William H. Baker
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

Henry BAKER, the grandfather of William H., resided about a half a mile from Westfield church, in Union county, New Jersey, on the road to Springfield. He married Mary HEDGES, of Long Island, and they had six children,-five sons and one daughter. Their fourth son, Jeremiah, was the father of William H.

William Hedges BAKER, the subject of this sketch, was born January 3, 1806, and was married June 15, 1848, to Clarissa, daughter of Thomas and Maria DELL. They had ten children,-Jeremiah, William H., Mary K. (wife of Dr. Samuel D. JOHNSTON-, Anna M. (wife of Horace L. DUNHAM), Andrew K., David, Phebe H., Thomas, Henrietta and Lydia J.,- of whom seven are now living. The oldest, who was a tanner and a farmer, died in 1873. David died suddenly, October 18, 1881, lacking only ten days of his majority, and Phebe, November 1 following in her nineteenth year.

Mr. BAKER owned, in connection with his brother Henry, the Baker homestead, the Valley forge, a gristmill, and two iron mines. The DeHart Baker mine, located on Mine Hill, was developed by the Baker brothers, and afterward, while under lease to S.T. Scranton & Company, was sold to lessees and Messrs. WATERMAN and BEAVER in 1873. It is now owned by Joseph WHARTON, of Philadelphia. The other mine, also called the Baker Mine, in the township of Rockaway and near the homestead, was leased a number of years to the Allentown Iron Company, and was very productive. Two veins cross the property, -the Mount pleasant and the large vein which is extensively operated on the adjoining Richards mine lot of the Thomas Iron Company. At present they are not operated, having become exhausted. The Baker brothers are also owners of other farming, mining and timber lands. Probably the most valuable timber land in the country was owned by them. Their business operations were extensive and varied. Mr. BAKER died June 27, 1876, quite suddenly, of heart disease, as he was sitting in his house conversing with a neighbor.

In politics he was a Democrat. He inherited his father's industrious habits and good business qualities. He was an upright, honest, kind, and obliging man, greatly esteemed in the community, and his loss was deeply regretted. He was strongly attached to his home and family, and rarely went away from Mount Pleasant, but left all outside business matters to be managed by his brother Henry.

It is a remarkable fact that the Baker Homestead has been in possession of the family nearly a century. It was located by Jacob Ford in 1757, was known as the Jonah AUSTEN plantation in 1774, and was afterward the property of Josiah BEAMAN, the iron manufacturer of Dover, by whom it was sold in 1792 to Jeremiah BAKER, who devised it to his two sons, Henry and William H., in 1861.

Transcribed by Christopher Cresta


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