(originally published on my"West in New England" blog 20Apr 2008)


One of the warnings I've seen given several times to
beginning genealogists is this: if you have heard stories
about how your ancestor and his siblings were the first
settlers and founders of some town, it's probably not
entirely true.


What then am I to make of the Barker brothers? There is
the "Petition for Grant of Land Later Newry" that can be
viewed over at Chris Dunham's Oxford County Genealogy
Notebook. Jonathan Barker Sr and five of his sons are among
the signers. And numerous editions of Oxford County
histories and Maine Registers credit Benjamin, Jesse, and
Jonathan Barker 3rd as being first settlers of the future
Newry in 1781 along with Ithiliel Smith.

Apparently in some cases there are exceptions to the rule
about legendary stories!

But I'm not surprised. The Barker brothers and their
ancestors are an interesting bunch and in the next few
weeks I will be posting transcriptions of the Revolutionary
War Pension Files of Jonathan, Benjamin, and Jesse Barker
and discussing some of the family history they reveal. I'd like
to acknowledge the help given and research of my Barker
family cousins Mitch Barker, Nancy Downey, and Howard
Kaepplein.

I hope those who read their stories will enjoy them as much
as I've enjoyed researching them!

Views: 63

Comment by Chris Dunham on August 5, 2009 at 2:56pm
If you ever get the Maine State Archives, they have an early map of Newry (John Peabody's 1792 survey, I believe) that states that the township was settled in September 1780 by Benjamin Barker and Ithiel Smith, Jr., and by Jesse Barker and Jonathan Barker the following March. It's among the Land Office plans transferred from Massachusetts to Maine after statehood.

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