Jacob Barker

Jacob Barker

Jacob Barker (1779-1871) was an American financier and lawyer, born in Swan Island, Me., of Quaker parentage. He went to New York at the age of 16, engaged in trade, and soon amassed a considerable fortune. Beginning in 1811, Fitz-Greene Halleck was employed by him for twenty years. Early in the War of 1812 he was instrumental in securing a loan of $5,000,000 for the national government. In 1815 he founded the Exchange Bank of New York and subsequently became interested in many other large financial institutions in the city, including the Life and Fire Insurance Company, on the failure of which in 1826 he, with a number of others, was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to defraud. At first he acted as his own lawyer, however, eventually eminent attorneys Benjamin F. Butler and Thomas Addis Emmet (1764-1827) were counsels for his defense. The jury disagreed on the first trial and convicted Barker on the second trial; but an appeal was granted and the indictment was finally quashed. He removed to New Orleans in 1834, became prominent in financial circles, was admitted to the bar, and practiced with success in insurance cases. At the close of the War of the Rebellion he was elected to the United States Senate, but Louisiana not having been readmitted to the Union, he was not allowed to take his seat. In 1867 he was declared bankrupt and spent the last few years of his life with his son in Philadelphia. He published: The Rebellion: Its Consequences and the Congressional Committee, Denominated the Reconstruction Committee, with their Action (1866).

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