LIEUTENANT DAVID BAKER
One of the men who have figured conspicuously in the development of the western country is Lieutenant David Baker. He is a native of Indiana, born in Tippecanoe county July 7, 1833, near the town of Dayton. He is the son of William and Hannah Baker, the former being of English extraction.
The first of the family to make their home in America was Thomas Baker, a colonel in the English army, who resigned that position to come to the colonies, settling on Long Island, while it was yet in the possession of the Dutch. William Baker was born in New Jersey and emigrated to Ohio, settling in Butler county in 1800; he was a soldier in the war of 1812. In 1827 he moved to Indiana, being among the pioneers of Tippecanoe county. There he opened a farm in the timber and endured the hardships and privations attaching to the settlement of a new country. He was a man closely associated with religion and a class-leader in the United Brethren church, and his house for a number of years was used to hold service in. His death occurred February 19, 1844.
He was married twice. By his first wife he had six children. One son Robert (deceased), lived in Dayton, Indiana, and the other, Thomas (also deceased), was the proprietor of the Grand Hotel in Indianapolis. Mary Ann was married to Moses Graft, a prosperous farmer who had a large family. Rachel married a well-known physician -- Dr. D. H. Crouse, of Dayton, and is now deceased. Two of her children are living, one of whom is Rev. M. V. Crouse, an able clergyman of the Presbyterian church, but now superintendent of the Childrens' Home at Cincinnati. The other two children of William Baker died when young.
His second marriage was to Hannah Moore, a native of this country, but of Irish parentage. William Moore, her father, was in the war of 1812 and in General Hull's surrender, was paroled, but in a short time returned to the army and fought until the close of the war. Hannah Moore Baker was the mother of six children, three of her sons being farmers -- Abner is near Rushville, Missouri, Josiah, in Chicago, Illinois, and Samuel, in Kansas. The youngest, George W., died in infancy. Her only daughter, Martha Jane, married Dr. J. A. Wood, who for a number of years was a resident of Atchison county, Kansas, but after the war located at Monticello, Indiana, at which place she died in 1878, leaving five children. After the death of her husband Mrs. Baker married Henry Goble and removed to Clinton county, Indiana. She was a pious woman and a faithful adherent of the United Brethren church. Her death occurred in 1851, in the full triumph of her faith, her last words being "Glory! Glory !" She opened her eyes once more to behold her son, David, for whom she had seemed to be waiting for hours just at the door of death, then she sank peacefully away.
The education of David Baker and his brothers was limited, owing to the poor school facilities in Indiana at that early day. His chief amusements while pursuing the routine of the farmer boy were those of hunting and fishing. When fourteen years of age he went to Dayton to learn the carpenter's trade of his brother, Robert, serving an apprenticeship of three years. He afterward followed the trade the same length of time in Lafayette, Indiana.
On the 4th of June, 1855, he married Margaret J. Alexander, who lived only until the following year, June 20, when she left an infant daughter, Alfaretta Jane, who died a few months later. She was a religious and educated lady, fond of literature and especially of poetry.
A few months after this Mr. Baker came to Kansas, arriving in Atchison county September 19, 1857. He purchased a share in the Summertown Company and pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land near Lancaster, ten miles west of Atchison. He left Kansas December 5, in company with thirteen others, in a skiff and rowed to Jefferson City, Missouri, where they took the cars, he returning to Indiana.
On March 9, 1858, Mr. Baker was married to Rebecca Foresman, a daughter of John Foresman, who was a pioneer of Indiana. Returning to Kansas with his wife, he arrived at Sumner April 29, and there worked at his trade two years. In 1858-9 he served as a township collector and treasurer and in 1859-60 was the marshal of the town of Sumner, an unenviable position at that day owing to the border element, and in many instances he had some of the most noted outlaws to deal with. Being a free-state man he took an active part in the affairs of the time and was a delegate to the first Republican county convention. His life is replete with incidents too numerous to mention. But A. D. Richardson, the author of "Beyond the Mississippi," who was a personal friend of his, has pictured the scenes of those times to perfection.
