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Baker, William 1806 – 1898


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 11/8/2017 at 18:28:18

Iowa Plain Dealer May 27, 1898, FP, C7

One of the Oldest Residents of the County Passes Away.
At 3:40 o'clock Monday morning, at the home of his son A. C. Baker in this city, occured{sic} the death of Mr. Wm. B. Baker, at the age of 92 years.
Wm. B. Baker was born Aug. 4, 1806, in Cornwall, Mattison county, Vermont. When twenty years of age he moved to New York, engaging in the lumber and iron business. At the age of thirty-three years he removed to Crown Point, N. Y., where he was very active in business relations. About this time he was united in marriage to Miss Famelia W. Clark, of West Point, N. Y. They remained in New York state until 1858 when they came west to Garnavillo, this state, where they remained a year, settling near Castalia in 1859, where the prime of their lives were spent together, Mrs. Baker passing away in November, 1887. Mr. Baker came to Decorah last November, and has since lived here with his son. Six sons were born to this couple, all of whom are living, viz: H. A. and A. D., of Sioux City, Iowa; G. R., of Ridgeway; F. H. and A. C., of Decorah; and E. W.
During his active life Mr. Baker was a prominent citzen of this county. He was always at the front in projects of advancement in all lines; was a county Supervisor in the early days, and was member of the legislature from this district during the war. He was a consistent member of the Congregational ohurch since a young man, and was one of those men who always attract the esteem of all with whom he comes in contact. The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon at five o'clock from the home of his son, A. C. Baker, Rev. Dr. Willett officiating.—Decorah Public Opinion.

Transcriber’s Note: His gravestone in Phelps Cemetery shows his middle initial as H.

Source: Decorah Republican May 26, 1898 P 3 C 5

There passed away, at the home of his son A. C. Baker, on Monday morning last, another of the pioneers—a man of high character and such worth that more than the brief record of an ordinary obituary is his due.
WILLIAM HENRY BAKER had lived in Winnesheik county for almost forty years, all but one of them being on the farm he entered in 1854 in Bloomfield township. He was born at Cornwall, Vermontt, Aug. 6th, 1806, and had, therefore, almost rounded out ninety-two years of more than unusually active life. And it may be said that until he passed his ninetieth year his mental force had scarcely abated, and sound physical energy was his twenty years after most old men have passed the full allotted span of life. His youth was spent in poverty; his father died young, and he was “bound out” under the New England system, to Col. Hammond, a notable man of Revolutionary fame, on whose farm in Vermont he spent his years until arriving at his majority, in the family of that worthy. Evidently the characteristics of this almost adopted father were so impressed upon Mr. Baker that he made him his model. But there was a naturally high character in the young man, also; for he was of Puritan ancestry, and could trace his family back to England through six generations of New Englanders. When he came to his majority, the sons of Col. Hammond, with whom he had grown up, solicited him to stay with them and engage in business as partners. To this he assented, and for five years he was employed in merchandising at Crown Point, N. Y. Ill health then compelled his withdrawal from that occupation, and sometime after he returned to farming, but still in partnership with the Hammond Brothers, who subsequently became millionaires, By his own thrift Mr. Baker was able to bring some means with him to Iowa, and he began his life, as a pioneer of comparative competence. This has since grown to a fair fortune.
Mr. Baker was not married until he was thirty-three years {illegible} ber; 1887, and had borne to him six sons, all of whom survive their parents. They are ex-Senator H. A. Baker, and Andrus D. Baker, of Sioux City, Geo. R., of Ridgeway, and Frank H., A. C. and Edward D., of Decorah. These sons cannot remember when this father was not setting to them strong examples in industry and frugality, never penuriousness, and always of Christian living. They do not know when his connection with the Congregational church began, but they do know that he practiced religious precepts and lived a consistent Christian life to the end. If not a charter member of the Congregational church at Postville, he became a member soon after its organization, and for more than a quarter century was one of its most faithful members.
In politics he was an earnest Republican and a steadfast supporter of the principles of that party, but only once did he hold office. In 1861 he was elected one of the two representatives in the 9th General Assembly to which this county was entitled to. This was the war legislature and a special session had to be held. At the expiration of the term he declined any further honors, and beyond doing an elector’s duty he took no further interest in politics. He did, however, represent old township as its supervisor in the bries {?} time when the Board was composed of one member from each township.
Mr. Baker came to Decorah to live when his youngest son, A. C. Baker, removed hither last fall. Late in the winter he was stricken with paralysis, from which there was no hope of recovery. Funeral services were held from the family residence on Tuesday afternoon at 5 o’clock, Rev. M. Willett officiating.

Transcriber’s Note: His gravestone in Phelps Cemetery shows he was born Aug. 4, 1806. His wife is shown as Pamelia W. Clark who died in Nov. 1887 which is probably the illegible information that is missing above. Using the information that he was 33 years old when they married, they probably were married in 1839 or '40.

Phelps Cemetery

Winneshiek Obituaries maintained by Bruce Kuennen.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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