Recollections of the Baker Family (Written in 1847)
By Dr. Simmons Jones Baker of Scotland Neck, North Carolina
Note: This digitized copy was prepared by Philip C. Norfleet, in 1998, from a typescript copy held in the Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Four brothers were said to have left the county of Sussex, in England and about the same time and two went to the Northern part of what is now the United States of America; the other two to Virginia and are believed from circumstances to have settled on the south side of James River and probably some few miles below old Jamestown on the other side. The names of the two brothers are unknown to me, nor do I know that there was ever any intercourse between the two that went north and those that came south after their separation.
When I was about to start to London in 1793, an old seal said to have been brought from England by one of the brothers, from whom I am a descendant, was put in my possession by my father. It has on it a coat of arms, a castle and three keys, surmounted by three white roses as a crest. After my arrival in London, curiosity and perhaps a little and it is hoped not illaudable [sic] vanity, led me to Heralds office to ascertain whether there was any person of the same name of Baker then baring similar arms. It was ascertained that Sir George Baker, then physician to George III, bore the same arms but with different crest, his being an arm extended from the top of the castle, with a stone clenched in the arm. Inquiry was made as how this difference might have occurred. The officer replied that it was probable that some of the family might have married an heiress and in such cases it was not uncommon for the husband to substitute the crest of his wife for his own, There being some tradition in the family that it was in some way connected with the great Admiral Blake, it was thought possible this change might have happened by an inter-marriage with some of his family, but on examining the records nothing satisfactory could be found. The tradition above mentioned distinctly recollected to have general credence in the family; but in what way the connection with Admiral Blake occurred was never, to the best of my recollection, explained to me. It is, however, from this connection, real or unreal, that the name of Blake has been given to so many of the Baker family.
Before leaving this subject it might be well to relate what amused me very much on the Record at the Heralds office and the relation of which, after my return,, caused my excellent friend and relative, Major John Baker, to laugh almost to suffocation. The record commences with a whereas, setting forth divers allegations and then twenty more perhaps whereases, [sic] wound up by saying that it had been asserted that a certain Thomas Baker was no gentleman and was not entitled to bear the arms of a gentleman, after filling six or seven pages of immense folio volume winds up by saying that the said Thomas was a gentleman in England. It is the first lowest grade of nobility. This reminds me of an anecdote related of George III. Some one had performed some act with which he was very much pleased and he was desirous of conferring some evidence of his satisfaction, he consulted those about him to know what had best be done for the man, one of his attendants proposed to make him a gentleman. "What! What! Make him a gentleman?" says the King. "No, no, make him a Lord, make him a Lord."
I have very little knowledge of the immediate descendants of those emigrants from England. The last of the name and family on James River was Laurence Baker who had a handsome seat on the river a few miles from Smithville, now in possession of Dr. Dick Cocke or some of his family. Mr. Baker was at one time wealthy and lived well, but was ruined in his affairs by the villainy of one, a protege by the name of Thomas Baker. He died about forty years since, leaving no issue, having never been married. At his death he left my father Laurence Baker, a mourning ring (perhaps all his property) with the name Elizabeth Baker on the inside, who died 1764. Who this Elizabeth was I do not know. Mr. Baker had, some years previous to his death, given to my father a miniature likeness of my grandfather which was also likeness of my father, This miniature or the remains of it are supposed to be In possession of my brother's family, the late Dr. J. B. Baker, of Gates Co. North Carolina. The ring I have given to my son James who is to also have at my death the old watch and seal brought by my ancestors from England.
Another branch of the family settled at South Quay on the Blackwater. I think but am not certain that he was a brother to my great-grandfather and that his name Is Richard, but of this I am not certain. He left, it is believed, two sons, William and Edward; who both died young with consumption, leaving no children having never been married.