In 1861 Mr. Baker began to open his farm, but as the war of the Rebellion was fully under way he entered the military service, being mustered in as a volunteer private soldier in Company G, Eighth Kansas Infantry, November 11, 1861, and on the 14th was ordered to Lawrence, Kansas, to drill. While there, November 21, 1861, he was promoted to the rank of first sergeant of the company. From December 20, 1861, until January 16, 1862, the regiment was guarding the border. Three companies, A, D and G, were ordered to Fort Kearney, where they arrived on March 12 and remained until April 15, when Company G was detached and sent to Scott's Bluffs on the overland route to quell the Indian troubles. On May 28 the company was ordered to Fort Laramie, where they remained on garrison duty until January 15, 1863, when they were ordered to join the regiment at Nashville, Tennessee, marching from Fort Laramie to Fort Leavenworth and going thence by rail and water to Nashville.
In that city they assisted the regiment on provost duty in the city until June 7, 1863, when all the companies were ordered to Murfreesboro, that state, where the regiment was assigned to the Third Brigade of the First Division of the Twentieth Army Corps, and on June 24 marched under General Rosecrans to Tullahoma, then to Winchester and Stephenson, Alabama, and across the river to skirmish with the enemy. While at Winchester, July 25, 1863, Mr. Baker was commissioned second lieutenant of Company G, but as it was then below the minimum number he was not mustered on his commission. On September 9 he received a commission as first lieutenant, but was again not mustered, as the army was on the move, but acted as first lieutenant in his company. September 19, 1863, he was engaged in the battle of Chickamauga, where he was severely wounded in the left leg and taken prisoner, and he lay four days on the field without any attention. His leg was amputated by a surgeon of the United States army, who also was a prisoner. After twelve days he was paroled and sent through the lines and was taken to the officers' hospital at Chattanooga, where he remained until sent to Nashville, Tennessee, November 10, 1863.
November 30, 1863, he received a leave of absence for thirty days to visit his wife and friends at Lafayette, Indiana, after which he returned and made application to be mustered in on his commission, which was granted by the war department, and he was accordingly mustered November 21, 1864, to date from September 9, 1863. He was then ordered to report to Major A. W. Gazzona, commanding the Veteran Reserve Corps at Nashville. He was detailed for duty with a detachment of the One Hundred and Forty-eighth and One Hundred and Fifty-first Companies of the Second Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps at General Hospital No. 19, on the 12th of January, 1865. He was relieved and ordered to report to Captain J. H. Meyer at the Cumberland hospital January 18, 1865. He assumed command of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Company of the Second Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps and in addition had command of the One Hundred and Fifty-second Company of the same battalion. May 31, 1865, he was relieved from duty at the hospital and assigned to duty as acting assistant quartermaster and acting commissary of subsistence of the Veteran Reserve Corps. June 27, 1865, he also assumed the duties of acting assistant adjutant of the corps. He served on general court-martial duty for some time and continued in his duties for the Veteran Reserve Corps until the close of the war. December 12, 1865, he left Nashville and returned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was mustered out January 10, 1866. He is deserving of special mention and the commendation of all true patriots for the active part he took in quelling the rebellion, and Mrs. Baker also is to he complimented as a woman who shared the hardships of camp life with her husband. With two children she accompanied him to Fort Laramie. At this place was born their third child November 24. 1862, a son whom they named Robert Laramie, in honor of his birthplace. When her husband was sent to Nashville she accompanied him as far as St. Louis and from there went to her parents in Indiana, where she remained about one year. While there Robert Laramie died, his sickness beginning on the evening of his father's return on leave of absence after being wounded, and his death occurred six weeks later, February 12, 1864. Mrs. Baker then went south with her husband and was an eye witness of the battle of Nashville and remained with Mr. Baker to the close of the war.
Her two eldest children were born in Sumner, Kansas, -- Addie L., March 12, 1859, and Solon Byrd, September 8, 1860. The others were all born in Atchison: Mary Eldora, April 4, 1867; Edwin M.. February 5, 1869; Eva Hortense, January 24, 1870; David H., January 30, 1873; Estella, July 13, 1876; Ruth, March 30, 1878; and Blanche, January 28, 1881. Addie L. was married, December 15, 1880, to William Carlyle, one of Atchison's well-known business men.
At the close of the war Lieutenant Baker returned to Kansas, locating in Atchison and entering the drug business in company with Dr. Horn, but lost his whole stock by fire in 1868. At present he is living retired.
In religion Mr. Baker is a member of the Methodist church. Politically he is a strong Republican and in 1871 was elected by that party to the office of county treasurer, and he discharges the duties of that position with great credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. He was a prominent candidate for the following term, but was defeated by a small majority. In 1874 he was also a candidate for the office of state treasurer, but finally withdrew in favor of one of his opponents. Since that time he has been leading a quiet life, the surroundings of his home and happy family indicating comfort and prosperity.