arker and Peckham Lines of Middletown, RI

Robinson Potter Barker

Julia Peckham Barker Robinson Potter Barker

On pages 813 and 814 of the 1888 The History of Newport County, Rhode Island Edited by Richard M. Bayles is written, "Robinson Potter Barker, born in 1816, is a son of John Barker and a grandson of David, who was born in 1749 and died in 1819. David was a son of John, born in 1711, died in 1777. John's wife was Dorcas, daughter of Isaac Barker, of the revolution. Robinson P. Barker's wife, who died in 1861, was Julia, daughter of Samuel S. Peckham [See Peckham line below]. Their Children are: Dr. C. [Christopher] F. Barker of Newport; Maria N., now dead; Mary E. [Eliza], now Mrs. A. K. [Albert Keene] Sherman, of Newport, and Elma M. [May], now Mrs. John Peckham. Mr. Barker has been a tax assessor many years. His present wife is Harriet N., a sister of John Peckham. 

"From manuscript in the possession of Mrs. Robinson P. Barker the following is quoted: "The Barkers in Rhode Island descended from James Barker of Essex county, England. His son James and his daughter Christiana started to come to New England about 1636. James died on ship, and his son James a lad of 17, became the father of eight children, born in Middletown. He was a magistrate named in the 1663 charter, and charter, and was one of the deputy governors in 1679. He died in 1702."

As a side note, many sources list the name of the youngest daughter of Robinson P. Barker as Erma instead of Elma. However, besides the above quote, she is also listed as Elma in the Valuation and Tax List for 1909 published in the Municipal Year Book of the Town of Middletown Rhode Island 1909-1910 as, "Elma M. Peckham, widow of John." Scans of original pages are provided. Elizabeth Fry Barker [The complete book can be downloaded for free from] also spelled it Elma (see below).

In the Barker Genealogy written by Elizabeth Fry Barker in 1927 the ancestry of Robinson Potter Barker can be traced as follows [only the direct line is included]:

  1. James Barker of Rhode Island, born circa 1617 apparently in Essex County, England, and came to America on the Mary & John on March 24, 1634. In 1644 he married Barbara, daughter of William and Frances (Latham) Dungan (b. 1628).
  2. Capt. James Barker, born 1648 in Newport, Rhode Island, died July 5, 1722. In 1673 he married Sarah, daughter of William and Mary (Gould) Jefferey, born 1656, died February 11, 1736.
  3. Their first child was James, born December 4, 1675 in Newport, died March 26, 1758. In 1699 he married Mary Cook, born 1679, died February 24, 1758.
  4. Their second son, John, was born December 18, 1710 in Middletown, RI, and died March 17, 1777. He married Rebecca, daughter of Hezekiah and Sarah (Brightman) Hoar, born 1713, died May 18, 1800.
  5. Their sixth child, David, was born July 20, 1749 and died September 8, 1819. On October 1, 1772 he married Eunice Sherman.
  6. Their forth child, John, was born December 19, 1777 in Middletown, and died December 19, 1858. On April 11, 1805 he married Dorcas Barker (born December 14, 1782 in Middletown, died June 2, 1866), daughter of Isaac Barker and Welthian Peckham [daughter of Levi and Sarah (Tripp) Peckham]. This is the homestead of John and Dorcas Barker,  East Main Road, Middletown, RI.
  7. Their children, born in Middletown, Newport County, Rhode Island, were: Ann, born April 10, 1807; Albert Gallatin, born September 12, 1808; Ruth Hall, born January 15, 1811; Job Mason, born May 3, 1812; Lucinda, born November 17, 1813; Robinson Potter, born August 25, 1816; Benedict, born January 10, 1818.
  1. Robinson Potter Barker was a farmer and married November 5, 1840 Julia Ann Peckham, daughter of Dr. Samuel and Sabina (Dewey) Peckham. She was born September 10, 1819 and died November 29, 1861.
  2. Their Children, in Middletown, were:
    1. Maria
    2. Mary Eliza, born March 17, 1844, died February 12, 1942. On September 03, 1874 she married, in Middletown, Albert Keene Sherman, son of Albert Sherman, born March 17, 1844 and died December 30, 1915 in Newport. Their children [with additions from my files] were:
      1. Kate Robinson Sherman born August 16, 1875, died April 07, 1879 in Newport
      2. William Anthony Sherman b: May 12, 1877 in Newport, Newport, RI d: June 17, 1927 in Newport. He married June 25, 1902 in Scranton, PA, Kathrine May Kennedy who was born November 11, 1875 in Scranton, PA, and died July 05, 1946 in Newport.
      3. Edward Albert Sherman born July 16, 1879 in Newport and died June 13, 1934 in Newport. He married October 22, 1913 in Boston, MA, Hazel Erma Poole who was born June 03, 1884 and died September 1973 in Newport.
    [Additional children not listed: Christopher F. Barker, born October 31, 1849, died November 28, 1922; Elma May Barker, born 1857, died 1924.]
  1. Christopher F. Barker, born October 31, 1849, died November 28, 1922. (From Pages 65 and 66 of "History of Newport County, Rhode Island" By Bayles). "Doctor Christopher Franklin Barker, son of Robinson P. and Julia Ann (Peckham) Barker, was born in Middletown, R. I., October 32st, 1849. After preliminary education in local schools he prepared for college at Newport High School, graduating there n 1871. He received the degree of A.B. at Brown University in 1875, after which he passed two or three years in private tuition. In 1879 he entered the office of Dr. Samuel W. Butler of Newport, as a medical student, and graduated in medicine at the University of New York in March, 1882, and immediately established himself in practice in Newport, where his preceptor, Dr. Butler, had died in the previous year. He has acquired a large business and an enviable position. He was married in May, 1881, to Helen E., daughter of John and Hannah (Barker) Peckham, of Middletown, and has two children."

