The Baker family of Taunton, the head of which was the late Charles F. Baker, who for years was one of the successful business men of Taunton, his adopted city, esteemed and respected for his many noble qualities of mind and heart, springs from the old Swansea-Rehoboth family of the name, the progenitor of which was John Baker. Little is known of the latter save that his wife was formerly Susannah Wood, and that he died in 1767.
From this (I) John Baker of Swansea and Rehoboth the descent of the late Charles F. Baker, the head of the Taunton family under consideration, is through Nathaniel, Joseph, Levi and Caleb W. Baker.
The children of John and Susannah (Wood) Baker were:
- William, born Aug. 13, 1715
- Susannah, born Feb. 3, 1717-13, who married Nov. 27, 1740, Israel Cornell
- John, born Aug. 26, 1720, who died in 1764
- Hannah, born Dec. 18, 1722, who married Feb. 2, 1743-44, Elisha Cornell
- Nathaniel, born July 9, 1725 – all born in Swansea, Mass.
- Bathsheba, born Feb. 16, 1728-29
- Penelope, born Sept. 9, 1731
- Joseph, born Oct. 14, 1734, who died July 14, 1735
- Benjamin, born Feb. – , 1736-37
- Rebecca, born March 12, 1740, who married Aug. 10, 1760, Ebenezer Talbot – all born in Rehoboth
Nathaniel Baker, son of John and Susannah, born July 9, 1725, died Dec. 23, 1807. He married Sept. 23, 1750, Experience Hicks, who died in 1823. Their children of Rehoboth town record were:
- Sarah, born March 8, 1751, who married Joseph Davis
- Joseph, born in 1752
- Samuel, born Dec. 13, 1754
- Nathaniel, born Oct. 29, 1756, who died unmarried
- James, born March 25, 1759, who died Oct. 3, 1829
- Experience, born July 26, 1761, who married Comfort Pierce
- Susanna, born July 26, 1761, who died unmarried
Joseph Baker, son of Nathaniel, born Dec. 10, 1752, in Rehoboth, Mass., died Oct. 24, 1843. He married July 14, 1776, Rosanna Mason, born in 1750 in Swansea, Mass., daughter of Nathan, granddaughter of Isaac and great-granddaughter of Sampson Mason. She died March 10, 1795, and he married (second) Nov. 19, 1797, Nancy Luther, born in 1762, in Warren, R. L, daughter of Ebenezer Luther. She died Sept. 21, 1809. His children, all excepting the youngest two born to the first marriage, were:
- Joseph, born March 24, 1778
- Susannah, born March 14, 1781, who married John Horton
- Levi, born Feb. 9, 1783
- Nathan, born Jan. 22, 1786
- Hale, born Nov. 24, 1787
- Rosanna, born April 1, 1790, who married Levi Bullock
- Sarah, born July 19, 1792, who married Simpson Jones
- Hannah, born Feb. 2, 1795, who married Ezra Mason, Jr.
- Betsey, born March 8, 1801, who married Rev. Waterman Pierce
- Julia Ann, born April 1, 1802, who died unmarried
Levi Baker, son of Joseph, born Feb. 9, 1783, in Rehoboth, Mass., married March 25, 1803, Anna, born Sept. 25, 1780, in Swansea, Mass., daughter of John Mace. He died Oct. 27, 1867; she passed away Dec. 8, 1836. Their children were:
- Caleb W., born June 14, 1804
- Eliza, Jan. 31, 1806
- Anna Mace, May 31, 1808 (married James G. West)
- Charlotte White, June 13, 1811 (married James Davis)
- Lovice Mace, born May 11, 1814 (married Ezra Luther)
- Emeline, April 13, 1817 (married Asa K. Lilly)
- Cynthia A. B., Oct. 7, 1820 (married James H. Brown)
- Levi, April 7, 1826
All were born in Swansea excepting the first three, and they in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Caleb W. Baker, son of Levi, born June 14, 1804, in Rehoboth, Mass., married Oct. 27, 1826, Mary Pike, born Jan. 19, 1804, in Swansea, Mass., daughter of James Pike. Their children, all born in Swansea, Mass., were:
- Caleb W., born in 1827, died Aug. 1, 1843
- George, born July 17, 1829,. died in May, 1864
- William S., born June 17, 1831, was a teacher and bookkeeper, and died June 1, 1906
- Maryette, born Sept. 19, 1834, died in September, 1895, married Edwin Haskins, of Dighton
- Charles F. was born Jan. 10, 1837
Charles F. Baker, son of Caleb W. and Mary (Pike) Baker, was born Jan. 10, 1837, in Swansea, Mass. Mr. Baker had only limited school advantages as a boy. Removing to Dighton with his parents when a mere lad, and having to contribute to the support of the family, he went into the cotton mills of that place when only seven years of age. Thus he was obliged to study in the evening schools, where his schooling was largely obtained. He was, however, a man of wide observation and varied experience, gained through a long and successful business career, and was one of the well-informed and self-made men of Taunton. He was a molder and for a long time worked at his trade at the Taunton iron-works. He went from there to the Union Furnace (Wright & Thomas), becoming a partner in the concern, and for a few years after his connection there was the senior member of the firm of Baker & Evans, grocers at Weir village. Then he became associated with the firm of Messrs. Wilbur & Walker, and in 1879 established the Weir Store Company, and, all being practical men, the venture was a surprising success from the start. Mr. Baker was a member of Alfred Baylies Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; of St. Mark’s Chapter, E. A. M., and of St. John’s Commandery, K. T. He was a man respected and esteemed by all who knew him, of few words, of modest, unassuming demeanor, genial and courteous to all without distinction, and one whom it was a pleasure to meet. His love for his home and his family was one of the strong traits of his splendid character, but perhaps in his workshops was the most solid foundation laid for tender memories and sincere affection among his men. In him they felt they had a lasting friend, and to them he was always the same thoughtful, kind and considerate employer who knew himself what it was to labor as they did. Mr. Baker left behind a record of having lived an ideal life, as husband and father, citizen and employer, which may well be envied. He died at his home in Taunton, Mass., Oct. 8, 1899, leaving four daughters.
On July 1, 1859, Mr. Baker married Abby O. Applegate, born April 1, 1839, died Aug. 26, 1893, daughter of Asher and Fannie Maria (Presbrey) Applegate. Asher Applegate came from New Jersey to Taunton when a young man and worked in the Phoenix Crucible Works. To Charles F. Baker and his wife were born children as follows:
- Clara Maria, born Nov. 6, 1861, married William Clarance Townsend
- Hattie Moore, born July 20, 1867, married Albert E. Wilbar, son of Joseph E., and has two sons, Wadsworth, born Feb. 18, 1894, and Charles Baker, born Sept. 17, 1898
- Fannie Pike was born March 24, 1870
- Ethel Grosvenor, born Oct. 7, 1878, married Russell C. Paige, and has one son, Samuel Colby, born Oct. 5, 1909.