Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ETHEL MARY FRANKLIN
Joseph Baker came to Texas in 1831. That was the time when
a man of ability could hew for himself a definite place, and like
many who came then "Don Jos6," as he was known among his
friends, was one of the pioneer builders of the Republic. His
biography is one with the growth of the country of his adoption--a
graphic story of Texas in her earliest years, when bands of maraud-
ing Indians stole by night upon helpless sleepers, blotting out entire
communities in a moment, and leaving behind them burning villages
and broken family groups. Then stern willed and daring young
men fought the hardships of the wilderness and the oppression of a
centralized despotism to build for themselves a new government
and a new nation. Then the infant Republic, with its crude build-
ings and low adobe huts, housed envoys from the great nations of
the earth. That was a period when a man must bring all his
faculties into play, and serve in various capacities his adopted coun-
try. Thus we find Joseph Baker as teacher, editor, soldier, and
judge by turns.
At the time of his arrival in Texas from Maine, U. S.,2 Joseph
Baker was 27 years old. From what town in Maine we do not
know, though the probability is that his boyhood home was Port-
land or Gorham since his brothers lived in both places and were all
educated at Bowdoin College, Portland. Joseph was a son of
Symonds William and Jane Gerrish Baker, who were married
August 26, 1796. Of his three brothers, Symonds William, Azor,
and Thomas, and his two sisters, Martha Hammond and Eliza Ann
Rodman, two brothers came to Texas and settled permanently.
Symonds William, or Sir William as he was better known, first
came to Texas May, 1847, after Joseph's death to settle his
estate, and in 1849, after the death of his wife, he removed his
family of four children, Andrew, William, DeWitt Clinton, and
Octavia to Texas to settle permanently, while Thomas, a bachelor,
followed him in the early 50's. Joseph is a direct descendant of
'Brown, Frank, Annals of Travis County, XII, 35; Baker, D. W. C.,
A Texas lScrap Book, 273.
VJoseph Baker's application for land. Records of the General Land Office.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/. Accessed January 28, 2015.