BARKLEY, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
BARKLEY, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1822–1882). Benjamin Franklin Barkley, physician and county official, was born in Kentucky on November 14, 1822. His father was from Virginia, and his mother was born in New Jersey. Before moving to Texas he practiced medicine in Mason, Bracken, and Harrison counties, Kentucky. In 1855 he and his wife, Malinda Elizabeth (Duncan), emancipated the slaves on their Kentucky farm and traveled to Texas. They settled in Birdville, the county seat, with only one horse and $100 worth of medicine. Barkley practiced both law and medicine and helped provide supplies and assistance to struggling families. He donated land for the town's first school and in 1856 fought unsuccessfully to keep Fort Worth from becoming county seat.
"Squire" Barkley began to fall out of favor during the movement toward secession. He continually spoke out against slavery and secession, but he kept an open house at Birdville to feed the widows and orphans of Confederate soldiers, and when necessary he treated or lodged returning soldiers. After the war he was named to the Tarrant County Registration Board, and in November 1867 he was appointed county judge, a position he held until 1870. He also served as subassistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in 1867–68. Barkley reported misconduct and conducted hearings on Ku Klux Klan activities; he became so unpopular that he was escorted by black soldiers from his home to his office in Fort Worth. During this time he also served as the local postmaster. He received an appointment as county treasurer from Governor Edmund J. Davis in November 1871 and served until January 1873. Following the return of state and county government to Democratic control, Barkley resumed his practices of medicine and law in Birdville. Additionally, he advertised as a land agent with 7,000 acres for sale in the county. He was named a United States commissioner for his efforts during the crisis.
Barkley died on December 24, 1882, and was buried on land that he had donated for Birdville Cemetery. A historical marker honoring him was placed at the site in 1979.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Kristi Strickland, "Barkley, Benjamin Franklin," accessed May 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fba67.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles