HENRY KNOX BAKER was born in Canaan (now Skowhegan), Me., December 2, 1806. He
was educated in the district schools until he was fourteen years old, when he became apprenticed to the printing
business in Hallowell. Before coming of age he began writing for local newspapers. At nineteen he became editor
of the Hallowell Gazette, and later of the American Advocate, usually putting his editorials in type without writing
them. In 1828 he, with a partner, purchased the Advocate, but sold it in 1836. He then studied law in the office
of Hon. Samuel Wells, afterwards Governor, and in 1840 was admitted to the Bar.
In 1842 and 1844 he represented Hallowell in the Legislature. When the late Judge Redington was Reporter of Decisions
in the Supreme Judicial Court, he was employed to assist in preparing cases for the published Reports, and when
Wales Hubbard was Reporter he prepared a number of cases for several volumes. In 1851 and 1852 he was a member
of the State Board of Education. In 1854 he was again elected Representative to the Legislature. In 1855 he was
Clerk of the House of Representatives. The same year he was appointed Judge of Probate for the County of Kennebec.
By successive elections he held that office for twenty-six years. In 1857 he revised the whole School Laws under
the State Commissioners. In 1871 he revised the Probate Laws under the Commissioners.
In 1854 the Hallowell Savings Institution was organized and he was chosen Treasurer, and has held the office ever
since. From 1834 to 1868 he was a member of the Hallowell School Committee. In 1841 the Hallowell Library was founded,
and he has been an officer to the present time. In 1873, when Mrs. M. H. Flagg wished to found the State Industrial
School for Girls, she applied to Dea. Simon Page and H. K. Baker, and they, with others, appeared before the Legislature
and Governor and Council, and obtained the necessary appropriations. Judge Baker has been one of the Trustees ever
since it was founded.
In 1835 he married Sarah M. Lord of Hallowell. They have seven children living: Frances W., married to Albert S.
Rice, Esq., of Rockland; Ellen B., to Col. Alfred E. Buck, of Atlanta, Ga.; Anna S., to Maj. Frank A. Ham, of Russell,
Kans.; Martha S., to R. Wesley Dunn, Esq., of Wateryule; Harriet B., to Edwin C. Dudley of Augusta; two sons, Sanford
A. and Willard D., both in business in Chicago.
Mr. Baker, having given considerable attention to hymnology, prepared a small volume entitled “Studies in Sacred
Song,” giving sketches of hymn writers from the earliest times, and selections from their hymns, and in 1892 a
limited edition was printed, mostly for friends of the author. He has been a member of the Methodist Church more
than fifty years, and has been trustee and classleader most of the time.
For nearly seventy years Judge Baker has been a resident of Hallowell, and during all this long period he has been
an active, most influential, and highly valued citizen. His name in the Kennebec valley is the synonym of honesty
and integrity; of high purpose and lofty character, so that he has not only the entire confidence of the business
men with whom he has had financial relations for many years, but the great respect and high esteem of the whole
community These are the rewards of a pure life, lived unselfishly, and with the purpose of promoting the highest
good of his fellow men.