Search billions of records on

Second Generation

2. JOHN "Renta" BAKER was born on 24 January 1744.2 He died on 10 November 1831 at the age of 87 in Owsley County, Kentucky.2

John has two tombstones - they each have different dates of birth and death. Because one of them has his death after 1830, and he was living for the 1830 census. I have chosen it to be more correct. The other states he was born 1735 which seems a bit too early and died 1820, which is definitely wrong. There is so much confusion about the Bakers, it is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.

In THE KENTUCKY EXPLORER, Nov, 1993, p.32 "Who Were The Longhunters of Kentucky's Pioneer Days?" by Mrs. W. T. Lafferty (ca 1938), Mrs. Lafferty quotes from Collins' HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, p.417:
"....twenty men from North Carolina, Rockbridge County and the Valley of New River left Ready Creek June, 1767 [this likely should have been 1769 - I don't know if the typo occurred in the article or Collins' book] included John Rains and Kasper Mansco (from Tennessee), Abraham Bledsoe, JOHN BAKER, Joseph Drake, Obadiah Terrell, Uriah Stone, Henry Smith, Edward Cowan, Thomas Gordon, Humphrey Hogan, Cassius Brooks, Robert Crockett, and others. Some of these men went home in 1700, ten of them built a ....canoe.....went down the Cumberland and the Mississippi to ...Natchez and then to their homes."
and from Ramsey's ANNALS OF TENNESSEE, p. 97:
"James Rains, Kasper Mansco, Abraham Bledsoe, JOHN BAKER, Joseph Drake, Obadiah Terrell, Uriah Stone, Henry Smith, Ned Cowan, Robert Crockett and Colonel James Knox were in Kentucky and continued to hunt eight or nine months, then returned (to their settlement) in 1770."

From THE LONG HUNT by Ted Franklin Belue, 1996, p.93. "In June 1769 twenty Long Hunters from the New River region of Virginia and western North Carolina gathered in North Carolina to make plans to hunt west of the Appalachians. ....Included were Casper Mansker, Abraham & Isaac Bledsoe, Joseph Drake, Obadiah Terrall, JOHN BAKER, Henry Smith, New Cowan, John Rains, and others.

