|Birth: ||Nov. 12, 1842|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Dec. 23, 1919|
Will County ILGenWeb Biographies.....Baker, John C
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Deb Haines http://www.genrecords.net/emailregistry/vols/00003.html#0000719 November 10, 2007, 1:46 am
Author: Genealogical and Biographical Record of Will County
JOHN C. BAKER, of Manhattan Township, was born in Rensselaer County, N. Y., in 1842, a son of Clark and Lucina (Welsh) Baker. His paternal ancestors came from England and settled in Rhode Island in an early day. His grandfather, Jirah Baker, moved from Rhode Island to New York and cleared a farm from the wilderness, making his home on that place until he died at ninety years of age. He took an active part in politics and served as a delegate to the constitutional convention. His father, Benjamin Baker, served in the Revolutionary war with two of his sons, one of whom died during his term of service. Clark Baker was born in Rensselaer County in 1796 and for years followed farming and surveying, laying out the county lines and the township lines in the town of Hoosick. When sixteen years of age he served in the war of 1812. In 1845 he settled in Will County, purchasing a tract of timber land in what is now Manhattan Township and engaging extensively in farming and stock-raising. He became the owner of about twelve hundred acres of good land. He made a specialty of breeding Merino sheep and also raised Shorthorn cattle. For about twenty years, altogether, he held the office of supervisor, and during the same time he was justice of the peace. Politically he was a Democrat. He died at his home in 1892, when ninety-six years of age. His wife, daughter of George Washington Welsh, was born in Albany, N. Y., and died in this county at eighty-five years of age. They were the parents of five children, two of them survive, our subject and Mary E., widow of J. B. Russell. Having come to this county in early childhood, our subject knows no other home but this. When his father retired from active cares he succeeded to his management of the estate. He has engaged in breeding Percheron horses, Shorthorn cattle (having from eighty to one hundred head of cows) and fine sheep, and owning a farm of more than one thousand acres. Associated with Jones Brothers in Manhattan, in 1893 he purchased the Thayer elevator and established the Manhattan bank, of which he was elected president. The company has built up a grain and coal trade and a general banking business. Mr. Baker is strong in his advocacy of good roads, and politically is a Democrat. He was the first master of the Manhattan Grange and is connected with the county Grange. His first wife, Elizabeth Hoopson, whom he married in 1871 and who died in 1888, left three children; while by his present wife, who was Mary Jones, he has two sons, Robert and Clark.
Genealogical and Biographical Record of Will County Illinois Containing Biographies of Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present, Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago, 1900
File at: http://will.ilgenweb.net/bios/baker1065gbs.txt
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John Cuyler Baker was 8 years old when his parents moved to Manhattan, Illinois. Thus, he lived most of his life at Grove Farm where, in 1893, he built the Round Barn. John Cuyler Baker married Elizabeth Crafts Hopson (the sister of Corporal Edward Hopson and the "Lizzie" to whom he wrote numerous letters home while serving in the Civil War) in 1871. Sadly enough, Elizabeth died of breast cancer in 1888 when her (and John Cuyler Baker's) daughter, Helen Mary was only 10 years old. Two years later John Cuyler Baker married Mary Louise Jones, a well-educated woman, a doctor, who had great positive influence on Helen Mary. John Cuyler and Mary Louise Baker both died in 1919, she in September and he a few months later in December. In Healy Alexander's diary excerpts, he writes about how difficult it was to lose them both so close together.
obituary - December 24, 1919
ILLNESS FATAL TO JOHN C. BAKER OF MANHATTAN
Prominent Farmer Succumbs at Home, East of Joliet
WIFE'S DEATH HASTENS END
Supervisor Was Leader in County Agriculture and Stock Raising
John C. Baker, 77 years old, one of Will County's foremost farmers and citizens died last night at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Baker's fatal illness is directly ascribed to the death of his wife which occurred in September. Since that time his health has failed steadily.
