An American Family History


Jefferson Baker


In the Civil War (1861 to 1865) eleven Southern states seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America.

Shelby County, Ohio is in western Ohio and was formed in 1819 from Miami County.

Jefferson Baker was born January 29, 1827 German Township, Clark County, Ohio. His parents were Philip Baker and Mary Elizabeth Kessler.

His son's biography described his early days

He became a scholar, for those days, and taught school and penmanship, being an expert with the old-fashioned goose quill

He married Margaret Critton (Critten) on June 25, 1846.  Margaret was born about 1826 in Virginia. Her parents were William Critton and Mary Deaver.

Jefferson and Margaret's children included:
William C. Baker (1847),
Mary Elizabeth Baker Rhynard (1849, married Francis Marion Rhynard),
Francis Marion Baker (1854, married Catherine Snyder),
John H. Baker (1856,),
George W. Baker (1857),
and an unnamed baby (1860).

In 1850 they were in Jackson Township, Shelby County, Ohio.

The family appeared in the 1860 census in Port Jefferson, Jackson Township, Shelby County, Ohio. The family consisted of Jefferson age 33, Margaret age 34, William age 13, Mary E. age 11, Francis M. age 6, John H., and George W. age 3.  Jefferson was a farmer.

They remained in Port Jefferson during the Civil War and were still there in 1870. He was elected on the democratic ticket to the office of township trustee and also served as school director

Jefferson died on November 7, 1872 and Margaret died on January 2, 1882. They are buried together in Howell Cemetery in Montra, Jackson Township, Shelby County, Ohio with their son George and an unnamed infant.

Clark County, Ohio was formed March 1, 1817, from Champaign, Madison and Greene Counties. The first settlement was in 1796. The inhabitants of German Township were German Lutherans who came from Virginia.

Children of Philip Baker
and Mary Elizabeth Kessler
  • Elizabeth Baker Branstiter
  • George B. Baker
  • Mary M. Baker Rockel
  • Sarah A. Baker Hunt Bilger
  • William Baker
  • James Baker
  • Susannah Baker Ryman
  • Jacob Baker
  • Daniel Baker
  • Jefferson Baker
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    The Miami Valley is in southwest Ohio. It includes parts of Montgomery, Greene, Preble, Clark, Miami, Darke, Champaign, Shelby, Logan, Butler, and Warren counties.

    American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

    In 1607 the London Company established Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.



    The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. It gave an applicant 160 acres of undeveloped land outside of the original colonies. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the United States could file an application. They had to live on the land and make improvements to receive title.

    Illinois became a state in 1818. A large influx of American settlers came in the 1810s by the Ohio River.

    from the History of Shelby County, Ohio by A.B.C. Hitchcock; Sidney, Ohio; 1913, Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co.; Chicago, Illinois

    William C. Baker who is one of the valued citizens of Jackson township, is a general farmer and lives one and one-half miles south of Montra, on the west side of the Hussey turnpike road, where are located his 200 acres of well improved land. He was born on this farm, July 22, 1847, and is a son of Jefferson Baker and a grandson of Philip Baker.

    His grandfather Philip Baker was born in Pennsylvania and when he came first to Ohio he settled in dark county, four miles from Springfield. He married Mary Elizabeth Kessler, whose parents were natives of Germany, and their children were all born and reared in Clark county, namely: George, William, Jacob, Jefferson, James, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary and Susan. Of the above family, Sarah lived to the remarkable age of ninety-three years. Philip Baker died a few months before the birth of his son, Jefferson Baker. His widow survived until 1869 and her burial was in the old cemetery at Port Jefferson.

    Jefferson Baker came into the world fatherless but he was blessed with a careful mother and she gave him every educational advantage in her power. He became a scholar, for those days, and taught school and penmanship, being an expert with the old-fashioned goose quill, which has not been altogether succeeded by the steel pen, there yet being found old fashioned scriveners who prefer the flexible goose quill of long ago.

    Mr. Baker became a farmer, acquiring eighty acres of the large property above alluded to, and subsequently he purchased forty more acres and partly cleared his 120 acres but did not survive into advanced age, his death occurring in his forty-fifth year. His burial was in the Howell cemetery at Montra. In politics a stanch democrat he was elected on the democratic ticket to the office of township trustee and also served as school director.

    His marriage was with Margaret Critten, who was born in Virginia, a daughter of William Critten. She lived to be fifty-four years of age and was the cherished mother of the following children:
    William C.;
    Mary Elizabeth, who married Marion Rhynard and they live at Ashley, Mich.;
    F. M., who died in May, 1909, in Michigan;
    John H., who is a resident of Lake View, O.
    The youngest born [George W.], a son, died when aged three years.

    William C. Baker attended the district schools in Jackson township and also a select school at Port Jefferson, and afterward followed farming on the homestead during the summers and for thirteen terms taught school in me winter seasons. During this time he married and afterward lived for one winter on his father-in-law's farm in Perry township and then came on the homestead.

    The present residence and barn were built by Mr. Baker's father in 1870 but he has enlarged and-improved them and completed the clearing of the land and, as a business, carries on a general agricultural line. Very often he has been called to positions of public responsibility and on the democratic ticket was elected county commissioner and served six years; served two terms as land appraiser; was township clerk and a trustee of Jackson township and for twenty-five years has served on the school board. He is interested in the Farmers Telephone Company.

    Mr. Baker was first married to Miss Mary C. Thompson, a daughter of the late James Thompson of Perry township. She is survived by one son, Allen, who married Alice Lefever. Mr. Baker's second marriage was to Miss Eureka Schmidt, and to this union the following children were born:
    Nora, who is the wife of Clarence Steenrod, residing at Maplewood, O.;
    Milton, who is a resident of Maplewood, married Eva Clinehens;
    May, who lives at home;
    Leo and Lina, twins, the former of whom married Lillie Fogt and the latter,
    Sidney Ailes;
    Roscoe, who was a student at Harvard University, Boston, who is a natural mechanic, is in the well digging and pump repairing business at Montra;
    Ida, who lives at home; and
    Bessie and Clara who are yet in school.

    The family belongs to the Disciples church. He is identified with the local Grange and with the K. O. T. M. [Knights of Maccabees] Mr. Baker and family are among the most representative people in this part of Shelby county.

    Buildings in Clark County, Ohio ranged from simple log cabins to sophisticated Italianate and Gothic Revival structures.
    Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States.

    Creek Methodist Episcopal Church Society

    The frame structure known as the Plum Creek Methodist Church, situated three miles north ot Sidney, near Plum creek, on the Wapakoneta turnpike road, was dedicated
    in November, 1860, by Rev. Jacob M. Holmes, but has since been remodeled.

    The society was organized in February, 1839, by Rev. David Warnock and the first members were Nathan Burress and wife, Thomas Shaw and wife, Henry Yinger and wife? Louisa Leapley, Jane McVay, Mary Critton, Caspar Yinger, Valinda Yinger, Elizabeth McVay, David Greenlee, Elizabeth Burress and Sarali Burress. Many of these old township families are yet represented in its membership. Rev. John Parker is present pastor.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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