William Baker

WILLIAM BAKER, whose residence in Cherokee County dates from 1867, has lived almost continuously on the same farm, the east half of the southeast quarter of section 10, township 33, range 24, in Crawford township. Mr. Baker was born in Cayuga County, New York, in 1837, and is a son of Horace and Lucretia (Buck) Baker. His parents later moved to Chautauqua County, New York, where they engaged in farming. The mother died many years since and the father in 1892. Of their nine children, the subject of this sketch was the eighth, and is the only one who ever came to Kansas.

In March, 1857, Mr. Baker left home for Warren County, Illinois, and was at work there when the call came for troops, in 1861, to suppress the Rebellion. He was one of the first to respond, enlisting in April, 1861, in the 1st Regiment, Illinois Vol.Cav., and was taken prisoner at Lexington, Missouri. He was discharged from Benton Barracks, St. Louis, in October, 1861. He re-enlisted in November, 1861, in Company K, 11th Reg., Illinois Vol. Cav., for three years or during the war. He veteranized in 1864 and fulfilled his promises to the letter until October, 1865 when he was discharged with the other gallant veterans, to whom the country they so bravely served owes a debt of gratitude, although he narrowly missed death, having a horse killed from under him, he was sound and whole when he received his honorable discharge papers at Springfield, Illinois. Three of his brothers also served in this war. Mr. Baker held the rank of orderly sergeant.

The subject of this sketch then went to McDonough County, Illinois, where he soon married. With his wife, he came to Cherokee County as one of the first settlers. He took up in Crawford township the southeast quarter of section 10, township 33, range 24, a portion of which he has since sold. To the improving of his land and its careful cultivation, Mr. Baker has devoted the best years of his life, and he has been well repaid. All the fine improvements have been the result of his labor, and the beautiful trees which throw their grateful shade have arisen in all their symmetry from seed planted by his own hands. Gratifying indeed must be his feelings as he realizes how much he has accomplished. When he first located here, Petersville was his first postoffice, and Baxter Springs was the nearest town.

Mr. Baker was married in McDonough County, Illinois, to Eliza Ward, who was born in 1835, in Fulton County, New York, not very far from Albany, and is a daughter of Henry and Mary (Sheldon) Ward. She afterwards went to Illinois, and was married to Mr. Baker in 1865. They have had three children, namely: William, who died in Cherokee County, when 14 months old; Cornelia Carrie, who married James Gaither, of Crawford township, and has one son, William; and Ida May, who married Edward Jones, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and has three children.—Leota, Freda and Ernest.

In politics Mr.Baker is a Republican. He served for many years as justice of peace, and has held many township offices. Fraternally, he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, at Columbus, and belongs also to the Grand army of the Republic post here, in which he has passed all the chairs except that of past commander. He and his wife are valued members of the Bethany Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he has contributed liberally and of which he has been steward and trustee for several years. Mr. Baker is a man who has many friends. He has had many and varied experiences in his long and useful life, and well deserves the ease, comfort and pleasant companionship he now enjoys. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Baker accompany this sketch.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Jason Baldwin, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 4-22-1997


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