California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Henry Barker

History


Map of Barker brickyard
Map showing the location of Barker's brickyard in Paradise Cove
on the north side of the Tiburon Peninsula. Plat Map from Austin, 1869.


Henry Barker, born in Massachusetts in 1834, was one of the early brickmakers in Marin County, California. He may have been the same person associated with Job C. McMaster at their brickyard in Antioch, Contra Costa County, from 1852 to 1868.

On the 1869 map of Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio is shown Barker's brickyard in Paradise Cove on the north side of the Tiburon Peninsula in Marin County. This map indicates that Barker was operating his brickyard about 1869. Barker's brickyard was located at the end of Paradise Cove Road. If this is the same brickmaker who was in Antioch prior to 1868, the Barker's brickyard on the Tiburon Peninsula likely started up about 1868.

No description of this brickyard was found. But, from the bricks found at the brickyard site, Barker used the soft-mud process, probably in wooden molds, to form the bricks. The bricks were sand struck and probably fired in field kilns.

Barker's brickyard closed prior to 1870, because it was not listed in the 1870 census record or Langley's 1875 business directory. The brickyard site today is a private residence. There is no evidence of the brickyard except for the brick bats on the beach and some clinker bricks that would indicate a kiln..

In the 1870 census record, Henry Barker is found working for one of the brickyards on Gallinas Creek, probably that of Piper and Rice. In 1900, he was superintendent at the Remillard Greenbrae brickyard. On February 14, 1901, Barker committed suicide at Greenbrae after being dismissed by the company. He was 67 years old.

Barker Brick


Barker's common brick is sand-struck, pale red to orange-red, and uniform in color. The edges are irregular and dull, with dull corners. Bottom face is smooth and even containing no maker's marks. Top face is pitted, rough, and displays longitudinal strike marks. Sides display stack indentations and some have 1/4 inch thick lip around the top edges. Interior clay body is orange clay with 2 percent pores up to a half inch across. The clasts includes 5 to 10 percent subangular white chert and 5 percent subrounded gray sandstone, both ranging in size up to 1/2 inch across. This brick was made by a hand-molded, soft-mud process. The bricks appear to be smaller than standard size. Length 8, width 3 3/8 - 3 3/4, height 2 - 2 3/8 inches.

Barker brick bottom face
View of the bottom face of the Barker brick bat.

Barker brick top face
View of the top face of the Barker brick bat.

Barker brick interior
View of the interior clay body of the Barker brick bat. The largest white chert is 1/2 inch across.

Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Barker brick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).
Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the
Barker brick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).

References

Austin, H., Plat of the Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio, April 1869.

Federal Census Records, 1870.

Federal Census Records, 1900

Langley, Henry G., The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, San Francisco, 1875.

Pringle, Parker, written communications, 2011.

San Francisco Call, Suicide at Greenbrae, Feburary 15, 1901.

Sausalito News, February 16, 1901.

Copyright 2010 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.