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Edward C. Baker. Born on a farm in Champaign County, Edward C. Baker has never deviated to any extent from the vocations to which he was reared, and increasingly fruitful results have flowed from his efforts. He now has the handling and management of one of the finest stock and grain farms of Champaign Township, located on Rural Route No. 5 out of the City of Champaign.
Mr. Baker was born in Rantoul Township February 26, 1872, and is a son of Henry and Mary (Gehmrote) Baker. His parents were both born in Germany. Henry Baker came to America in 1837, and in the same year located at Champaign. For a short while he was a railroad workman, afterward did teaming in Champaign, and then removed to Rantoul Township, where he bought a farm. He was successfully identified with the management of that place until his death in February, 1896. His wife died there in 1880. Their children were nine in number: William, of Arcola, Illinois; Anna, wife of Adolph Langhoff, of Urbana; Lucy, wife of Charles Miers, of Thomasboro, Illinois; Henry, of Rantoul; Minnie, who lives at Thomasboro, widow of Jacob Miers; Edward C.; George, of Hensley Township; Albert, of Somers Township; and Louis, deceased.
The environment of the average farm boy encompassed Edward C. Baker while he was growing to manhood, and his early education came from the local schools. At the age of eighteen he began farm work at monthly wages. After two years he rented a place of forty acres, and then leased and had under his direct management for three years 120 acres of the home farm. When the homestead was sold and divided he acquired forty acres of it, but soon took up farming on the renting plan, which on the whole he has found eminently satisfactory, especially when the high prices of land are considered. He rented eighty acres, which he fanned two years, and in 1900 he rented the 290 acres of the Burnham estate in section 2 of Champaign Township. This is a model estate, and Mr. Baker has proved himself a competent man to handle it. He is a general farmer, but also has a large dairy of Jersey cows.
On April 22, 1896, Mr. Baker married Miss Charlotte Demien, a native of Champaign County. They have two children: Joseph Louie, born October 9, 1899, and Olive Esther, who was born August 25, 1903, and died September 1, 1904. Mr. Baker is a Republican, a member of the Lutheran Church, and has been a member of the local school board.
Mrs. Baker is a daughter of John and Caroline (Peters) Demien, both natives of Germany. Her father came to America about 1858 and was one of the pioneers at Champaign, Illinois. He assisted in building the Mark Carley home, the first house in Champaign, and he also helped set out the trees in the city park there. He was an employee of the Illinois Central Railway until injured, and then took up farming on eighty acres in Hensley Township. That was the stage of his active efforts and enterprise for seventeen years, after which he sold and bought 160 acres east of Thomasboro. He farmed that land for twenty-two years, and then retired and removed to Gifford, where his wife died March 19, 1911, and he himself passed away March 7, 1914. Mr. and Mrs. Demien had the following children: Otelia, deceased; Caroline, wife of Adam Heardt, of Burt, Iowa; Fred, of Pomeroy, Iowa; Martha, wife of Richard Altman, of Penfield, Illinois; Matilda, twin sister of Martha, wife of R. L. Washer, of Urbana; Charlotte, wife of Mr. Edward C. Baker; Verona, wife of C. F. Manke, of Thomasboro; Renatha, twin sister of Verona and living in Chicago; Lucy, wife of Henry Langhoff, of Somers Township; and Louie, of Rantoul Township.