Do you love a good mystery? Usually, I do, too, but this one is giving me a headache. I am revisiting my husband’s ancestors, George Washington Baker and his wife, Esther Robertson, and their twelve children. This couple had 93 grandchildren so there are plenty of descendants out there so I hope some of those Baker kin see this post and respond.
John R. Baker and Caroline Baker are two of the dozen children of George and Esther and their families are sorely lacking in documentation. Part of the problem is that they both married Baker cousins. The other problems are that John R.’s wife and Caroline’s husband both died young and John left Missouri for Texas and then Kansas.
Here is what I have cobbled together so far:
John R. and Susannah (Baker) Baker’s children:
John R. Baker was born c1806 in Kentucky. He married Susannah Baker, said to be the daughter of Morris and Rhoda (MNU) Baker (if anyone has documentary proof of this, please share!) , on 15 January 1829 in Morgan County, Indiana. Susannah was born c1812 in Indiana and apparently died between the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
John married (2) Jane (MNU) before the 1860 census, when they were living in Denton County, Texas. No marriage record has been found.
This family presents several issues to correctly identify. First, John married in Morgan County, Indiana, moved to Linn County, Missouri by 1850, went on to Denton County, Texas in 1860 and landed in Johnson County, Kansas in 1870. By that time, most of this family had disappeared. John and Jane aren’t found after 1870.
To top it off, Susannah died by 1860 when John is married to Jane, born in Tennessee. He is still with Jane in 1870, but she is vastly younger, although still born in Tennessee, so I’m not sure if her age is wrong or he had two wives, both named Jane and born in Tennessee. It appears that the first Jane might have been married to a Smith since Mary Smith, aged 6, is in the 1860 household.
Also, depending on the accuracy of Esther’s age in the 1850 census, there might be one more daughter born 1826-1830, based on the 1830 census of Morgan County, Indiana, who either died young or was married and out of the house by 1850. I tend to believe there was a daughter born c1830.
The first nine children here are definitely Susannah’s children. Robert may be Susannah’s last child because when Jane appears in 1860, there are no children younger than Mary in the home.
Melinda would be the daughter of his later wife, Jane.
- Daughter, born 1826-1830; died after 1840
- Esther, born c1831, Morgan County, Indiana; she is not the Esther who married William Moore in Linn County, Missouri on 31 December 1859 because the 1860 census shows that Esther to only be 17 years old. The other two Esther Bakers in Linn County both married before 1850. No Esther Baker marriage has been found in Texas, where the family lived in 1860.
- George, born c1834, Morgan County, Indiana. There is a George W. Baker who married Susan Baker (yes, another Baker marriage) on 12 September 1852, Linn County, Missouri, living in Clark County, Washington in 1870. Both Georges were born c1834 in Indiana so they might be the same man. The George in Washington died in 1928 and his gravestone has the following inscription: Cpl. Co., K 7 MO. Cav. Civ. War. Susan died in 1910 and is buried by him.
- Ailey, born c1837, Morgan County, Indiana; died after 1850 census; no further record found.
- Samuel, born c1839, Morgan County, Indiana; died after 1850; no further record of him after that time.
- Daniel Boone, born c1841, Linn County, Missouri. He is likely the Daniel Baker who married Nancy McCollum on 17 June 1863 in Linn County, Missouri. This family also appears in Clark County, Washington in 1870. Daniel might have migrated there with his brother, George. Daniel in Washington died on 24 September 1914 and is buried in Vancouver. Nancy was born July 1843, Missouri; died 10 October 1922, Clark County, Washington and is buried with Daniel.
- Henry Clay, born c1844, Linn County, Missouri; died after 1860, when the family lived in Denton County, Texas. No further record found.
- Oliver Hazard Perry, born c1846, Linn County, Missouri. There is an O.H. Baker living in Eagle County, Colorado, unmarried in 1910. He was born c1846 in Missouri with a father born in Indiana and could be this Oliver. If so, he appears to never have married and had no children. He isn’t living with family in 1910.
- Elijah, born 4 October 1847, Linn County, Missouri; died 8 September 1920, Jackson County, Missouri; married Martha Catherine Beagle, c1870, probably Jackson County, Missouri. Martha was born 20 December 1850, Jackson County, Missouri; died 26 October 1942, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. Elijah is the only child for whom I’ve found a death certificate. His parents are named as John and Susan Baker.
- Robert, born c1857, Linn County, Missouri; died after 1870 when the family lived in Johnson County, Kansas. No further record.
- Melinda, born c1861, Missouri; died after 1870. No further record.
So, I very unhappily have no further record on seven of the ten named children with the first child possibly also floating out there somewhere.
Next, we have Caroline Baker, born c1811 in Kentucky. She married Balaam M. Baker, 12 June 1826 in Estill County, Kentucky. There is another twist here, as Caroline was married as “Mrs. Caroline Baker,” meaning there was yet another Baker marriage in the mix. I haven’t located an earlier marriage for her or for any Caroline married to a Baker in Kentucky.
Further, it is thought that Balaam might be a son of Revolutionary War soldier George Baker, but there is no proof of that. Balaam was born c1805 in North Carolina and died before October 1868, when his estate was probated in Linn County, Missouri.
Caroline married (2) William Minor, before 1870. No children lived with them in 1870.
Caroline Baker and Balaam M. Baker’s children:
In 1860, there are several children living with the family who I believe are orphaned Baker children of relatives – Phebe, Isaac, Benjamin and Sarah – as none of them are living with Balaam and Caroline in 1850.
- Daughter, born 1826-1830, probably Kentucky
- Son, born 1826-1830, probably Kentucky
- James, born c1831, Indiana; died before 24 September 1862, when his wife applied for a widow’s military pension; married Nancy Jane Thomas, 17 October 1850, Linn County, Missouri. Nancy was born 9 January 1836, Kentucky; died 5 January 1918, Jackson County, Missouri. She married (2) George Stufflebean, before 1870.
- Elizabeth, born 22 December 1833, Brown County, Indiana; died 4 March 1918, Linn County, Missouri, per her death certificate. She apparently married John Marshall, c1859, but no marriage record has been found. John was born c1837, Ohio; died after the 1910 census, but there is no death certificate for him.
- William, born c1838, Indiana; died after 1850. No further record.
- Nancy E., born c1840, Indiana; died after 1850. No further record.
It seems odd that there are no children born after 1840 at home when Caroline would only have been about 30 years old. However, there was a cholera epidemic in Linn County in the summer of 1846 and I believe a second outbreak in the summer of 1848. Many other extended Baker family members died during those two summers. It is entirely possible that Balaam and Caroline lost several young children at that time.
I am not happy about the lack of details on Balaam’s and Caroline’s children, any more than I am about the lack of information on John R. and Susannah’s family.
If you can provide further clues or documentation on either of this families, PLEASE contact me. I would be most grateful.