Generation One of the John Baker Family
by Valerie Jean Kramer
Captain John BAKER was born between 1735 - 1740 in Bingen-on-the-Rhine, Prussia, Germany, and was killed by Indians in 1787 at Cresap, Ohio County, (West) Virginia. He married Elizabeth Ann SULLIVAN between 1760 and 1765 in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, daughter of Dr. Sullivan.
Elizabeth was born February 14, 1743/44 in Germany. At that date, Ohio was still unsettled by whites and even if she somehow had been born there, it seems unlikely she would then have been in Philadelphia to wed John Baker. It seems more probable that someone confused her death location (Calais is only about 10 miles northwest of Woodsfield) with her birth location. Elizabeth died May 22, 1836 in Woodsfield, Center Township, Monroe County, Ohio. She is buried in the Steed Hill Cemetery on the Matz farm just outside Woodsfield Ohio.
The Children of JOHN BAKER and ELIZABETH SULLIVAN are:
Very little about Captain John Bakers early life is known for certain. I will present here what I have found but the reader is cautioned that I have no solid proof of any of this.
James Jefferson MILLER, (Family # 203) born in 1884, is said to have stated that Captain John Bakers father was George Perilous Baker (b. 1715) and that John came to America with a brother, Jacob. According to some, John had six siblings: Jacob, Betty (or Beulah), Peter, Hannah, Henry, and George. Henry was supposedly born in 1731, died in 1807 and married Maria Elizabeth Fink. Beulah supposedly married a Philpot. George was born in 1749.
According to one family legend, John was married in Germany and came to America with his wife around 1750. (Note that John would be only 10-15 years old if his birth date is 1735-1740!) On the way across the Atlantic, his wife gave birth to a baby girl, then died shortly thereafter and was buried at sea. The girl was given to a family in New York. After arriving in America, John worked 7 years to pay his passage. He then married Elizabeth about 1760-1765 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In another legend, John came to Philadelphia from Rotterdam in 1754 aboard the Neptune. In another, Johns wife gave birth to a son at sea instead of a daughter. Still other researchers have believed Captain Johns fathers name was Nicholas.
All accounts seem to have him start from Bingen-on-the-Rhine and (eventually) arrive in Philadelphia where he married Elizabeth Ann Sullivan (who may or may not have previously been married to a Mr. Adams).
Long-time researcher Denver C. Yoho sent me some information in which he had indicated that the John Baker aboard the Neptune was not the Captain John Baker who married Elizabeth Sullivan.
By all accounts, John was married to Elizabeth Sullivan in Philadelphia and from there they moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They lived there for several years and had the twins, Catherine1 and Margaret (b. 1761) and their first two sons, George (b. 1762) and Henry (b. about 1763). Mary Jane (b. abt 1778) is also shown by some as having been born here but it seems likely that either this birth date or location (or both) is in error.
From the Shenandoah Valley, they followed the "Warrior Trail" to Green County in southwestern Pennsylvania and took up residence on Dunkard Creek near the mouth of the Monongahela River. [The Warrior Trail is a path that has been used for 5,000 years by native Americans going from the East to Flint Ridge, Ohio to obtain supplies of flint and to trade with others. It runs East-West about a half dozen miles north of the Mason Dixon Line and follows the divide between watersheds so there are no streams to ford. 45 miles of it, from Greensboro, Pennsylvania to the West Virginia border, is still maintained as a hiking trail today.] John Baker, Jr. (b. 1765) and Elizabeth (b. 1768) were both born on Dunkard Creek.
In late April of 1774, Colonel Cresap murdered a couple of Indians in a canoe on the Ohio River. Shortly after this, Daniel Greathouse and others killed the relatives of the peaceful Mingo Chief, Logan, at the home/grog shop of Joshua Baker (no known relation) on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River just opposite Yellow Creek. These events led swiftly to the hostilities between the whites and the Indians known as "Dunmores War." At the outbreak of this war, many pioneers sought safer homes and John Baker was no exception. He moved his family to the safety of Redstone Old Fort, now Brownsville, Pennsylvania. His two sons, Jacob Martin and Joseph, were both born in 1775 at Redstone Old Fort.
On October 10, 1774 Virginia settlers and militia won the Battle of Point Pleasant against a confederacy of Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandot, Cauyga and other Indian tribes led by Chief Cornstalk. This concluded Dunmores War. The American Revolution broke out soon after the close of Dunmores War so the family remained at Redstone Old Fort for several years. John was in the service of the Colony of Virginia during much of this time. I am told the 1966 edition DAR Patriots Index lists him as a Virginia soldier in Col. Silas Hedges Regiment of drafted Militia. See also Dr. Brumbaughs "Revolutionary War Records of Virginia" pp 198-225 and 403-408. It was during this time that he acquired the military title, "Captain."
