John Baker Killed

Death this Morning of One of Freeport's Earliest Founders Mr. John Baker, well known to all Freeporters, was killed this morning about a quarter to ten o'clock by being partially run over by his own wagon near the corner of Scott and Pleasant streets. The facts in the case are as follows: The street running in front of the second ward park is being repaired, and the dirt taken off is dumped on Pleasant street between Scott street and the bridge over the branch. Baker was engaged in hauling dirt, and about a quarter to ten reached the place where he met his death with a load. He was about to dump his load on a slight embankment on Pleasant between the gutter and the sidewalk of Mr. F O. Miller's residence. One of the fore and one of the hind wheels being on the embankment and the others in the gutter, one side of the wagon was consequently raised higher than the other. The left front wheel struck a low stump, giving the wagon a considerable jolt. Mr. Baker was sitting on the lower side of wagon at the time and the jolt threw him out on the ground between the for and hind wheels. At this point the horses backed up, causing the fore wheel to partially run over his side, so that the body formed sort of a wedge to the further progress of the wagon . So tight was his body wedged in that the horses had to be urged forward in order to allow laborers who were working near to pull the injured man from under the wheel. He was yet living and as soon as possible was removed to his house, which is situated a short distance south of Gilbert's old tannery and across the branch in the southwest outskirts of the city. At half-past ten he died from his injuries. The scene of the accident is a few steps west of the corner of Scott and Pleasant Streets. His family say that he was subject to attacks of dizziness and think that the fall was caused by one of these, but the persons who witnessed the accident are of opinion that it was caused by the jolt. Mr. Baker would have been sixty years old next fall. He came here at the of eighteen or about the year 1836. Consequently, he was one of this city's earliest settlers. He leaves a wife and eight children. As there is no manner of doubt as to how the accident occurred, an inquest would only be a needless expense, and consequently none was held.Freeport Bulletin Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois pg 4 col 2 May 4, 1878. Submitted by: Dem Bones on 17 July 2002

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