Biography of Hon. M. Baker
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HON. M. BAKER. – This well-known attorney, and senior member of the firm of Baker & Baker, is not only a pioneer of Eastern Oregon, but comes from a long line of the subduers of the wilderness who have lived in the Old West. He was born in Illinois in 1831, and in 1836 went to Iowa. In this new territory the advantages of education were few; and the frontiersman’s boy must work. Nevertheless the boy, as he grew to youth, determined to have a hand in affairs, and began reading law, being admitted to the bar in 1860. In this same year he had attained a prominence sufficient to be sent as a delegate to the Chicago convention which nominated Lincoln for his first term. A journey across the continent had, however, been determined on; and with his family, together with his parents, brothers and sisters, he set forth in 1862. He had been married on December 12, 1850, in the State of Iowa, to a good and noble woman who has at all times done her part well, both as a wife and mother, and who is justly entitled to equal credit and honor with her husband for whatever success they have had in life, as well as in rearing and educating their children to be upright men and woman. The father, James Baker, who accompanied his children and their families on that long journey, is still living at La Grande at the great age of eighty-five.
Their journey to Oregon was environed with dangers from the Indians; but they avoided all and reached La Grande on the 31st of September, 1862. A home was made on the prairie, but soon left for one in town. Five families then comprised the city of La Grande; but Mr. Baker began the practice of law, though keeping an anchor to windward in the form of a band of cattle. He has, however, never abandoned his professional calling. Some of his early experiences were troublesome, as when he was obliged to walk to Walla Walla and purpose shorts on credit for the use of his family but his abilities have since gained for him a competence. His energies, however, have not been exclusively devoted to his own fortune, but largely also to the public prosperity. Though not an office-seeker, Judge Baker has been a very active worker for the Republican party, having stumped Eastern Oregon and more frequently his own county in its interests. He has been active in public improvements, having been one of the originators of the National Bank, of which he is president; and having also been one of the founders of the Blue Mountain University, for the establishment of which he donate ten percent of the seventeen thousand dollars required. The children of Mr. Baker are J.F., who is his law partner, S.K., Jessie G., Carrie S., Horace G., Lloyd L., and James V.