Biography of F. S. Baker
F. S. BAKER. This gentleman has been one of the wide-awake and enterprising citizens of Harrison, Arkansas, since 1873, but first saw the light of day in Smith County, Virginia, May 22, 1842, a son of Andrew and Mary (Hash) Baker, who were also Virginians. They came with their family to Fulton County, Arkansas, and there the father was successfully engaged in farming and merchandising up to the breaking out of the great Civil War, and they then moved to Jasper, Newton County. In 1862 the father enlisted as a lieutenant in the Confederate service, with which he served until the war closed, being a member of Company of the Fourteenth Arkansas Volunteers. He was in the battles of Pea Ridge, Port Hudson and others, but after the close of the war Mr. Baker returned to his native county of Grayson, Virginia, where he made his home for a number of years. He then returned to Arkansas, thence to Oregon, thence back to Arkansas, and is now living retired from the active duties of life in Harrison, being in the seventy-eighth year of his age. His wife has reached the seventy-sixth milestone of her life. They reared a family of six children: F. S.; Elizabeth, wife of E. Pugh, of Boone County; Levi, who is a miller at Bellefonte; Eli makes his home in the Indian Territory; Ietitia is the wife of William Cecil, of Harrison, and William is a resident of Oregon. Louisa and another child died when quite young.
F. S. Baker attended the common schools and Liberty Academy of Smith County, Virginia, gaining thus a good education, but at the age of seventeen years he emigrated from his native county and took up his residence in Fulton County, and one year later in Searcy County. After his marriage, which occurred in 1860 and was to Miss Mary Harrison, a daughter of R. W. and Clarinda (Austin) Harrison, he settled on a farm near Buffalo Springs in that county, where he made his home for several years.
His wife’s parents came from Tennessee to this State, and located at Bluff Springs, where the father followed the calling of an attorney, becoming well known in his professional capacity throughout that section of the State. He was a strong Union man during the war, and while the great struggle between the North and South was in progress he made his home in Springfield, dying in Newton County in 1887, his widow still surviving him and a resident of Harrison. He and his wife reared the following children: Sarah, widow of Berry Cecil; Caroline, wife of A. F. Davis, of Harrison; George (deceased); John, who is living in Newton County; Mary (Mrs. Baker); L. F., a resident of Newton County; Wesley, who lives in Texas; Robert, a merchant of Jasper, Arkansas, and Franklin, also a resident of Jasper. Mrs. Baker was born in Tennessee, in February, 1840, and was a child at the time her parents removed to this State. She and Mr. Baker are the parents of three children: Mary A., wife of S. P. Elzey, who is a clerk in the land office at Harrison, has one child, Edith; James is living on a farm in the vicinity of Harrison, is married to Eliza Nash, and has one child, Roy S.; and Wesley W. is married to Oma Webb, has one child, Mabel, and is the editor of the Newton Herald, at Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas; Ellen died at the age of ten years, and Clay at the age of four years.
In 1862 F. S. Baker enlisted in Company D, Second Arkansas Cavalry, and saw the most of his service at Springfield; he was honorably discharged, and took his family to Springfield, where he made his home until 1865, when he returned to Arkansas, locating at Jasper, and there entered mercantile life. At the end of about eight years he came to Harrison and engaged in milling, in partnership with Capt. H. W. Fick, an early pioneer of the town, and also conducted a mercantile establishment up to 1889. Upon his arrival in Harrison he was appointed to the position of postmaster under Hayes, continued to hold it under Garfield, and also filled the same position at other places under Grant’s two administrations. In 889 he was appointed recorder in the land office of the United States at Harrison, and his time expired January 21, 1894. He was deputy clerk while in Newton County, held other important offices, and in every relation in life his walk has been upright and straight forward, eminently calculated to win him the respect and approval of his fellows. He was at one time one of the largest jobbers in the mercantile line in the county, handled over 2,000 bales of cotton annually, and also ably conducted his large farm two miles north of Harrison, on which lie is now living.
Mr. and Mrs. Baker are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is a Knight Templar in the A. F. & A. M., and for ten years has been a high priest in the same. He held the office of eminent commander of his commandery, and has twice been master of his lodge. He is a member of Harrison Lodge of the I. O. O. F., belongs to the G. A. R., is a member of the Council of Administrators of the State, and is deputy of the order of the Eastern Star. He has been a member of the church since he was fourteen years of age, has been superintendent of the Sunday-school for the past sixteen years, and in church and educational matters lie has always been remarkably active. He has been a member of the city council several times, and has ever been an enthusiastic Republican.