Biography of George Baker

George Baker, a retired blacksmith of Bunker Hill where for many years he worked at his trade, is a native of Dorsetshire, England, and was reared as a shepherd boy, serving in that capacity until about fifteen years of age, when he began learning the trade which he made his life work. He served as an apprentice until he had attained his majority, working under the direction of a Mr. Wright and John Abbots of Wiltshire, England. He then for a time worked as a journeyman until March 2, 1854, when he severed all business connection with his native land and sailed for America on the vessel, “Euroclydon,” which left Liverpool and after five weeks dropped anchor in the harbor of New York. He spent about a week in that Eastern metropolis and then came on to Bunker Hill, where he has since made his home. His parents never crossed the Atlantic, John Baker, the father, was a native of Dorsetshire, and there they lived and died. He worked as a coachman for an English gentleman and married Miss Ann Gluler, who died in Dorsetshire at the age of sixty-seven years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Baker were members of the Church of England. The members of the family living in Macoupin County are George, Charles and a sister, Mrs. Martha Dike, all of whom reside in Bunker Hill township.

Shortly after his arrival in Bunker Hill, our subject, George Baker, began working as a journeyman but a few years later, he built a smithy and carried on a successful business until 1886. He is an efficient workman and received the patronage of those who resided for miles around. His efforts were crowned with prosperity and from a humble position he worked his way upward until he is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the community, having a handsome competence which will enable him to spent his declining years in retirement from all labor.

Mr. Baker has been twice married. In Bunker Hill, he was joined in wedlock with Elizabeth J. Kitchell, who was born near Blanford, England, December 11, 1839. Her death occurred June 9, 1882, and was mourned not only by her immediate family but by her many friends. With her parents she started for America in 1851, but on the way the vessel was wrecked at Nassau and from the effects of the exposure the mother died. The father and daughter continued their journey to Illinois and settled in Woodburn, this county, where Mr. Kitchell passed away some years later. He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Baker, in Bunker Hill, June 8, 1871, when about seventy-six years of age. Mrs. Baker was for a number of years a consistent member of the Methodist Church and was a noble Christian woman, held in universal esteem. By her marriage she became the mother of six children, three of whom are now deceased – Jane and George W., who died in youth; and Emily, the deceased wife of August Buch, a druggist. Edward is now engaged in blacksmithing in Bunker Hill; Mary A. is the wife of J. W. Pierce, a druggist of Ballenger, Tex.; and Thomas A., who is employed in the hardware and implement store of Mr. McPherson.

For his second wife, Mr. Baker married Eliza Meyers, nee Miles, who was born in Norfolkshire, England, in 1848. In her native land she became the wife of James Meyers and together they crossed the Atlantic, settling in Macoupin County, Ill., where the death of the husband occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Baker attend the Methodist Church and in the social world they hold an enviable position, having many warm friends throughout the community. he is at present a member of the City Council, to which he was elected on the Republican ticket and has held several offices of honor and trust, the duties of which he ever faithfully and promptly discharged. His genial nature makes him a favorite with all who know him and his acquaintance throughout the county is extensive.

Source: Chapman bros. Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin county, Illinois. Chicago: Biographical publishing company, 1891.

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