Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BARKER, Jacob, financier, born on Swan island, Maine, 7 December 1779; died in Philadelphia,, 26 December 1871. He was of Quaker parentage. He began his business career in the employ of Isaac Hicks, a commission merchant of New York, and before he was twenty-one years of age he possessed five trading-vessels and controlled a large credit. In 1801 he lost his fortune by a succession of mishaps. Obtaining a contract for supplying the govern-merit with oil, he made large gains, and, on the breaking out of the war of 1812, undertook to raise a loan of $5,000,000 for the government. He was one of the original members of the society of Tammany Hall, and was elected a state senator. A legal opinion in an insurance case, delivered by him when sitting in the court of errors, was sustained on appeal, though opposed to that of Chancellor Kent. He founded the " Union" newspaper for the purpose of supporting the candidacy of Governor Clinton. In 1815 he established the Exchange bank in Wall street, and entered into stock speculations. His bank failed in 1819; but he was sustained in his extensive speculations by other financial institutions in different states. His financial methods provoked intense ill-will among rival operators. When the life and fire insurance company failed he was indicted with other directors for fraud, and conducted his own defense with great ability, lie was convicted, but a new trial was granted, and subsequently the indictment was quashed. In 1834 he established himself in New Orleans. He was admitted to the bar, and took a prominent part in business and political affairs. A large fortune that he accumulated there was mostly swept away through the civil war. His later years were passed with his son, Wharton Barker, in Philadelphia. See "Incidents in the Life of Jacob Barker from the year 1800 to 1855" (New York, 1855).
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