Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Early 1800s Southern Indiana History with the Barkers

 To get a better idea of what Indiana was like when JWB(1822) was born,  I did a little research.  The land that now makes up Perry County belonged to the Indians until 1804 when it was purchased.  Perry County wasn't even created until 1814 - which may explain why Moses Barker and Crissy Willard were married in Harrison County in 1813 - parts of what are now Perry County were Harrison County in 1813!


 Additionally,  there were only about 2,500 people in all of Perry County in 1822 when JWB(1822) was born.  I have more people than that in my neighborhood right now!

Therefore, if Moses Barker is the only adult male to show up in the 1820 or 1830 census in Perry County, there is a good possibility he is John W Barker (1822)'s father.  There couldn't have been too many other Barkers come and go in the county between 1820 and 1830.
 But let's widen the aperture a little.  What other Barker households were there in southern Indiana in 1820?  Answer:  not many, as this diagram shows.
 By 1830 the list had grown considerably,  but still not that many along the southern edge of Indiana.  Moses, I think, is still candidate #1.
 But where did Moses go after 1820?  Can we figure that out?  I believe we can.  This diagram shows all the households headed up by a Moses Barker between 1800 and 1850.  The numbers in brackets are the age of those Moses Barkers, as best the census describes.  I am making some assumptions of course, but it seems clear to me that Moses moved to Crawford County, IL in 1830 then back to Knox County, IN in 1840.

 Starting in 1850, the census data gets even better and we can see ALL members of each household.  Several more Moses Barkers pop up, almost all children or young adults.  But by studying this data, patterns start emerging.

By pouring over the census data, I've noted that often a family will name their first born or last born son after his father.  Therefore, I think we can begin to see family lineages in this information.  Even when the son is not named after his dad, it is often his grandfather, father's brother, or other close relative.
 It appears to me that there are four major Barker lines that used the name "Moses" in the early 1800s:  Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and South Carolina.

It also appears to me that New York and possibly Virginia are offshoots of the Massachusetts lineage, potentially bringing the lines down to two.

I think the name was popular because a Moses Barker from MA was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War.
But we shouldn't be blind to other possibilities.  Given that John W Barker was born in 1822, what other Barker families in the area might have arrived after the 1820 census, but still been around in 1830?  There are four families that would have had a son the right age (8 years old).   But apparently none of those families stuck around in Indiana until the 1840 census - or the head of household passed away.  I can't tell which.

So no definitive answers yet.  But I'll keep looking.

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