Submitted by PHGS member, Pam Davis
Jeremiah Baker was born near the place where he now lives, in the town of Canisteo, Steuben Co., April 18, 1791, and was said to be the first white male child born in Steuben County. His father, Jeremiah Baker, was born in New England, married Anna Stephens, sister of Rev. Jedediah Stephens, the first settler of his branch of the Stephens family in the Canisteo Valley, of Canaan, Conn. Of this union were born in the East: Polly, Hannah, Thankful, Cynthia, William, Simeon, John and Bazey. Their father was a soldier through the entire Revolutionary war, his family living in Wyoming. It was while residents of Wyoming that the mother and children were taken prisoners, but were soon after rescued. He lot all his property there, his building being burned at the time of the battle of Wyoming. The family removed to Tioga Point, now Athens, Pa., but soon after came to Canisteo by means of boats and canoes up the Canisteo River, and settled near the place where his son, Jeremiah Baker, now resides, in the fall of 1790, and hence was among the earliest pioneers of the valley.
The children born here were Jeremiah, Noah, and James. Poverty, privation, and hardship were common incidents for several years of this family, yet all were met with that courage and patience characteristic of the Baker family His father, mother and Grandmother Corey were members of the first class in the Methodist Church of this part of the country, and were the organizers of that first Methodist Episcopal Church, under John B. Hudson, in Canisteo Valley; was one of the seven voters of the town for four years, and held various offices in the early history of the town. He died about 1824; his wife died in 1825.
Mr. Baker had limited opportunities for book-knowledge. At the age of nineteen he married Eunice Powers, of Addison, a very worthy young lady, and as a wife and mother, a woman of rare excellence, and did her part well in training her children in all that makes true manhood and womanhood.
Mr. Bakerís life has been mostly spent as a farmer, yet as a citizen he has been intimately connected with many of the most important local improvements of his town and county.
In 1829 his wife died, leaving seven children, --Mrs. John Crosby, Hector C., Mrs. Nelson Hallett, Caleb, Asa, Elias, and Nathan.
During the same year he married Hilda, daughter of Rev. Jedediah Stephens, and widow of the late Phineas Stephens, and widow of the late Phineas Stephens. Of this union were born Jedediah, Orlando, and Mrs. James OíConnor of Hornellsville. Politically, Mr. Baker has always been a Democrat, yet ever looked well to the men as well as to the principles to be represented. As a citizen he has held almost every position within the gift of his townsmen, as Justice of the Peace, school commissioner, town clerk, etc.; was deputy sheriff with the first sheriff, General George McClure, of the county, and represented his Assembly district in the State Legislature in 1835.
He is one of the old landmarks that point to the early days, was for fifty years of the past a representative in Steuben County, and is now a pensioner of the war of 1812-1814, having served on the Niagara Frontier under General McClure. He is known as a man of broad ideas, liberal views, and in his day has been a liberal contributor, especially in the erection of church edifices in the county, and for the support of religious institutions, having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for sixty-one years. For over half a century, he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has ever been prominent in the councils of that body, and is now not only the oldest person living in the town, but also the oldest person living in the town, and now able to dictate the main facts for this sketch. His second wife died Nov. 22, 1871.
His son Nathan S., was a volunteer in the late Rebellion; was a member of the 86th Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Bailey commanding; was in the engagements of Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Beverly Ford, Mine Run, Gettysburg, Manassas Junction, and the Wilderness, and was also in skirmishes before Petersburg and Richmond; was captain of his company, promoted in place of the captain, who died. He was wounded in the battle of the Wilderness, and was one of about ten of the original company who returned to their homes. He was honorably discharged in the fall of 1865. He now resides on the old homestead, and cares for his father in his declining years. In May 1855, he married Roxie Ordway, of Canisteo.
Elias was also a volunteer of the 86th Regiment, New York Volunteers, and served altogether about one and a half years.
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Last Update February 15, 2020