Baker’s Crossroads History

Baker’s Crossroads, where sections 20-21-28 and 29 of Grassy township corner, recalls the partnership in medicine and agriculture of the three Doctors Baker in that neighborhood. They were Alonzo Pulaski Baker (1848-1926), Griffin J. Baker (1851-1913), and Miles D. Baker (1853-1932). Each had the finest medical education the times afforded, first studying with a neighboring doctor as preceptor, then attending lectures at Cincinnati or St. Louis. They began practice in turn, in the later seventies. Drs. A. P. and M. D. Baker were pioneers as specialists in children’s practice.

Their farms, totaling 1000 acres, were managed as a unit. They were also partners in a general store at Cottage Home where their uncle James N. Sanders was postmaster. The two younger doctors lived on their farms in section 28, while Dr. A. P. (“Lon”) Baker moved to Herrin when the town was building. Later Dr. G. J. (“Grif’) Baker followed to practice with his son. Dr. Carl Baker (1877-1932), and build the hospital with Dr. William R. Gardiner. After his years as managing officer of the Anna state hospital, Dr. Miles Baker joined the family group at Herrin with his son, Dr. Wade L. Baker. The oldest brother’s doctor sons practiced at Marion, where his grandson the second Lon continues the family tradition.

The three doctors were sons of Jonathan Aaron Baker (1821-1875) and Matilda Catherine (Sanders) Baker. The family made their first Illinois home on a farm in section 33 of Grassy Township about 1850. At the same time Mr. Baker’s three brothers, Abel, Jackson, and David made their homes nearby, to form an early Baker settlement. Family ties were strong, for Jackson and David Baker married Caroline and Elizabeth Sanders, sisters of Mrs. Jonathan Baker. Many of these relatives were charter members of Pleasant Hill church.

Jonathan Baker defended the Union as a corporal of Company E, 31st Illinois infantry. His brother-in-law, James N. Sanders, became captain of the company after several promotions. Two of Abel and Sarah (Elmore) Baker’s sons were killed in the war. Alonzo P. Baker volunteered at the age of fifteen and matched his father’s rank of corporal after active service in Company I, 13th Illinois cavalry. Carl Baker continued the family tradition by volunteering for the Spanish war and serving in Company C, 4th Illinois infantry. Wade Baker was commissioned first lieutenant of the medical corps in July 1917 and served with the A. E. F. to the close of the war.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)