Reuben F. Baker
In this biographical sketch is presented an outline of the history of one
of the prominent citizens of Belmont Precinct, one who stands in the front ranks of the successful
farmers and stock-raisers of the county. His home farm lies on section 16 and is 320 acres in
extent. His entire landed estate comprises 800 acres: 160 acres lying on section 9, 160 on
section 17, and 160 on section 18. This land Mr. Baker has redeemed acre by acre from the wild
waste of prairie presented to his eye during the period of his pioneership, and he has
accomplished his Herculean task only by the exercise of the most incessant industry. After bringing
his land to a thorough state of cultivation he turned his attention to the feeding and raising of
stock, making a specialty of Short-horn cattle and Poland- China swine. The land is splendidly
improved and beautified by groves and orchards of the present proprietor’s own planting.
barn and all of the other out-buildings are among the best in the county. The dwelling is
pleasantly situated, and constitutes a home bright and comfortable in the extreme.
Mr. Baker was born in Shelby Co., Indiana on the 24th of January, 1844. His father,
John L. Baker, a native of Covington, Kentucky, was born in 1803.
While quite a young
man he crossed the river into Hamilton County, Ohio, and was employed afterward with an older
brother, running a flatboat between Cincinnati and New Orleans for a number of years.
migrated to Shelby County, Indiana, and finally settled upon a tract of land in Sangamon County,
Ill., in a region was then but a wild border country.
The mother of our subject was born in Shelby Co., Indiana in the year 1803, and was the
daughter of Ephraim Biggs, named after her mother, Rachael.
Her parents were pioneers
of Indiana, her grandfather having settled there long before it was actually opened for settlement.
She became the mother of eight children, of whom our subject was the third.
Reuben F., upon reaching his manhood, was married, Sept. 13, 1856, to
Miss Mary E.,
daughter of John and Mary K. (Patterson) Mahard, natives of Maryland.
She was born
in Maryland and was educated in the City of Baltimore. With her parents she afterwards lived in
Cincinnati, Springfield and in Old Berlin, Ill. Mrs. Mahard is still living, making her home with her
children in Missouri.
There have been given to Mr. and Mrs. Baker nine children, of whom seven are living,
namely: John M., George L., Horatio S., Mary A.,
James P., Othello C., and Aramanda. John, the eldest son, became the husband of
Elizabeth Nicholson, and lives
in Republic County, Kansas; they have two children, who bear the names Bertha and Roy.
George was married to
Ida Wright, of Osawatomie, Kansas; they reside in Belmont Precinct,
and are the parents of three children – Reuben, Franklin and
Grover. Mary A. is the
wife of John Duncan, of Delaware Precinct, and they have one child, a daughter,
Mr. Baker settled on his present property in 1871. When it is remembered that he began life a
poor boy, deprived of those aids and comforts usually looked for by children from parents and
friends, it is both surprising and gratifying to note the successes which have attended his efforts, and
to bear in mind that the same successes await those who will as honestly strive to attain them.
and Mrs. B. with three of their children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at
Dunbar, with which church our subject has been connected for about thirty years.
Mrs. Baker has
been identified with this church since a maiden of seventeen years.
Our subject is a staunch member of the Democratic Party, and has been its supporter since it
was his right to use the ballot box. The family represents the most solid and reliable elements of this
county and it is eminently fitting that the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Baker should embellish these pages.
[Pictures were included in the bio. JBJ]
Biographical Album of Otoe and Cass Counties, Nebraska 1889; Otoe County, pgs 703-4.
JBJ Note: A lengthy article in the Nebraska City newspaper on 17 November 1903, tells of the ac-
cidental death of Reuben F. Baker. While hitching up a horse at his farm, his foot became entangled
in a strand of the rope halter. He fell and the startled horse dragged him about 300 yards before his
foot came loose from the rope. He died the next day as a result of the massive injuries he sustained.
Contributed by James R. Baker, Jr.
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