Jackson County

Biography - Thomas Baker

THOMAS E. BAKER, who is engaged in the hotel business in Percy, is a popular and agreeable host, and one of the leading citizens of this place. He was born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on the 9th of March, 1844, and is a son of James K. and Sarah E. (Legget) Baker. The parents were both natives of Germany, were reared and married in that country, and in 1843 crossed the broad Atlantic to America, locating in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Mr. Baker was a wagon-maker by trade and followed that pursuit for a number of years. He became an honored and influential citizen of the community in which he made his home, and was elected to various official positions. He held the office of Circuit Clerk, was afterwards elected County Clerk, and filled those two offices alternately during the remainder of his life. His frequent re-elections indicated the prompt and faithful manner in which he discharged his duties and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow townsmen.

Our subject spent his early boyhood days amidst play and work. He attended school in his native town until a youth of fourteen years, when he entered the employ of a cabinet-maker and served a full apprenticeship to that trade. When he had thoroughly mastered the business, he left Cape Girardeau for the south and traveled through Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi in the employ of the Thompson Pill Company. Shortly after his return to Missouri he removed to Steeleville, Ill. This was in May, 1869. He began working in the mines at that place and there made his home for a period of seven years, when he embarked in stock dealing, which business he followed until his removal to Percy in 1885.

Some years previous, in 1873, Mr. Baker was united in marriage with Mary E., daughter of Henry Rury, a native of Germany, who emigrated to this country and is now living in Percy. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born six children, and the family circle yet remains unbroken. In order of birth they are as follow: Theresa, Mattie J., James H., Mollie J., Jennie J. and Samuel R. The mother of this family was called to the home beyond in August, 1891, and on the 21st of October, 1892, Mr. Baker was again married, his second union being with Miss Lydia Roston, of Campbell Hill, Ill., and a daughter of .James W. and Jane (Wylie) Roston. The father's family was from Kentucky, and her mother's came from the Emerald Isle.

On coming to Percy in 1885, Mr. Baker embarked in the hotel business, which he has followed continuously since. He has been very successful in his undertakings, and from the public receives a very liberal patronage. His hotel is complete in its appointments, being well furnished and supplied with all modern conveniences. The proprietor IS a pleasant, genial man and therefore a popular host. He started out in life for himself at the age of fourteen, without capital or the aid of influential friends, and has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming the difficulties in his path, until he is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the community. Socially he is a member of Alma Lodge No. 497, A. F. & A. M., of Steeleville,anrl politically is a Republican. He has held many township offices, and at present is acceptably filling the position of Treasurer of Percy.

Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 444.

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