Advertisement

Capt John Barker

Advertisement

Capt John Barker

Birth
Bristol, England
Death
30 May 1909 (aged 76)
Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA
Burial
Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA Add to Map
Plot
Haven of Rest, 371-5.
Memorial ID
View Source
In 1874 Captain John Barker applied for patent to land on Rio Bravo Ranch (Kern River Bridge area at Chester Avenue to Hart Park area) but quickly transferred his application to Henry Pierce. Mr. Pierce installed John Barker as ranch manager, and the Barker family moved into the former Jewett House, and it then became known locally as the Barker Ranch. Barker later bought 8000 acres in the Kern River Park area according to notations on old County maps of that area.

The ranch contained natural sulfur water springs which in those early years were held in high regard as healing agents for a multitude of ailments. I have personal belief that the Native Americans purposely settled in this mineral spring area and used the highly mineralized sulfur water for healing and spiritual purposes. One such mineral spring three miles below the Barker Ranch House also bubbled up natural gas which Mr. Barker found flammable and burned with a bright yellow flame making it excellent for lighting.

Captain John Barker was a very wise, world traveled man,and knew a good thing when he saw it, so in 1891 he drilled a well into that spring and up came sulfur water in an artesian free flowing column four feet tall. He put a Gaso-meter cover over the well pipe to collect the gas. He then built a bath house with concrete tubs and used the gas for lighting and to fire the water heater to heat the mineral baths. This is believed to be one of the first domestic uses of natural gas in the Valley. The sulfur springs were predicted to become a famous health resort but after a few years of use the sulfur springs and adjoining land were purchased by Kern County, finally becoming Kern River Park. The 1952 earthquakes closed the springs off deep in the earth and they ceased to flow anymore.

The orange and lemon orchards Captain Barker planted near the big two story ranch house, which can be seen from Rancheria Bridge were above the irrigation ditch he had dug alongside the South bank of the river. No electric pumps existed in 1879 so Captain Barker used his knowledge of ancient Egyptian water elevating wheels, which he learned in his years of working in the mother lode gold country to the North. At a cost of about $800, Barker constructed a wheel 30 feet in height by 12 feet in width.

Source: George Gilbert Lynch -- Quarterly Bulletin - Historic Kern - Kern County Historical Society - Vol. 57, No. 2 // Summer 2007
In 1874 Captain John Barker applied for patent to land on Rio Bravo Ranch (Kern River Bridge area at Chester Avenue to Hart Park area) but quickly transferred his application to Henry Pierce. Mr. Pierce installed John Barker as ranch manager, and the Barker family moved into the former Jewett House, and it then became known locally as the Barker Ranch. Barker later bought 8000 acres in the Kern River Park area according to notations on old County maps of that area.

The ranch contained natural sulfur water springs which in those early years were held in high regard as healing agents for a multitude of ailments. I have personal belief that the Native Americans purposely settled in this mineral spring area and used the highly mineralized sulfur water for healing and spiritual purposes. One such mineral spring three miles below the Barker Ranch House also bubbled up natural gas which Mr. Barker found flammable and burned with a bright yellow flame making it excellent for lighting.

Captain John Barker was a very wise, world traveled man,and knew a good thing when he saw it, so in 1891 he drilled a well into that spring and up came sulfur water in an artesian free flowing column four feet tall. He put a Gaso-meter cover over the well pipe to collect the gas. He then built a bath house with concrete tubs and used the gas for lighting and to fire the water heater to heat the mineral baths. This is believed to be one of the first domestic uses of natural gas in the Valley. The sulfur springs were predicted to become a famous health resort but after a few years of use the sulfur springs and adjoining land were purchased by Kern County, finally becoming Kern River Park. The 1952 earthquakes closed the springs off deep in the earth and they ceased to flow anymore.

The orange and lemon orchards Captain Barker planted near the big two story ranch house, which can be seen from Rancheria Bridge were above the irrigation ditch he had dug alongside the South bank of the river. No electric pumps existed in 1879 so Captain Barker used his knowledge of ancient Egyptian water elevating wheels, which he learned in his years of working in the mother lode gold country to the North. At a cost of about $800, Barker constructed a wheel 30 feet in height by 12 feet in width.

Source: George Gilbert Lynch -- Quarterly Bulletin - Historic Kern - Kern County Historical Society - Vol. 57, No. 2 // Summer 2007


Sponsored by Ancestry

Advertisement