According to the Firelands Pioneer, Jacob A. Barker was born in Buffalo, New York on December 9, 1818. His father was Zenas W. Barker, who served in the War of 1812. His grandfather, also named Zenas Barker, served in the American Revolution. In 1834, Jacob A. Barker moved to Sandusky, Ohio with his family. He married Mary Elizabeth Patterson on November 22, 1847. Jacob and Mary were the parents of four sons. Jacob Barker was the general freight agent for the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. Later he was the Sandusky agent of the United States Express Company. Jacob A. Barker died on December 22, 1898, and he was buried in the family lot at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.
Barker Street and Barker School in Sandusky were named for the ancestors of Jacob A. Barker.