Rash's Surname Index

Notes for Wharton BARKER

BARKER, Wharton, financier, was born in Philadelphia, May 1, 1846, son of Abraham and Sarah (Wharton) Barker, and a grandson of Jacob Barker, who was a cousin of Benjamin Franklin, the mothers of both being Folgers. His maternal grandfather, William Wharton, was one of the most distinguished members of the Society of Friends. He was sent to the Latin school of Dr. Charles Short, entered the university of Pennsylvania in 1862, and was graduated with the degree of A.B. in 1866. In 1869 he received the degree of A. M. from that institution, and in 1880 was elected a member of its board of trustees, holding the position of treasurer of the board from 1882 to 1890. He was made a member of the American philosophical society, the Academy of natural sciences, Academy of the political and social sciences, the Historical society of Pennsylvania, the Union league club and the Manufacturers club. In 1875 he organized the Penn club, and was its president for a number of years. In 1870 he founded The Penn Monthly, of which he was the principal owner and chief editorial manager until 1881, when the publication was discontinued. In 1880 he founded and became editor and publisher of The American. He wrote many able papers on public questions at issue, and was a leader in several important crises in the politics of his state, taking an active part in the Garfield campaign in 1880, and the Harrison campaign in 1888. He became, early in 1893, the acknowledged leader of the bimetallists in the east, and through the columns of The American and by letters and addresses worked to advance the cause. To him is due largely the organized and sustained movement that made the contest between the gold monometallists and the bimetallists of such interest in the year 1896. In 1878 he was selected by the Russian government to purchase and build cruisers for the imperial navy. Under his direction the Cramps built the Europe, Asia, Africa and Zabiaca. In July, 1875, Alexander II. conferred upon him the cross of St. Stanislaus, second order. In 1879 he made a survey of the coal and iron fields in the Doritz country in the south of Russia, at the request of the Grand Duke Constantine and Prince Dolgorouki. The system of railroads, the mines and the iron and steel plant he proposed would have required the expenditure of more than $15,000,000, and this money he was prepared to furnish. The concessions were under discussion for some months. The imperial council, then under the direction of the emperor, concluded to grant the concession, and Prince Dolgorouki cabled Mr. Barker to that effect. The emperor died before concessions were granted, and Alexander III. did not confirm the action of his father. In 1887 the Chinese minister to the United States, Chang Yen Hoon, opened negotiations with him, looking to building and operating extensive lines of railroad, telegraph and telephone in China. He sent an agent to China to meet the viceroy, Li Hung Chang, and the "Great Chinese Concessions" were granted by that official to Mr. Barker. Special envoys were sent to America to complete these negotiations. The Concession was modified by envoys and Mr. Barker, and went back to Peking for confirmation, which never came because of the distrust occasioned by the passage of the exclusion act by the United States. He visited China in the autumn of 1895, on the invitation of Li Hung Chang and other great officials whom he met at Shanghai and Peking. Mr. Barker was elected president of the Finance company of Pennsylvania, and director of the Investment company of Philadelphia. In 1867 he married Margaret Corlies, daughter of Joseph Baker. He was the Populist candidate for president of the United States in 1898.

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