Biography of John Baker
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





John Baker, a former agriculturist of Poweshiek county, who is now living retired in Searsboro, was born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, on the 3d of November, 1834. His parents were Richard and Catherine (Thompson) Baker, also natives of Beaver county, the father having been born on the 22d of February, 1799, and the mother in 1807. The father who during the entire period of his active life engaged in farming, was living retired at the time of his death, which occurred on the 2d of December, 1882. His wife survived him for almost two years thereafter, her demise occurring on the 9th of October, 1884. He voted for the candidates of the democratic party, and while residing in Pennsylvania he acted as postmaster at Baker's Bank. Sixteen children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baker, the order of their birth being as follows: James, who died in Andersonville prison during the Civil war; Sophronia, who is a resident of Detroit, Michigan; William, who is deceased; Sidney, the widow of William Beatty, of Beaver county, Pennsylvania; Lorenzo B., who was killed at the siege of Vicksburg; John, our subject; Thomson, who is living at Ansley, Custer county, Nebraska; Sarah, the widow of Benjamin James, of Lawrence county, Pennsylvania; Mary Ann, the widow of Fred Stralia, of Beaver county, Pennsylvania; George, who is a resident of Butler county, Pennsylvania; Matilda, the widow of Walter Craig, of Pittsburg; Nancy Jane, the wife of Walter Swagers, of Lawrence county, Pennsylvania; Catherine, the wife of Robert Mills, of Custer county, Nebraska; Wesley B., also a resident of Custer county, Nebraska; Robert, who died in the army; and Rachel, the widow of Mr. Wood, of Lawrence county, Pennsylvania.

The first twenty two years in the life of John Baker were spent on the homestead where he was born and reared, his education being acquired in the district schools of Beaver county. After laying aside his text books he assisted his father in the work of the homestead until April, 1856, at which time he migrated to Iowa. Upon his arrival in this state he first located in Mahaska county, where he worked by the month as a farm hand. In 1859 he came to Poweshiek county, settling in Sugar Creek township where for a time hem continued to do farm work. In 1888 he purchased forty acres of land, in the cultivation of which he met with such success that he was later able to add another forty acres to his tract. He still owns this property, but has for some time been living retired in Searsboro. Mr. Baker followed general farthing. He also had a fine orchard and made a specialty of raising stock.

On the 24th of March, 1859, Mr. Baker was married to Miss Julia Stanley, a daughter of John T. and Mary (Berry) Stanley, of Sugar Creek township, Poweshiek county. Mrs. Baker was born in Miami county, Ohio, on the 11th of June, 1835, her parents having resided there for about twenty years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stanley were natives of Virginia, from which state they migrated to Ohio, settling in Miami county in 1830. In 1851 they came to Iowa, settling on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Sugar Creek township, Poweshiek county, which Mr Stanley purchased. He later added to this another eighty acres, continuing to make his home on the farm until his death on the 27th of March, 1888. The mother survived him until the 15th of August, 1890. He was a supporter of the democracy and served as township trustee, while both he and his wife held membership in the Baptist church. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Baker numbered six children, five of whom are now surviving: Mary C., the wife of Paul Nelson, of Rochester, Minnesota; Wesley, who is a resident of Kendall, Missouri; Lucy Jane, who is deceased; George, who makes his home in Mahaska county, Iowa; Clarissa; and Cora, the wife of Bert Sexton, of Sugar Creek township.

The family always worshipped in the Christian church, of which Mrs. Baker is a member, and fraternally Mr. Baker has been affiliated with the Masonic order for forty three years. His political support he gives to the republican party, and for several years served as road supervisor. Many notable changes have taken place in Poweshiek county during the long period of Mr. Baker's residence, in all of which he has ever taken a keen interest.

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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