Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor

Page 378

Captain Edward A. Baxter is an honored veteran of the Civil war and a business man of ability, his executive force and enterprise placing him among the substantial citizens of Pawnee. He is now engaged in dealing in real estate and in the breeding of pure blooded Duroc Jersey hogs. Since March, 1869, he has resided in Sangamon county. He was born in Jefferson county, Indiana, October 14, 1847, and is of Scotch parentage. His paternal grandfather was an early settler of Ohio and afterward a pioneer of Jefferson county, Indiana, where he opened up a farm, on which he reared his family. There were four sons and daughter, who grew to mature years, including William Baxter, the father of our subject. He was born near Dayton, Ohio, in 1804, but was reared in Indiana and was married there to Jane Kerr, a native of that state and a daughter of William Kerr, likewise one of the early settlers of Jefferson county. The Kerr family, however, is of Irish lineage. Mr. Baxter devoted his entire life to agricultural pursuits in Jefferson county and died there in 1861, having for eight years survived his wife, who passed away in 1853.

Captain Baxter is one of a family of ten sons and two daughters and was the ninth in order of birth. All reached mature years except the youngest child, a daughter, who died at the age of about two years, and six sons and a daughter are yet living. He spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the county of his nativity and acquired a fair education. Six of his brothers were soldiers of the Civil war, five of them being members of different Indiana regiments, while O. H. P. Baxter was colonel of a Colorado regiment. Our subject also enlisted in 1863, becoming a member of Company C, Forty-third Indiana Infantry, which was assigned to the Western Army. He joined his regiment at Little Rock, Arkansas, and went up the Red river and pursued General Price. After a number of skirmishes the Union troops succeeded in driving Price out of Arkansas. Captain Baxter continued in active service until the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis, Indiana, June 17, 1865. He then entered the regular army as a member of Company A, Eighteenth United States Infantry and was stationed for six or eight months at Columbus barracks, in Ohio, after which he was sent to the south on provost duty, serving two years and nine months. He received a three years' discharge at Columbus, Ohio, in 1869.

Immediately afterward Captain Baxter came to Sangamon county, Illinois, locating on a farm in Auburn township. In 1870, however, he established his home in Pawnee, but was employed at farm work in the summer seasons and in feeding cattle during the winter months. He then took the government contract to carry mail to Springfield, and was thus employed for four years, after which he engaged in clerking in a general furniture and undertaking establishment and also conducted a livery stable., his time being thus occupied for several years. In the fall of 1894 he was elected sheriff, the first Republican candidate being chosen for that office since the election of Colonel Shoup at the close of the war. He carried this Democratic county by a majority of eleven hundred and seventy-three, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him. After four years in that office, during which time he was a resident of Springfield and made a splendid record as a public official, he retuned to Pawnee, where he has been identified with different business enterprises, the most of which have proved profitable. He has dealt quite extensively in real estate, buying and selling property to good advantage, and he also deals in Duroc Jersey hogs. Each year he makes large shipments of hogs, and his business is so conducted that it has brought to him a very gratifying financial return. Captain Baxter has erected a nice residence in Pawnee and he also bought land and laid out four additions to the town. In other ways he has added to the improvement of the place, having erected a number of good residences which he has sold. He is one of the stockholders and organizers of the State Bank of Pawnee and is now engaged in the erection of a bank building. His business interests are conducted so that they bring to him success and at the same time prove of value in the development of his town. His fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, not only chose him for the position of sheriff, but also elected him supervisor, and he served on the county board for one year. He has been a delegate to numerous county, congressional and state conventions of his party and is a recognized leader in local ranks, his opinions carrying weight in its councils.

Mr. Baxter was married in Pawnee, in 1884, to Luella B. Crowder, a native of Sangamon county and a daughter of J. F. Crowder, of Pawnee. She died in December, 1885, leaving one daughter that died at the age of eight months. In 1892, in Kansas City, Missouri, Captain Baxter wedded Martha K. Ensminger, who was born, reared and educated in Pennsylvania, and when a young lady came to Illinois, being employed as a teacher in Pawnee and in schools of Sangamon county. She is now identified with the Woman' Relief Corps of the state, being one of its most prominent representatives. She is a lady of superior culture, refinement and education, and her influence is widely felt in social circles. Both Mr. and Mrs. Baxter hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, and he is a prominent mason, belonging to Pawnee Lodge, A.F. & A.M.; Springfield Chapter, R.A. M., and a number of years he has been the treasurer of the lodge. He also holds membership relations with the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic, was the first commander of his post, serving for four years, and is now again commander. He has been sent as a delegate to the national encampment a number of times, being a delegate to San Francisco in the fall of 1903. Mr. Baxter is widely and favorably known in Springfield and Sangamon county, and is recognized as a man of good business capacity, of sterling principles, of upright character and honorable career.

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