Monday, June 26, 2006


Clara Fisher Wilson was born on the 18th of March, 1833, in Madison county, Ala., and grew up in the family with brothers and sisters. There is so little change in a well-regulated Presbyterian family that the history of one child is the history of all.

The child are born, taken into covenant relation with Jehovah. The parents are the second party in the covenant, and must train the child for heaven and for usefulness in this world. It is simple, it is beautiful. It is God's way! God keep us to be faithful!

Clara Fisher Wilson was married to William F. Baker, on the 3rd of November, 1852, in Marshall county, Miss. This was a happy marriage, both contractors were Christians. Husband a devout Methodist, wife a consecrated Presbyterian. And something unusual, both retained their church affiliations through life, and I don't suppose there ever was a shadow of trouble about it. They dedicated their children in infancy, and raised them up in "nurture and admonition of the Lord," and when they grew up they decided for themselves. Mr. Baker was a merchant when married, and merchandized in Coldwater, Miss., all his life, except, probably, three or four years during and after the Civil War, the family lived on a farm. But the family lived and matured in Coldwater, Miss. After the death of the parents, the children married and moved to Arkansas. The four families which sprang from this branch of the parent tree, are: William F., John W., Mattie Dennis and George W.

My brother and sister lost two children early in life, Lizzie and Elijah. They were children of the covenant. Later on, an older son, fourteen or fifteen years of age, was killed on the railroad. Jimmie (namesake of the writer) was a bright, promising boy, but wayward and disobedient. He was a great favorite with the railroad men and they would take him down the road and return before night. But once, the train was delayed several hours and reached Coldwater—Jimmie's station—late in the night, and the boy was missing. I will not attempt to describe the distress and excitement produced, but will state that when found his head was crushed, showing that he was killed instantly, being knocked off the top of the box car by a bridge under which the train was passing. This was a great shock to his mother, and to all the family, and the mother had nothing but the covenant promise to plead, and to comfort her in this trying hour. It is terrible to think your child is lost, but when we remember the boundless mercy and love of God and that He is Sovereign, it is comforting indeed to be able to plead God's covenant promise.

Wm. F. Baker was born in Tyro, Marshall County, Miss., in 1854, and grew up in the store with his father; whenever he was not in school he was behind the counter. And it is not at all strange that he has followed the business all his life, in Mississippi, then in Alma, Ark. H was married to Miss Ida Sloan, of Coldwater, Miss., the daughter of Dr. A. B. Sloan, a noted dentist and elder in the Presbyterian church. They were married when he was only twenty, and she, seventeen. The children began house keeping for several years, and had their parents near them to advise and comfort them when in trouble. This family has been signally blessed with health. Eight children have blessed their union—five good-looking girls and three bright, promising boys—and not a serious case of illness has occurred among them, and a coffin has never crossed their threshold, and both parents are still young and in excellent health. Surely they have great cause for thankfulness, and ought to show it in their lives and in the government and training of these immortal souls for heaven and usefulness in this life. This family came from Mississippi to Alma, Arkansas, where they lived for several years, and then moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the benefit of its graded schools and University. After several years they moved to the Indian Territory, and are now living in the city of Ardmore. Mr. Baker has always been a merchant.

John Wesby Baker, the second son, followed closely in the footsteps of his brother. They were partners in business for years, and when connected were always prosperous. When they closed out in Mississippi, John moved to Sulphur Rock, Ark., and Will, to Alma. In three years John followed his brother to Alma, where, they together, built up a thriving business. Will for reasons assigned, moved to Fayetteville, Ark., and in a year or so John followed him, and again they built up a prosperous business which enabled them to educate their children. They are separated now, and have been for four or five years, but they seem to be moving towards each other again.

In early life, John Wesby married Miss Alice Quinn, of De Soto county, Miss., the daughter of a consecrated Christian gentleman. Four living children are the result. The two oldest sons have just finished their college course, and are just now commencing life. The two youngest, Mattie and John, are at home. Two little boys sleep out here in our cemetery. They are safe! Numberless dangers beset the pathway of the older boys and nothing but the religion of Christ Jesus will protect them. Won't you accept the free gift, boys?

Martha Dennis Baker, the idol of the household in childhood, developed into a lovely woman, of fine musical attainments, soft and mellow voice, and of a most amiable and affectionate disposition.

Mattie Baker was a general favorite from childhood. She was married to Mr. Robert Harris, of Coldwater, Miss. They were very happy, and general favorites in the town. But their happiness was of short duration. Death came and claimed the husband, and Mattie was left with a wee baby girl to comfort her. Time, the healer of heart wounds and troubles, rolled on, and Mattie, with her beautiful child of four summers, came out to Alma, Ark., to visit her brothers, and spend the summer. Mattie was as lovely as the girl of yore, and soon won the heart of a young widower of the town, Mr. J. H. Bolling, and a wedding is soon announced, and duly celebrated, and the happy couple settled down quietly. Mr. Bolling had two children, a boy and girl, and when they came home they soon learned to love their stepmother and little Clara. They were a harmonious, happy family. Mr. Bolling was a merchant, and a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a valuable deacon. These pleasant relations continued for two or three years, and then, death "came knocking at the door." The precious wife and mother is taken, children are made orphans, and sorrow, deep and black, rests upon the whole family. "Oh! Death, where is thy sting?" Mattie was a devoted Christian, "Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Mrs. Bolling left a lovely little boy, one year old, named Burwell, after our dear pastor, Rev. R. S. Burwell, now of the Synod of Tennessee. This dear little boy, the writer and his wife took to their hearts and home, to love and care for, and I am afraid to become the idol of the household. He was too bright and beautiful for this old world, and the Lord took him to a brighter one. I am afraid we never became perfectly reconciled to little Burwell's death, but we bowed to the rod and tried to submit.

Clara was left alone! For several years she lived with her uncle, but for the last four or five years, she has lived with her aunt, Mrs. Thos. J. Eason, of Fayetteville, and has been attending the State University. She has now graduated, and will make her home with her uncle, J. W. Baker, who lives in Oklahoma City.

Clara is a promising girl, and has inherited the musical talent and taste of her mother, and is fully qualified to make a useful woman.

George Wilson Baker, was born in Coldwater, Miss., and came with his brothers to Alma, Ark., where he was for several years employed in their mercantile operations. He married Miss May Reed, daughter of E. T. Reed, Esq., of Crawford county. His young wife lived but a few years, and left George two bright, lovely girls, Nannie and Wilda, to care for. The grandparents took the little girls to their home, and have cared for them kindly and kept them in school.

A year or two ago George married Miss Lilly Peaden, of Washington county, and I hope are doing well. George ought to do well, he is a business man of ability, a fine salesman, and very popular. But George will do wrong sometimes, and causes a great deal of sorrow and mortification. He is a good Methodist, and will practice "falling from grace." If he would only believe the horrible doctrine, and not practice it, no harm would be done. No one would be injured. The prayers of the righteous will not go unanswered, and many are on record for the erring ones. Again, we thank God for giving Christian parents, who taught us by precept and example to fear God, and do the right.

W. F. Baker, Sr., and his wife, Clara F. Baker, left a bright and shining example for their children to follow. They were full of faith, and testified to the last, that the religion of Jesus was sufficient. Father and husband was called first, and the patient, faithful mother was left a few years longer to her children and loved ones. Her last days were full of suffering from cancer, but she bore her suffering with fortitude and patience, never complaining. Her mind was bright and clear to the last, and as the end drew near, I asked her if "All is well?" "Oh, yes," she answered, "I know in whom I have believed, and He is able to keep what I have committed to His charge." In a few hours she fell asleep, "Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep!"


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