A Brief Narrative History of our Baker Family

by Lois Baker, 2001

colonial soldiersCousin Leland Baker gave us information on the family tree back to Andrew Baker (18 Feb 1777-12 Jan 1840) who lived in Virginia or West Virginia. We have the names and birth dates of all 15 of his children from an old family Bible, but we do not know what happened to any of them except his son Joseph (10 April 1810-10 Nov 1895). Joseph was our great-great grandfather.

According to Leland, Joseph crossed the Cumberland River on foot and came to Knox County, Kentucky. Our first verifiable fact abut him is his marriage to Jane Williams recorded in the Knox County Marriage Book as taking place on 7 Jan 1834. He would have been 24 years old.

We also found a record in the Knox County Courthouse that Joseph received a 33 acre Land Patent from the Commonwealth Of Kentucky in May of 1860 on Little Richland Creek. He also purchased an additional 45 acres in that area on October 1863. This is the farm known to us as the “Old Holler” where OJ, Charles, Wayne and other Baker cousins lived during the Depression.

Great-Great Grandfather Joseph and his wife Jane sold both parcels of this farm to their son John E. Baker on Dec 10, 1864. Both signed the deed with an X indicating they could neither read nor write. Joseph, Jane and family are listed in l870 census as still living there. Two of their adult sons John E. and Green Ward (our Great-grandfather) and their families are also lived in Knox County at this time.

a4bd58e31b12bb2be23137dc690c85b4According to Cousin Leland records, Joseph, Jane and their oldest son John E. and his wife left Kentucky in l870 driving a team of oxen on their way to Kansas. For some unknown reason, they traveled through Indiana. Both men lost their wives due to Typhoid near Mechanicsburg, Indiana. John E’s had four surviving children at this time. They were Alfred, Frank (Leland’s Father) Laura, and John Henry. They rented a farm and stayed in Mechanicsburg for several years. John E. married a second wife, Louiza, during this time. His father Joseph also married again, but we do not know her name.

In about l880 John E., Louiza, their children, his father Joseph and his stepmother moved to Otterville, Missouri (where they had relatives) in one covered wagon. John E. bought a farm near Otterville and in l893, Louiza, died there. She is buried at Smithton, Missouri.

Later, John E. married Miss Emmie Graham of Mechanicsburg, Indiana, a cousin of Louiza’s. They had 3 more children together.

Both Great Great Grandfather Joseph Baker and his son John E. died near Otterville, Missouri and are buried at Smithton.

Our Great-grandfather Green Ward married Eliza Berry on April 23, 1868 and stayed at the farm on Middle Fork of Little Richland Creek. They had 9 children: Bill, John Harvey (our Grandfather), Joe, Sam, Green Washington, Dora, Delia, Ida, and Martha.

Great-grandfather Green Ward (29 Aug 1845-24 Oct 1906) and wife Eliza (22 Jul 1850-24 Aug 1930) are buried in a small family cemetery on the Richland farm.

Our Grandfather, John Harvey (18 Oct 1871-3 Dec 1952) married Melissa Israel Baker (6 Mar 1876-20 Feb 1962, and they had eight children: Rhoda, Green Edward, Chester, Walter, Iva, William, Johnnie, and Roscoe. These heirs sold all the family farm land on Middle Fork of the Little Richland Creek in 1964.