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Kirkland C. Barker

Kirkland Charles Barker September 8, 1819 – May 20, 1875 was mayor of Detroit, Michigan and established the tobacco firm of KC Barker & Company

Early lifeedit

Kirkland C Barker was born September 8, 1819 in Schuyler, New York, the son of builder and contractor Mason Barker1 and his wife Elizabeth Ingham Barker2 Kirkland was educated in the local schools, at age 14 attended a manual labor school in Whitesboro, New York, where he traded his labor for an education2 After leaving school, he worked as a store clerk in Frankfort, New York and Utica, New York At age 18, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio and worked in a warehouse1 There, his ability at business was recognized by his employers, and he was frequently put in charge of ships bringing goods from New York1

Leaving the warehouse, Barker took a job as a travelling salesman for a tobacco company in Logansport, Indiana, but himself lived in Detroit Barker was determined to go into business for himself, and so established a partnership with other people in Utica, and built stores in Detroit and New York, and a factory in Jersey City, New Jersey1 This partnership was not successful, so Barker started anew by himself, opening KC Barker & Company later the American Eagle Tobacco Company in Detroit This new firm prospered1

Barker married in 1847 to the daughter of Gilbert Bedell of Ann Arbor, Michigan; the couple had three children1

Later lifeedit

Kirkland C Barker's house in the East River Road Historic District on Grosse Ile

Barker dabbled in public service, serving as an alderman of Detroit in 1863 and as mayor in 1864-18651 He was also an avid sportsman, and was president of the Detroit Audubon Club3 His love of the outdoors led to a close friendship with George Armstrong Custer3 Barker was also the presiding officer of the Horse Association of America, and was elected Commodore of the Great Lakes Yacht Club2

During his later years, Barker took his brother, J I Barker, and son-in-law, Charles B Hull, into his tobacco firm, and spent more time at his home on Grosse Ile, Michigan2 Barker had purchased the "Wedding Cake House," built for Samuel Lewis on East River Road4

On May 20, 1875, he was boating near his home, had an attack of apoplexy, and drowned1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Silas Farmer 1889, THE HISTORY OF DETROIT AND MICHIGAN, p 1044 
  2. ^ a b c d F A Barnard 1878, American biographical history of eminent and self-made men: Michigan volume, Part 1, Western biographical publishing co, pp 9–10 
  3. ^ a b Richard G Hardorff 2006 Washita memories: eyewitness views of Custer's attack on Black Kettle's village University of Oklahoma Press p 80 ISBN 0-8061-3759-2 
  4. ^ Woman's improvement association of Grosse Ile 1907, The treaty tree and memorial tablet, Grosse Ile, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford company, p 50 
Political offices
Preceded by
William C Duncan
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Merrill I Mills

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Kirkland C. Barker

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