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Posted By: Nancee Seifert (email)
Date: 10/18/2007 at 19:14:27

#10978: Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa;
Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896.
JESSE CLARK BAKER This gentleman dates his
identity with Lucas county, Iowa, from October,
1853, has for a number of years figured as one of
the leading business men of the county, and for
the past ten years has been engaged in banking in
Lucas. He is therefore entitled to rank with the
pioneers of this part of Iowa, and we here take
pleasure in presenting a sketch of his life,
believing that it will be read with interest by
many. Mr. Baker is a native of the "Hoosier"
State, born in Nashville, Brown county, Indiana,
December 29, 1843, a son of early settlers of
that State. Jesse Baker, his grandfather, was
born in North Carolina, in the year 1774, a
descendant of German ancestors. From North
Carolina he removed to Kentucky, and settled in
Henry county soon after Daniel Boone had made it
possible for the white man to establish his home
in Kentucky. Some years later he continued his
way north into Indiana, and in Boone county, of
this State, he died, at the advanced age of
ninety years. He also had a brother who lived to
the age of ninety years, and who died in that
same county. Jesse Baker was twice married, and
had one child by his first wife and six by the
second. His son, Walker William Baker, the father
of our subject, was born in Kentucky, June 29,
1814, was quite small when the family removed to
Indiana, and was reared in Johnson and Brown
counties, early in life being inured to hard work
on the farm, and a portion of the winter months
attending the common schools of his district. His
early training in the district school was
supplemented by home study. In political matters
he took an active interest. He was a Democrat, a
zealous worker for his party and friends, and on
a number of occasions was officially honored. He
served as Sheriff of his county, and for six
years filled the office of Collector and
Treasurer, and while thus employed studied law,
and was admitted to the bar in Indiana. He was
married in Johnson county, Indiana, to Miss Eliza
Musselman, a native of Jennings county, that
State. Her father, Daniel Musselman, was a native
of Kentucky, and a soldier in the war of 1812,
being a participant in the battle in which the
noted Tecumseh was killed; was one of the
pioneers of Lucas county, Iowa, and has last
resting place is in the old cemetery in White
Breast township, this county. In 1853 W. W. Baker
emigrated with his family to Iowa and settled in
Lucas county, on a farm near Chariton. Here for
some time he dealt in lands and also did a loan
business, and in 1865, in company with his son,
J. C., he engaged in the mercantile business,
carrying on the same successfully. In 1886 he
moved out to California and took up his abode in
a pretty home in Santa Ana, Orange county, where
he is spending the evening of his active and
useful life, now being eighty-one years of age.
For fifty-seven years he and his good wife have
journeyed along life's pathway together. She was
born October 1, 1822, and is now seventy-three
years of age. Fifteen children were born by this
union, their names being as follows: Hon. D. M.,
for years one of Lucas county's prominent men,
and the only Democrat ever elected to the State
Legislature from this county, has been a resident
of California since 1884 and is now proprietor of
the Santa Ana Standard; J. Clark, the subject of
this article; Mary, wife of M. V. Lovering,
Fullerton, Orange county, California; M. P.,
engaged in the real-estate business in Chicago,
Illinois; Eliza, widow of L. D. Rankin, Santa
Ana, California; E. S., Lacona, Iowa; Clara,
residing in California with her parents; Charles
W., Westminister, California; the rest are
deceased, namely: Naaman, at the age of eleven
years; Flora, at the age of eighteen months;
Sarah J., wife of T. J. Allen, died in Lucas,
Iowa, at the age of twenty-six years, leaving
three children, Carrie L., W. E. and W. W.;
Tobitha, wife of H. N. Chamberlain, died at the
age of twenty-six; Louisa, at the age of eighteen
years; W. L., for many years a prominent man of
Lucas county, died recently in California, at the
age fifty; and V. G., a real estate-dealer of Los
Angeles, California, died at the age of
thirty-two years. We come now to the immediate
subject of this sketch, J. C. Baker. He was ten
years old at the time of the removal of the
family to Iowa. Until he was sixteen he attended
the public schools, making the best of his
opportunities, and then accepting a position as
clerk for William Boyd, whose store was located
on the northeast corner of the public square in
Chariton. Later he clerked for Mr. W. A. Brown.
After the death of Mr. Brown, W. W. Baker
purchased his stock of goods and put his son, J.
C., in the store as manager, the latter also
being a partner. After ten years of successful
business in Chariton, they sold out and J. C.
Baker came to Lucas. Here for twenty years he has
been a leading business man. He has done much in
various ways to promote the material growth and
development of the town. In 1886 he established
the Farmers' and Miners' Bank, of Lucas, of which
he is still the proprietor, this being one of the
most substantial banking institutions in the
county. It is now under the efficient management
of Mr. Baker's son, Norman F., one of the bright
and promising young business men of the town. Mr.
Baker has also for years been extensively engaged
in farming and stock- raising, owning no less
than 700 acres of fine land in Liberty and White
Breast townships, located about four miles
distant from Lucas. About 500 acres of this land
are under cultivation. In 1891 he built his
commodious and attractive residence in Lucas, it
being erected at a cost of $3,000 and having all
the modern conveniences. It is, indeed, a model
home. August 19, 1869, Mr. Baker was married in
Clarke county, Iowa, to Miss Mattie Steffy, a
member of one of the best families of that county
and a lady who has proved herself a worthy
helpmate. She was born in Burlington, Iowa,
daughter of William and Hannah (Ream) Steffy,
natives of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and of German
descent. Her father was one of the early settlers
of Burlington, Iowa, where he died leaving a
widow and four children, namely: Matilda Keeves,
Arkansas City, Kansas; Ellen Keeves, deceased;
Samuel, who died at the age of ten years; and
Mrs. Baker. Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. J. C.
Baker, we record that their names are N. F., who
has charge of the bank above referred to; Albert
L., a merchant of Lucas; Lora G., who recently
completed her education at Highland Park; J. C.,
Jr., at Ames College; and Blanche. Mr. Baker was
initiated into the mysteries of Masonry about the
time he attained his majority and maintains a
membership in both the chapter and the
commandery; and he is also a member of the I. O.
O. F. and K. of P. His son, N. F., is Master of
Good Shepherd Lodge, No. 414, a. F. & A. M., and
is Keeper of Seals of the K. of P., both in
Lucas. The subject of our sketch is one of the
largest men in the county, his weight being 300
pounds. He is a man of frank and genial nature,
has a wide acquaintance throughout this part of
Iowa, and is as popular as he is well known.


Lucas Biographies maintained by Ann Selvig.
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