J. M. Baker, a well-known farmer of the Fourteenth District, was born March 31, 1830, in White County, Tenn. His parents were William H. and Lucinda (Erwin) Baker. The father was born about 1800 in Virginia, of English descent, a son of James and Mary (Holmes) Baker. The father was a brave soldier in the war of 1812. He died at Norfolk. His widow immigrated to Tennessee with her children, five daughters and one son. They located in White County, where she died in 1856. William H. died November 14, 1872. His wife was of Irish origin, a daughter of William and Jane (Dildine) Erwin. His Maternal grandfather held a prominent position in the Revolutionary war.
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The subject of this sketch was raised on a farm, and educated at the Union Institute, Dekalb County, in which county he engaged in farming when about twenty-three years of age. Shortly afterward he moved to White County, where, about 1870, he was elected magistrate, and served two terms. In 1883 he returned to Dekalb County, and in 1885 was elected magistrate.
He was married, in March 1854, to Barbary, daughter of William and Zelpha Robinson. This Union resulted in the birth of Mary Viola (the widow of S. Simrell), Elizabeth C., William R., Susan M. (the wife of M. Davis), James M., Sarah Lena, Emma Florence, Barbary L. and Charles R. Mr. Baker is a worthy citizen and self-made man. He has accumulated his possessions by economy and judicious management. He has been an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church since 1883. He is a member of the Masonic order and K. of H., and a stanch Democrat.