Myron A Baker, the pioneer attorney, who is yet a successful and prominent practitioner of Kenosha, was born in Cuyahoga County, New York, October 26, 1839, and is the son of Elisha and Adeline R. (Bailey). Bakers, natives of New York, were married there and reared a family of four children, all of whom are yet living, as follows:
Laura B., now the wife of A.T. Gould of Somers Township
Myron A. (this biography)
Frances A., wife if F.B. Dunning of Madison, Wisconsin
Warren E. a carpenter, living in Somers Township.
Elisha Baker was a cashier of a bank in Syracuse, New York for many years. After coming to Wisconsin he engaged in farming. Both Elisha and his wife's remains rest in the cemetery at Sylvania, Racine County where a monument has been erected to their memory. Mr. Elisha Baker was a stanch Republican and took a very active part in local politics. He held the office Township Clerk for several years and at the time of the uprising of New York against Canada was Colonel of the regiment called the Silver Grays. He was a personal friend and schoolmate of Millard Filmore, also of William H. Seward, Secretary of State under President Lincoln. A man of sterling worth and integrity he had a host of warm friends and his death was mourned by many.
We now take up the history of Myron A. Baker who is well and favorable known throughout this county. he acquired his education in the district schools until sixteen years of age, when he entered the Kenosha schools, and finished the common branches of learning. Having spent some time at the State University of Madison, he returned home and further continued his studies in the law office of E.W. Evans and later of J.J. Pettit, being admitted to the bar in May, 1862.
Some time previous he had completed his studies but his enlistment for service in the late war interfered with his admission to the bar. He was one of the first volunteers in Wisconsin, becoming a member of company G, First Wisconsin Infantry, in April, 1861. On a certain Sunday in that month on returning from church, he found a notice tacked on office stairs which told him that war had begun. Hastily eating his dinner, he in company with Levi Howland started out in the county to find men to form a company and by Monday night, had secured forty recruits.
An incident or two connected with Mr. Baker's first experience as a soldier are especially interesting and go to show the metal of the man. Before going to Milwaukee to be sworn into service he was told that he would not be accepted on account of a sightless eye. Not wishing to be rejected from the service, he went to Chicago , had an oculist put in an eye and then repaired to Milwaukee where he was examined by a regular army examining officer who prided himself upon his skill in detecting blemishes. Mr. Baker was examed, pronounced sound and sworn into service. The facts in the case soon reached the examiner's ear, and he recalled Mr. Baker to ascertain if it could be possible. On finding that it was even true, he replied that he could not reject him then and if he could he would not. He realized that a man with such grit would make a better soldier than one with perfect vision lacking courage.
After being mustered into service the regiment remained at Milwaukee for four weeks, drilling and preparing for the field. One evening several of the regimental officers drove out to try the boys on guard duty. Of course the order to the guards was to let no one pass without giving the countersign. After driving past several guards they came to Mr. Baker's beat and on his demanding the countersign they feigned to be indignant that a private should make a demand of this officer. He was threatened with arrest and finally the Lieutenant Colonel alighted from the carriage and started to pass the line anyhow whereupon Mr. Baker promptly prodded him with his bayonet. The countersign was then given and away the officers rode leaving threats behind them. Mr. Baker began to have some misgivings as to whether he had done right, but somehow he felt that "no one" meant them. The next morning two men were sent to arrest him and take him to headquarters. What was his surprise to find that a banquet and complimentary speeches were in reserve for him instead of punishment.
Mr. Baker served for three months as a private and received a gunshot wound in the first battle in which he was engaged, and then returned to his home, remaining until 1864, when he went to Memphis, Tenn., the location of the Thirty-Third Wisconsin Infantry, to visit his brother Warren E. who served for three years as one of the boys in the blue.
Continuing there until after the fall of Vicksburg, Mr. Baker returned to Kenosha on the 6th of July, 1864 and resumed practice as a lawyer. In 1866 he formed a partnership with Judge Webster, which connection continued until the election of Mr. Baker as District Attorney in 1870. He served his full term, was re-elected and served for the two succeeding years. After an interval of two years he was again elected District Attorney, which position he has held altogether for twelve years. At the same time he continued the practice of law and in 1873 resumed partnership with Judge Webster, their business relations continuing until the death of the latter.
On July 1, 1868, Mr. Baker married Rachel F. Burgess, who was born in Salem Township, Kenosha County, on May 30, 1843, and is a daughter of Daniel C. and Sylvia (Maynard) Burgess. Her parents were of English extraction and were natives of the Empire State. Emigrating westward in 1837, they became pioneer settlers of Kenosha County, where Mr. Burgess followed farming. He died in 1876 and his wife in 1889. He and his wife were prominent and highly respected people.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born seven children: Myron B. who is now a student in Harvard College, preparing for general literary work; Norman L. graduated from the Kenosha High School and is now studying law with this father; Robert V. was also graduated from the High School of Kenosha; Almeda L., Addie B., and Portia Eudora complete the family.
Socially Mr. Baker is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Knights of Pythias.
More About Elisha Baker
Elisha Baker was born about 1811 in the State of New York. He married Adeline R. Bailey who was born in New York about 1814. Adeline R. Bailey was the sister of Norman Bailey. Their daughter Laura and son Myron (2nd Myron) were born in Owasco, Cayuga County, New York. Elisha was a cashier in a bank in Syracuse, New York for many years. He was a captain in the New York state militia. He came to Wisconsin in 1838 and became a farmer in Paris Township and owned an additional 40 acres in Somers Township, Section 7 West.
Two children were born in Wisconsin: Frances A. (Abigail) and Warren E.
Elisha died on May 6, 1857. His wife died June, 1889. Both are buried in Sylvania Cemetery. There is no stone with her name on it anymore. It is not known who Deborah Baker was, this stone is almost illegible, and it could be Elisha's mother, because she came West with the Baker family.
Elisha's father was a Revolutionary War solider and died in New York. His mother Lois came West and died in Kenosha County. Adaline's father also served in the Revolutionary War. Mr. Bailey married Abigail Price who came to Wisconsin and died in Kenosha County. Abigail (Price) Bailey, mother of Adaline, could also be buried here. She lived with her daughter on the farm in Parish Township. She died on April 13, 1866 at the age of 65.
|1861 Partial map of Somers Township, Kenosha County|
See Section 7 - lower left - 40 acres of Baker.
Click on map to view larger.