Robinson Potter Barker's Bible
This bible does not have any vital statics in the traditional location, but I have scanned some of the notation - some obviously not made by Robinson Barker, such as the date "my father was buried."
Image One: Inside of cover Image Two: First blank page Image Three: Title page of 1842 book
Image Four: Chapter names - counted Image Five: Randolph, along with "R" can be found in the margin throughout. Image Six: "This chapter I read the day my father was buried. Dec. 14th 1871"
Image Seven: "Third in the course of Mr. Wheeler's lectures." Possibly Rev. N.J. Wheeler who performed the marriage ceremony for Albert Keene Sherman. Image Eight: The  Death page with some prose about "dying". It was in very light pencil and has been enhanced as much as possible. Image Nine: Gospel According to St. Matthew - dates read: January of each year from 1869 to 1890.
Image Ten: "Dr. Randolph Sept. 26th /8? baptized 4" Image Eleven: Aug/5/86? Weston Image Twelve: "Mr. Wheeler preached from this... last time father went to church."
Image Thirteen: Mr. Wheeler... Dec. 30th 1877. Image Fourteen: Two sets of initials Image Fifteen: More initials & Hall?
Image Sixteen: Needham. Appears several places. Probably this man, George C. Needham of Portland, ME, an evangelist. Image Seventeen: "Dec. 27th A. Wards? funeral service 1874." Image Eighteen: Last page with note on when finished reading.

To read online or download a free PDF of "History of Newport County, Rhode Island. From the year 1638 to the year 1887, including the settlement of its towns, and their subsequent progress" Edited by Richard Mather Bayles, CLICK HERE.

Peckham Biographical Sketch, from Representative Men And Old Families Of Rhode Island; Genealogical Records and Historical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and of Many of the Old Families. Published by J.H. Beers & Co. 1908. Information about the three volume set can be found here.

Page 249: PECKHAM (Newport County). For hundreds of years beginning with the time of John de Peckham, 1191, this was a conspicuous name in England. It begins in this country in 1638 associated with the founders of this Commonwealth. The founder of the family here and his sons became, prior to 1700, very extensive land holders. They were first among the proprietors of the Pettaquamscott purchase in 1660; second, in the Westerly purchase in 1661; third in the East Greenwich purchase in 1677. These tracts reached across Southern Rhode Island, where the original settlement was made. Soon after the first settlement of Rhode Island the Peckhams built a house in 1640, which stood 200 years, and in which six generations of Peckhams were born. The purchases also extended into Dartmouth, Mass., to the Acushnet river, where a part of the city of New Bedford now stands. The great-grandchildren of John Peckham were among the settlers of Stonington and other towns in eastern Connecticut; Westerly, Charlestown, Hopkinton, North and South Kingstown, East Greenwich, Scituate, Glocester, Provicence, Jamestown, Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton, R. I.; and Dartmouth, Westport, New Bedford, Rehoboth and Petersham, Mass. The succeeding generations migrated to Dorchesteor county and central New York. From this race came to the State of Rhode Island some able men, among them the Hon. Francis Baring Peckham, of Newport, one of the ablest lawyers of his profession, a man known to have twice declined the place of Justice of the Supreme Court; Hon. Rugus W. Peckham, judge of the Court of Appeals, a former representative in the United States Congress, and Justice of the Supreme Court of New York; and Hon. William Peckham, Chief Justice of Washington county, this State, from 1835 to 1841, Legislator, etc.

