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[The Fredonia Censor June 2, 1880, Fredonia, NY.]


DIED - In Fredonia, May 28, 1880, Mrs. Helen E., wife of D. R. Barker, aged 55 years.

Some months since the community was shocked to learn that Mrs. D. R. Barker was suffering from cancer. Soon after she was removed to Rome for treatment, and it was hoped by the means there used the threatened danger would be averted. But these hopes proved delusive, and for some weeks past it has been evident that her illness must have a fatal termination. The news of her death came on Friday last, bringing a sense of personal bereavement in no ordinary degree to every one throughout the wide circle of her acquaintance. Beautiful in person and character her life presented a perfect type of Christian womanhood and her memory will be long and tenderly cherished. Mrs. Barker (Helen E. Pettit) only daughter of Dr. E. M. Pettit, was born in Pompey, Onondaga county, New York, June 5th, 1825. While yet a child her father came to reside in Fredonia, and in 1837 removed to Versailles, on the border of the Indian Reservation. There 25 years of her life were spent in full and active co-operation with her father and family in inaugurating and promoting those humane enterprises for the benefit of the Indians which have now attained such a satisfactory degree of advancement. She lived in an atmosphere fragrant with the incense of love and charity, and her character was developed by the healthy influence which proceeds from labor in the cause of humanity. The children of the forest found at her house sympathy, counsel and material aid, and the dark-skinned fugitive from slavery sought the same retreat as a resting place and sure refuge in his flight toward freedom. About 18 years ago the family returned to Fredonia and built the home on Central Ave where they have since resided. Mrs. Barker possessed a large degree of talent as an artist, and gave expression to her skill and love of the beautiful in landscape painting and other works of kindred nature, as well as in the ornamentation of her home. But while possessing accomplishments of varied kindest rarely excelled, the distinguishing traits of her character were the kindness and gentleness of her nature and her abounding desire to benefit all things the scope of her influence. But of her life in Fredonia we scarcely need to speak. Her record is engraved indelibly in the hearts of all, and the influence of her example and good works will long survive. In her case the words appear most fitting: ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; from henceforth, yea, smith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works to follow them.’