In July 1878, Henry Freeman Barker settled in the village of Cambridge. He was twenty-eight years old, and a member of the New York bar. That fall he was elected Isanti County attorney, a post he would hold sixteen years. He practiced with his brother until 1883, when the latter died; thereafter he practiced by himself. But it was difficult to make a living and raise a family in a rural county solely by lawyering, and consequently he pursued other business interests---he was an insurance agent, investor in land and helped start several companies. In other words, he became a lawyer-entrepreneur. Not surprisingly he was active in civic affairs, serving over twenty years on the school board, and four terms in the legislature, two in the house and two in the senate. He died on December 12, 1910, at age sixty. In a memorial the Isanti County bar eulogized him:
"There are some characteristics that more than others make the individual and the qualifications which made Senator Barker conspicuous in the field of legal endeavor was his un-compromising fidelity to the interests of his client, his fairness toward oppositing attorneys, his great ability, legal learning and respect for the courts. His professional career was signally successful and as his death is a serious loss from a professional point of view so the memory of his life will be an inspiration which his fellow members of this bar and succeeding lawyers will do well to emulate.
"And his qualifications at the bar made him a most useful citizen in other fields. As a man of business and affairs he was careful, prudent, sagacious and provident but ever ready and willing to help along any enterprise that gave even remote prospects of being of benefit to this community. Always loyal to the best interest of this county he spared neither effort, means nor time in serving it and serving it unselfishly and loyally."