Mr. Baker was the sole survivor of a family of three boys: Clark and George and two daughters, Helen and Mrs. Mary E. Russell.
BORN IN NEW YORK
He was born in November, 1842 near Troy, New York and came to Manhattan in 1845 with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Clark Baker, who died in 1892 and 1893 at the ages of 96 and 86.
He was prominently identified with the organization of the Will County Farmers' Institute, acting with James Patterson, A. Allen Francis, James H. Alexander, H.H. Stassen, Thomas Tait, A.O. Marshall, W.A. Goodspeed, Abel Bliss, John Van Horn, A.S. Clow and Alexander Ryburn.
DISEASE DOOMS HEARD
Mr. Baker's interests were always associated in the stock industry in the breeding of pure bred Percherons and Shorthorns. His horses and cattle were often exhibited at county and state fairs as well as the International Stock show. When the scourge of foot and mouth disease struck the county, Mr. Baker's entire herd of 125 pure bred cattle was condemned and destroyed. It was a severe blow to see the results of a lifetime in breeding Shorthorn cattle doomed in a day.
That part of the Baker farm where the cattle were buried was never afterward visited by Mr. Baker.
CYCLONE WRECKS HOME
On May 26, 197, with Mrs. Baker and son, Clark, he drove to Joliet. Toward evening they returned to the farm to find instead of their beautiful home--a wrecked house--a devastated grove, ruined barns and windmills amid scattered debris--the result of a cyclone that had swept the eastern part of the county.
This catastrophe would have disconcerted many a younger man, but Mr. Baker resolutely began plans to restore the destroyed buildings. He knew he would never again see the five mile grove in its former beauty, for many of the greatest trees were uprooted or bent and twisted and another lifetime would be needed to recover, partially its former natural grandeur.
WIFE'S HEALTH FAILS
Shortly after the cyclone had spent its destructive force, Mrs. Baker's health failed. For more than two years she was an invalid. The new home was planned to suit Mrs. Baker, changes were made to please her without regard to former plans, and Mrs. Baker's hopes for ultimate recovery and being permitted to again dispense the real Baker hospitality to their host of friends, were never given up until she died in September.
This, members of the family said today was the sorrow that hastened Mr. Baker's illness. From that time when it was apparent his wife could not survive, his own formerly good health began to fail.
FATHER AN EARLY SETTLER
Mr. Baker's father, Clark Baker, settled in Will County in 1845, purchasing a tract of timber land in what is now Manhattan township. He became the owner of about 1,200 acres of land, making a specialty of breeding sheep and shorthorn cattle. For about twenty years he held the office of supervisor and during the same time he was justice of the peace. He died in 1892.
When his father retired from active cares, John Baker succeeded to management of the estate. Associated with Jones Brothers in Manhattan in 1893 he purchased the Thayer elevator and established the Manhattan bank, of which he was elected president. He was the first master of the Manhattan Grange.
His first wife, Elizabeth Hopson, whom he married in 1871, died in 1888. He later married Miss Mary Jones, who died in September.
MEMBER OF THE COUNTY BOARD
Mr. Baker was a member of the board of supervisors and was prominently identified with all patriotic work in Will county during the war.
Four children survive, Helen Baker Alexander, Lockport; John C., Jr., Lake Bluff; Robert A. and Clark, of Manhattan; two boys, George and Guy, died in boyhood.
Funeral services will be held at 11 o'clock, Friday morning in St. Paul's Episcopal church, Manhattan, with the Rev. John H. Mahl officiating. Burial will be in Manhattan Center cemetery.
Elizabeth Crafts Hopson Baker (1845 - 1888)*
Mary Louise Jones Baker (1858 - 1919)*
Helen Mary Baker Alexander (1878 - 1972)*
Clark Guy Baker (1883 - 1893)*
John Cuyler Baker (1885 - 1955)*
Robert Arthur Baker (1891 - 1952)*
Manhattan Center Cemetery
Created by: Charlet Roskovics
Record added: Jan 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103179241