BAKER, Martin E., Jr. - The Baker family has every reason to be proud of its record among the pioneers of Sangamon County, for since 1828 it has been represented there, and ever since that date its representatives have labored to advance the material and intellectual development of this part of the State. One of the members of the family who is numbered among the substantial farmers and stockmen of Illiopolis Township, is Martin E. Baker, Jr., born in the township December 25, 1860. He is a son of Martin E. Baker, Sr., born January 27, 1820, near Carlisle, Ky. In 1828 he was brought by his parents to Sangamon County and in 1831 location was made in Rochester township. Still later Christian County became the family home, but upon his marriage, in 1852, Mr. Baker returned to Sangamon County, to take up his residence in Illiopolis Township, where he lived until his death, April 22, 1911. His wife bore the maiden name of Mary Catherine Williams, was born in 1826 near Hagerstowh, Md., and died February 16, 1880. Eight children were born of this marriage: James, Horace, Martin, Charles, Cornelia, Margaret, Nancy and Florence. Mr. Baker was a farmer all his life and sometimes was very successful. One of the last law cases of Abraham LIncoln was defending Mr. Baker in a contest for possession of some land. When Mr. Baker asked Mr. Lincoln what he thought the outcome would be, the great man gave one of his characteristic replies: "Mr. Baker, God Almighty can't tell what those twelve men will do."
Martin E. Baker, Jr. was educated in the common schools of his township and continued farming all his life, preferring that occupation to any other. He bought his present farm about 1907, and expects to make it one of the model properties of this locality. His modern house contains thirteen rooms, and is surrounded by a large lawn, with a rock and iron fence. The farm is called Maple Hill Stock Farm, and he prides himself on the quality of his stock. His land is very productive, in 1910 his corn crop averagaing 125 bushels to the acre, while some of the land produced 130 bushels per acre. He has thirteen acres in fine apple trees. This farm is in what is known as the geographical center of the State, were Gov. Duncan drove the stake for a town site, intending building the capital there, and came within two votes of getting it there.
On March 22, 1905, Mr. Baker was married in Illiopolis, to Ida Bell Roberts, born November 16, 1868, in Illiopolis township, daugher of William P. and Mary E. (Boyd) Roberts, the former born in Schuyler County, Ill., January 26, 1830, and the latter being a daughter of Milton Boyd. Mrs. Baker is the youngest of nine children born to her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Baker became the parents of three children, two of whom died in infancy, the one living being Catherine Elizabeth, born October 22, 1908.
Mr. Baker has been School Director and Road Commissioner and served acceptably in both capacities. He and his wife belong to the Christian Church. For eight years he has been a Knight of Pythias and for twelve years a modern Woodman,. In addition to his farming interests Mr. Baker served for three years as Presdient of the Illiopolis Bank, is now its Vice-president and one of the Directors, and owns stock in two grain elevators. He is one of the live, progressive men of his township and one who is very ambitiuous to carry out the many plans he has made for a long and useful future.
Mr. Baker's grandfather was the first white child born in Nicholas County,
Ky. His greatgrandfather was a companion of Daniel Boone and they fought
Indians together. He was in the War of 1812.