This is a slideshow, click to view all pages of the letter. (2 total)
Thanks to Vicky Zapf for sending these…
Aaron Worth Barker was born December 16, 1884 in Lake Crystal, Blue Earth, Minnesota to Marion and Jennie (Wing) Barker. He is brother of Earl Barker (1881-1939).
They had their first child, Violet Jennie Barker, in 1909, and their second child, Daisy Lavonne Barker, in 1911. Violet went on to marry Bertrum A. Knapp and had only one child, Gail Raymond Knapp, my grandfather.
Aaron was very close to his little girls. You can tell that they were very much loved by him, especially through his letters to Daisy while he was working in Expanse. “Dear Daisy Dimple Darling” he would always write. When Daisy passed away, her husband Ben Ferguson sent us many photographs and items belonging to both her and Violet, including some pocket watches belonging to Aaron. He also sent us many letters from and to Aaron. One of the items, a very old locket, contains a tiny picture of her Daddy, Aaron.
After Violet was born in Browns Valley, MN, the family moved to Riverhurst, Saskatchewan (located on Highway 42 – just 3 km from Lake Diefenbaker. It is 120 km north-west of Moose Jaw and 120 km north-east of Swift Current.) (see below for pictures of their homestead)
Aaron was the chief engineer of Canada’s only sodium sulphate plant, Natural Sodium Products in Expanse, Saskatchewan.
New Year’s Day 1935 Aaron was taken ill and went to the Providence hospital in Moose Jaw,Saskatchewan where he was operated on a week later for ruptured appendix, and although everything possible was done for him and he made a valiant fight for his life, he died on Jan 18th at the age of 50.
Aaron was a member of The Masons, and they had charge of his funeral. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows, and they were the pallbearers. He was a member of both lodges for many years.
He was buried on the 21st of January in the Regina Cemetery (Block 179, Plot MASON, Lot 44) in Regina, Saskatchewan. ***Thanks to Vickie Tetlock, City of Regina Cemetery Clerk.
***note: Daisy’s first husband, Ole J. Lawrence, is also buried at Regina Cemetery in Plot 22 of Block 408. Buried on March 11, 1943. Cause of death was suicide, age 31***
Above: Aaron Worthing Barker (December 1907)
Below: Earl W. Barker
Below: Daisy L Barker (left) Violet J Barker (right) dated March 27th, 1922 ages 12 yr 4 months and 10 yr 11 months.
Below: Mable Barker in Pullman, WA.
Below: Whites farm April 1927 in Expanse, Saskatchewan. (Aaron first on left, Mable 3rd from right)
The Epiphany of Possibilities Inspired by Benjamin Franklin
by Lee A. Bernier
In 1845, approximately fifty years after Benjamin Franklin completed his transcendental autobiography, African American former slave and inspirational abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. His narrative chronicles one of the darkest periods of America’s history with the despicable treatment of African American slaves while, like Franklin, validating the want and need to establish a collective yet independent identity before attaining the means and achievements of the American Dream. Heavily influenced by Franklin’s ardent work ethic and educational drive, Douglass does not merely describe his transformation from a slave to an educated and free African American, he manages to lay forth a platform for discussion and a movement toward the understanding of the treatment of slaves. How does a man who is mistreated and scarred by the harsh and relentlessly violent control of white slave masters base this type of narrative off of the influence of a powerful and wealthy white man? By withholding all judgment, Douglass did not look at Franklin as a man, but as a representation of himself as proof that all men, white or black, can only move forward and upward in society after having been educated.
Franklin was given the opportunity to learn the essentials of reading, writing, and grammar from an early age. If he had not been provided an education, he would not have pursued any options greater than his father’s soap and candle making shop because the possibility of there being any options would have not existed to him. Douglass recognizes the significance of this and realizes that general knowledge, specifically the ability to read and write, is the key to opening the mind to the realization of possibility. If a slave can read, the knowledge of his white Master becomes his own. Therefore, a shift in power can take place through resistance, and like Franklin, Douglass realizes that there is more to life than what is handed to him.
In Franklin’s autobiography, a connection is established between all men of the New World as having a desire to earn their way to power and praise and considered it to be the American Dream. It was because of Franklin’s concept of advancement that, out of many examples given by Douglass about the atrocious living conditions of the slaves, such as brutal beatings, rape, starvation, and cruel humiliation, the most discerning and unjust treatment of all is the withholding of knowledge. The white slave owners keep their slaves ignorant out of fear. They know that if slaves had the ability to learn, they would rise together and no longer be held under their Master’s control, so with the excuses and justifications of insincere concern for the wellbeing of the slaves if let free, they are able to maintain their power. Douglass just wants it known that he, as well as any other slave with the knowledge of possibility, is just as capable of foreseeing and achieving their own advancement as men like Franklin were.
If Douglass had written his narrative without the influence of Franklin’s autobiography, it would not be as influential as it is today. It would only be a story of the past and a recollection of injustice and hardship. If Franklin were to only write about his difficult journey made in adolescence and the experience of having very little money, neither of these narratives would be significant because of the lack of an enlightening knowledge that sparks an internal drive to achieve any point of personal gain. Franklin’s use of this literary form sets his story apart from others and shapes the way in which following autobiographies have been written, by including rhetoric that leaves the readers with an idea of how to better their own lives by means of an educational inspiration.
Douglass recognized that spark of educational inspiration, which came from when his Master’s wife, Mrs. Auld, taught him his ABC’s but more so did he attribute this spark to Mr. Auld when he instructed his wife “to never teach a slave to read” because “it was unlawful, as well as unsafe”(752). His recognition of Mr. Auld’s responsibility for stirring the sentiments that “lay slumbering” within him and for calling “into existence an entirely new train of thought” displayed his understanding of the American Dream, because even by the most hateful revelations, he was able to take Mr. Auld’s words and interpret them as a “new and special revelation” (753). He finally understood what had always been “a most perplexing difficulty—to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man” (753). Only after being influenced by Franklin’s autobiography would Douglass grasp Mr. Auld’s tirade of bigotry as being a “grand achievement,” because he realizes that the now known possibilities can only be attained through his own enlightenment, which only he can achieve through trials and hard work, the hard work that encompasses the American Dream (753).
Douglass, Frederick., Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Anthology of African American Literature. 2010, ebook.