JUDGE JOSEPH BAKER. Many of the representative men of Moultrie County make
their home in Sullivan and among them there is probably no one who is more thoroughly
known or has a more general acquaintance through the county than the gentleman whose
name appears at the head of this sketch. He is one of the pioneers of this region and for many years
was a general farmer, stock-breeder and a buyer and seller of live stock. During the war he served
the county as Associate Judge and has always been prominent in public affairs. He owns more than
seven hundred acres lying within the limits of the city and his handsome home is located in the
Northeastern part of the corporation. His farm of four hundred and seven acres adjoins the city
and it is all either under the plow or in use as pasture land, being well stocked with the best
grades of animals and being considered one of the best farms in the county. His other fine farm of
two hundred and ninety-one and one-half acres, in another part of Sullivan Township is entirely in
pasture, and is well watered by the Okaw River.
Mr. Baker has lived near the city of Sullivan since 1848 and began work here as a laborer for
Dr. William Kellar in order to pay a bill which he owed the doctor for professional services. He was
then a poor man and has gained his handsome property by his own efforts and enterprise. He
waa born October 29, 1828, at the old Bland Homestead, on Sand Creek, Shelby County. His father.
John A. Baker, a native of North Carolina, was a son of Joseph Baker who came to Kentucky while his son
John A. was still a boy and settled in Allen County near Paducah and after some years (about 1826)
the family removed to Shelby County, Ill., coming overland with teams and camping out along the
way, being accompanied by the families of Mr. Wigger and Mr. Ledbetter.
The first location of this party was on Sand Creek, and the Baker family finally settled upon
the Bland Homestead and began life as pioneers, and there where they first settled near Windsor,
the wife of Joseph Baker died after she had spent a long and useful life. Her husband survived for
a few years and died at the age of seventy-six. He had served in the Black Hawk War and enjoyed
recounting his experience on the field of battle. They were members of the Christian Church and
friends of Dr. Campbell and Mr. Stone. Joseph Baker was a Democrat in his political views and at
an early date he was made Justice of the Peace in Shelby County.
John A. Baker, the father of our subject, was reared in Kentucky and there married Elizabeth
Dillon who was born in the South and came of Irish stock. To them were born two children —
Francis H. and Sarah F., who had their nativity in the Southern part of Illinois, before John and his
wife came to Shelby County, and after coming here other children were added to their number.
John Baker began as a poor man and turned the virgin prairie into a productive farm. He and his
faithful wife were members of the Christian Church and universally beloved for their Christian faith
and devotion. They died in old age, at Four Mile Grove. Of their eleven children seven are still
Our subject had not yet reached his majority when he came to this county, and here he was first
married to Mary J. Brown who was born in Kentucky but reared here. She died while they were
sojourning in Texas, leaving two children, John H. whose biography appears on another page of
the Record and William A. now deceased. Mr. Baker married for his second wife Mrs. Nancy
Kearney nee Duncan, a native of Indiana and the widow of Dr. Kearney by whom she had three sons —
William A., Thomas H. and Amos T. By Mr. Baker she had two daughters — Sarah E. and Elizabeth
A., the former being now Mrs. A. E. D. Scott of Fresno. Cal., and the latter, Mrs. David E. Dix,
living in the same place. Mrs. Nancy Baker, the mother of these children died in Moultrie County
in 1864, being then in the prime of life. The third marriage of Judge Baker united him with Miss
Mary C. Miller who was born in Ohio and came to Illinois with her parents; Henry and Harriet Miller,
who are both now deceased. They had given to their daughter a superior education and her natural
abilities supplemented by the excellent training which she received have fitted her to
shine in the social circles of Sullivan and have given her a broad influence with all who know her.
She is the mother of four children, namely: Lucy May, a teacher in the public schools; Delia, a milliner;
Rosa, a teacher and Zion F., all of whom are at home with their parents.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 533/533
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb