Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
BAKER, EDWARD - In the list of Sangamon County pioneers occur many names that are familiar to the present residents. These hardy forerunners of a later civilization did not shrink from the hardships incident to frontier life, but fought bravely to conquer the wilderness and found substantial homes for those who came after them. The Baker family was prominent in early days, as it is now and one of its best known representatives is Edward Baker, of Clear Lake Township, a successful farmer of the county. Mr. Baker was born in that township, November 28,1 853, a son of Alvin and Hester (Hornbaker) Baker, and grandson of the grand old pioneer Jacob Baker. The latter was one of the very early settlers of the county, who during the Black Hawk War defended his home from the attacks of the hostile Indians, serving as a valiant soldier. He came from Kentucky, where he had become experienced in Indian warfare and in overcoming pioneer difficulties, so that the Illinois wilderness had no terrors for him. The good man lied to see many changes and died respected by a large circle of friends.
Alvin Baker located in Clear Lake Township when the land was in a wild state. He was a native of Illinois and was always loyal to it. His wife was a native of Pennsylvania and survives her husband who died many years ago, on his farm. She has attained the age of seventy-four years and is in good health. She and her husband had three children, all sons, and one, Alonzo, is also a farmer of Clear Lake Township.
Edward Baker was educated in his native township, attending the country schools and at the same time worked to assist his father. Until his marriage he was a farmer, but then embarked in a milk business that engaged his attention for five years. In 1902 he established himself in a grocery business in Springfield, where he had operated his milk and dairy enterprise and remained in it until 1908, when he located on his present farm. His property comprises ninety-four acres of as rich farming land as can be found in all of Sangamon County, and he is raising a general crop, with a good grade of stock. Owing to his early training, he is a practical farmer, who understands thoroughly every detail of his work and is thus enabled to make it pay a good return on his investment.
The marriage of Mr. Baker took place in the township in which he now resides, May 28, 1876, to Delcena Bell Snodgrass, born in the township, where her mother still resides. The Snodgrass family also early located in the county. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Baker: Nora, wife of Frank Wallace, of Springfield; Bertha, Mrs. Bashaw, resides with her father; Claude resides at home, and two are deceased. The one grandchild, Velma Bashaw, resides with her mother at the home of Mr. Baker and is her grandfather's pet. The political affiliations of Mr. Baker are with the Republican party, and while has been earnest in his support of its principles and candidates, he has not permitted the use of his name on the ticket, preferring to exert his influence as a private citizen.
The secret of Mr. Baker's success in life has been that he has never shirked the duty that lay nearest his hand, but performed it as well as lay in his power.. As his carefully accumulated savings permitted, he has made wise investments, that have turned out successfully, and is now in comfortable circumstances. His children have been carefully reared, given every advantage that lay within his power, and fitted to cope with the realities of life. Quiet an unassuming, he has made many friends, while he has never failed to gain the confidence and respect of all with whom he has been associated.