George W. Barker. The art of successful salesmanship can not be acquired by every one, for to a large degree it is an endowment of nature, and particularly is this true in the business of auctioneering, in which a feature of chance prevails, which the salesman must have the wide-awake alertness to instantly recognize and take advantage. In systematized selling prices are stable facts, but no one knows better than the successful auctioneer that the price of his goods is controlled by the effect of his own shrewdness, manner and personality. Among the best known residents of Ottawa County is George W. Barker, a substantial citisen of Minneapolis who probably had no equal in this section of Kansas as a general auctioneer.
George W. Barker was born in McDonough County, Illinois, November 11, 1866. His parents were Noble and Mary E. (Samon) Barker, the father a veteran of the Civil war, who died at Minneapolis, Kansas, in 1891. He was born in 1826, at Jeffersonville, Indiana, which state was the home of his father, who was born in 1810. Grandfather Barker was a ship carpenter by trade. He came to Kansas in the ’80s and died at Delphos in this state in 1886. Noble Barker was reared and received his education at Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, but removed to McDonough County in early manhood and there engaged in farming and stockraising. He was one of the first to enlist for service in the Civil war and became a second lieutenant but was stricken with typhoid fever and was never afterward able to endure the hardships of battle and march, and during the remainder of the war after his recovery he was a sutler. He came with his family to Saline County, Kansas, in 1869, and to Ottawa County in 1873. During his entire life in Kansas he followed agrienltural pursuits. In his politieal views he was a democrat, fraternally he belonged to the Salina Lodge of Odd Fellows, and from youth had been a member of the Christian Church.
Noble Barker was married in Indiana to Mary E. Samon, who was born in 1828, in Illinois, and died at Minneapolis, Kansas, in 1890. The following children were born to this marriage: George W.; Charles and Maggie, both of whom died when still young; William, who is a resident of Minneapolis, Kansas; Ida and Mary, twins, and both reside on the old homestead eight miles southeast of Minneapolis, the father’s estate, comprising 640 acres, the latter being the wife of Millard Gardinier; Robert, who owned 120 acres of the old homestead, resided on his property; Jesse, who is a farmer and stockman, lives six miles east and one mile south of Bennington, Kansas; Carrie, wife of Bert Isabell, who resided on a part of the old home; and Noble, who died in infancy.
George W. Barker attended the public schools in Ottawa County and remained with his father on the home place until he was twenty-one years of age. Desiring then to see something of the western country, he went to Montana and passed a year there, during this time working in the mines. He then decided that Ottawa County offered better opportunities and more comfortable living than he had found in the Northwest, and after reaching home resumed his farm industries and carried them on until 1913, when he sold his farm of 160 acres and took up his residence on First Avenue, Minneapolis. Mr. Barker in the meanwhile had numerous other interests. For twenty-five years he had been a general auctioneer and so well qualified that his services have been in demand all over this section. At different times he had invested in prospering business enterprises, and is vice president of the Minneapolis Oil Company; is vice president of the Minneapolis Wall Paper & Pasting Company, and is president of the Farmers Mutual Telephone Association.
At Minneapolis, Kansas, on October 1, 1891, Mr. Barker married Miss Ida E. Campbell, who is a daughter of George H. and Levisa (Wilson) Campbell, who came to Ottawa County in 1879. During life George H. Campbell was a farmer. The mother of Mrs. Barker makes her home with her children. Mr. and Mrs. Barker have two daughters, Mary and Hazel, the latter of whom resided with her parents. The elder daughter is the wife of Boyd Clark and they reside on a farm eight miles northwest of Minneapolis.
In politics Mr. Barker is a stanch democrat and had been a hearty party worker, although unwilling to accept political office for himself. For many years he had been identified with the Odd Fellows and is a member of Minneapolis Lodge No. 97, and he belongs also to Minneapolis Tent No. 76, Knights of the Maccabees.