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Baker, William Thurlow Col. 1824 – 1900


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 5/25/2020 at 17:33:49

Source: Decorah Republican Mar. 29, 1900 P 2 C 4

Colonel William Thurlow Baker was born in Kent, England, in 1824, and was the eldest son or Dr. John Baker, a surgeon in the East India Company’s service. Deceased entered the army in India in 1842 as a cadet, and at twenty years of age was appointed aide-de-camp to General William Vincent, General of Division at Cawnpore, and afterwards held the commission of Brigade Major and Assistant Adjutant General. He was married at Bareilly, India, in 1846, to Elizabeth, elder daughter of General William Vincent.
On the annexation of the province of Punjaub, owing to his thorough knowledge of the various Hindi dialects, as well as of Persian and Arabic, he was appointed by Sir John Lawrence, Governor General of India, Assistant Commissioner of that province, and invented with magisterial and judicial powers. During the Sepoy mutiny he was captain in a Ghoorka battalion stationed near Simla, and by his personal influence succeeded in restraining the spread of disaffection among his men, and persuaded them to return to duty after they had mutinied, For this service he was rewarded at the close of the mutiny with permission to organize the 4th regiment of Ghoorkas, the command of which was given to him.
This sketch of Colonel Baker’s life would not be complete without the additional facts, that in the midst of arduous official duties he was ceaselessly active in Christian work among the native population of the surrounding districts, frequently conducting these missions personally and addressing the natives in their own dialects. His home was always open to missionaries of all denominations, who were warmly welcomed and cheered in their work by his sympathetic interest and material assistance. Always endeavoring to promote the spiritual and intellectual welfare of the natives, he was active in starting schools for native children and organized the first school for girls established in India. While the strictest of disciplinarians among the men of his command, his uniform kindness and consideration for their comfort and welfare at all times, and especially when sick in hospital, won their esteem and affection in a marked degree and accounted for his personal influence over them during the mutiny.
Owing to ill health, he retired from the service in 1864 and returned to England, after a few months there, he took his family to Canada in 1864, living there until May, 1865, when he removed to Decorah, Iowa, where he has resided continuously ever since. Eight children were born in India to Colonel and Mrs. Baker, six sons and two daughters, two of whom died in infancy, the survivors being five sons and a daughter, Mrs. C. V. Lloyd, now in China. The sons are Wm. Vincent Baker, of Chicago, Arthur G. Baker, of the C., M. & St. Paul RR. engineering corps, of Evanston, Ill., Eldred R. Baker, of Chicago, Charles K. T. Baker, of Chicago, and Frank W. P. Baker, at home. Of his father’s family his brothers John T. and Harry T. Baker, of this city, and General Charles George Baker, of England, also two sisters living In England, are the surviving members.
The marked characteristic of deceased was an unswerving integrity and devotion to right and duty, particularly as these related to Christian living and personal conduct.
His convictions were deep and active never theoretical, always practical, and to be followed to their logical conclusions. As a citizen during all the thirty-five years of his residence in Decorah he has commanded the esteem of all who have known him in the various relations he has held.
Funeral services were held at the Congregational church on last Monday afternoon. Rev. M. Willett officiating,

Phelps Cemetery

Winneshiek Obituaries maintained by Bill Waters.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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