John Barker & Mary Osborn

John Barker & Mary Osborn

Holly Springs Meeting, Randolph County, North Carolina

John Barker Mary Osborn
Birth 7 April 1771
Guilford County, North Carolina
3 February 1770
Marriage 26 May 1791
Death 3 April 1849 18 May 1825

More than one hundred fifty years had passed since John Barker died. I came to the burial ground not expecting to find a tombstone. None of his stories survived the six generations that separate us. All that I know of him comes solely from research my brother, father and I have done.

In 1820, John Barker owned more than a thousand acres of land along Richland and Bachelor’s Creeks in Randolph County, North Carolina. He had twelve children, the twelfth being David, the son through which I am descended. As his sons became men, he divided his land among them. His wife, Mary, died when he was fifty-four. He married Ruth Mendenhall a few years later and spent the remainder of his life with her. In his will he bequeathed David seventy-five acres of land, including a mill, on the condition that he provide his step-mother sufficient firewood for as long as she lived.

John Barker

The reason I didn’t expect to find a marker was partly age, not knowing whether or not a modest monument would survive, and partly because he was Quaker. He was a member of the Holly Springs Meeting and Quakers kept excellent genealogical records in the minutes of their monthly meetings as a memorial rather than erecting expensive stones.

They didn’t want to encourage ancestor worship.


Mary Osborn Barker

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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7 Responses to John Barker & Mary Osborn



  2. Shelley Byrne says:

    I think these might be ancestors of mine and would love to know if you might have information linking them. I have seen sites that mention these two people as the parents of a John R. Barker, born about 1813 in Rockingham, Richmond County, N.C. and died after 1880, Crooked Creek, Bollinger County, Missouri. This John R. Barker was married to a Sarah Whittemore. One of their children was a James Henry “Jim” Barker who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Do you have any information that might show that these are indeed John R. Barker’s parents? I’d love to compare notes!


    • From the Hinshaw abstracts of Quaker records, John & Mary Barker had a son named John, born in 1809 in the Holly Spring Monthly Meeting, Randolph County NC. He was the seventh of nine children. In 1828 he married Mary Wells of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, daughter of Benjamin and Dorcas Wells. Somehow he made his way to Westfield Monthly Meeting in Hamilton County Indiana, probably before 1834, where he had nine children from 1829 to 1847, none of them named James Henry or Jim.

      Sorry, I don’t think he is the John R. from your ancestry. I’ll email more details to you soon.


    • vicki boatwright says:

      I have recently began to search for John R Barker and wife Sarah Whittemore they were married in ROCKINGHAM COUNTY NC, NOT the city “Rockingham” in Richmond co nc, Richmond co is abt 3 hours from Rockingham co is in western nc right below the va. line. wentworth is the country seat there.


  3. Shelley Byrne says:

    I have not been able to find John R. Barker’s parents in my search, either. This is the same John R. married to Sarah Whittemore. Some other researchers on listed John Barker and Mary Osborn as his parents, but I now think this was in error.


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