Back in March, I tried to unravel the children and grandchildren of George W. Baker and his wife, Esther Robertson. Just before that painful exercise, I wrote a post explaining how convoluted the Baker family was in terms of trying to prove who the father of George W. Baker was.
My theory is that George was a likely nephew of both Revolutionary War soldiers George Baker and Boling Baker, while the strongest possibility for his father was John Baker, also called John Renta Baker.
As I untangled myself from the Baker headaches, I took a look at the family of Esther Robertson. Her father was Samuel Robertson and her mother is said to be Elizabeth Harris, although no marriage record has been found for them.
Samuel and Elizabeth had quite a few children. David Robertson was the eldest son and, based on the daughters’ marriage records, Esther was the eldest daughter.
David Robertson was born c1780 near Moraviantown (probably Salem, where the Moravian settlement was) in North Carolina. He was still living in Clay County, Kentucky at the time of the 1870 census when he resided with his son Allen and his family.
Allen was born on 25 March 1822 in Madison County, Kentucky and was interviewed on 15 April 1898 by the Reverend John Jay Dickey, whose diary interviews of Clay County, Kentucky pioneers survive today and have been microfilmed and held at the University of Kentucky.
I have no idea if anyone still holds the copyright, so I won’t be sharing the whole interview. However, there are a couple of very pertinent excerpts related to the Baker family.
Allen noted that his aunt Esther married George W. Baker. While talking about his own father, David, Allen noted, “He hunted then with John Baker Sr., father of “Julius” Bob, and “Durkham” John, George who married Esther Robertson my aunt and who was a Methodist preacher, and James called “Clay Bank,” (who was) a great fighter.”
John Baker Sr. died sometime after the 1830 census, when Allen would have been between 8-18 years old, depending on in exactly which year John died. He knew the man and other information given in his lengthy interview has been proven through vital records, wills and land deeds. The man knew what he was talking about.
Allen added, “John Baker, Senior was called ‘Renta.’ He had a brother Bowling Baker and a brother George Baker.” These would be the two Revolutionary War soldiers and pensioners.
Although George Baker had removed to Morgan County, Indiana, where he died in 1840, Bowling Baker (Boling, Bolling, etc) applied for his pension in 1832 right in Clay County, Kentucky, where Allen lived. Allen likely also knew this man, although, again, Allen would have been a boy or very young man when Bowling Baker died.
Allen Robertson made one more comment about his father and the Bakers: “George’s descendants have disappeared. (Note: They moved to Indiana and Missouri.) The Bakers came from North Carolina to Madison County and lived in forts there. . . .Another of these hunters from the bluegrass was William Morris, called Cuddy, who settled in the forks of Goose Creek and Red Bird. These, Renta Baker, his three sons, George, John and “Julius” Bob Baker, (William) Morris, Jack Harris(on), Elijah Harrison, with my father, David Robertson, made the eight hunters who visited these regions.”
Allen was referring to the fact that these men were “long hunters,” men who were far from home for long periods of time, hunting in the wilds of Kentucky and eastern Tennessee.
I don’t have the original source article anymore, but Jess D. Wilson transcribed the parts of the Reverend Dickey’s diary relating to Clay County, Kentucky pioneers and his article was published in the Clay County Genealogical Society periodical, which I think is the Clay County Ancestral News. Wilson’s article was probably published in the 1980s or possibly the 1990s. I will have to look for this article when I get back to Salt Lake, as I know that is where I found it.
Because there are no other documents identifying George W. Baker’s father, I think this interview with Allen Robertson, George’s nephew by marriage, is the next best thing.
What do you think? Leave a comment, please!