Frederick Baker - Freeport's old pioneer Frederick Baker expires suddenly today
Deceased was a fighter of Blackhawk. The record of his life. Funeral to occur tomorrow.
Frederick Baker died at his home at 192 S. Galena Ave at 11 o'clock this morning from the effects of a paralytic stroke. The deceased came here in 1835 and there is no one in the city at present who arrived before he did. Yesterday, he was in apparent good health and did not complain when he retired last evening. He arose early and went to the kitchen at 5:30 o'clock this morning. He complained to his wife of experiencing a strange sensation. He started for his room shortly afterwards and called his wife to assist him to the bed. His daughter-in-law Mrs. F. Baker also assisted. Dr Robert F Hayes was summoned and it was found that the deceased had sustained a paralytic stroke. He was almost unconscious until 11 o' clock when he passed away.
Mr. Baker was on of the best known men in this section and the news of his demise was everywhere received with regret. Frederick Baker was born in Orange County, Indiana, Nov. 1, 1820 and aged at death 71 yrs 9 mo and 12 days. When he was but 2 years old the family came to the west to southern part of Illinois where they lived a number of years. Soon after the famed richness of the Galena lead mines was reported the household goods are packed and the family began the assent up the Mississippi River on one of the crude steamboats of the time to the rich Galena when it was a typical mining town and passing through went to New Diggings, Wisconsin where Mr. Baker's father Tut was employed in mining of lead. The occupation was not renumerative at that time for the ore was so plentiful that it brought only $5 or $6 in the market and there was so much demand even at that price. There were a good many hardships to undergo also. The prinicipal food to be obtained was indian maize and the flesh of wild animals, pork and flour brought many hundreds of miles was a luxury that few of the pioneers could enjoy. There was also a change of climate which affected the people severely from the fact that they had moved in the summertime from a warm region in the country where cold was sometimes intense.
Then, when the 1st winter came on it found them lacking in the neccessary clothing it was such a school as this that young Frederick experienced. For the Indian children as his only playmates it was no wonder that he learned to talk their tongue as well as his own and that he taught them how to speak the english language. It was a great pleasure for the little red skins and himself to set for hours and working out the puzzling intricasies of the 2 languages. There grew up between them a bond of friendship which all the doings of after years did not sever. Many days were spent together roaming through the forest or by the brook as happy as the birds that made the air joyous with the minstraly. But the stor my times were coming on space. After living 3 years in New Diggings, the Baker family moved to Wyota, Wisconsin and from there they settled at Stafford's Creek 8 miles above the present town of Winslow. There they lived until driven off the place by the Indians. There had been rumors of war and at times during the winter and in May came the news of the 1st defeat of the whites by Black Hawk. They went at once to Fort Hamilton where provisions were gathered and made for the attack. This not being thought secure enough it was decided to remove to Fort Defiance. the Force in the stockade numbered 33 fighting men and 60 women and children. The Indians came about the fort and even made faints of attack but did not do so. The next year there was a false alarm spread that the Indians were coming and the Baker family with many others in the neighborhood hid in the old unused lead mine. The Baker family came to this county and settled in the present site of Freeport Dec 19, 1835. At that time there were but few people in the county. Pioneers had begun the building of houses in Winslow, Omers, Crains and Waddams Groves. At that time, Benjamin Goddard lived between Freeport and Cedarville and was the nearest neighbor to the Baker family. There were a great many Indians here at the time of the settlement but a few months later they were removed by the government. Frederick Baker helped out and draw the 1st stick of timber put into the 1st building erected in Freeport.
When the elder Baker and his son, Fred came here they erected a log cabin on the banks of the Pecatonica near where the Northwestern Freight Depot stands. Mr Baker laid claim to all of Freeport and afterwards had a partner named Kirkpatrick. Mr. Baker gave to the county the present site of the courthouse and the city the old cemetery where the Keen Canning Factory is located. This piece of land today is bounded by East Monterey to the North to the Illinois Central Railroad and also deeded the 1st Meth. Episcopal church the property they occupy. Mr Baker died in 1855, July 14.
The old log cabin was used as a hotel a trading post and the 1st court and election were held within its walls. Mr Baker, Frederick held a number of offices. He was a constable, deputy sheriff for 15 yrs and acting sheriff a portion of that time. Afterwards he engaged in farming in Silver Creek twp until 1879, when he sold his land and came to Freeport where he has since resided. He had served as a member of the county board of supervisors for many yrs and had also held the office of the justice of the peace, road commissioner, and other town and school offices. In his early day, he was identified with the tannery and leather business. The firm being Baker and Ruble.
He was united in marriage at Crain's Grove Feb 11, 1841 to Miss Clarinda Crane who survives. Her father, Thomas Craine was the 1st settler of Carroll County. They have 3 children living as follows: Mrs Joseph Weaver of Silver Creek, John and Frank Baker of this city. Elmus Baker of this city is a brother, and Thomas Crawford brothers are in Kansas.
The funeral will occur on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Freeport Daily Democrat Vol 5 291, Aug 13, 1892. Submitted by: Dem Bones on 17 July 2002