Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 381
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Ira Baker, who is engaged in the tilling of the soil on section 29, Washington township, Rice county, is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred in Shelby county, on the 4th of August, 1834. His father, Elijah Baker, was born in a hunterís shanty twelve miles northwest of Lexington, Kentucky, July 3, 1793. The grandparents, John and Alsha (Wainright) Baker, were both natives of North Carolina and went to Kentucky at the time that Daniel Boone was carrying on his explorations of the dark and bloody ground. Their son, Elijah, was born by the side of a log on the claim which the father was holding. The family experienced all the hardships and trials of life in the western region, far separated from all the comforts of civilization. They also went to Indiana before it was a state. The grandfather died in 1840, but Mr Baker of this review still remembers him, although he was only six years of age at the time. The grandmother passed away four years later and both had attained an advanced age, the former having passed the seventy-fifth milestone on lifeís journey. After arriving at years of maturity Elijah Baker married Sarah Vance, who was born in 1797, in the block house which stood on the present site of Cincinnati. Their marriage occurred about 1821, and they became the parents of four sons and two daughters, and with the exception of one son all reached mature years, namely: Elias, who died in 1857, leaving a son and daughter; Alsha, who died in Coffey county, Kansas, in 1883; Malinda, the wife of Riley Howard, of Nickerson, Kansas, by whom she has six children; John, who lives in the district of Oklahoma known as the Strip, and has six sons and three daughters; and Ira, of this review. The father was a farmer in good circumstances. He, however, obtained a start by clearing land and then selling it. He worked so hard that he became prematurely aged, but he lived to the age of seventy-four years, passing away in 1867, while his wife died in Coffey county, Kansas, in 1884, when about eighty-seven years of age.
Ira and his brother John Baker were the first of the family to come to Kansas, the year of their arrival being 1881. The latter purchased one hundred and sixty acres, while our subject became the owner of eighty acres. He resided thereon until 1885, when he came to his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 29, Washington township. He was twice married, his first union being with Susan Kessler, of Indiana, in which state the wedding was celebrated in 1853. She died about six years later, leaving three children: Jane, who passed away at the age of eight years; Malinda, the wife of Michael Martin, of Clinton county, Missouri; and Theresa, who died at the age of one year. In Indiana, in 1859, Mr Baker was again married, his second union being with Elizabeth Burkett, by whom he had six children: John C, who resides in the Strip, Woods county, Oklahoma, and has two sons; Willie L, a resident of Reno county, Kansas, and the father of one daughter and one son; Rosella, who is the wife of Homer Hinman, of Reno county, by whom she has two sons and a daughter; Irena, a teacher and freeholder in Oklahoma; Julia, the wife of Harry Angus, of Edwards county, Kansas, by whom she has one son; and Dolly C, who married Henry Shultz, of Reno county.
Mr Baker carries on general farming, but has devoted much of his time to contracting and building. He was a builder in Indiana and Missouri and has followed the same pursuit to a considerable extent in Kansas. It has been this labor that has brought to him most of his success. All that he has has practically been made since he came to the Sunflower state, and today he owns a valuable property, which is a monument to his thrift and ability. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic Lodge and with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In politics he is a Republican and has served on the school board and the township board, but has never sought or desired public office. His wife belongs to the Methodist church. They are well known people of the community, and their friends in this portion of the county are many.