Heritage \ Writings \
View Military Section.

James H. Baker, Jr. (1847-)
Born in Richamond, VA, prominent businessman in Bay City.
  • 1883 biography. (Added Nov., 2009)

    History of Bay City, Michigan (1883)


    James H. Baker, proprietor of the new Crescent lunch counter and dining hall, was born in Manchester, the port of Richmond, Va., December 17, 1847. Both his father James H. and his grandfather Richard Baker were born in Ireland, and the former was a natural genius in regard to machinery and had charge of machine shops of Belle Isle. He died in Richmond in 1854. He was a Baptist in his religious belief, and a man of good education.

    The mother of our subject, Mary Taylor, was born in Manchester, Va., and still makes her home in Richmond, and is now sixty years of age. Her grandmother was born in bondage, but was freed many years ago and given a portion of the plantation upon which she lived. The mother of our subject had white blood in her veins, and her son is quite fair. He is a man of considerable property and stands well in his community. He was reared in Richmond, and at the age of twelve removed with his mother to Harrisburg, Pa., on account of the fugitive slave law. In Pennsylvania he attended school until 1857, when he returned to Richmond and engaged in the manufacture of tobacco. He afterward took up the dentists' profession, and after hanging of John Brown at Harper's Ferry he went to Washington.

    At the National Capital he found employment and afterwards worked at the Continental Hotel in Philadelphia, remaining there until 1862, when he went into the army as a servant for Gen. Whiting Geary of Pennsylvania. When the call for ninety-days' men came in 1863 he enlisted in the First Rhode Island Colored Battery and saw service at Baton Rouge, Beaufort Island, Hilton Head, and was one of the eleven who were left of his battery after the massacre of Port Pillow. He was then transferred to the One Hundred and Second Michigan (colored) Regiment and took part in the undermining of Petersburg, where he came near losing his life. When he came out of the hospital his regiment had been sent to another part of the country and he was placed in a white regiment, the Second Michigan Infantry and was detailed as Orderly to Gen. Ely with rank of a corporal, remaining with him until the close of the war, taking part in the Grand Review and accompanying the General home to Detroit.

    After working in the Michigan Exchange at Detroit and also at both the Russell and Biddle Houses he came to Saginaw and re-opened the Bankcroft House remaining there until 1865, when he came to Bay City with the purpose of opening the Frazer. In Saginaw he had learned the barbers' trade and finally opened a shop in South Bay City, which he carried on successfully for some twelve years.

    Mr. Baker was married in Bay City in 1872 to Miss Mary F. Edwoods, who was born in Canada, and they have two children, James S, Jr. and Oscar W. Mr. Baker has been constable of the Fourth Ward, and was on the police force for some time. He is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, the Royal Arch Masons and Knights Templar, and belongs to U.S. Grant Post No. 67 in connection with which he has attended the National Encampment at Toledo, Cleveland and Detroit. He is a Republican in his political views, but not a radical one.

    Additional Notes:

      1873 - Michigan Marriages, Bay City, Mich:

    • Date: 12 Feb. 1873
    • Groom: James H. Baker, of Portsmouth, age 23, b. Virginia.
    • Bride: Mary F. Edwards, of Bay City, age 22, b. Canada.
    • Official: E. W. I(?)., Justice of Peace.
    • Witnesses: Frank Morgan and Raehel Palmer.

      1878 Directory, Bay City, Mich.:

    • Baker, James H. - barber, shop w s Water, bet 34th and South Center, res e s Broadway, bet 32d and 33d.

      1880 - Census, Bay City, Mich.:

    • Baker, James H., b. Dec 1847, Virginia.
    • Wife: Mary F. Baker;
    • Children: Edgar W., Florence M., Oscar, & James H.
    Related Pages/Notes

    Father James

    Related Pages:
    Baker, Oscar A.
    Ethnic: Blacks
    People Referenced
    Baker, Edward (son)
    BAker, Florence (dau.)
    Baker, James H.(subject)
    Baker, James S. (son)
    Baker, Oscar (son)
    Brown, John
    Edwoods, Mary (wife>
    - aka: Edwards
    Ely, Gen.
    Geary, Whiting Gen.
    Morgan, Frank
    Palmer, Raechel
    Taylor, Mary (mother)
    Subjects Referenced
    1st R.I. Colored
    2d MI Inf.
    102d MI Colored
    Bancroft House
    Bay City, MI
    Bell Isle, Ireland
    Biddle House
    Civil War
    Contenental Hotel
    Crescent restaurant
    Detroit, MI
    Fraser House
    Harrisburg, PA
    Manchester, VA
    Portsmouth, Bay, MI
    Richmond, VA
    Russell House
    Saginaw, MI
    S. Bay City, MI
    Washinton, DC
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.