From "THE LIFE OF DANIEL BOONE" by Lyman C. Draper, LL.D., edited by Ted Franklin Belue, 1998, p.189: Mr. Draper describes an expedition in either 1766-67, the year is not clear from his writing: "In the following year, Benjamin Cutbirth, John Stuart, JOHN BAKER and James Ward, all excellent woodsmen and all young married men, concluded to forego the happiness of home for a season and make an effort to penetrate the wilderness in a westerly direction to the Mississippi.......they finally beheld the majestic Mississippi. So far as can be ascertained, this was the first band of white men of whom we have any certain account that ever accomplished that great undertaking."
In a footnote (8) at the end of Chapter 5, p.199: "BAKER was one of Col. James Knox's party of celebrated Long Hunters in 1770-71 and afterwards settled among the hills in the north-eastern part of Rockcastle Co KY where he died about 1820, fully eighty years of age. He was a handy, honest, good looking man, about middle size; and his sons and grandsons after him were unsurpassed hunters and woodsmen."
p.254-257 "In the month of June 1769 a party of twenty or more adventurers was formed in the New River region... Of this company ....JOHN BAKER ... ......On the 6th day of April, 1770, half or more of the party returned to the settlements, while Stone, Mansker, BAKER, Gordon, Hogan, Brooks, and four others built two, boats, two trapping canoes ....descended the Cumberland. .......Descending the Mississippi to the Spanish Natchez, they disposed of their cargo, and most of them returned hom. Mansker, however, was detained there awhile by sickness, and then went with BAKER to Ozark.....thence back to New River....."
p.271 is a repeat of much of the information from the footnate on p.199 and describes how John Baker and his wife were reputed to have discovered the Big Cave in Rockcastle County.
Historical Society of Southwest Virginia
THE LONG HUNTERS, by Emory L. Hamilton
[Many of the references listed at the end of the article are from the Draper papers]
[Uriah] Stone was a juror in the Fincastle Court of July 7, 1773, and on this same date, he, along with Obediah Terrell, Gasper Mansker and Castleton Brooks were witnesses in the case of John Baker versus Humphrey Hogan, all of whom were long hunters. Then again in the Fincastle Court of November 3, 1773, there was a motion of Uriah Stone to stay the proceedings of a judgement obtained against him by Obediah Terrell. The last mention of Stone in the Fincastle records was on December 6, 1774, when Gasper Mansker was plaintiff against Uriah Stone and Jacob Harmon.
....Elisha Wallen went out again in 1763 with much the same group as were in his party of 1761. Glowing reports of the Cumberland and Ohio River basins brought back by Uriah Stone, Joshua Houghton, or Horton, and others of the long hunters fanned the urge for exploration to the boiling point. Plans were laid for a great hunt in Tennessee and Kentucky. The rendevous was to be on New River, eight miles from Fort Chiswell, in June 1769. This party consisted of at least twenty of more men, and Williams, in his "Dawn of Tennessee History," names ten, to wit: John Rains, Gasper Mansker, Abraham Bledsoe, Joseph Baker, Joseph Drake, Obediah Terrell, Uriah Stone, Henry Smith, Ned Cowan and Robert Crockett.
To these ten, the following names also should be added: Isaac Bledsoe, William Carr, James Dysart, Jacob Harmon, William Crabtree, James Aldridge, John Baker, Thomas Gordon, Humphrey Hogan and Castleton Brooks. "Passing through Cumberland Gap and far into Kentucky, a station camp was built, and the company there dispersed into small hunting parties, as was the custom. Traveling southeast, one of these parties reached Roaring River and Caney Fork of the Cumberland.
...Obadiah Terrell, for whom Obey's River in Tennessee, was named, was a chunky, small-sized man with a club foot.
He spent several years on the Cumberland as a farmer and hunter, and before permanent settlement was made in Tennessee, hunted and camped along the river in what later became Cumberland and Pulaski counties.
...While on the Clinch frontier, Obediah Terrell lived on Obey's Creek in Scott County, Virginia, which was named for him. The last official court record pertaining to him in Washington County, Virginia, was April 22, 1778, when he was appointed Overseer of the road from "two big springs" on Copper Creek to the head of Moccasin Creek, and on August 18, 1778 when he was appointed Administrator of the estate of Thomas Kindrick. It was perhaps soon after this date that he moved to Tennessee, for less than sixteen months thereafter Daniel Smith was spending the night with him on Obey's River in middle Tennessee.
...In 1769, a party of approximately forty hunters with James Knox as their leader spent more than a year in the Cumberland country. Many conflicting accounts of this party of 1769 have been written. Much of the confusion because the party split into several smaller parties, each going in a different direction. Everybody is pretty well agreed that they went in a body over the Hunter's Trail to Flat Lick (near Stinking Creek, about eight miles north and a little west of Cumberland Ford.)
Just about all the long hunters heretofore mentioned in this manuscript were on this hunt, and those not mentioned previously being the Bledsoe brothers, Anthony, Abraham and Isaac, John Baker, Thomas Gordon, Jacob Harmon, Castleton Brooks, John Montgomery, James Dysart, Humphrey Hogan, David and William Lynch, Christopher Stoph, William Allen, Joseph Bowen, and Ned Cowan.

The marriage record for John Baker to Elizabeth Terrel seen as 5 Sep 1754 is likely in error. There is a Chowan Co NC marriage bond record for John Baker to Elizabeth WILSON on 5 Sep 1764. She is given as the daughter of James Wilson; Jas. Craven Bondsman & J. Eelbeck, Witness. This record could very well be that of John Baker of Chowan Co NC, brother of Blake Baker. There's no indications John Renta Baker was ever in this part of North Carolina.
There is a strong tradition John Renta's wife was a Terrell; perhaps a niece to the long hunter Obadiah Terrill. This tradition is supported in several different lines of the family.

