Baker family settled in the Westover Precinct in late 1800s

Published 12:00am Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Bakers were another family that resided in the northern part of Covington County, particularly in the Westover Precinct and surrounding communities. It has not yet been learned if this line of Bakers were related in any way to those who resided in the northeast area of the county near Rose Hill.

The names of a few Baker men appear in county records as early as 1854. That year, Nathan Baker acquired 76.51 acres of land in the Gantt township. In 1871, Nathan M. Baker’s application for homesteading 80.09 acres in the Brantley township was canceled. Also in 1871, George L. Baker had a cancellation of his application to homestead 159.65 acres in the Blue Pond township. Joseph B. Baker was listed as a “registered voter” in Covington County in 1867. (The records can be found in Wyley Ward’s books on Covington County history.)

Hezekiah Richard Baker was born in the State of Alabama in 1851. He and his family were enumerated in Westover in 1880 and 1900. In 1892, he homesteaded 80.40 acres of land in the Pigeon Creek community. In 1910, they were listed as residing in Red Level, but once again in Westover in 1920, the year in which Hezekiah died. Hezekiah was married in 1874 to Easter Caroline Ealum, daughter of J. John and Harriet E. (Gorum) Ealum of the Westover area. J. John was the son of Joel Reuben Ealum. (Earlier columns featured the Ealum and Gorum families, and there is a Gorum family story in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama.)

Hezekiah and Easter reared a large family of 14 children: James; John S., b. 1875; Dock Ansley, b. 1877 (or 1883?), d. 1962, m. (1) Lara Jane Williamson (2) 1902 Ada Matilda Hallford; Joe; William, b. 1879; Thomas, b. 1881; Emily, b. 1885, d. 1946, m. J.A. Cox; Wiley J., b. 1888; Rosa B., b. 1890, m. Thomas Dreading; Ada J., b. 1891, m. Wes Odom; Richard W., b. 1894, m. Addie Jeffers; Ruth “Rushie” Virginia, b. 1896, m. ? Noland; Carrie C., b. 1898; and Gracie M., b. 1899, d. 1983, m. Will L. Morris (1899-1975).

This family line will be continued through that of the above son, Dock Ansley Baker. Dock spent most of his life farming and as a “share-cropper.” This meant the family moved around quite often as was customary for farmers of this type. Some descendants have recalled that he played the banjo on occasions and that some of his children did as well. A granddaughter, Dorothy (Baker) Gomillion, indicated that there appears to have been some musical talent passed down through this family. She actually plays the piano, banjo and guitar and has been the pianist for several small churches in the area.

In 1902, Dock Ansley Baker was married to Ada Matilda Hallford, daughter of James Redden and Emma Rachael Frances (Majors) Hallford. Dock had previously been married to Louisa Jane Williamson, but his children are all by his second wife. Dock and Matilda had the following five children: Rufus A., b. 1906, d. 1984, m. Pearlie Gorum; Luther James, b. 1909, d. 1968, m. Lorena Cook (1913-1938); Fred M., b. 1911, d. 1979, m. Odie Mae Crum; Fed Wilson, b. ca 1916, d. 1983, m. (1) Clodine Worley (2) Lois ?; and possibly a fifth child. Several members of this family were buried in the Bushfield Cemetery.

The oldest son, Rufus A. Baker, and his wife, Pearlie (Gorum), reared the following three children: Sam, m. Myrtle Gomillion; Mary Esther, m. Hiram Hooks; and George, m. (1) Claudie Faye Bush (2) ?.

Luther James Baker was married to Lorena Cook, daughter of Bar Carse and Beulah Mae (Phillips) Cook. They reared a son, Lamar, who m. (1) Joan ? (2) Geraldine ?. They also reared one daughter, Lily Virginia, b. 1937, d. 2004, m. Ben Randall Shelton, Jr. (1937-1987). Lily and Ben reared three children.

Fred M. Baker and his wife, Odie Mae (Crum), reared five children: James Rufus, m. (1) Vinnie Lou Mitchell (2) Joan ?; Fred Ray, m. Vinnie Lou Mitchell; Christine, m. Claude Quinley; Billy Joe, m. Carolyn Mitchell; and Bob, m. Glenda Bowen.

Fed Wilson Baker was first married to Clodine Worley, daughter of John Henry and Beulah (Sturgis) Worley. They reared the following daughters: Janice Bessie, b. 1937, m. Billy Jordan Bates; Dorothy Jean, b. 1944, m. Malcolm Gomillion; Patricia Ann, b. 1950, m. (1) Buddy Reynolds (2) Roger Parrish; and Shelia Diane, b. 1956, m. (1) Clausey Graves (2) Virgil Gray. Clodine later had a fifth daughter, Cynthia, b. 1959, m. Benny Garrett.

Fed Wilson Baker and his family were living in Michigan when his mother, Matilda (Hallford) Baker died in Covington County. He came without his family to the funeral and saw his mother buried in the Bushfield Cemetery, where several of the Baker family members are buried. The family later returned to Covington County and settled in the Vera Cruz community. The daughters recall living in a log cabin that had formerly been owned by Cicero Colvin.

Sources for today’s writing include Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871 and his Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County; Ancestry.com and the family records of Dorothy Jean (Baker) Gomillion, a resident of Andalusia.

Anyone who has any corrections to the above or additional information on this Baker family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road; 334-222-6467; or email: cthomasson@centurytel.net. Also, there is a different Baker family, which resided northeast of Rose Hill who appears to have no relationship to this one. Anyone having information on this family is asked to share with this writer.

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 2, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.

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