Betty Schmidt

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Daniel M. Baker
Born: Dec 22, 1819

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Betty Schmidt Daniel M. Baker Family Blessed are the great grandmothers, who hoarded newspaper clippings and old letters, for they tell the story of their time. Blessed are all the grandfathers who filed every legal document, for this provides proof. Blessed are our ancestors who have strived to preserve our family history, for it is from this gift that we are able to celebrate and tell their life story. Family stories were consistent about Daniel Baker arriving into the Wet Mountain Valley area as a trapper. They told of Daniel and his family, consisting of wife, Niome, and sons, George and Albert, coming before the German Colony arrived in March of 1870. At this time, the valley had many Indians from the Ute tribe, and herds of buffalo roaming the belly-deep grass. While some may question this early arrival, the preponderance of evidence validates they were there and established as settlers as documented in the 1870 Territorial Census. Daniel Baker was a trapper, farmer, cattle rancher, blacksmith, prospector and miner: a jack-of-all trades; a common trait needed for those of the early pioneers. Daniel M. Baker was born December 22, 1819 to James S. Baker and Phebe (McKeil) Baker who lived in Delaware County, Meredith, New York. Daniel was the oldest of three known children. His sisters were Phebe Baker born about 1832 and Achsah Baker born about 1835. Census records provide much information about this Baker family. In 1840, Daniel, as well as his mother, father and two sisters were living in Milo Township, New York. Family bible records indicate that Daniel M. Baker had married Niome Dixon on May 7, 1842. Niome, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Dixon, was born in New Jersey on September 29, 1818. But by 1850, Daniel now married with children of his own and his extended family were living in Yates County New York. However, by 1860 Daniel’s family had moved west and was then living in Buffalo Township, Ogle County, Illinois. Niome had a child previously, Elizabeth Jane ‘Betsy’ Hath, born October 20, 1837 in Alina, New York. Betsy married Aaron Reed June 2, 1853 and Daniel W. Freeman on April 15, 1870 and she died on October 15, 1930 in Ignacio, Colorado. Elizabeth ran a boarding house in Ignacio, Colorado. Daniel and Niome had two children: Albert D. was born April 24, 1843, in New York. Albert D. Baker served in the 2nd Regiment of the Illinois Light Artillery in the Civil War at a rank of Recruit in Company L, Unit 2. He served from November 19, 1862 until he mustered out, discharged, on August 9, 1865 in Chicago, Illinois. He was a farmer. He was 5 foot 6 inches with blue eyes and brown hair. He resided in Polo, Illinois in the 1860s. In 1870, the Wet Mountain census has him with his parents. He went to Colorado Springs to work, but have been unable to locate any additional information. He died before 1900. George Washington was born February 6, 1850 in Yates County, New York and died April 17, 1924 at the ranch on Greaser Creek, Gardner, Huerfano County, Colorado. He married Hulda Henriette Knuth in 1877 in the Wet Mountain Valley area, Westcliffe, Colorado, daughter of Wilhelm Knuth and Justine ‘Wilhelmina’ Totz. Daniel and Niome raised their granddaughter Sarah Rosetta Reed, daughter of Elizabeth Jane ‘Betsy’ Hath. Sarah Rosetta Reed was born June 6, 1853 in Illinois. She married John Wesley Lappin on December 31, 1871 and died April 10, 1927 in Chama, New Mexico. It is believed that Aaron and Betsy Reed came to the Colorado Territory about 1860. In 1865 Aaron and Elizabeth Reed are found executing an unconventional land sale for part of their Section 18 in Ogle County, Illinois land holdings to none other than Elizabeth Jane’s mother and stepfather, Niome and Daniel Baker. They transacted an absentee real estate deal from their distant residence in the rollicking gold camp of Central City, Gilpin County, Colorado Territory. Daniel and Naomi turned around and sold the same five acres of Section 18 to Azor and Martha Palmer, Niome’s sister. The Bakers are thought to have arrived in Cherry Creek, Colorado sometime in 1865. Soon the Palmer family joined them. Both families later made the move to the Wet Mountain Valley with the Bakers preceding the Palmers. Daniel arrived at the lower end of the Wet Mountain Valley in 1870 where the footprints of the Indians were numerous and fresh. Daniel settles on the land in February of 1871 and homesteads Township 22S or 21S Range 71 W Section 28,29, 32,22, 32, Northeast 27 east of Rosita Section 19, 20. On February 18, 1872, Baker was given the final Homestead Certificate on his ranch in the south end of the Wet Mountain Valley. Within the year, he had built a frame house of 15x 20 feet, a blacksmith shop, stables, corrals, irrigation ditches and fenced the land. Daniel Baker was issued his brand on November 30, 1871. The brand was B. Daniel withstood the hardships and privations of frontier life, fought Indians, robbers and bandits and finally when civilization began to arrive, he established himself a home, and settled down and began to prosper. Several attempts in the early 1860s were made to locate gold mines in the Wet Mountain Valley. This industry began to develop about 1871 when Daniel Baker, a prospector, picked up galena specimens near Senator Mine close to Rosita while riding