Colonel Benjamin Baker, the other brother, lived at Piney Pleasant, a few miles from South Quay. He married a Miss Hardy for his first wife and had three sons,, Richard, Blake and William, and four daughters, all beautiful women. Martha was married to General Thomas Blount of Tarborough, leaving no issue. Mary married Captain Dorlon, a most worthy gentleman, and died without issue. Elizabeth married Dr, John Leigh, of Tarborough, and died without issue. Julia never married and like the others died young with consumption. Colonel Baker after the death of his first wife married the widow of Colonel Miles Harvey, originally Elizabeth Jones, sister to my mother. By her he had two daughters, Emily called Milly, who married a Mr. Parham, of Greenville Va. Of these two I have lost sight of for many years. Colonel Baker was a man of very pleasant manners and carried on a very extensive business at the time of the Revolutionary War, but suffered loss by the burning of a large amount of very valuable merchandise which he had stored at Mr. James Maneys, of Maneys dock, for safety, but which was pointed out by some Tories and the whole together with Mr. Maneys mansion house was burned by a detachment of British troops. Richard Baker, the oldest son of Col. Baker, left two sons. Beverly who died a bachelor and Richard the present Judge Baker of Norfolk, a gentleman very highly esteemed by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. Blake, the second son, left a son, Joseph, who died young and is unknown to me whether he left children or not. The daughter Sarah married Mr. Hunter. Blake was a most excellent man and none stood higher for integrity and honor. William, the third son married Godwin, a charming lady; they had no children and Mrs. Baker afterwards married James Riddick,, of Suffolk, Va.
Between the South Quay branch and my fathers family there was at all times the greatest intimacy and marked attachment. No country gentleman of his day lived in more splendor than Colonel Baker and his two sons. Richard and Blake, lived equally as well. Old Jamaica-Madeira wine were no holiday drink with them. I mentioned above that Colonel Miles Harveys second wife was my aunt Elizabeth Jones; his first wife was sister to Col. Bakers of South Quay. She left one son, Augustus Harvey, the father of Mrs. Elizabeth McNair, of Tarborough, and two daughters, Mrs. Gray Blount of Washington, N. C. and Mrs. Neal, who was a sponsor at my baptism and the mother of my worthy friend Abner Neal, of Washington. Another of Col. Baker's sisters married Col. Benjamin Harvey and left Thomas and Benjamin. Thomas married Aunt Agatha Jones and Benjamin was the father of William Mallory Harvey, who married Ann Baker, the third daughter of Uncle William.
I now come to write about the branch of the stock from which I myself more immediately descended, beginning with my great-grandfather. His name is unknown to me; where he lived is uncertain, but I think it possible that it was somewhere in the Isle of Wight in Virginia. It was thought, after his connubial misfortunes, he moved to Buckland in the County of Hertford, now the county of Gates, where my grandfather resided, and after him for some time my uncle William Baker. The old mansion is still vivid in my memory. It was of but one story with dormer windows above, a piazza in front, from which you entered the hall, an immense room of thirty or more feet in length and proportionately wide, the stairway commencing near the front door and winding over the fire place. Two windows in front and one at the end not of the largest dimensions. The fireplace was most capacious, a common size ox load of wood from six to eight feet long was not more than sufficient for a good Christmas fire. Ah! Many a Christmas Day have I spent in the old mansion. On the opposite side there was another door in which stood a bed where ordinary people were put to sleep. You then descended two or three steps to another door into what was called the entry, an opened, covered way which conveyed you to the back room which had another staircase and a room above. I have purposely reserved the mention of a small room opening into the hall by the side of the door leading to the open room and entry for the last of my description. It was always called the Parsons room, was small and had one quite small window at the side. It received its name from the fact that the Parson who preached at Knotty Pine Chapel, about a mile off always made the mansion his headquarters. This little room was remarkable for another circumstance. My great aunt Caty represented to be a large bouncing girl as most of the Baker girls were in olden times, eloped through that small window (what cannot love accomplish) with Mr. Wiggins. My friend, Mason L. Wiggins, is descended from Aunt Caty with a host of other Wiggins and many of the Hoskins of Chowan and Tirrall. But I must not forget my great-grandfather, poor unhappy man. He married Angelica Bray who had large expectation as to property she being the only child of her father. She bore to my great-grandfather, one son, Henry Baker, my grandfather. Sometime after this event the fair Angelica (I presume she was fair or the captain would not have carried her off) eloped with the captain of a Jamaica merchantman-ship and