Lee County Biography


This gentleman, at present foreman of the Emerson Lumber Company at Dixon, has been connected with that company for ten years, with the exception of three years spent in Sully County, S. Dak. He is an extensive landowner in the latter State, possessing three hundred and twenty acres of land, which is well improved, and two tracts of one hundred and sixty acres each, which are unbroken. He also owns one hundred and sixty acres in Nelson Township, this county, divided into two farms of eighty acres each, with good improvements and buildings. He came to this State and county a poor man, struggling to get a start in life, beginning his work on the land last mentioned, in 1857 and by hard work has succeeded in acquiring his present possessions and comfortable position in life.

Mr. Baker was born July 20, 1826, in Somerset County, Pa. His father, Henry Baker, was a native of the same county, of German parentage, whose father died when he was two years old. He was reared by an older sister, and when old enough, learned the trades of a carpenter, millwright and cooper, becoming a very skillful mechanic. He also became a successful farmer and at the time of his death, which took place in 1863, when at the age of seventy-six years, he was the owner of considerable land in Somerset County. He was a Whig in politics, and in religion a devoted member of the Lutheran Church. His wife, whose maiden name was Eve Young, like her husband was a native of Somerset County, Pa., and also of German ancestry. She died in 1871 at the age of eighty-one years. Her father, Ludwig Young, was a farmer in Somerset County, and was a native of Germany, from which country lie came with his parents when only seven years of age. He died, when eighty-five years old, at the home which he had occupied for so many years. His wife, whose maiden name was Miss Barren, was a native of Pennsylvania and lived until very advanced in years. They were both members of the Lutheran Church.

Our subject is one of fourteen children, eight of whom lived to maturity and became the heads of families. Our subject and his brother Henry, who is a farmer in Westmoreland County, Pa., are the only members of the family now surviving. Ludwig Baker remained at home until reaching years of manhood, and inherited from his father a natural facility in the use of tools, although he never became a practical mechanic. He was married in Somerset, in his native county, to Miss Carolina Benford, who was born in that city, the county seat of Somerset County, August 13, 1822. She was the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Chopenig Benford, natives of Pennsylvania, of Scotch and Dutch ancestry, respectively. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Benford settled on a farm, Mr. Benford carrying on, in addition to his farming operations, a tannery. In later years he became the proprietor of a public house on the Somerset and Mt. Pleasant Turnpike, which was at that time a well-known and much traveled high­way. In this business he and his wife continued for years, becoming well known throughout the country as good entertainers and worthy people. Here the decease of both occurred, Mr. Benford, who was born in 1793, departing this life, January 7, 1866, his wife's death taking place April 8,1855, at the age of fifty-five years and eight months They had made hosts of friends during their life­time, especially among the traveling public, and their loss was greatly felt.

Mrs. Baker is one of ten children born to her parents, six sons and four daughters, of whom the sons and three daughters are now living. Our subject and his wife have been the parents of five children of whom three are deceased: Henry, Eda C, and Thomas H., all of whom died in childhood. Those living are Anna Mi, wife of Hall Schofield, who resides in Rock Falls, this State, where Mr. Schofield carries on a livery stable. Mrs. Schofield was a teacher for twelve years before her marriage; Bessie remained at home and for some years has been engaged in teaching.

Mr. and Mrs. Baker are well known and highly esteemed by people in the community where they reside, and Mrs. Baker and her daughter Bessie are worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, Mr. Baker is a stanch Republican and takes a deep interest in everything affecting the welfare of his town and county. Mr. Baker was Justice of the Peace while in Somerset County, Pa., and Constable in Lee County.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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