Marshall Historical Society

Oren Barker
Arthur Sanders, 2008

John Bristol Barker was born July 13, 1872, and died July 12, 1954. (one day too soon). During his very busy 81 years he installed plumbing in nearly every house in the area. He designed and built the water system in Deansboro in 1895 and maintained it until 1950.

He married Minerva Foote. In 1904 they had a son, John Oren Barker

, who was stricken with polio at age six. This was a deadly incurable disease in 1910. John and Minerva sent Oren to a special clinic for several yeas. They saved his life but his hip and leg joints never developed and he spent his life in a variety of wheel chairs.

It is not know where or how Oren leaned "Readin', Ritin' & Rithmetic" but he did learn electronics when it was new and mysterious. He started selling and repairing radios and progressed to a thriving business in electric washers, refrigerators, coffee percolators and television sets. His car was fitted with special levers for clutch and brake so he could drive. During our high school years-1934 thru 1941-we helped him deliver washers and refrigerators with his curious little box-trailer with its single swivel wheel hooked to his rear bumper.

Oren was a good person, honest and respected by young and old. A few of us spent many Friday evenings sitting around in his shop or on his porch swapping jokes and stories-often with Dixie cups from Thayer's Ice Cream Parlor next door. He married Laverna Smith and they had four children-Oren, Jr., Joan, Carol and Sandra. Oren died in 1967 at age 63.

Minerva Foote's sister, Adelaide S. Foote, owned a large glass greenhouse and had a flower business on Route 315, just below the "dyke" or water feeder for Fred Nelson's feed mill across the road.


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