He came to the State from the Old Dominion having been born at the historic old town of Louisa Court House on May 7, 1860, one year before the outbreak of the war which was to surge and eddy about his old home and finally bring freedom to him and to his people in America. His father Stephen Baker died during the war. His mother was Nellie White.
Coming of school age just about the time the public schools were established, he went to school only a week, for it was necessary for him to begin work at an early age. He has been a hard worker ever since. It seems strange in this day of high wages to be told that the boy worked the first year he was away from home for $9.00, and even when older put in many a day at from 25 to 40 cents a day.
In 1872 he left Virginia on railroad work in which line he continued for eighteen years. He moved to Huntington 35 years ago and has seen the city grow from a small village to a splendid modern city.
He is in a very real sense self made. He tells of a most unusual experience when he was about eighteen years of age. At that time he was at Clifton Forge, Va. He had been paying attention to and was in correspondence with a lady but was at the disadvantage of having his letters to her written by another, and her letters to him read by another. One night he dreamed of writing her with his own hand and directing the letter to her and receiving and reading for himself her reply. When he awoke, he secured paper, pen and ink and proceeded to write and direct the letter. In due time the answer came and he was able without assistance to read the letter. Since that time he has handled his own correspondence and reads books for himself. His favorite book is the Bible.
In politics he is a Republican though he has not been active. He is a member of the Baptist church in which he has been deacon and treasurer for 35 years.
It is perhaps as a secret order man, however, that he is best known. In the fall of 1921, he was elected Grand Master of the West Virginia Grand Lodge of Masons in which order he has worked his way up to the 33d degree. He is also Grand Potentate of the Ancient Order of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Pythians, is head of the Eastern Star and is identified with the Heroines of Jericho and the Daughters of the Sphinx.
On April 30, 1903, Mr. Baker married Miss Martha Scott a native of Powhatan, Va.
He believes that the best interests of the race are to be promoted, first, by getting closer to God, and after that by education.
His home and property interests are at Huntington.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center