on the east side of the valley to look after his cattle. He didn't think much of it and put the gold in the cabin window to await results. The results showed it was hardly worth starting up a new camp. In September of 1872, the Senator claim was opened after paying Baker a few dollars for his claim. Dr. Wayne Anderson, a retired Geology Professor, noted that Silver Cliff including Round Mountain and Rosita was a volcanic area, explaining why there were mineral deposits in the area practically laying on the surface. On December 10, 1874, the Postmaster General ordered the appointment of Daniel M. Baker as Postmaster of Colfax, Fremont, County to replace Azor Palmer, who had died. He served until approximately September 30, 1875. In October 1877, The Grange was organized at the upper end of the Wet Mountain Valley with Daniel Baker serving as the treasurer. George Washington Baker and Hulda Henriette Knuth Baker had six children: Edgar S. was born January 20, 1879 and died July 11, 1897 from drowning in John Meyer’s Lake at Gardner, Colorado. John D. was born March 30, 1880 and died August 22, 1882 of diphtheria. James was born October 19, 1881 and died August 22, 1882 of diphtheria. Lillie Amanda was born September 15, 1883 in Westcliffe, Colorado and died March 24, 1971 in Brush, Colorado. She married Claud D. Stephens. Naomi Gustine was born February 3, 1885 in Westcliffe, Colorado and died June 10, 1958 in Florence, Colorado. She married Charles John Schmidt on March 9, 1913. Albert Daniel was born September 29, 1882 in Westcliffe, Colorado and died January 4, 1947. He married Mary Martha Williams and Mary Elizabeth Kiesler. In 1885 census, Daniel Baker and Niome Baker were still living on their own in Custer County. As documented, on September 10, 1891 at 3:00 p.m., they transferred their home and land to George W. Baker, their son. A few stories that have been passed through the generations, tell of the heart and soul of Daniel Baker and his family. One story is of Hulda, which demonstrates her spirit, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Hulda was turned into the Water Commissioner, Graves Benson, for illegally using water from Greaser Creek. For the first complaint, Hulda was issued a warning and told not to use any water. The second time the Commissioner shut her head gate down and tagged it; thus preventing her from opening her head gate legally to use the creek water for irrigating her fields. He told her that any water she could use would be from a whisky barrel, like she used to catch rainwater from the eaves. Taking him at his word, Hulda dug a trench alongside her head gate and laid a wooden barrel with the end knocked out for the water to run through. When the Commissioner was called back on the next complaint, Benson had no recourse. He said that she had done just what he’d told her. So he left her alone and she continued with her irrigation. While living in the Valley, George always had problems with sleeping and being able to breathe well. With their children grown, George and Hulda hitched up their team and wagon to tour different areas, camping out in different locations trying to find a place where he was able to get some rest. They spent time near the Huerfano Butte, then on to the Greaser Creek area near Gardner. The first night there George was able to breathe and sleep better. This was the deciding factor in their decision to homestead in the Greaser Creek area. Both George and Hulda received Homestead patents, with Hulda purchasing the Howser place in 1921. So along with Daniel’s place deeded to them in 1897, they had scattered places in two counties in which to manage. They had a matched trotting team, stocking legged, bald-faced sorrels that were hooked to a buggy used for their transportation to go back and forth among the three places to take care of crops on the many acres. Bob McClain had acreage close to Badito where Hulda and George would camp out for a few days while they picked wild plums to make into their winter supply of jams and butters. Hulda always had coffee along with fresh baked bread and thick, spicy apple butter to offer anyone who stopped by. She used Ben Davis apples in making her well-known apple butter in a big black iron kettle. The butter then was stored in big stone crocks. As stated in his obituary, on Sunday morning, May 4, 1902, at the advanced age of 83, at the home of his son in the south end of Wet Mountain Valley, surrounded by his family, Daniel Baker, or ‘Uncle Dan’, as he was more familiarly known, after years of suffering from rheumatism, passed to the beyond. He was a pioneer of the state. No kinder-hearted man ever lived. The remains were interred in the Rosita cemetery Monday, May 5, 1902. One son, George Washington, and his wife Niome, now 83 years of age, survived him. At the grave the casket cover was removed and many old timers, especially of Rosita, gazed for the last time and in sadness upon the face Daniel who had long been a neighbor, companion and friend. After her husband’s death, Niome went with her daughter Elizabeth Jane Hath to Pine River Valley in the San Juans and later moved to live on a farm south of Ignacio, Colorado. She died March 18, 1917 in Ignacio, Colorado The paths taken on this journey called genealogy-sometimes straight, sometimes winding—merge and divides; providing moments, to remember, to cherish, to forever echo in our hearts and in our souls.
Oct 18 · posted to the person Daniel M. Baker