Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
BAKER, PETER, a substantial and respected citizen of Springfield, was born in Baskingridge, N. J., September 23, 1844, a son of George and Sophia (Kunz) Baker, the former born at New Byern, Germany, January 2, 1824, and the latter in Alsace, Germany, April 12, 1817. The father was a blacksmith by trade and came to the United States in 1839, living ten years in New Jersey. In 1849, George Baker moved West and located in Springfield, making the trip to that city from Peoria overland. He worked two years in J. C. Lamb's foundry, two years for Mr. Henkel, and then lived for two years on a farm near the city, after which he bought a farm in the McKinney Settlement and lived there several years. He then moved to Riverton, where he lived fourteen years, spent a year in Springfield and then moved with his son Jacob to a farm west of the city, where he died.
The education of Peter Baker was received in Springfield subscription schools and he worked on his father's farm until he was seventeen years of age, when he learned the trade of carpenter, which he has since followed. He was employed many years by the Illinois Watch Company and was later employed by Des Noyer Shoe Company. When first locating in Springfield the family lived on West Reynolds Street five years, then lived on a farm on the Jacksonville Road two years, and then moved to the McKinney settlement after which Peter Baker moved to Springfield and has since made that city his home. In his youth he used to go swimming in Spring Creek near Hickox mill, with Abraham Lincoln, and has played marbles with the latter's son, Robert Lincoln.
Mr. Baker married, at Springfield, February 1, 1866, Miss Christina Danner, who was born May 19, 1844, daughter of Andrew and Martha Danner, the former born in 1808 the latter in 1827. Mr. Danner and his wife came from Germany, and lived for a time in Pittsburg, Pa., where Mr. Danner worked at his trade of blacksmith. Later they moved to Illinois and he worked at his trade at Mt. Pulaski.
Children were born to Mr. Baker and his wife as follows: John F., born October 4, 1868; Anna M., wife of Henry Ladager, a farmer living near Divernon, Ill.; Lena P., wife of James Vandervoort, living at 520 West Carpenter Street, Springfield; Peter A., a carpenter, living on West Reynolds Street; Mary C., wife of Ralph Locher, living on West Carpenter Street; Elizabeth, living at home. Fourteen grandchildren were born to Mr. and Mrs. Baker, and all live in Sangamon County.
In politics Mr. Baer is a Democrat and he is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. Fraternally he belongs to Camp No. 872, M.W.A. of Cantrall, Ill., and to Carpenters' Union No. 16. He is a skilled workman and has been successful at his chosen trade. He is of industrious and sober habits and has been able to accumulate some real estate, owning a beautiful residence at 321 West Carpenter Street, which has been the family home for the past forty-two years. He has many warm personal friends and is considered a useful, representative citizen.