Henry J. Baker has been identified with the interests of Vienna Township for more than a quarter of a century and has contributed to its material progress and prosperity to an extent surpassed by but few of his contemporaries. One of the large land owners of the township, he has also advanced the general welfare by his connection with public interests, and his life furnishes a striking example of the wise application of sound principles and safe conservatism. Mr. Baker is a native of La Salle County, Illinois, and was born October 14, 1864, a son of Henry T. and Lena (Gebeke) Baker, of Hanover, Germany. In 1859 Henry T. Baker took a sailing vessel to New Orleans, Lousiana, and after a few months in that city came up the Mississippi river, and located in Illinois, starting to work by the month. In 1863 having accumulated enough money, he sent for his sweetheart, who was awaiting his summons, in Germany, and upon her arrival they were married at Ottawa, Illinois. Succeeding this Mr. Baker rented land for two years and then moved to a farm in Vienna Township, Grundy County, which was then but poorly improved. Here the remainder of his life was passed, and when he died, in 1905, he was the owner of 300 acres of highly-improved land on the home place, in addition to eighty acres in Livingston County, Illinois. The mother passed away in the fall of 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Baker were the parents of these children: Henry J.; Sophia, who married Herman Smith, of Livingston County, Illinois; William F., residing in Vienna Township; George, of Whiteside County, Illinois; and Emma, who died at the age of nine years.
Henry J. Baker was given good educational advantages, attending the German school at Ottawa for one year and the Vienna Township public schools. He resided with his parents until his marriage, March 17, 1889, to Adella Bush, who was born in this township, a daughter of George Bush, of Germany. After his marriage, Mr. Baker moved to his father’s north farm, on which he resided for two years, at the end of which time his parents removed to Streator and he took up his residence on the home farm. At his father’s death he inherited 160 acres of this land, and to it he has since added eighty acres, he and his sons working all of this land, in addition to eighty acres which he rents. He is a skilled, progressive farmer, modern in his ideas and methods, and is an excellent judge of stock. Mr. Baker‘s high position in the esteem of his fellows evidences the fact that he has led a life of integrity and honorable dealing. He is a faithful member of the Lutheran Church, and has shown independent tendencies in politics. He has not cared for public office, but for twelve years discharged the duties of citizenship by serving as a member of the board of school directors. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Baker: Frederick W., Clara Anna M., Lena C., Jesse G., Louis E. and A. Irene M.
History of Grundy County, Illinois. Chicago, IL, USA: Munsell Publishing, 1914, p. 757-8.