Original Highland Township Landowner
Rev. Thomas Baker, Jr.
The Rev. Thomas Baker, Jr. was born September 28, 1771, at Groton, Massachusetts (although one account claims he was "a native of the Green Mountain State," i.e., Vermont). He married Jerusha Waldo on March 15, 1799, at Alstead, New Hampshire, and soon after became an itinerant Baptist minister, travelling throughout the Genesee region of western New York. At the time he made his purchase in Highland Township in 1836 he was apparently a resident of "Upper Canada" (i.e., modern Ontario). Following his arrival in Michigan he continued to preach throughout Oakland and Livingston counties. On April 14, 1838, he attended a meeting of Baptists in Livingston County which led to the founding of the Howell Baptist Church, in which he served as the first pastor. The Rev. Baker died on October 4, 1850; most likely in Highland Township (although one account erroneously says he died in 1845). His wife, Jerusha (Waldo) Baker, died January 16, 1851, at age 73 years, 6 months, 5 days. Their son, Royal Baker, was also an original Highland Township landowner.