is believed to have died in Kingston in extreme wretchedness. Often have I amused myself with that most excellent woman, my sister Agatha, by declaring to her that when I had a daughter born ( and there were a goodly number of them) that she should assuredly be called Angelica Bray. She would vow and declare that it should not be so. But to return to my grandfather, the poor man, notwithstanding the waywardness of his first wife appears ever to have retained a most affectionate attachment for her. A plate, knife and fork were always placed at the table for her and no one permitted to occupy her chair, in token that he was ready to receive the repentant Magdalene whenever she thought proper to return. After awaiting a reasonable length of time or perhaps until he heard of her death, the good man began to think that it was not good or agreeable for man to live alone and concluded to try his luck again. before proceeding any further with this narrative I must claim the indulgence of any relatives descended from this second marriage, who may chance to see it, if they should find anything in it they would rather have omitted. Having as a veracious chronicler should do, related the slips of my own great-grandmother it in incumbent on me and nothing but fair also to relate the vagaries of theirs. The old gentleman as aforesaid began to dislike being alone, therefore decided to look out for another helpmate. His first wife, having been bred a fine lady and turned out badly, he thought it best to take one from a humble station in life, who would feel under obligation to him for elevating her to his own, and consequently from gratitude would be more particular in consulting his happiness. He selected a woman of poor family whose name I never knew, Ruth Chancy. She lived in a family by the name of Lewis. My great-grandfather, as might have been expected, was disappointed. His wife, in the first place, was fond of low of low company and in his absence would collect her old associates, male and female and have great carousals. On one occasion the old gentleman had gone on a visit, most likely to a James River (then a great undertaking). In his absence one of his children was taken sick. His brother at Quay, hearing about and knowing his brother to be absent, determined like a good brother to go to see the child. On his arrival, to his great amazement, he found the crowd in the house fiddling and dancing merrily, notwithstanding the child was really sick. My great-grandfather kept a brewery which no doubt added greatly to the fun. Besides my grandfather by his first marriage, my great-grandfather left three sons by his last marriage, viz., Blake, John and Zadock. Blake was a bread maker, but like some of his contemporaries, who had been bread makers, weaver, bakers, etc., his ambition prompted him to soar a little higher and become a lawyer. Whether he attained eminence or not tradition sayeth not. He left a son also named Blake was bred for the Law and by dint of hard labor, for he was not brilliant, he came to be considered very safe council. The second Blake married Miss Ann Clark, late of Tarborough. She died leaving no issue. She was of Tyrel1, and half-sister of James W. Clark, late of Tarborough. Blake then married his second cousin, Mill Allen 'whose maiden name was Ann Bullock. A most excellent woman at heart, but most eccentric in character. Her first exploit, related to me, occurred in a Presbyterian Church when she was a child. Two pious old ladies were praying very devoutly with their heads together. She slipped up and pinned their caps together, when the prayer was over, the old ladies rose up and off came their caps.
Her husband, Blake one day expected company, was shaving and when about half shaved she ran out and told him that the wine was all running out of the cellar and she could not stop it. He immediately ran down into the cellar and as soon as in, his wife turned the key on him and inspite of all entreaty kept him there until his guests arrived, who on inquiring for him were told that he was In the cellar half shaved and that is something extraordinary. Blake was exceedingly patient on some occasions bore all this and a thousand other tricks with great forbearance. They left but one child, Blake the third, who married Wood Hamlin's daughter of Halifax leaving it is believed one or two children. Mary the daughter of Blake the third., married John Granberry of Bertie, and died without issue. Elizabeth, the second daughter married Robert Bignal of Tarborough, leaving a son who died in his nonage. John, the second son of my great-grandfather, by the last marriage, lived at Littletown,, which was afterwards purchased by my father and given to me and it is now owned by Hon. K. Rayner. This John had two sons John and Henry, John was a captain in the Continental service in the Revolutionary War and was wounded in the Battle of Brandywine. He must have taken it very coolly for I understand that being very hungry and having a moments respite he had thrown himself on his back with one foot thrown up and was eating a biscuit. In that attitude he was struck by a ball in the knee and had to leave the service. After recovering from his wound he was married to Ann Norfleet. They had three children, John, Lucinda, and Ann. John