John Barker was my great, great grandfather. Born on 10th January 1817, the base born son of Mary Barker, he was baptised on 2nd February 1817 at St. Marys Parish Church, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex. By the time he married  Ann Lever in June 1839 he was described as a thatcher. Ann was nearly 4 years older than John having been born in Bradwell, Essex in May 1813.

I am aware of only 3 children of the marriage, although there may have been more. The eldest was John (born 3rd April 1840), followed by William (born 20th March 1842) and Walter (born 18th July 1844). William was my great grandfather and was sometimes known as William John.

Sometime between his marriage to Ann and the birth of John he changed occupation to become a mariner. From that time until some time in the late 1870s he variously describes himself as mariner, oyster dredgerman, fisherman or harbour dredgerman. He then spent some time as the innkeeper at the Victoria Inn in Burnham High Street.

Just before Christmas 1858 Ann died from Phithisis, and was buried on Christmas Eve. However John did not wait for long before marrying again as he married Sarah Hick on 27th June 1859. There were no children from this marriage and in early August 1869 she was admitted to Essex County Lunatic Asylum at South Weald, as a pauper patient of unsound mind. Sarah was in the asylum for nearly 5 years before she died.

John, having seen off 2 wives who were slightly older than himself, then married Hannah Richardson, 20 years his junior, from Terling, Essex. They had one daughter, Esther. Hannah died sometime around 1900 and John passed away in 1907 at the ripe old age of 90 having seen off 3 wives. I say John and Hannah were married, but as yet I’ve not been able to find the marriage.

As will be seen when I post information about other Barkers on this website, they mostly lived to a ripe old age.

On 8 October 1896 my grandfather Sidney Edmund Barker married Ellie Elizabeth Hawkes, one of 16 children of John Joseph Hawkes and his wife Elizabeth Collis. For more information on the Hawkes family click here

For photos of the Barker family click here

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