Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Howard L. Baker

HOWARD L. BAKER. For thirty or forty years the new blood of the old South has been transfused into the bodies of numerous western states, much to their inspiration, invigoration and lasting benefit. It is an expansion in these later years of the migratory tide which in the previous century rolled over the mountains from the Old Dominion and Maryland and spread into Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Since the logic of events has virtually obliterated the sears left by the Civil war, much of this new southern blood has found its way into Kansas, and has had much to do with making that state a typical, progressive commonwealth of the western states east of the Rockies.

Howard L. Baker, of LaCrosse, is of an old Maryland family and came to Rush County thirty years ago, at that time being just about ready to cast his first vote. His early career was passed in training as a banker, and he has since become prominent as a promoter of farming properties, local industries, railroad matters and institutions of education and religious development. In a word, he has been alive to all that promised well to the community of his choice.

Mr. Baker is a native of Washington County, Maryland, born at Hagerstown, September 18, 1866. After passing through the local grammar and high schools and the Baltimore Business College he left his native state alone, bound for Kansas. Locating at LaCrosse in 1887, he secured a position as a clerk in a general store, and not long afterward entered the First National Bank as assistant cashier. Then he became cashier, held that position for six years, and engaged in the land and farm loan business. At first he confined his transactions to private clients, but afterward expanded his business so as to include companies which were investing in western lands. Next he got into the business as an independent dealer, selling lands all over the state and as far distant as New Mexico, where he has acquired extensive ranch holdings. The chief home value of Mr. Baker's activities has consisted in his development of farming properties in Rush and Ness counties. When he began his dealings in real estate farm lands in Rush County were quoted at $5 to $10 an acre; they are now worth from $50 to $60.

As a builder of LaCrosse itself Mr. Baker has been most potential, having erected many buildings besides his two-story office structure. He has served six years as mayor of the place, and is a member of both the county and city school boards, having been an active factor in the promotion of the County High School and the erection of both new school houses. He is owner of the mill and elevator company of LaCrosse, and was one of the principal promoters of the Anthony and Northern Railway, which was made an assured success in 1917. Mr. Baker has taken both a local and a state interest in political matters. He cast his first vote in 1887, and his first presidential ballot in 1888 for General Harrison. He has served the republican party as chairman of the county committee for many years. He is an influential member of the United Brethren Church, being a charter member of the local organization and a trustee for twenty-five years. Mr. Baker was made county chairman of the third liberty loan drive and was commissioned chairman during the war.

Finally, as to family matters, Mr. Baker's father, Frederick A., was also a native of Washington County, Maryland, his birthplace being Keedysville, within two miles of the Antietam battlefield. The senior was an old-school farmer, spent his entire life in Maryland, and died at Hagerstown in 1914, at the age of eighty-one. He married Sarah Starchman, a daughter of Daniel Starchman, also old Maryland people. The great-grandparents on both sides came from Germany. Howard L. is the third of the family, and he and a brother, William S., are the Kansas representatives. Mrs. Alvernon Buchanan, a sister, is a resident of Kansas City, Missouri. Three others still live in Maryland, and two are deceased.

Mr. Baker married at LaCrosse, September 11, 1907, Miss Nannie Truman, a daughter of Rev. O. A. Truman, a Christian minister who came to Rush County from Nebraska. Rev. Mr. Truman is a native of Kentucky and now resides at Shoshone Falls, Idaho. Mr. and Mrs. Baker have had three children, Howard L., Jr.; Frederick Truman, who died May 7, 1917, and Elizabeth.

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