died a bachelor; Ann was never married; Lucinda, the Major having moved to Tennessee, married Gov. Willie Blount, of that state, leaving several children. The Major was a most excellent and agreeable man and my special friend. [emphasis provided by the editor] Henry Baker, the second son of the elder John, was when a little excited a very pleasant companion. He several times was unfortunate in his affairs, but in his latter days had a competency. He lived to be in the meridian of life without having taken a wife and then having been sadly disappointed in some in some business connections he committed suicide by cutting his throat on the roadside. The daughters of John the elder were Mary, Sarah, Ruth and Priscilla. Mary was advanced in life before marriage. Her husband was named Leary; was by no means her equal and was not kind to her. She left no issue. Sarah, who with Mary lived some years in my father's family, married Capt. Willis Sawyer of Bertie. She is still living and had one daughter who married Mr. Granberry of Perquimans. The captain has been dead for some years. Mrs. Granberry has one daughter, a sweet girl. I had always a strong attachment for her, Mrs. Sawyer. Ruth Baker married Thomas Brownrigg of Chowan, a respectable and wealthy gentleman. She was the mother of my respected friend, General Richard Brownrigg of Columbus, Miss. and two other sons, Thomas and John, also three daughters, the eldest married Col. Cross of Nansemond Va., Sarah married W. S. Sparkman, of Bertie. Priscilla married Judge Bailey now of Hillsboro. I now return to my uncle Zadock. Whether my great-grandfather was made suspicious by the conduct of his first wife is unknown to me, but he certainly believed his last to have been unfaithful for he never acknowledged Zadock to be his son, and at his death left him no part of his estate. Zadock left three sons, viz., James and I believe Matthew and Zadock and several daughters. The widow of the old man who was of the Wynn family, married old Robinson an honest and vulgar old man. Two of his sons married and lived in Gates, Matthew died a bachelor, it is believed; Zadock, the youngest was a protege of the second Blake (son of Blake) who was very kind to him. He educated him and bred him to the profession of law. Not succeeding very well at the bar, he commenced Methodist Preaching. He went to Tennessee after which I lost sight of him. With the exception of Zadock, the younger of all the old mans children appeared to have some dislike to the families of my father and uncle from the fact that their father had inherited a good portion of my great-grandfathers estate and theirs had got nothing. The consequence was a very slight intercourse between them. Old Zadock in his younger days was a common sailor and was impressed (being then a British subject) and served on board the LITHFIELD, man-of-war, and was wrecked on the coast of Morocco where he remained a slave for seventeen months. Closely confined at night and chained to a wheel barrow in the day. His employment was to roll dirt in the Emperors garden to make a mound. His misfortunes, however, had not yet determined. He was ransomed for two thousand dollars and discharged. And on landing at Wilmington in this state was again impressed without having any personal communications with his friends and relatives. But luckily for him the assembly of the state was then in session at that place and some of then going on board the ship heard the name called and old Col. Nicholas Long of Halifax, knowing something perhaps of his fate on the coast of Morocco, was induced to inquire who he was. The old man was at first sulky and refused to make any explanations, but was finally identified and, by the influence of several men, was discharged, returning home and never went to sea again. I remember well to have seen him at my fathers house in 1792 or 1793 and was amused with the old gentleman. After he had taken a goodly portion of old Jamaica (and he liked it well) he commenced a topographical description of the Emperors garden with chalk on the floor, particularly marking the mound and place of confinement at night. By the time he had finished the floor was pretty well marked off. I recollect that the old gentleman had a peculiar tact in preventing his bowl (an old fashioned genuine china holding about a gallon or more) from getting empty. First his toddy was too strong, water must be added, then it was too weak, rum must be added, then it was not sweet enough more sugar must go in. Poor man, he made a bad start in the beginning of his life and misfortune seemed to have been his until the end of it. Peace be to his name. My great-grandfather had a brother by the name of James. No opportunity has occurred before for naming him. He is represented as being a handsome and elegantly formed man, remarkably swift of foot. He was the last who visited and was recognized by the family in England. In the French War in 1763, he carried off a large number of the Nottoway tribe of Indians from Southampton, Va. My great aunt Jerrill told me at that time he was in the Indian costume. He was in a battle at or near Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was severely wounded and refusing to throw away his musket was drowned in attempting to swim the Ohio.
