Della and Jim Barker
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In Remembrance of

Della and Jim Barker

Rose Spray
Birth Date:   1897      Birth Date:  1886
Death Date: 1981Death Date: 1938



The Barker family originated in the western part of England and was one of the earliest families bearing this name to settle in America. They settled in Virginia. Members of the William Henry Baker family were descendants of the family that settled in Virginia.

William Henry Barker and Sarah Gibbson were married July 10, 1892, in Lee Co., Va., their native state and county. William Henry had been married prior to this marriage and had seven children by this union. I do not know my Grandmother´s name, as she passed away when my father was only three years old. William Henry and Sarah had seven more children. William Henry and Sarah left Virginia and settled in Oklahoma. He was a farmer and the father of James Robert "Jim" Baker.

Early American historical records indicate the important contributions made by this family in the development of our country. Their descendants can be found throughout our land and are well represented in the arts and professions, as well as in the world of business.

William Henry died and was buried in Mulhall, Logan Co., OK. My father was 14 years old at this time, but went to work to help his mother provide and care for the family. There were many hardships, but also much happiness.

Jim Barker and Della McNeely, daughter of Preston and Paralee McNeely, met and married in their own home in Doyle, OK. Aug. 26, 1915. They had one daughter, Beatrice Barker, born June 17, 1916, in Mountain Park, OK.

The family farmed in different areas around Oklahoma, but finally settled in the small town of Alex, OK. Jim ran a dray, worked at gins, and also did some farming in 1927. He decided to sell his possessions and move to West Texas. We moved to Floydada and rented a farm owned by C.A. Wade of the Sweetwater-Abilene area. The farm was located between Floydada and Petersburg. This farm had been neglected, consequently, lots of hard work followed. I was an only child, but being a girl was no reason for not doing my share of the work, according to my father. I learned to do everything a boy could do except plant. No planting was done by anyone other than my father, as he wanted the rows straight as an arrow.

There was a large pasture in front of our placed called "Frank Beard´s Pasture" and one could very easily get lost if they tried to walk across this expanse at night. There were so many acres, so dark and dense, without a guiding light in any direction and only a fence line to follow. My uncle and I were visiting friends on the opposite side of the pasture one night and we did get lost on our way home. I started crying, but my uncle assured me we would get home, only it would take us a little longer, as we would have to follow the fence line. This we did, and finally arrived home early the next morning in the daylight, we would go straight across this pasture, as we would do when gathering cow chips to use to keep the house warm in the winter months.

I went to school at the country school of Harmony until 1929, when we moved to Petersburg, Jim went to work in Petersburg for the railroad. I went to high school in Petersburg. My father was transferred so many times by the railroad company that he decided to give up that job and we moved to Lorenzo.

In Lorenzo in 1933, I met and married Guy Elton Surratt. In 1934, a daughter, Norma Ruth, was born to us. We moved to Ralls the same year. Jim and Della Barker moved to Ralls also, and they lived in the Maggie Exum home where they cared for Mrs. Exum for a time. Later, Guy and I moved to Eunice, NM, where we operated a filling station for a few years. My father and mother moved to Eunice and Jim helped Guy with the station. My father passed away Jan. 25, 1938. We brought him back to Lorenzo for burial.

Soon after my father´s death, Guy and I, our daughter and my mother moved back to Ralls. Our son, Robert Price "Sam," was born Apr. 2, 1942. He and our daughter both graduated from Ralls High School. Robert Price was killed in a car accident on Oct. 20, 1961, at the age of 19 1/2 years.

Della Barker had her own home in the years between 1938 and 1976, she did many hours of practical nursing, and other kinds of work. Her health gave way after many years of faithful service, and she became a resident in the Ralls Nursing Home.

Source: "Crosby County History Book 1876-1977", Crosby County Historical Commission, ©1977

Others Researching This Family

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Della Barker

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William Barker Family 1905


Memorial services for Illa "Della" Barker, a Ralls resident since 1938, were at 2 p.m. Friday in the Ralls Church of Christ. P.M. Oden, a Lubbock minister, officiated.

Interment was made in Lorenzo Cemetery, under direction of Carter-Adams Funeral Home.

Mrs. Barker was 83. She died at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in Ralls Nursing Home after a lengthy illness.

She was a retired nurse.

A Hill County native, the former Illa McNeely married James R. Barker on Aug. 15, 1915. Mr. Barker preceded his wife in death on Jan. 25, 1938.

Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Guy Surratt of Ralls; a brother, Bryce McNeely of Ralls; a sister, Mrs. Laura Southern of Portales, NM; a granddaughter, Norma Ashcraft of Ralls; and two great grandchildren, Perry Ashcraft and Marcy Ashcraft Woods, both of Ralls; several nieces and nephews.

A grandson, Robert Price Surratt, was claimed by death on Oct. 20, 1961.

©Crosbyton Review, March 19, 1981
Record provided by Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum
transcribed by Linda Fox Hughes

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