Barker was the son of Oliver Earle and Martha J. (Potter) Barker of New Haven. By 1887 he was advertising debenture bonds and farm loans from an office on Orange Street in New Haven. He married Adela "Addie" Lincoln Terry and had three sons, Terry, Nelson and William.
Barker moved south and was president of the Chattanooga Savings Bank in Chattanooga, Tennessee before arriving in Birmingham. He is credited with successfully reorganizing the First National Bank in the years following the Panic of 1893. Later he was appointed as a trustee representing the creditors of the Ensley Land Company to oversee the release of liens and sale of real property to satisfy the company's debts.
Barker was appointed to the newly-formed Jefferson County Sanitary Commission in 1901. In 1902 he resigned his positions in Birmingham to accept an appointment to serve as vice president of the Continental National Bank of Chicago, Illinois.
In 1906 he moved to Coronado, California due to the illness of one of his sons, and soon joined the Bank of Commerce & Trust Co. in San Diego as a vice president. In 1911 Barker commissioned a modern-style house at 3rd and Walnut Avenues from noted architect Irving Gill.
Barker died in 1912.
|President, First National Bank of Birmingham
W. P. G. Harding
- The Commercial and Financial Chronicle (October 26, 1912) Vol. 95, No. 2470, pp. 1094–1095