Charles Baker Memoirs
I went to Kindergarten in Tioga School, Bensenville (1965-1966), 1st grade at Green Street School, Bensenville (1966-1967) and to Oak School in Addison until we moved to Woodstock, McHenry Co. in late 68⁄ early 69.
But our DuPage roots go back even before that. These are our family notes written by Clyde W. Baker. There are errors and some things in these notes are just plain wrong - but I am going to print them just like they are -
mistakes and all. I don't want to risk changing something that may turn out to be correct after all. Even all of the notes in parentheses are Clyde's notes.
Some of this does not have to do with DuPage County but alot of it has to do with surrounding communities in surrounding counties. The Bakers and Pyes lived primarily in Downers Grove. Submitted by Barry Jernigan.
"The Thomas A. Baker's are thought to have been born in the late 1790's. Algernon Sydney Baker born 1818 somewhere near Wilkesbarre, Penn. The son of Thomas A. Baker (wife name not known).
"Algernon came west sometime in the early 1840's to Wis. Married Sarah Stevens of Stevens Point, Wis. Stevens Point was settled by and named for Sarah Stevens' family.
"One son Silas Thomas Baker was born of this marriage Aug. 12, 1844.
"There is no reason given for Silas going to live with his grandparents the Thomas A. Baker's in Penn. at the age of 8 or 10 years. Silas went to school in Penn. and must have got a pretty good education. A story comes down through the family that Silas was a history prof. in a Penn. Univ. The story also has it that he was let out for gambling with the students. (There is no mention of the Univ. or dates).
" In the early 1860's we find Silas in Ill. on the 3rd day of Aug. in 1862 he enlisted in the northern army. Co. F, 105 Ill. Infantry served three years (we have his discharge papers). A story comes down through the family that Silas was on guard duty at the Ford Theater the night Abraham Lincoln was shot. Grandma Hampton (who became Silas' mother in law upon his third marriage) always said when this was talked about. "If Silas had not been down the alley shooting craps with the other soldiers. Lincoln would be alive today' (meaning her day of course).
"After his discharge we find Silas in Downers Grove. Working at the carpentry trade.Here he married Alice Pye, the daughter of Austin Pye and Elizabeth Thatcher Pye of Downers Grove.
"Of this marriage two children were born Cora and Charley. Cora being Aunt Cora Potter (Mrs. Oscar Potter of Downers Grove) Charley being Dad. (also they had a brother Fred died in infancy).
"Alice Pye Baker died when these two were very young. The grandparents, the Pye's taking them to raise.
"Austin Pye owned and operated a saw mill in Chicago. Located north of Madison St. and west of the river in the vicinity where the Northwestern R.S. stands today. According to Dad that was all swamp land at that time.
"Austin bought red and white oak logs from a man named Williams who owned most of the timber around Williams Bay, Wis. the Bay was named for this Williams family.
"Mother and Dad in 1947 while staying at our house in Lake Geneva drove over to the Bay to look up the Williams family. There was one left. An elderly lady that had never married was living in the old Williams home.
This lady kept books for her father but had no records and could remember only that her father shipped logs to someone in Chicago and that the North Western R.R. had not been completed to the Bay. So the logs had to be hauled by team to Lake Geneva and loaded on the R.R. there. Dad told me as he remembered the logs were dumped into the river somewhere around Randolph St. then floated down to the saw mill.
"Austin Pye died when Aunt Cora and Dad were still very young. Grandma Pye traded the saw mill for a berry farm in Mich.
"It isn't clear whether Aunt Cora went to Mich. with her or stayed with someone in the Grove. Dad went with her.
"Grandma Pye sold the berry farm and came back to Downers Grove when Dad had finished the fifth grade in school (that ended his schooling). At the age of 12 or 14 years Dad started to do carpentry work in Downers Grove. Silas Baker his father was working as a carpenter in the Grove at that time. He had re-married a lady by the name of Thresa Bloom. What became of this marriage is not set down anywhere I can find. Silas moved to Batavia, Ill. where he married Attie May Hampton the daughter of Dan & Olive Tubbs Hampton. 2 sons were born of this marriage. Herbert Eugene who died as a baby and Harry Leon. Grandpa and Grandma moved to Anderson, Ind. a few years after their marriage and spent most of their life there. Harry grew to manhood in Anderson and worked as a salesman for a company that manufactured horse carriages and wagons. He married a lady named Ruth who some years ago lived in Texas. Harry and Ruth Baker both died in middle age.
"Charles A. Baker grew to manhood in Downers Grove. Married Leah Jane Hampton of Turner (West Chicago) in 1892 living there until 1902 when they moved to Morris, Ill."
Clyde W. Baker