Some also say he married Aza [Agatha] Williams. However, the husband of Aga Williams was from Winchester, Frederick co VA and left his will, Clark Co, KY WB 1, p.302. There are various other marriages of John Bakers in North Carolina that have been ascribed to him - it's obvious he wasn't married to all these ladies in all these places. There are many John Bakers.

Another possible marriage for John is found here; this one having more possibilities than any of the others because of the date, place, and associates.
John Baker & Henry Morris were Bondsmen on George Baker's marr. bond
29 Aug 1778 in Wilkes Co, NC. John md.10 Sept., 1779 to a Miss.
ROWLAND. (This is taken from Mrs. Abshire's list in Wilkes Co.)
Bondsmen were George Morris & Charles Rowland.
The above goes on to claim Miss Rowland was Susannah, but I fail to see any proof of that. That may very well derive from the consent of John Baker for the marriage of his daughter Ifee to Elisha Harrison, when James & Susannah Baker were witnesses to John's signature. The lady's given name is not on the bond.
I found on the Baker Family GenForum message board, a post dated 20 Feb 2006 from a Jim Kimble. He stated that he had a copy of the bond for the marriage of John Baker and Susannah Rowland and that the signature was the same as the signature on the consent for John's daughter Iffa to marry Elisah Harrison. He goes on to state that the name "Sooky" was often a nickname for Susannah, which is true, and that might have been the origin of the "Sookotash" name that is seen for Iffa. Then he goes on to state that Susannah Baker that witnessed the consent above, was Iffa's mother - that cannot be said for certain, as she didn't join in the consent; she testified to John Baker's declaration and signature.

I have the copy of the Bond cited above from the NCArchives and it doesn't even have the bride's surname.
Know all men by these Presents that we John Baker George Morris and Charles Rowland all of the county of Wilkes and State of North Carolina are held and firmly Bound unto Richard Caswell Esqr, Governor of said state in the full and Just Sum of five hundred Pounds Proc. money to be Paid to the Said Richard Caswell Esqr. & his Successors to which Payment well and truly to be made we bind Ourselves our Heirs Executors and Administrators Jointly and Severally firmly by these Presents Sealed with our Seals and Dated this 10th Day of September A.D. 1779.
The Condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the above Bound John Baker hath this Day made Application for a Marriage License to be Granted Between him the said John Baker and _________________________________ both of said County.
Now if there is no Lawfull Cause to Obstruct said marriage and the Said marriage be in every Respect Lawful then the above Obligation to be Void otherwise to Remaid in full force and Virtuue.
Signed and Sealed: John Baker, George Morris, Charles Rowland
Signd Seal & Deliverd
In Presents of Wm. Lenoir CC, Spruce Mccay

[This could also be John's son named John....]
Extract of Goose Creek Salt Works, Nov & Dec 1807, Order Book for Accounts, Clay Co KY,
Ky Historical Society, Mss. Reel 43, Item #649
Nov 1807 John Baker: traded 21 raccoon skins and 1 fox skin for Salt
12 Dec 1807: John Baker got 1 pair of Leggings per order of Christopher Bolin by certificate for $16.50. John paid Wilson Moore 3lbs.

1810 Census. Clay Co KY on same page
Abner Baker: 3m under 10, 1m 10-16, 1m 26-45; 2f under 10, 1f 26-45
John Baker Jun: 3m under 10, 1m 16-26, 1f under 10, 1f 26-45
John Baker Sen: 1m10-16, 1m over 45 - no females in household
Jesse Boling (over 45 with family)
Justius Boling, 16-26 with male child and wife

10 Jan 1816 - date of Survey for 50 acres on the south fork of the Kentucky River, Kentucky Land Grant to Jno and Robt Baker. This could be father and son, or brothers.

