History of Barker, New York


Thomas Gallup was the first white settler to locate a farm on territory which afterward was known as the township of Barker. This was in 1782 or soon afterward. Gallup lived for a short time where the village of Chenango Forks now stands, and died in 1791. That same year the man who gave his name to this section, John Barker, moved from Brandford, Connecticut, and took up a farm on the east side of the Chenango river. At that time his farm was in the township of Chenango, but when the new township was created, out of respect for him it was named Barker. Mr. Gallup lived to see the new township established, passing away at the good old age of ninety-four, November 20th, 1836.

Neighbors soon began to locate near Mr. Barker, one Simeon Rogers in 1795 marrying Mary Barker, daughter of the first settler, John Barker. About 1790 a down-east Yankee, John Allen, took up his residence in the Tioughnioga valley, where he cleared up a big farm and set out what was considered to be a very large orchard in those days, including some five hundred apple trees. Mr. Allen also performed a great service for the settlers of his neighborhood, by building a hand mill for grinding grain. One other thing distinguishes Mr. Allen—he was the father of the first child born in the township, Truman Allen.

In 1793 Major Chauncey Hyde, from the down-east State of Massachusetts, made his way first to Genesee county, thence to Utica, later to Chenango Point, and finally pitched his tent in the town of Barker, clearing his first farm on Hyde street in the immediate vicinity of the Methodist Episcopal church of later years. Hyde street was named after Major Chauncey Hyde, who must have been a man of more than ordinary ability, for he was chosen to the State Senate twice and held other important public offices. Several other members of the Hyde family left their mark on the history of this locality, among them being Captain Calvin Hyde, Ebby Hyde, Charles Hyde, and Dr. Frederick Hyde, later of Cortland, New York.

Because of the native ability of the people who settled in Barker, and because of the excellent water power afforded by the Chenango and the Tioughnioga rivers, the township prospered. For many years Chenango Forks did an extensive lumber business. The coming of the Chenango canal in 1837 still further aided in developing this vicinity, as did also the building of the Utica and Chenango Valley, now the D. L. & W. railroad.

An act of the Legislature passed April 18th, 1831, provided for the creation of the new town of Barker, which was then cut from the township of Lisle, which had previously been taken away from Union. Greene contributed a slight area to the establishment of Barker. The enactment referred to designated the house of David Brown to be the placi for holding the first town meeting, and on the first Tuesday in March. 1832, the following officers were elected: Supervisor, John Stoughton; town clerk, Edward Hebard; assessors, Woodruff Barnes, Hugh Cum ningham and John Beach; overseers of the poor, William Osborn anct Orlando Parsons; highway commissioners, Charles B. Beach, Reuben Winston, Franklin Hyde and Edward Hebard; school inspectors, John P. Osborn, Oliver Stiles, Rufus Abbott, and Daniel Sweetland; collector, David Barker; sealer of weights and measures, Rufus Abbott; constables, David Barker, Asa Hubbard, Charles Atwater and Lewis Cook.

In 1832 the public schools, which had prior to that time been a part of the school system of Lisle, were segregated, and districts were established independent of the mother township. In 1838 we fin.d that there were 373 boys and girls in the schools of Barker, then comprising thirteen districts.

The most important village in the township of Barker is Chenango Forks, which has the added distinction of lying in part in the townships of Chenango, Fenton and Greene. The larger portion of the village, however, is situated in the township of Barker. Still another outstanding feature of the history of Barker is that it probably was at Chenango Forks that the first store was established. Here about the year 1795, Simeon Rogers laid in a store of goods such as would be needed by the settlers of the community. So far as is known, Mr. Rogers was the pieneer merchant of Broome or Tioga. It was not long afterward that Robert O. Edwards, another pioneer, built a store at “The Forks,” as the place was then and is now known, and built up a large trade for the times. In 1825 John B. Rogers entered the mercantile business in the same field. Other early tradesmen in this village were Diodat Cushman, Maurice Hagaman and Daniel W. Howell.

The first saw mill to be located at The Forks was that owned by the father of Robert O. Edwards, and the date of its establishment was 1801. Simeon Rogers opened up a grist mill here four years later, and became the first postmaster The Forks had, this office taking precedence in point of time over any other postoffice in the county. Mr. Rogers held this office until superceded thirty years later by Dr. William B. Squires, an appointee of the Polk administration.

At various times Chenango Forks has had a variety of business enterprises, such as a tannery, a furniture factory, a newspaper, and a carriage shop, but these have practically disappeared, so that at the present time the business of the village is as follows: W. H. Hoadley, general store; 0. L. Willard, furniture and undertaking; George Holcomb, general store; J. B. Ingraham, grocery; George Borden and Leon A. Tyler, grocers; A. B. Elliott, jeweler; Dr. F. McLean, druggist; and a garage operated by W. J. English. Besides these there is a store in the village of Chenango Forks, which is over the line in the township of Chenango. The churches of Chenango Forks are Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal and Congregational. H. F. Strickland is now postmaster at Chenango Forks.

Itaska is another hamlet of Barker, situated between Chenango Forks and Whitney Point, on the line of the D. L. & W. railroad. Here there is a general store conducted and owned by Percy Burchard, who is also postmaster at this point. Itaska is in the midst of a fine dairying section and a large quantity of milk is shipped from its station.

Hydeville, in the western part of the township, is the smallest hamlet of Barker, only a few dwellings in a cluster and a Methodist Episcopal church being found here. Near here lives William Hyde, a descendant of one of the early settlers of the township. On Adams street lives another man who traces his ancestry to pioneer days, Livy Stoughton, as do also Elmer Adams and Eva Thompson, who live in the immediate neighborhood. David B. King, a former supervisor from the township of Barker and county treasurer for Broome county for. some time, is a lineal descendant of William W. King, who located in this place in 1828. A son of W. W. King, David B. King’s father, by the name of Harry King, recently died in Binghamton, at a ripe old age. Herbert Strickland, of the “Sap Bush,” is a descendant of an early settler, as are Gilbert Walker and James Wooster, who live west of Hyde street. A number of people belonging to the family of Gaylord are children of early corners to Barker still living in the township.

The real property of the township of Barker is assessed for the current year (1922) at $656,652, the personal estate at $4,600, and that of the franchises at $432.44. The names of the officers at present serving in the township of Barker are the following: Supervisor, E. E. Franklin; town clerk, H. F. Strickland; assessors— C. H. Parsons, Frank Walter, John S. Morse; superintendent of highways, Roy Leet; justices of the peace—F. E. Dickinson, Levy Stoughton, Walter Warner, Leroy Hurlburt; collector, O. N. Allen; overseer of the poor, J. H. Green; constables— T. K. Hurlburt, O. N. Allen, Fitch Foster, and F. B. Huntley.

With the following which indicates the fluctuations which have taken place in the township of Barker, we shall conclude our history of this highly favored community: 1.835, 1,150; 1840, 1,285; 1850, 1,456; 1860, 1,090; 1870, 1,396; 1880, 1,333; 1890, 1,100; 1900, 1,072; 1910, 948; 1820, 1,003.

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