It now remains for me to record what is the recollection of my grandfather, Henry Baker and his descendants. He was large in stature and judging from the miniature picture given by Lawrence Baker to my father there must have been an extraordinary resemblance between him and my father. He was in his youth an active man, was surveyor and agent in the receipt of quit-rents for Earl Granville. He was not averse to a little sport, horse racing for example. Old Col. Thomas Pugh of the Indians woods told me he had many races with him. My grandfather lived at the time at the Apple Tree near to him. The old Colonel asked after Ned, who was my grandfathers race rider (quarter race of course), it so happened that old Ned was near the Colonels age (86) and what is remarkable about old Ned, he was several years completely blind. After an absence of a year or two, being in Gates, I called out of respect to the old servant to see him and began consoling him about the loss of his vision. He says, the old man, I can see as well as you can, which was true. At what time my grandfather went to the "apple tree" or at what time he left it I do not know, but he must have been still a young man when he left and it is presumed that it might have been immediately after he became crippled which was at his thirty-fourth or fifth year. After this he could no longer act as surveyor. When he left "the apple tree" he returned to Buckland. What was the nature of the disease that deprived him of his lower limbs is not well known there being few doctors in those days who could perform that very important part of the profession, giving names to diseases. From circumstances, however, it is presumed to have been the gout, for his son William and his grandson, my humble self have got it somewhat. At what period of his life the old man married is unknown, but conjecture to might have been after losing the use of his limbs, for it said that my grandmother was of an obscure family, and not much to the liking of her husband's relations. Her name, Caty Booth, of the Isle of Wight, Va. She is nevertheless represented to have been an excellent woman. Some twenty years past I saw a young gentleman in Gates from the Isle of Wight of the same name who claimed to be a relation whose appearance is quite genteel and was evidently intelligent. Notwithstanding my grandfather had lost the use of his legs and feet he was energetic and when put on his white pony he could ride as well as anyone. Constantly attending to his business at the plantation and took care that no one ate idle bread there. My uncle William, always a facetious man and fond of good anecdotes even at his own expense, told me with great merriment that on one occasion there was to be a quarter race at Bradys Path about a mile from Buckland, that grandfather (still liking the sport although he could not have run a race with anything but a terrapin and that in his wheel chair) was going and he (my uncle) and my father were very anxious to go also. After much entreaty the old men consented; they might go after dropping and cover some two or three bushels of peas. At it they went, dropping and covering with all their might. When they had dropped all but a peck or a little more, they became so impatient fearing the race would be over before they could get there, they concluded to make a hole by the side of the stump and bury the residue in a lump. This done they were off for the race. Unfortunately for them there was a good shower of rain a day or two after and .the old man mounted on his white pony went into the field to see how his peas had come up. Unluckily he passed the fatal stump and no sooner saw the mass of peas breaking the surface from some distance around than he unraveled the mystery and on getting home gave both the young gentlemen a good thrashing. The old man was a good Church man bringing his children and servants up in the fear of the Lord and a good broomstick, and the parson, whenever he came, still occupied the parsons room from which good aunt Caty eloped through the window. Poor aunt Caty. Her remains are resting side by side with Mr. Wiggins under a pear tree, in Wiggins old field, Wiggins swamp. God rest their souls. My grandmother, the old gentlemans imbecility in his extreme notwithstanding, was tolerably prolific having four sons, Laurence, Henry, William and Bray. I am not sure that they are named in the order of primogeniture. My uncle, when he was a man grown, was killed when walking in a new house by stepping on the side of a plank between two sleepers. The opposite and turning over and striking him in the breast. Bray Baker died a young man. I stop here to express my admiration of my grandfathers feelings in naming his sons, for guilty as his mother was, she was still his mother, and who can say she did not with the most bitter heart rendering anguish, deplore the fatally false step. Let not those who never were tempted nor those hearts cold as an icicle felt an emotion, hastily judge the frailties of others, but if possible throw a mantle over them and leave then in the hands of an all wise and merciful God who knoweth the secrets of every heart and will finally judge them in righteousness. There were three daughters, first Elizabeth, who married Mr. Maney of Maneys Neck. By this marriage she had two sons, James, as worthy a man as ever lived, and Thomas who was killed by lighting. And two daughters, Susan,, who married General Thomas Wynn of Hertford and Priscilla who married Lovatt Burgess, Esquire of Halifax. Neither left issue. Mr. Maney left a very good estate to his children notwithstanding the loss of the burning of his house in the Revolutionary War by a detachment of British troops and Tories. When the attack was made he had to fly for his life to the pococin near at hand and was fired at as he jumped the fence, but fortunately for him without injury. The cavalry pursued him into the pococin and were no doubt glad to get out again, for they did not got very far before they were completely bogged down. After the death of the elder Maney my aunt married a Mr. Figures, of whom I know nothing save that he was large and wore a full bottomed wig. My next aunt Priscilla married first a Mr. Gregory of Hertford and had children none of whom is recollected but who lived many years with my father, he died in Ohio,, after the death of Gregory his widow married old William Grever, an unfortunate connection, the old man leaving nothing behind but a house full of children. One of them, Samuel, lived with my father from almost his infancy until he was of age or nearly so. He was then put on board a merchantman ship and put to sea, was captured by a French ship of war and was imprisoned in France some two or three years. In a very short space of time he was captured by a British ship, carried to England and confined in Dartmouth Prison and was there at the time of the massacre of the prisoners by the British commander. After his release he had many misadventures, but finally returned to my brothers after an absence of nearly seven years. After this it is maid that he went to South America and no further tidings have been heard from him.
