The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan, Chapman Bros. (1891), pp. 318-319

ANSON W. BAKER, a farmer on section 7, Highland Township, is a son of Royal Baker, a son of the Rev. Thomas, a native of the Green Mountain State.  To him and his good wife Jerusha Waldo were born four sons and four daughters.  The Rev. Thomas Baker came to Michigan in 1838.  Here he engaged in the work of the ministry, and traveled on foot for many weary miles and preached in various parts of Oakland County.  His work in this county continued until his death in 1845.  He was then a man of four-score years and his ministry had extended over forty years.  In 1849 his wife followed him to the grave at the age of seventy-five years.  In his early boyhood he had been left an orphan by the death of his father who was killed by the Indians.  One of his uncles was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and drew a pension through the remainder of his life of $100 a year.  He was shot in the arm and the bullet went through and landed in his cartridge box and he kept this interesting relic for many years.

Royal Baker, the father of our subject, was born in Vermont December 19, 1801.  At an early day he emigrated to Massachusetts and then to New York where he was married, March 14, 1824, to Lorane Cronover.  By this wife he had three daughters, Louisa, Mrs. Palmer; Jerusha, Mrs. Sigler, and Maria, Mrs. Hinkley.  His second marriage was with Sarah Shaw.  The wedding was celebrated February 8, 1831, in New York.   To them were born the following children: Anson, our subject; Thomas F.; Emily J.; Edward; Larkin, and William H.  In 1842 Mr. Baker came to Michigan and settled on the farm now owned by his son Anson.   He now purchased forty-five acres.  He had visited Michigan a number of times and had taken up two hundred and forty acres in Livingston, Shiawassee and Oakland Counties.  All that is left in the family of the original purchase at the present date is forty-five acres.  He was a shoemaker by trade and followed this calling most of his life.  He lived at Rochester when there were only a few log houses there.  Both he and his good wife were active members of the Baptist Church.  He died April 10, 1853, and his wife followed him to the grave the following year, breathing her last August 16, 1854.  He cleared one hundred acres of land.  He was a Whig and took an active part in both politics and church matters, and in a word was one of the prominent men of his day.

Anson W. Baker was born January 6, 1832, in Pittsford, Monroe County, N. Y.  He came with his parents by boat and team to the new home.   An uncle who accompanied them, Maj. F. Lockwood, was one of the pioneer settlers, and built the first sawmill and the first gristmill in Highland Township.  He enlisted in the United States service and was killed by the guerrillas.

The subject of this sketch remained at home until he was of age when he undertook the management of his father's farm, which he continued until it was divided.  He then with his brother Thomas bought the four shares belonging to their sisters, and the property was then divided among the four brothers.  Our subject sold his share and moved to Fentonville, where he bought a farm on which he lived for a short time, but he was not contented and he sold this new purchase and bought the original homestead of forty-five acres on which he now lives.  He has since added one hundred and forty acres but has sold part of it and now owns one hundred and five acres.  He has been a hardworker and in his early days worked for many weeks at fifty cents a day. He has been a successful breeder of Merino sheep.

The lady who presides with so much grace and dignity over the home of our subject, bore the maiden name of Julia A. Cowles.  They were united in marriage October 30, 1854, Mrs. Baker's [Begin Page 319] father, Elias Cowles, was one of the first settlers of Highland Township, and was born in Connecticut in 1797.   His sister Phoebe who died was the second person to be buried in Highland Township.  The other sister, Emma married the younger brother of Mr. Baker and they reside in Highland Township.  The family came here during the Territorial days.  The mother is still living here at the advanced age of four-score years and six.

Mrs. Baker's father was a drummer in the State Militia when living in New York.  His son Elias took part in the Civil War, and served for about seven months.  He saw a number of battles and was present at the surrender of Richmond.  He belonged to the Sixteenth Michigan Infantry and only two were left in his company.

To our subject and his wife have been born three children: Wilson W., born January 12, 1860; Edith M., April 24, 1867, deceased; Winifred L., born April 7, 1878.  The family of Wilson W., consists of two sons, Ray and Earl.  His wife bore the maiden name of Bertha Clark.  This young man is an Odd Fellow.  Mr. Baker is connected with the Republican party, has been Justice of the Peace for sixteen years, Constable for two years, and Highway Commissioner for two years.  He was educated in the common schools and at the Union School at Flint.  Both he and his wife are highly educated and well informed, and she was a teacher previous to her marriage.   At the time of the war he sent a substitute in his place although he was not drafted.  His brother Thomas was drafted and furnished a substitute.  His brother Larkin served three years in the Twenty-Second Michigan Infantry, and William H. was in the Light Artillery for two years.   Both now draw pensions.



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