Just keep trying…
It was 176 years ago yesterday that William Baker and his wife Mary Jane, called Jennie, welcomed their second-born child and first-born son.
Thomas A. Baker, born 20 November 1844, was The Legal Genealogist‘s first cousin three times removed. His father William Baker was the older brother of my second great grandmother Martha Louisa (Baker) Cottrell; his grandfather Martin Baker was my third great grandfather.
And I figured I’d poke around a little with Thomas’s story, since it was his birthday and all… and especially since I had pathetically little information in my database about him. Essentially just the begats — and not even all of them.
Born? Check. 20 November 1844, probably Cherokee County, North Carolina.1
Married? Check. 26 March 1871 to Jennie Rawhouser in Louisa County, Iowa.2
Died? Um … hang on a sec… okay, now that’s a check. 15 November 1920, in Oklahoma.3 And that makes this double appropriate — it’s just past the 100th anniversary of his death.
So… what else do we know? We know his family moved from North Carolina to Pulaski County, Kentucky, by 1850,4 then to Iowa in the early 1850s. And it was there that his father William died. The family story says that “William made it to Iowa but died there shortly after his arrival. He and his family traveled in the fall of 1852, and they got as far as Burlington, Iowa and the weather got bad. They had to ford flooded streams and leading the oxen through the water got Great Great dad soaked. With that William caught a bad cold. He later developed pneumonia and died as a result of that.”5
An undated newspaper obituary for William’s widow, Matilda, says William died a year after they arrived in Iowa.6 Matilda remarried in October 1854,7 and she and her Baker children were living with her second husband (William Paschal) in Louisa County, Iowa, on the 1860 census.8
Now… what else do we want to know? Let’s see. In 1870, he was living with his married sister Julia in Iowa, and was shown as Andrew, a 24-year-old farm laborer, born in North Carolina.9
Then he married Jennie Rawhouser — shown in later records as Mary or Mary Jane — in 1871, at the home of her father, whose consent to the marriage was required.10 Their first two kids — a girl Rosamond and a boy Fred — were born in Iowa; another girl, Dorothy, was born after the family moved to Ellsworth County, Kansas in the late 1870s. He was shown on the 1880 census as a farmer, born in North Carolina and his wife born in Pennsylvania.11 He may have been a postmaster in Bluffville — one Thomas A. Baker served there from 1878-1871,12 and there’re no other likely candidate on the 1880 census.
Still a Kansas farmer, Thomas Andrew and wife had added another boy and another girl by 1885.13 By 1895, the family was back in Columbus City, Iowa, and had added two more boys and a girl. Both husband and wife were recorded as adherents of the United Brethren faith; Thomas was shown as a farmer.14
Ooooh… not bad for just having started with just a birth and marriage recorded in a database, huh?
And then we hit the snag.
Couldn’t find them on the 1900 census.
Now we know they were in Oklahoma by the time Thomas died in November 1920. Thomas, age 75, still a farmer, his 68-year-old wife, and three sons — Chester, 38, Archie, 32, and Bruce, 27 — can all be found on the 1920 census in Blaine County, just months before his death.15 Working backwards we can find them again in 1910, in Blaine County.16
So where were they in 1900? Just about every combination I could think of to search for Thomas Baker, born around 1844 in North Carolina, in the Ancestry census database for 1900 was coming up empty. There were just too many Thomases, and none that was a full match.
Which is when cousin Thomas reminded me of something.
Whenever there’s a snag like this, it’s time to step back and regroup.
To look at the family as a whole and see if someone else might be a little easier to find.
The wife wouldn’t help much. Mary is — if anything — worse than Thomas as a search term. The name of the oldest daughter — Rosamond — would really have been a good search term … except she was already gone from the household by the time of that 1895 Iowa census. Jessie? Bettie? Bruce? Nope, nope, nope. Worth a try if nothing else works, but not a first choice.
Which left a couple of possibilities, and I started with Chester. Using the search box for the 1900 census, entering Chester as the first name and B*ker for the last name — to account for misindexing of Baker in any number of ways (Backer, Becker, Beker, Boker, etc.), and entering 1881 for the birth year and Kansas for the birthplace, I was at first a little disconcerted to see a Chester Baker of roughly the right age as a servant in a household back in Ellsworth, Kansas.
But I relaxed as I ran down just a few more entries and… Chester Banker. Parents Thomas A. and Mary. Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. Which just happens to be right next door to Blaine County. That Thomas born in North Carolina, that Mary born in Pennsylvania. And there are a few of the others too — Jessie, Bettie and Bruce (misindexed as Brice) among them — all born in Kansas.17
And, yes, I added the correction so it should show up in searches in the future.
Thanks for the reminder, cousin Thomas.
Hit a roadblock?
And just keep trying.
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “And where were they then?,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 21 Nov 2020).
- For the date, see Watonga IOOF Cemetery, Blaine County, Oklahoma, Thomas A. Baker marker; digital image, Find A Grave (https://findagrave.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020). For the place, see. e.g., 1850 U.S. census, Pulaski County, Kentucky, population schedule, p. 82 (stamped), dwelling/family 109, Thomas Baker, born North Carolina, in William Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M432, roll 217. ↩
- Louisa County, Iowa, Marriage Book D: 224, Baker-Rawhouser, 26 March 1871. ↩
- Thomas A. Baker marker, Watonga IOOF Cemetery. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Pulaski Co., Ky., pop. sched., William Baker household. ↩
- Email, Bruce Baker (great grandson of William Baker) to JG Russell, 7 October 2003. ↩
- Undated clipping, “Obituary;” digital image provided by Bruce Baker. ↩
- Louisa County, Iowa, Marriage Book A: 299, Paschal-Baker, 8 October 1854. ↩
- 1860 U.S. census, Louisa County, Iowa, population schedule, Columbus, p. 70 (penned), dwelling/family 289, William W. Paschal household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Sep 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M653, roll 331. ↩
- 1870 U.S. census, Louisa County, Iowa, population schedule, Columbus City, p.40 (penned), dwelling 289, family 282, Andrew Baker in Wm. P. Marsden household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M593, roll 406. ↩
- See Louisa Co., Ia., Marriage Book D: 224. ↩
- 1880 U.S. census, Ellsworth County, Kansas, population schedule, Empire, enumeration district (ED) 92, p. 482-B (stamped), dwelling 263, family 270, T. A. Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T9, roll 381. ↩
- “U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971,” entry for Thomas A. Baker, Bluffville, Kansas, vol. 40; database and images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); citing National Archive microfilm publication M841, roll 41. ↩
- 1885 Kansas State census, Ellsworth, Ellsworth County, schedule 1, p. 7, family 38, Andrew Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from Kansas State Historical Society microfilm. ↩
- 1895 Iowa State census, Columbus City, Louisa County, schedule 1, p. 9, dwelling/family 47, Thomas A. Baker household; digital image, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from Iowa State Historical Society microfilm. ↩
- 1920 U.S. census, Blaine County, Oklahoma, population schedule, Lincoln, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 111-B (stamped), dwelling/family 99, Thomas A. Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1453. ↩
- 1910 U.S. census, Blaine County, Oklahoma, population schedule, Lincoln, enumeration district (ED) 41, p. 84B-85A (stamped), dwelling 136, family 138, Thomas Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1243. ↩
- 1900 U.S. census, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, population schedule, Kingfisher, enumeration district (ED) 109, p. 98A (stamped), dwelling/family 167, Thomas A. “Banker” household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1338. ↩