History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 430
Rensford B. Baker, one of the few surviving soldiers of the Civil war, is the second oldest resident settler of Grant township, having located here in the year 1867.  The township was then known as South Platte township.  He owns an excellent farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 15, Grant township, and his time and energies are devoted to general agricultural pursuits and stock raising.  His birth occurred in Windham county, Connecticut, on the 15th of January, 1840, and he was there reared to manhood on a farm.  In 1862, at Hartford, he enlisted for two years' service in the Union army, becoming a member of Company G, twenty-fifth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.  He was assigned to the Southern Division under command of General Banks and participated in the Red River expedition and the engagements at Irish Bend, Donelson and Port Hudson.  At the last-named place his regiment was under fire continually for forty-two days.  On the expiration of his term of enlistment Mr. Baker was mustered out and honorably discharged at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1864, returning home with a most creditable military record.  He then carried on farming in his native state for several years but in 1867 journeyed westward and took up his abode in what was then South Platte township, Taylor county, where he purchased a quarter section of land and erected a small house.  His brother Henry who came to this county from Osceola on foot, bought a tract of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining.  Henry Baker, who now owns several hundred acres of land in Taylor county, is at present a resident of Canada.  For (page 431) four years following his arrival in Grant township, Mr. Baker of this review kept bachelor's hall.  He broke and fenced his land and also set out a fine grove of forest and evergreen trees on four acres.  He likewise planted an orchard and subsequently erected a commodious residence and two barns.  As the years passed by and his financial resources increased, owing to his well-directed industry and good management, he added to his landed holdings by additional purchase until two hundred and forty acres are now included within the boundaries of his home farm on section 15, Grant township.  It is a highly improved and valuable property and is located within four miles of Clearfield.  In addition to his farming interests Mr. Baker also raises and feeds cattle, horses, sheep and hogs and both branches of his business return to him a gratifying annual income.
In 1871, in Taylor county, Mr. Baker was united in marriage to Miss Charlotte Harris, a native of England, who was brought to the United States when but two years of age and was reared in Illinois and Iowa.  Mr. and Mrs. Baker now have four sons and four daughters, namely: Frank, who follows farming in Lincoln township, Ringgold county; Edward, a resident of South Dakota; Horace, living in Beaconsfield, Iowa; Ralph, who assists his father in the work of the home farm; Eunice, who is still under the parental roof; Olive, the wife of Orville Nelson, of Grant township; and Anna and Almina, also at home.  Mr. and Mrs. Baker lost a son, Grant, who died when but four months old.
In his political views Mr. Baker is a stanch republican and has supported every presidential nominee of that party since casting his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864.  He capably served his fellow-townsmen in the position of road supervisor, was township trustee for four years and also acted as a member of the school board for some time.  His wife is a devoted and consistent member of the Christian church.  The period of his residence in this county now covers more than four decades and he is one of the few who have so long witnessed its growth and development.  From time to time he has given hearty cooperation to many movements for the public good and the county owes her development to such men, who dared to face the hardships of pioneer life and have reclaimed this region for the purposes of civilization.