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MEMOIR

OF

JAMES MADISON BARKER.

BY JOHN D. LONG.

JAMES MADISON BARKER became a member of this Society, April 9, 1896. He was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on October 23, 1839. He died October 3, 1905, in Boston, where he had been presiding at a term of the Superior Judicial Court.

His ancestry is as follows: James Barker, appearing in Royal Charter of Rhode Island granted July 8, 1663, by Charles II, born 1617, married Barbara Dungan, 1644 ; his son, James Barker, born 1647, married Sarah Jeffries, 1673; his son, James Barker, born 1675, married Mary Cooke, 1699 ; his son, James Barker, born 1700, married Margaret Werden about 1730; his son, John Barker, born 1732, married Lucretia Newhall about 1755; his son, Gardner Thurston Barker, born 1779, married Harriet Lyon, 1806; his son, John Vanderburg Barker, born 1807, a prosperous woolen manufacturer in Pittsfield, married Sarah Apthorp, 1832 ; his son, James M. Barker, the subject of this memoir, born October 23, 1839, married Helena Whiting, of Bath, Steuben County, New York, on September 21, 1864.

He went to school at Hinsdale Academy, the Pittsfield High School, and Williston Academy, entered Williams College in 1856, and graduated there in the class of 1860. In 1862-1863 he was at the Harvard Law School. In 1863 he began the practice of law in Pittsfield in partnership with Charles N. Emerson. In 1865 he became the partner of Thomas B. Pingree, the firm practising in Pittsfield under the name of Pingree and Barker. In 1867 his father secured the insertion of a long and short haul freight clause in the act consolidating the Boston and Worcester and Western Railroads under the name of the Boston and Albany Railrcad. This clause was

drafted by James M. Barker, then a lawyer of only three or four years' standing. This provision was extended in 1876 to all railroads in the Commonwealth, and later became part of the federal interstate commerce statute.

He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1872, and was on the Committee on Railroads. He voted against the resolution censuring Charles Sumner; which was rescinded the following year, when he was again a member of the House.

In 1874 he served on the commission to revise Massachusetts taxation laws.

In 1880 he was appointed by Governor Long one of the commissioners to revise the public statutes of Massachusetts. The report of these commissioners became the Public Statutes of Massachusetts, enacted November 19, 1881.

In 1880 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago, where he took active part in behalf of the Civil Service Reform plank, which was adopted at that time.

In 1882 he was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court by Governor Long.

June 18, 1891, he was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts by Governor Russell, which position he held until his death,

Aside from his professional career he was also interested in all matters of public concern, and was connected with the business institution of his town. He was a Director and afterwards Vice-President of the Berkshire Life Insurance Company and a Director in the Pittsfield National Bank, and in the Pontoosuc Woolen Company.

He had a good literary taste and faculty of expression. He wrote “Shire Town Stories," and other unpublished collections of narratives of bench and bar, and biographical and historical papers.

It was in keeping with his culture in this respect that he was associated with many institutions of an educational and historical character. He was President of the Berkshire Athenæum, 1903-1905; a Trustee of Williams College, 18821905; a member of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and of the Bunker Hill Monument Association.

He was of a social turn, full of the spirit of comrade

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