Varnum in her girlhood days. She became the mother of Hiram, Albert (deceased), Louis (deceased) and Myron (deceased). The second wife of Mr. Barker was Rachel Ross, and this union was prolific of five children, concerning whom the following brief data are here inserted, Eveline, who wedded Napoleon Fitzpatrick, is deceased; Melcena died as the wife of J. L. Crozier; Susan O. married Robert J. Smith and resides in Chicago; Eliza B. became Mrs. J. C. Bratney, of Sparta; and Daniel P. is the immediate subject of this notice. Rachel Ross was a widow when she married Daniel M. Barker, and she was the mother of two children by her union with Mr. Ross.
Daniel P. Barker received a good country school education in Monroe county, Illinois, and when he embarked in life's affairs for himself it was as a druggist in Sparta, in which town he located in 1863. The building which housed his stock of merchandise fifty years ago is now sheltering a similar stock for one of his sons. He was not long an apothecary, however, but accepted a position as office man with the Sparta Steam Flouring Mill Company, in which concern he subsequently became financially interested. While so employed, the discovery of gas at Sparta suddenly opened up a new industry and Mr. Barker became a member of a company for the development of the gas field and the utilization of gas as a commercial product. He continued to be engaged in this manner from 1888 until the failure of the supply rendered further operation futile, at which time he turned his attention to railroad work. The Illinois Southern Railroad was then building through this county, it having been known as the Centralia & Chester Railroad. Mr. Barker became office man for the construction company of this road, serving in that capacity for a period of three and a half years, at the expiration of which period he engaged in the electric business with the Sparta Gas & Electric Company, of which concern he is now secretary and accountant. This electric plant was built and is owned by Louis W. Barker and Professor Leon Sexton, son and son-in-law, respectively, of Mr. Barker.
As we have proceeded we have omitted a brief period of Mr. Barker's life which differs widely from the seeming routine of civil affairs. During the early years of his majority the Civil war came on and he resisted the temptation to get into the army in support of the Union until 1864, at which time he enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Forty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Captain John Stevenson and in command of Colonel R. V. Ankeny. The troops were taken into the south to guard the trail of the veteran army and to hold captured ground of the enemy in Tennessee. Mr. Barker was commissioned first lieutenant of his company while out and was honorably discharged as such in November, 1864.
During his citizenship in Sparta Mr. Barker has given freely of his service to the public in whatever capacity demanded of him and from 1872 to 1910, with the exception of an intermission, he was a valued member of the Sparta board of education. He is a Republican in polities and in casting his ballot has only sought the maintenance of a governmental policy proved to be advantageous to a citizenship like ours. Mr. Barker is a Master Mason and he retains a deep and abiding interest in his old comrades in arms, signifying the same by membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, and he is also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. In religions matters he and his family arc devout members of the Presbyterian church, in the different departments of whose work they have ever been most active factors.
Mr. Barker was married at Sparta, on the 31st of October, 1865, to Miss Anna J. Rosborough, a daughter of William Rosborough, whose birth occurred in county Antrim, Ireland. Mr. Rosborough immigrated to the United States and for a long time was a prominent merchant at Sparta, where his death took place in 1885. His cherished and devoted wife, whose maiden name was Mary Mahard, died just eleven days before him. Mr. and Mrs. Rosborough had five children. The Barker family consists of the following children, Albert is engaged in the drug business at his father's old stand at Sparta; Louis W. is a member of the firm which conducts the Sparta Gas & Electric Company; Mary is the wife of Professor Leon Sexton, principal of the Madison school of St. Louis, Missouri; and Elizabeth is the wife of P. S. Wilson, a banker of Steeleville, Illinois.