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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Joseph A. Baker ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Joseph A. Baker
BORN: 23 Jul 1839 DIED: 16 Dec 1932 BURIED: 17 Dec 1932
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Merchant, Vice-President - R. M. Wade & Co.
BIRTH PLACE:  Putnam Co., Illinois
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
Joseph A. Baker was a member of his father’s family when they crossed the plains from Iowa in 1847. His father was Isaac Baker, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this book. Mr. Joseph Baker was eight years of age at that time and attended his first school at a little log schoolhouse on the Clackamas river. While living near Oregon City, in 1848, the first year after coming to Oregon. This school was taught by a well-educated man by the name of Brush and was considered quite a good school for those early days. His father finally settled just east of Salem on what is now Garden road, and Joseph Baker attended the old Institute in 1849, for his first term. 
He married Emma Lamb, who was born November 2,1865, and to this union were born the following children: Edwin L., who married Mercedes Brinkerhoff, and Clair A., who married Metta Davis. 
Mr. Baker prospered and in time built a beautiful, commodious house on North Liberty street in Salem. He was always a very active man, much interested in public affairs. Several times he was elected to places of trust, and served a term as an Oregon legislator in 1891, helping to get an appropriation for the dome that graces the state capitol. At the time Mr. Baker courteously gave the writer an interview, he was eighty-seven years of age, having been born in Illinois, July 23, 1829 [sic], and at that time claimed to be the oldest living student of Willamette University, and the oldest fireman in Salem, having been a member of the hook and ladder company organized in 1856 and served many years in that capacity. He was the oldest chief of police and the oldest sheriff of Marion county. 
He also was a member of the Salem brass band and told of a serenade the band made on Colonel J. W. Nesmith at his home in Polk county after his return from Washington, D. C., where he had gone as U. S. Senator from Oregon. This was about the year 1864. The stand Colonel Nesmith had taken at Washington in favor of continuing the Civil War until a satisfactory ending was assured, had so pleased the members of this band that they took this method of expressing their appreciation. About a dozen members made this trip one night over very muddy roads. Mr. Nesmith's home was near the present town of Rickreal. He mentioned A. J. Riley as leader in the band and Benjamin Strang, John Taylor and John Zieber were of the serenade party also. This brass band consisted of about thirty pieces and they were called upon from all over the country to play at Union "Sympathizer" meetings. Politics waxed very warm in those days, sometimes almost at the breaking point. Mr. Baker's sympathies were with the Union, of course, and he was always a staunch republican. 
Mr. and Mrs. Baker were very happy in celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary, early in November, 1926, both enjoying good health at that time and looking forward to many more years together. 
From: Steeves, Sarah Hunt, Book Of Remembrance of Marion County, Oregon Pioneers, 1840 - 1860, Portland, Oregon, The Berncliff Press, 1927, (Source: Joseph A. Baker, Salem, Oregon, 1927) pp 147-148.
OSBH DC (Marion County 1932) #909 - Joseph A. Baker, male, married (Frances E.), occupation retired merchant, b. 23 Jul 1839 in Illinois, d. 16 Dec 1932 in Salem, Oregon (1491 Commercial St.) at the age of 93 years, 4 months, 23 days, name of father Isaac Baker (b. Virginia), maiden name of mother Eliza Ash (b. Illinois), interment 17 Dec, undertaker Rigdon & Son, informant Ed L. Baker of Salem, Oregon.
OBITUARY -- BAKER - Joseph A. Baker, aged 93 years, passed away at 10 o'clock Friday morning at his home, 1491 South Commercial street. He is survived by his widow, Frances S.; one son, Edwin L. and a brother, George E. Baker of Sonoma county, California. The deceased was born in Illinois, July 23, 1839. He came to Oregon in 1847 and to Salem in 1849. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 3:15 from Rigdon's mortuary with Rev. W. C. Kantner, officiating. Interment in I. O. O. F. Cemetery. 
Oregon Statesman Dec. 11, 1932, 5:2 

Salem's oldest citizen, her longest continuous resident, passed away yesterday. He came to Salem. He was Joseph A. Baker, who would have been 94 years of age had he lived until July 23, 1933. He breathed his last at his home 1491 South Commercial street, at 10 o'clock Friday morning, survived by his widow, Frances E. Baker, his son, Edwin L. Baker, bookkeeper of the Miller store, and a brother, George E. of Sonoma county, California. He was born near Henry, Putnam county, Illinois, July 23, 1839. 
