The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 131
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one Thomas Baker, the first of his line to come to America.
Thomas sailed from Norwich, England, for the new world in 1637,
married Priscilla Symonds, daughter of Samuel Symonds of Massa-
chusetts, and settled at Ipswich, and later at Topsfield where he is
buried. His descendants scattered throughout New England,
though the original family homestead still stands in Beverly,
It is interesting to surmise how Joseph Baker occupied himself
after his arrival in San Felipe de Austin, December 7, 1831. One
of the colonists introduced by the Empresarios Austin and Williams,
he applied, February 1, 1835, for one-fourth of a league of land
located in Waller County, east of the Brazos, adjoining the prop-
erties of Isaac Donoho and Thomas McKinney.' In this application
he stated that he was a bachelor and that his profession was that of
"instructor to the young." This statement, "instructor to the
young," together with a letter dated 1835, containing the sentence,
. . . Having been well acquainted with Mr. Baker who in my
boyhood was one of my schoolmasters at San Felipe.'
led us to the supposition that between the years 1832 and 1835,
Joseph Baker either conducted a school or taught school at San
Felipe de Austin. A brief survey of the facts concerning the schools
in Austin's Colony, shows that there is no record of a school in
San Felipe between these years." And yet, no statement has been
found to the contrary, i. e., that no school was there at that time.
Now from his own statement we know that Baker was a school
teacher by profession, and it is likely that in coming to a new
country where schools were sadly needed he would begin practicing
the profession he knew. Then, from the letter quoted, definite
statement is made of the fact that Joseph Baker taught school at
some time during his residence in San Felipe, and we know, as this
paper will show, that Baker only lived in San Felipe from 1831
through 1836. The record of his moves from month to month dur-
ing the years 1835 and 1836 is practically complete. What could
'Records of the Baker family in possession of relatives.
'Joseph Baker's application for land and land grant in Austin's Colony.
Records of the General Land Office.
'Answers of Manuel Valdez in Chambers, William, Sketch of the Life of
General T. J. Chambers of Temas, 34-40.
'Moore, Wilma Harper, A History of San Felipe De Austin, 1824-1836
(M. A. Thesis, 1929), 62-70; Kenney, M. M., "Recollections of Early
Schools," in the Southwestern Historical Quarterlyj, I, 285.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/145/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.