1820 Census. Clay Co, KY There were actually 4 of them - 2 were John Baker, one was John C. Baker, one was John D. Baker.
John Baker on the same page with Robert Baker: 1m 10-16, 1m 16-18, 2m 16-26, 1m 26-45. 1f under 10, 1f 10-16, 1f 26-45 (too young to be the elder John)
Robert Baker had a male under 10, 1 age 16-26, 1m 26-45, 1m over 45. 1f under 10, 2f 10-16, 1f 16-26, 1f over 45.

Then next in 1820 John Baker was on the same page with Bolling Sr/Jr. over age 45 and a James age 16-26. This John had in his household, 3m under 10, 1m 10-16, 2m 16-18, 3m 16-26, 1m over 45. 1f under 10, 2 f 10-16, and 1 female 26-45. It would seem to be a blended household.

1830 Census. Clay Co, KY
John Baker: 1m under 5, 1m 30-40, 1m 50-60, 1m 80-90 [John]
3 f under 5, 1f 20-30, 1f 50-60

Said to be buried in the John Baker Cemetery. NC Militia, Revolutionary War.
He may have died in what is now Owsley County, but that county was not formed until 1843. The military stone has the date 1735-1820. Not what is now usually considered the dates of his birth and death. Certainly he appears to have been living in 1830.

There were still John Bakers present in Clay Co in 1840:
1840 Census. Clay Co KY
John C. Baker: 1m 50-60; 1f 20-30, 1f 30-40. This older John is next to Job Baker and family - Job is age 30-40. Adoniram Baker, also age 30-40 is on the same page - and the West families as found in 1850
and another John Baker....
John Baker, 1m under 5, 2m 5-10, 1m 10-15, 1m 40-50. 1f under 5, 1f 5-10, 2f 10-15, 1f 15-20, 1f 30-40. On the same page with Robert Baker, Jr., Andrew Baker, Cornelius Bowman, Henry Gabbard Sr, John Gabbard, Henry Gabbard Jr. and Isack Gabbard

At least one Pension app for the Revolution has been attributed to John, but it's a John who lived longer and who was in Cumberland Co, KY, not Clay. Supposedly John's gravesite in Courtland Cemetery, Buffalo Creek, Owsley Co has a military marker - Pvt. U.S. Army. Revolutionary War. It seems he was certainly of an age to serve, but I don't know that his actual service has ever been pinpointed out of the maze of John Bakers.

An Isaac Baker of Greene Co TN has traditionally been placed as a son of John Renta Baker. He can be found in my database, but Y-DNA has proved conclusively that he was not kin to John Renta Baker, nor was he kin to the gunsmith Bakers.

JOHN "Renta" BAKER and ELIZABETH ?TERRELL were married.2,3 ELIZABETH ?TERRELL was born (date unknown).

JOHN "Renta" BAKER and ELIZABETH ?TERRELL had the following children:



Martha "Pattie" BAKER.



Boling BAKER.



Andrew B. BAKER.



James "Claybank" BAKER was born about 1768.2

Various wives are given for James - one is Susannah Morris. It is true that a James and Susannah Baker were the witnesses to John Baker's consent for the marriage of Iffa Baker and Elisha Harrison. But it is also true that George Baker, uncle of James, was married to a Susannah Morris, 29 Aug 1778, Wilkes Co NC. A WorldConnect file states James married Mary "Polly" Allen circa 1787 and (2) Betsy Collie, 1818, but gives no sources or children and I find those names nowhere else.

Note the following James; he was on the same page with Boling Baker Jr. and a John Baker over age 45. He is apparently a much younger James.
1820 Census. Clay Co KY
James Baker: 3m under 10, 1m age 16-26. [born bet 1794 and 1804] 1f under 10, 1f 16-26.



John Durkham BAKER.



Robert Julius "Juder Bob" BAKER.



George Washington BAKER.