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Portrait from Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine, (1909)
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In 1845, at the age of eighteen, he went to Saco. Maine, to enter the York Mills, and it was there that he began his long and notable career and laid the foundation of his thorough knowledge of cotton manufacturing. . . .
In 1860 Mr. Samuel M. Batchelder, treasurer of the York Mills, who had watched Mr. Barker's progress with friendly and business interest, bought the Everett Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and employed him to take charge of the carding department. . . .
He soon familiarized himself with the details of woolen manufacturing, and in 1865 was appointed general manager for A. Campbell and Company, a firm just beginning the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods in Philadelphia. . . .
Early in 1868 Benjamin E. Bates induced Mr. Barker to give the advantage of his skill, experience and business energy to the development of manufacturing in the Bates Mills at Lewiston, and he was agent there until his resignation in 1887. . . .
In 1870, in company with J.H. Roak, John Cook, J.P. Gill and John R. Pulsipher, Mr. Barker formed the Little Androscoggin Water Power Company, and paid forty thousand dollars for three hundred acres of land, mostly wooded, in the township of Auburn. Mr. Barker was chosen president, and at once began operations and built a mill. . . .
Later, in connection with E.F. Packard, Mr. Parker built the Avon Mill at Lewiston, of which he has since been president, and which is now the third largest quilt mill in the country. He was an organizer and original member of the New England Manufacturers' Association, and was on the board of managers for several terms. When the Lewiston Machine Company was organized in 1871, Mr. Barker was made president, a position which he still holds ; and much of the success of that profitable corporation is due to his executive abilitv.
In 1887, with T.E. Eustis, F.H. Packard, A.D. Barker and Ansel Briggs, Mr. Barker formed the Washburn Chair Company. In 1890 he was instrumental in forming the Lewiston Mill Company, was made its president and agent, and his attention is now given to its business. During the first year about one hundred thousand dollars was paid out for new machinery, and the capacity of the mill has been nearly doubled. Mr. Barker was the highest salaried man in the state for several years. . . .
He was an incorporator of the People's Savings Bank, has been a trustee from the beginning, and its president since 1880. He was an incorporator and an original director of the Manufacturers' National Bank, and its vice-president for several years. . . .
In religious belief Mr. Barker has been a Universalist since early life, and was for a number of years one of the trustees of the Maine Universalist Convention. In 1850 he joined Saco Lodge, I.O.O.F., where he has passed through the chairs ; and in 1852 he joined Saco Lodge, F. and A.M. He retains his membership in both these organizations. Although in his eighty-first year, Mr. Barker is still actively interested in affairs, and he does not hesitate to engage in new business deals.
In November, 1906, he purchased the buildings formerly occupied by the Lewiston Machine Company, which he remodelled at an expense of $115,000. The plant is now equipped with six thousand spindles for the manufacture of cotton yarns for quilts and towels, and employs two hundred and fifty people. Mr. Barker has acquired more than a competency by his own unaided efforts, and recalls with satisfaction the patient industry and persevering energy by which he has risen from a humble position to one of eminent success. Of strong will and positive nature he places his individuality upon everything that he undertakes, and he is and will be for years a prominent landmark in the business and financial life of Androscoggin county.
Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine, (1909)
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