Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
Charles J. Baer , who is filling the position of the county coroner for a second term, was born in Springfield, May 3, 1859, a son of John Jacob and Charlotte (Timmens) Baer, the former a native of Baden, Germany, the latter of Prussia. They came to America about 1848, landing in New Orleans, where they remained for a short time and thence went by boat up the Mississippi to St. Louis and across the country to Springfield, arriving when this was largely an unsettled district. In the early years of his residence here Mr. Baer worked as a plasterer and stone mason and later entered into business on South Sixth Street, where he owned a cracker and candy factory and bakery and notion store. Subsequently he was in the employ of the Wabash Railroad Company for twenty-five years. He was married in Springfield to Charlotte Timmens, who, when she first came to this city, was employed as cook by Mrs. C. M. Smith, a sister of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, and she cooked many a meal for the martyred president. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baer were born six children, four of whom are living: Charles J.; William F., who is married and resides in Blue Island, Illinois; Kate, wife of James Beasley, of New Orleans, Louisiana; and Carrie M., wife of Joseph M. Williams. They reside at the old home place, where all of the children were born. The father died July 15, 1887, and his wife April 12, 1900, their remains being interred in Oak Ridge cemetery.
In what is now the Lincoln school of Springfield, Charles J. Baer pursued is education, but put aside his text books at the age of ten years and began earning his own living as a cash boy in the dry goods house of Herndon & Company, of Springfield, remaining in that employ for three and a half years, during which time his ability won him consecutive promotion until he was given charge of a department, although only fourteen years of age at the time. His father, desiring him to enter the ministry, then sent him to the Central Wesleyan College, a Methodist institution, but he did not feel adapted to the calling and after six months returned home and entered the grocery house of J. H. Brewer, remaining there for nine years. He was employed in grocery stores altogether for sixteen years. He afterward pursued a course in the Springfield Business College, completing the work in six months, at the end of which time he entered the coal business, which he followed for ten years. He was also with Charles T. Bisch for five years as collector and bookkeeper. While still connected with the coal trade he was elected coroner and in 1900 was re-elected, so that is now serving for the second term.
In his political views Mr. Baer is a stanch Republican and he belongs to the lodge and Rebekah degree of Odd Fellows. He is a member of Capital Camp, No. 333, M. W. A., in which he has served as clerk for twelve years, serving at the present time, and he is a member of Capital Lodge, No. 14, K. P., and the Royal Areanum, having filled all of the chairs in the last named, while several times he has been its representative to the grand lodge. He holds membership with Pawnee Tribe, No. 66, I.O.R.M., and with Pocahontas Lodge.
Mr. Baer was married in Springfield, December 27, 1882, to Miss Addie H. Cook, who was born in New York city, March 23, 1844, and was educated there. Mr. and Mrs. Baer had two children: Louisa A., who died in infancy; and Anna M., who was born June 11, 1889, and is now a student in the high school, manifesting special aptitude in her studies. Mr. Baer and his family are well known in the city where they reside, and his business career has been marked by steady advance, in which he has progressed because of his ability, close application and trustworthiness, and the same characteristics are manifest in his official service.