The commercial interests of Moscow are well represented by William Alexander Baker, a leading and enterprising merchant, whose well directed efforts, sound judgment and reliable dealing are bringing to him a creditable and satisfactory success. For twelve years he has carried on operations in Moscow, where he deals in both new and second-hand goods. He is a native of Virginia, born in Augusta County, July 13, 1855, of Scotch-Irish descent. His grandfather, Guinn Baker, was the founder of the family in the Old Dominion, and was an industrious and respected farmer and a valued member of the Methodist church. He devoted his entire life to agricultural pursuits in Virginia, and died at the age of eighty-two years. His son, Frank Baker, father of our subject, was born in Pennsylvania and married Miss Martha Guinn, a native of Virginia. They removed to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and he began farming on a tract of land of forty acres, but as time passed he extended the boundaries of his place until it comprised one hundred and forty acres. His wife died in her forty-second year, but he lived to be seventy-one years of age. Both enjoyed the high regard of their fellow men, and their lives were well spent. They had a family of three daughters and two sons, of whom four are living.
William A. Baker, their eldest child, spent his childhood days on his father’s farm and was early inured to the arduous labors of the fields. He assisted in the planting and harvesting of crops through the summer months and attended the public schools through the winter season. He began to make his own way in the world by buying and raising stock, and followed that business for five years, after which he removed to Dallas, Texas, where he served on the police force of the city for a year. The yellow fever then broke out, and in order to escape the dread disease he removed to Polk County, Oregon.
In 1878, in Monmouth, Oregon, Mr. Baker was united in marriage to Miss Alice Hooper, a native of Indiana, and their union has been blessed with three children, two of whom are deceased, Etta and Earl G. Leta, a talented young lady, who has graduated in music, is now at home with her parents.
Mr. Baker remained in Oregon only two years, and then came to Idaho, where he secured a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of government land. This he cultivated for a time, but later sold and took up a homestead six and a half miles east of Moscow. This he also improved, but at length disposed of that property and invested his money in city realty in Moscow, where he now owns his store building and several good residences. He also has real estate in Portland, Oregon, and other property in Moscow. His store is twenty-five by fifty feet, with an addition in the real’, forty by sixty feet. He carries a large stock of new and second-hand furniture, and by close attention to his business, straightforward dealing and courteous treatment of his patrons, he has secured a large trade, which returns to him a good income.
Mr. Baker joined the Masonic fraternity in Romney Lodge, No. 441, F. & A. M., in Romney, Indiana, in 1874, and is now treasurer of the lodge in Moscow, wherein he has also filled other offices. He and his wife and daughter are all members of the Eastern Star, and he also be-longs to the Knights of the Maccabees. His wife holds membership in the Christian church, while he gives his preference to the Methodist belief. In politics he has always been a Republican, and he was the efficient marshal of Moscow for three years, manifesting marked fidelity to duty during his term of service. The success he has achieved is the merited reward of his own labors, and he has justly won the proud American title of a “self-made man.”