Judge Nathan Baker, of Santa Ana, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, March 10, 1817. His parents, Nathan and Mary (Blizzard) Baker, both natives of Virginia, had three sons and two daughters. The subject of this sketch, the youngest and only one living, started west at the age of eighteen years, stopping first in Washington County, Iowa, and then in Lee County, same State, where he followed farming until 1849. In 1850 he was elected to the State Senate by that county, and at the close of his first term he resigned in order to come to California. He came by way of New Orleans and the Isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco, in May, 1851. The first three months he spent in mining in Shasta County; then was engaged upon a farm near Stockton a year, and in the fall of 1853 bought a stock of goods, the first ever taken to Visalia, and there engaged in the mercantile business until 1858, when he bought a ranch in that valley; but this proved to be a bad investment, for he lost all he had by the flood of 1861-’62. Engaging then in public affairs, he was elected County Judge of Tulare County. At the beginning of the Rebellion he was the only Republican officer in the county. After a four-years term as Judge, he again engaged in ranching, and again lost all he had by floods.
He entered mercantile business at Portersville, and continued in the same from 1868 to 1878, when he came to Santa Ana and bought land, which he laid off into city lots and sold at ” boom ” prices. Some of the avenues and streets bear his name. His residence is beautifully located on Ross Street, in the northwestern part of the city. Having been very successful in his deals here, and being now far down the shady side of the hill of life, Judge Baker has retired from active business, and is capable and willing to contribute reminiscences of pioneer days to the historian.
He was a Democrat until the breaking out of the war, since which time he has been a stanch Republican.
Judge Baker was first married in 1840, to Mary Colwell, a native of Ohio, and they had four children, namely: Robert, Ellen, now Mrs. R. C. Redd; Mary, wife of Captain H. Noble; and Emma, wife of Lieutenant Hepburn. The mother of these children died in the fall of 1849, and in the fall of 1863 Judge Baker married Mrs. L. P. Taylor, in Sacramento, California.