My third aunt whose name is not remembered married Col. Wynn of Hertford, the father of General Wynn by a former marriage. She left one son, Capt. W. Wynn, the father of my friend Capt. Benjamin Wynn, now of Florida and Thomas Wynn, for a long time Consul at Turks Island and now of New York.
My uncle William was a large man as most of the Bakers were. He was sprightly and full of humor, loved good eating and enjoyed a glass of Madeira or old Jamaica toddy as well as any man and paid the penalty by many severe attacks of the gout unless he inherited it. He married Judith Norfleet, a daughter of the first Marmaduke. She was a most amiable woman of excellent understanding and truly pious. A kind wife and charitable to all around her. After the death of my mother, when my father was in the army, and at other times when he was absent, I was placed under the care of this most excellent lady. On one occasion while there a cat was crossing the entry (a place already described in my grandfather's house, then my uncles) I jumped at her and said scat you. One of the servants overheard me and reported what I had said with the awful addition bitch for which I got an awful beating. This is mentioned only for the purpose of showing how conscientious my good aunt was in the performance of what she conceived to be her duty. What a blessing it would be if there were others like her. [emphasis provided by the editor] My uncle left two daughters, (he had three sons who died when nearly grown) one married Capt. B. Wynn, the other W. H. Harvey. They both inherited a very large estate but alas!
My father was a large man six feet high and weighing two hundred and six pounds. He was cheerful but generally grave, a kind husband, father and master, prudent and discreet in the management of his affairs and was universally liked. As proof of his standing in his county, he, when candidate f or the convention that was to consider and decide the federal constitution (of which he was a warm advocate) secured every-vote in the county but five. He was the clerk of court of Gates from the time it was separated from Hertford until his death, for many years. He married Ann Jones daughter of Capt, Abriggton Jones, of Southampton, Va. (whose father was a Welshman), his wife was a sister of Colonel Charley Simmons of an English family. My mother had several children, twins twice, of which I am one. My twin brother, Albridgton Jones with one or two others died at the time my mother did. The disease was dysentery and there is reason to believe badly treated. There were four children left, Henry, who died when nearly grown, Elizabeth, Agatha and myself. My two sisters were extensively known and needed no commendation, they were both most excellent women. Soon after the death of my mother, my father went into the army. He was Colonel of a regiment, Col, Jonas Johnston of Edgecombe, being in command, he was in the battle of Stone in South Carolina under the command of General Lincoln. It was a hard fought battle and I have been told by some who were present that my father acquitted himself like a brave man. He was a member of the Convention at Halifax, but did not stay to sign it, having been appointed colonel of a regiment and sent home to prepare for active service. He did not attend the convention at Hillsborough to which as before mentioned he was elected, in consequence of the death of my brother Henry, about that time. After the return of my father from the army he married not long after, Ann Burgess who made an excellent wife and very kind step-mother. She was the daughter of the Rev, Thomas Burgess of Halifax, an Englishman and of the Episcopal faith. It will probably be agreeable to my family to know a little more of my mothers family. Two of my aunts have already been mentioned. There are two others, Mary who married a Mr. Jarrett, a woman of indomitable energy, and Sarah, who married the Rev. Henry Burgess. She was one of my sponsors in baptism, and to her and her husband I am indebted to much of what I have been in life. I lived in their family three years in Surrey county and four in Southampton, free of charge, either for tuition or board. It is true that my father made them very valuable presents amounting to probably nearly and equivalent, but that does not cancel my obligation. At the death of that excellent man, my uncle Burgess, he bequeathed his only son to my charge, a charge infinitely gratifying and to my feeling at the time and which I trust has been executed in a way to meet his approbation would he be conscious of it.
This brief sketch has been written for the amusement of my children chiefly at the suggestion of my daughter Laura Saunders, for whom it is more particularly intended in the first place. It has been hastily done and no doubt might be amended in many respects if I had the patience to copy it, but that may not be for it has already been a severe task to my eyes, it having been written entirely by candle light. I am sure all my children will accept it as a token of the ardent affections of their father.
/Signed/ S. J. Baker
Scotland Neck, 4th February, 1847