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Saline County Bios
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Dickinson, Saline, McPherson and Marion Counties," 1893

L. C. BAKER, a lumber dealer of Solomon City, established business in 1877 in this place, carrying on operations as a member of the Lake Superior Lumber Company for two years. He then became sole proprietor of the business, and has carried on operations alone continuously since. He deals in lumber, lath, shingles, coal, wood, hair, plaster, lime, cement, etc., and carries a stock valued at about $8,000. His annual sales amount to about $35,000. He is a straightforward business man, and by his upright dealing and courteous treatment he has secured a liberal patronage.

Mr. Baker was born in New Bedford, Mass., June 30, 1839, and is a son of arehelaus and Rhoda (Smith) Baker, natives of Cape Cod. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to the Pilgrim Fathers, who came to this country in the "Mayflower." The family has had its representatives in the Bay State for more than three hundred years. The father of our subject was a sea captain and engaged in the coasting trade. L. C. remained at home until fifteen years of age, and then went to sea with his father, remaining with him for two years. For three years he was on a vessel engaged in the coasting trade and in fishing, and for a year and a-half owned a fishing boat. Eleven years of this life were spent upon the water. He sailed mainly from New York, and during the war carried Government stores from that place. In 1858, he left Philadelphia on the "Java" for Nicaragua. The vessel, which was loaded with coal, grounded on an island, and he lost his ship and all he had except the clothes he wore. He then shipped at St. Thomas to return to Charleston, but sixty-three days passed ere he reached his destination. For twenty-one days eleven men lived upon a half-barrel of flour and a cask of water, and ere help arrived they were nearly famished. On another occasion, Mr. Baker suffered greatly from lack of food and water, and he again lost his vessel, which ran ashore at Martha's Vineyard.

Mr. Baker abandoned the sea in 1866, and the following spring came to Solomon City to assist the company to build the salt works which were started the previous year. He was employed for six months on the works, and after an absence of two years he returned to this place and took charge of the salt works, which he managed for about six years, when they were sold to the company now owning them. The annual product was about ten thousand bushels. In 1877, Mr. Baker opened a coal-yard, two years later opened a lumber-yard, and has since enlarged the same by purchasing the yard of M. Nicolay. He has been honored with the office of Mayor of the city, to which position he was elected in 1885, serving two years. During his administration the Fire Department was established, largely through his instrumentality. The department is formed by volunteer service, and they have a fire-engine and hand-engine, with large reservoirs for water. In politics, Mr. Baker is a stalwart Republican.

On the 1st of January, 1869, our subject was married. Miss Emma Wimsatt becoming his wife. The lady was born and reared in Missouri. She belongs to the Catholic Church, and their marriage ceremony was performed by Father Farver. She takes a prominent and active part in church work, and is a lady of refinement and culture. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born four children: Frank, express agent of Solomon City; Fred, Edna and Maud. They also have an adopted son, William C, now twenty-six years of age.

His parents, William and Augustus Hooker, came from St. Louis to Kansas and started to their claim. The bridge across Buckeye Creek was covered with water and the railing had been torn away. The team and wagon were washed into the stream, and the father, mother and a year-old daughter were all drowned. William was saved, and at the age of three became an inmate of the Baker home, where he has since resided. He is now employed in the Union Pacific depot, and is an intelligent young man of excellent character.

Mr. Baker is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has filled all the offices in the Blue Lodge. He is now recognized as one of the substantial citizens of the community, but when became to Kansas he had only $35 in his pocket. His methodical and systematic business management, combined with perseverance and industry, has won him success. In addition to his business, he owns three farms of four hundred .acres, located in Ottawa, Saline and Dickinson Counties, which he rents. A pleasant, genial gentleman, he as won a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and is highly respected by all.

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