Isaac Baker, father of the deceased, was a native of Virginia, came west to Illinois, where he married, and after a few years lived in Iowa for a time, before starting to Oregon with his family in the epochal covered wagon immigration of 1847, which doubled the population of this then northwestern empire, extending from the Rockies to the Pacific and from parallel 42 to 49. A small sister of Joseph Baker died on the plains. Starting late, the company of which the Bakers were members, with Wiley Chapman, Salem pioneer, as captain, arrived at the Whitman mission (Waiilatpu) a few days before the massacre of November 29, 1847, and contemplated wintering there. But that situation was already over crowded with belated immigrants intending to remain until spring. Halting to remain until spring. Halting there would have ended the earthly pilgrimage of at least the male members of their wagon train. They proceeded wearily, half starved, on to the Willamette Valley, where Isaac Baker took up a claim near the present Molalla, but disposed of his improvements and land rights and joined the California gold rush in 1848. 
He was back in 1849, and bought a squatter's right to a section of land on what is now the Garden road, with his house just east of Kay park in the Salem of the present day. The straggling settlement then went by the name of "The Institute," after having been called "The Mills," and before that the Indian name Chemeketa. The Bakers selected this location for its school facilities, and in September, 1849, young Joseph entered the Oregon Institute as a student. He expected to be a doctor. He sawed wood to pay his tuition, and worked for the mission sawmill, bringing logs with oxen from the forest that stood near the present Marion county poor farm. When he entered school ... 17 houses in the struggling settlement that became Salem...and was called by that name ... the first town site plattings ... filed in 1850. ...and claim difficulties in California, where his father had filed on acreage while in the mines, prevented the coming true of the dreams of young Joseph about becoming a doctor. 
He learned the trade of harness and saddle making; then was the town's policeman, afterward city marshall, and finally sheriff of Marion county, which place he held for two terms, from 1876 to 1880. 
He married Frances Emma Lamb, March 2, 1865, and they had a happy wedded life that ... Miss Lamb, with her people, were among the first passengers over the Panama railroad, after it was finished in 1853. She came to Salem from California to regain her then failing health, along with the family of Mr. Strong, who was at the time, 1862, building the first telegraph line joining Oregon with California and the rest of the world. Among the schoolmates at the Oregon Institute of young Joe Baker were John and Lafayette Lane ... whose names were written large across the pages of Oregon history. Lafayette Lane served his state in congress. Joseph A. Baker held many positions of trust in official and business life here. He was a partner with R. M. Wade & Co., pioneer hardware and machinery dealers of Salem, Mr. Wade afterward being one of the wealthiest wholesale merchants of Portland. He was a director of the Williams & England bank of Salem. He was active in many lines up to a few years ago, and a considerable holder of real property in the capital city. He lived a life of strict honesty and great industry, and he has left a high mark on the life of the city with which he grew up from small beginnings. In the old days, he was a member of one of the pioneer bands, and in every worthwhile community enterprise he was affiliated for three generations. Up to the very last, Mr. Baker retained his remarkable memory. He was the greatest repository of information concerning pioneer days and people, and in this respect, as in other, his going will leave a place that cannot be filled. Funeral services will take place this afternoon at 3:15 o'clock from Rigdon's mortuary, with Rev. W. C. Kantner officiating. Interment will be in the I.O.O.F. cemetery. A prominent Salem man telephoned last evening, saying all Salem should honor the name of her oldest citizen; suggesting that business places might be closed at least for the short period during the funeral services. 
Chapman, pg. 44-45.
Joseph A. Baker 
1839 - 1932
OSBH DC (Marion County 1932) #909 
Saucy Survey & Photographs
Steeves, pp 147-148 
Chapman, pg 44-45. 
1889-1890 R.L. Polk & Co's Salem Directory 
OS Dec. 11, 1932, 5:2
LOT: 502 SPACE: 4 SW LONGITUDE: N 44° 55.191' LATITUDE: W 123° 02.861'

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