After the war Captain Baker moved once again, this time to Catfish Camp which is now Washington, Pennsylvania. His son, Martin, was born here 10 Oct 1780. The family stayed here only a short time before moving west to Round Bottom on the Ohio River, just south of present day Moundsville, West Virginia. His last child, Isaac, was born at Fort Henry [now] Wheeling, West Virginia on January 13, 1782.
In 1784, Captain Baker erected a blockhouse surrounded by pickets on the Ohio River near the mouth of Fish Creek, across the river from Powhattan Point. It became known as "Bakers Station" and afforded protection to the settlers of Cresaps Bottom and those of the lower end of Round Bottom. It was on an Indian war path that led from the Muskingum River deep inside Ohio, eastward up Wills Creek, across a divide, and down the Big Captina to the Ohio River at Powhattan, then up Fish Creek to the interior of Virginia. Because of the strategic location, it became a popular rendezvous for hunters and Indian scouts. Although there were never any soldiers officially garrisoned at Bakers Station, there were always plenty of defenders present, especially in times of trouble.
In 1787 John Wetzel and his son, George, were at Bakers Station when they and Captain Baker noticed some Indians on the Ohio shore walking leisurely about. Baker shot at one and killed him. The others appeared frightened and ran away leaving the dead Indian behind. Baker and the Wetzels crossed the river and were viewing the dead Indian when several shots were fired at them. Apparently the Indians had feigned fright to lure the whites into a trap. Captain Baker fell, mortally wounded. The Wetzels "treed" and commenced firing back. Several more men crossed the river to reinforce them and drove the Indians off. Captain Baker had crawled a short distance from where he had fallen and was alive but he died soon after arriving back at the station. He was buried on a flat near a stream called "Grave Yard Run" at the upper end of Cresaps Bottom.
After her youngest son, Isaac, married in 1802, Elizabeth migrated to Washington Township, Belmont County, Ohio in 1804 with her son Martin. She later moved to Monroe County, Ohio where Martin had purchased the North West quarter of Section Twenty Seven in Township Four Range 5 on September 3, 1813. (Again details vary among the various sources. "Belmont County History 1988" reports "Elizabeth and five of their sons moved to Belmont County in the early eighteen-hundreds. She and three of the boys later moved to Monroe County.") Two years later on September 16, 1815 Martin purchased an adjacent 109 acres in Section Thirty-three Township 4 Range 5.
The 1820 census lists Elizabeth as living in a separate household with one boy and two girls under 16 and one girl over 16 and shows her as foreign, not naturalized. Elizabeth is buried in the "Old Baker" or "Stead" (or Steed) cemetery on the land on which she lived. Her tombstone has a drawing of a hand, finger pointing up and the message, "Died May 22, 1836 aged 92 yrs 3 mos and 8 days." She rests next to her son Martin and his wife, Sarah Farnsworth on the Matz farm near the junction of routes 26 and 8 just south of Woodsfield, Ohio.
The site where Bakers Station once stood was, for some years, a public picnic area known as "Americana Park." It was on Route 2 (the main road which parallels the Ohio River on the West Virginia shore), about nine miles south of Moundsville and just south of the mouth of Fish Creek on the side of the road away from the River. In addition to picnic tables etc., the site had tombstones for Captain Baker, John Wetzel and at least one other. It also had a sign that read:
Site of blockhouse built by Captain John Baker in 1784. Rendezvous of scouts along Indian war path from Muskingum Valley into Virginia. Nearby are buried Captain Baker, John Wetzel and others killed by Indians in 1787.
Two other signs tell about General Zachary Taylor and George Rogers Clark, both of whom were here at other times. The park no longer exists. It is now a weed-choked, rubble-strewn field. Only the signposts remain to commemorate the site In order to preserve the tombstones, Oran V. Baker had them moved to a cemetery in Moundsville. According to legend, the actual grave site of Captain Baker is located under the present-day B&O Railroad tracks and the spot is marked with a red "X" painted on the rails or ties. I was unable to locate such a mark when I visited the area in the fall of 1987 but I did not make an exhaustive search.
I just received the book, "Affair at Captina Creek" by Harry G. Enoch. In it, he describes the location of Bakers Station (or Bakers Fort) as being about three miles north of Fish Creek. I am very impressed by the quality of his research and am inclined to believe he knows what hes writing about. On the other hand, the sign shown above [in the book "Descendants of Captain John Baker"] is a few hundred yards south of Fish Creek! Between such discrepancies and two hundred years of floods and road and dam building, verifying the original site would be quite an archaeological challenge!
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