Curtis Mason Barker, of San Jose, was born in Detroit, Michigan, April 12, 1861, his parents being Kirkland Charles and Jennett Barker. His father was a distinguished citizen of Detroit and served as mayor of that municipality. A native of New York, his birth occurred in East Schuyler, Herkimer county, on the 8th of September, 1819, and his early education was acquired in the public schools there. When a youth of fourteen he became a student in a manual training school at Whitesboro, New York, and after completing his education accepted a position as a salesman in a store at Franklin, New York, and subsequently was employed in a similar capacity in Utica, that state. At the age of eighteen, however, he left the state of his nativity and went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he secured a position in a warehouse, and while in that city he had the distinguished honor of being elected commodore of the Yacht Club on the Lakes, this title to continue throughout life. In 1848 he established the American Eagle Tobacco Works at Detroit, and was connected with that business until his death, being a leading representative of the industrial interests of the city. In 1864 his fellow townsmen honored him with the office of mayor and entering upon his duties in 1865 he served for two years.
Kirkland Charles Barker was united in marriage to Miss Jennett Bedell, a daughter of Gilbert Bedell, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and to them were born three children, of whom Curtis M. Barker is the youngest. The father was drowned on the Detroit river while yachting on the 20th of May, 1875, and was laid to rest with Masonic honors, having been a member of the Knight Templar commandery.
Curtis M. Barker supplemented his early educational privileges by study at the Michigan State University at Ann Arbor, where he pursued a course in civil engineering and surveying. Believing that the west furnished a better field of labor for one in the profession he went to Colorado in 1880 and was employed in the mines and at railroad survey work until 1885, when he came to California, locating first at Palo Alto. For seven and a half years he was employed as assistant civil engineer on the construction of the Leland Stanford University. In 1894 he came to San Jose, where he established an office as a civil engineer and surveyor. Not long afterward he was appointed city engineer of San Jose and occupied that position with marked ability until the 1st of July, 1902.
In 1883 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Barker and Miss Zoe A. Campbell, a daughter of J. C. Campbell, one of the prominent mining men of Nevada City. This union has been blessed with two daughters: Nettie Weir Barker and Muriel Campbell Barker.
Mr. Barker is prominent in fraternal circles, holding membership with San Jose Lodge No. 10, F. & A. M.; Garden City Lodge, I. O. O. F.; and with San Jose Encampment and the San Jose Patriarchs Militant of the Odd Fellows fraternity. he is also identified with Mount Hamilton Lodge, A. O. U. W. Well qualified for his profession, he has occupied lucrative positions in that connection, and his business career has been one of continued progress.
Source: Irvine, Leigh H. History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II, pp. 592-93. New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.