Our only clue is that the picture was found in a barn at what is now 184 Main Street. The Society has been the recipient of other items from that barn, most related to the South Acton cider vinegar business and family of Henry Barker (1835-1917). The barn was across the street from the house of cider mill manager Frederick Burke and his wife (Henry’s daughter) Addie Barker. We know that the Burkes gave memorabilia to Harriet Cobleigh, owner of the barn. It is possible that this picture, perhaps behind a map, was part of the Barker/Burke gifts.
Could this portrait have been of Henry Barker? He was the owner of a successful cider mill and old enough to have gray in his beard by the 1880s. He would best fit our guess that it was someone of local prominence. (See blog post about Henry Barker.) Unfortunately, and surprisingly, we have not been able to find an identified picture of Henry Barker for comparison. At this point, he is only one possibility for the subject of the portrait.
- A Barker relative
- Henry’s father Isaac Barker or a brother (Joseph, Herman or Charles)
- A relative of Henry Barker’s wife Louisa Atwood
- A relative of Frederick Burke
- A relative of the occupants of the house at 184 Main
- Jacob Priest’s family (wife Adeline J. Mansfield, daughter Emma married John J. Fogg)
- William L. Cobleigh’s family (wife Harriet Fogg)
- Another South Acton relative, picture/map given to the Cobleighs
Identifying unlabeled photographs is almost always a struggle. Can you help us to identify this man or to confirm the time period in which the portrait would have been done? Please contact us.