In the genealogy that follows, which particularly treats of the ancestry as well as the posterity of the Late Felix Peckham, who during his life was one of Newport County's leading and highly respected citizens, is given in chronological order, the Roman numerals indicating generations from the American ancestor.

(I) John Peckham appears in Newport, R. I., in 1638. He had lands allotted him along with those of William Freeman, John Coggeshall, and others who were the first settlers of the island of Aquidneck in 1638, where on May 20th his name is on a list of those who were admitted inhabitants of Newport. He was admitted a freeman in 1641. In 1648 he was one of the ten male members of the first Baptist Church of Newport, in full communion. His residence was n the part of Newport that afterward became Middletown. Mr. Peckham was twice married, (first) to Mary Clarke, and (second) to Eleanor, whose surname is unknown. His children were: John, Thomas, and William, born probably to the first marriage; and the following to the second: Rebecca, Stephen, James, Clement, Deborah, Phebe, Elizabeth, Susannah and Sarah.

(II) William Peckham, son of John the emigrant, was born in 1647, and married (first) Susannah or Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Clarke. Mr. Peckham lived in Newport, R. I., and was deputy to the General Assembly in 1696-98. He was ordained pastor of the First Baptist Church in Newport, and is supposed to have been the first Baptist minister ordained on the Continent, and he was the fourth pastor of this church. His second wife was Phebe, daughter of William Weeden. She died in Middletown in 1745. His children born to the first marriage were: William, born Aug. 30, 1675; Samuel; Mary; Phebe and Deborah.

(III) Samuel Peckham, son of William, married Elizabeth, daughter of James and Mary Weeden, and lived in Middletown, R. I. e died in 1757. Their children were: Phebe, born June 21, 1715; Elizabeth, Feb. 6, 1717; Samuel, Oct. 7, 1719; James, Nov. 13, 1821; Mary, April 13, 1723; Freelove, Dec. 30, 1725; and William 1727.

(IV) William Peckham, son of Samuel, was born in Page 250 1727, married Oct. 5, 1758, Sarah, born Oct. 24, 1731, daughter of Joshua Peckham, and they resided in Middletown, R. I., where he was a large land owner, and extensively engaged in farming. Their children were: Joshua, born June 18, 1759; Augustus, Jan. 6, 1761; Felix; William; William (2); and Gideon, born in 1782.

(V) Felix Peckham, son of William and Sarah Peckham, was born in Middletown, R. I., July 21, 1763. He spent his entire life in his native town, and was a large landowner, an extensive and successful farmer, and an active force in the progress of the community. On Nov. 19, 1786, he married Tryphena Stockman, daughter of Jacob Stockman of Middletown, and she died Feb. 16, 1851, the mother of eleven children as follows: Nancy, born Sept. 3, 1787; Hannah, Oct. 17 1788; Abner, April 5, 1790; Samuel S. [Stockman], Aug. 27, 1792; Tryphena, June 20, 1794; Mary, April 25, 1796; Margaret P., Aug. 29, 1798; Felix, June 9, 1800; Dorcas, Dec. 2, 1802 (died Nov. 3, 1805); Eliza M., March 7, 1805; and Charles, July 23, 1807.

Felix Peckham was a man of remarkable physical health and mental strength. As to the former there is scarcely an instance of his employment of a physician in his own behalf. His strong religious faith was evidenced by his connection with the First Baptist Church of Newport for a period of about sixty years. This was but an illustration of the regularity and consistency of his other habits, which gained for him the substantial respect of his church and the community at large. On all subjects he was an independent and positive thinker, and distinguished for careful observation, prudent foresight and great perseverance. His entire life was the strongest possible proof that his religious professions were deeply sincere and conscientious. A marked trait of his religious character was his childlike tendencies joined to is manly firmness. His heart was tenderly alive to the objects of Christian faith, and he could seldom speak of God's mercy to himself without tears. No man could hand sown to his posterity a cleaner, better record, where every effort was for the betterment and elevation of his fellowmen. Mr. Peckham died in Middletown, at the advanced age of eight-two years. [November 10, 1844]

The biographical sketch in the book continues with another son, but Samuel Stockman Peckham, born August 27, 1792 was the father of Julia Ann Peckham, born September 10, 1819 to Samuel and Sabrina (Dewey) Peckham. Samuel died February 21, 1870.
Find-A-Grave listing for Robinson Potter Barker with links to family members. [Note: the pictures of Robinson and his wife were taken from this page - I have the original photos.]
Scans of Municipal Year Books, of the Town of Middletown Rhode Island, for the years 1877; 1880; 1881; 1882; 1883; 1884; 1885; 1886; 1909; 1912; are available HERE.

Descendants of James Barker of England
Descendants of James Barker of Rhode Island, by Elizabeth Frye Barker

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