By Meredith Rond email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: March 2009
John Baker was born sometime between 1740 and 1745, probably in Virginia. He is listed on 1771 tax records in Botetourt Co. Virginia along with his father Humphrey Baker and brothers Thomas and George. He is again listed on the 1772 Botetourt Co. tax list with father Humphrey and brothers George and Robert. Robert turned 18 in 1772. It should be noted at this time that Botetourt Co. was formed in 1769 from Augusta Co.VA ; Fincastle Co. was formed from Botetourt Co. in 1772, abolished in 1776 and became Washington Co. Virginia.
It has been difficult to research our John Baker because the name was so common. There were several John Bakers in Virginia and North Carolina that have become confused with our John. We believe that our John Baker was the Long Hunter mentioned in the 1769 hunt with James Dysart, Isaac and Abraham Bledsoe and Uriah Stone among others. This hunt originated at a branch of New River called Reed Creek about 8 miles below Fort Chiswell, VA. We believe there may have been more than one Long Hunter named John Baker. However, James Dysart was a close neighbor of our Baker family and one of the signers of the petition to call Rev. Cummings to head the Sinking Springs and Glade Springs Presbyterian Churches along with John’s older brother Thomas.
A John “Parker” was surveyed for 322 acres on the south fork of the Holston in March 1774. Thomas Baker was surveyed for 328 acres on the South Fork of the Holston in December 1773, (Washington Co. Virginia). In the American Historical Review, letters from Arthur Campbell to General Daniel Smith mention “Surveys I bought of THOMAS & JOHN BAKER”, (in Washington Co. Virginia, letters dated September 1800).
Mention of Humphrey Baker and sons Thomas, John and George can be found in court records from Fincastle & Kentucky Co. VA abstracted by Michael Cook and Bettie Cummings Cook. An interesting court case occurring September 8, 1773 records: “James Lyle, assignee of Arthur Campbell v. Henry Dougherty, on debt. The parties appeared by their attorneys and also came a jury composed of Thomas Martin, Charles Skaggs, James Smith, Samuel Wilson, James Lyon, Humbertson Lyon, William Edmiston/Edmundson, Alexander Ewing, William Lockart, John Douglas, William Blackburn and JOHN BAKER, who ruled that the defendant had not paid the debt.” Arthur Campbell bought both Thomas and John Baker’s tract of land on the South Fork of the Holston River sometime before 1800. Some of the men on this jury were known Long Hunters.
The Battle of Point Pleasant, in Lord Dunsmore’s War in 1774, is officially known as the first battle of the Revolutionary War. It is known that a Thomas, John and Robert Baker served in Capt. William Campbell’s Company under the command of Col. Andrew Lewis from Fincastle Co. VA. A Robert Baker and George Baker also served under the command of Lt. William Edmiston/ Edmundson from Fincastle Co., under the command of Col. Andrew Lewis. It is believed that these four men, Thomas, John, George and Robert were the sons of Humphrey Baker. Thomas has been proven beyond any doubt that he is the son of Humphrey Baker of Washington VA through a pension he received from the state of Virginia while living in Madison/Estill Co. Kentucky in 1812 and through other documentation and DNA testing. Thomas was a spy and wounded at the Battle of Point Pleasant, now West Virginia, in September of 1774. Records in “Soldiers of Fincastle Co. Virginia, 1774”, compiled by Mary B. Kegley from Capt. William Campbell’s accounts, list a “ROBERT “BEAKER” HH 26 days, JOHN BAKER, HH 7 days and THOMAS BAKER, allowance for wounds, 3 days driving cattle; 101 days pay as a scout”. Solid documentation as well as circumstantial evidence indicate that the Thomas, John, George and Robert Baker mentioned in Fincastle Co. VA records during Lord Dunmore’s war were indeed the sons of Humphrey Baker.
It has been proven that Robert Baker, son of Humphrey went on to serve in the Revolutionary War and at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Robert applied for a pension on May 7th, 1833, while living in Montgomery Co. MO. Robert was 79 years old at the time and thought to be the youngest son of Humphrey. He states he entered the service of the United States while residing in Fincastle Co. now Washington Co. Virginia. When he returned in June of 1776 from the Battle of Long Island (which is about 60 miles from where he lived) “we found our families and neighbors forted, I continued in the service at what was called “Campbell’s Fort” which was situated at Colonel William Campbell’s plantation in Fincastle Co. aforesaid till late in the fall during which time I acted as a spy for the Fort”. “We again marched down to the Fort at Long Island under Captain Dysart”.
In the year 1778 or 1779 Robert volunteered under Colonel William Campbell, and entered the service under Captain William Edmonson and marched from Washington Co. Virginia towards North Carolina. About the middle of December 1780 he volunteered under Colonel Arthur Campbell and in Captain James Crabtree’s Company, William Russell, Lieutenant and JOHN BAKER, Ensign and marched to the Cherokee Towns, where they burned seventeen towns and killed a good many Indians. Colonel Arthur Campbell is the same man who bought two tracts of land from THOMAS & JOHN BAKER in Washington Co. Virginia before 1800.
It is our belief that the “JOHN BAKER, ensign” mentioned in Robert’s pension application is his brother John. Robert fought with the Virginia Militia from Fincastle/Washington Co. He was under the command of the same officers he was during Lord Dunsmore’s War, as were brothers Thomas, John and George. In the Draper papers there is mention of Colonel James Dysart grandson, James, telling Lyman Draper that his grandfather knew JOHN BAKER, the Long Hunter and Ensign during the Revolutionary War, well. Although we have not yet seen the article ourselves, it would make sense, since James Dysart was a close neighbor and friend of our Baker family while living in Washington Co, VA.
John is listed on the 1782 tax list in Colonel Aaron Lewis’ Precinct next to his father, Humphrey Baker, in Washington Co. VA. John has 1 tithe, 3 horses and 7 cattle, Humphrey has 1 tithe, 5 horses and 10 cattle. Brothers George and Robert are in Major James Dysart’s precinct: George has 1 tithe, 7 horses and 17 cattle and Robert 1 tithe, ? horses and 7 cattle. In 1783 John, Humphrey and Alex Baker are in Capt. William Russell Precinct; in 1784 the tax roll is incomplete; in 1785 Humphrey, John and Alexander are in Aaron Lewis’ Precinct; in 1786 Humphrey, John, Alexander, George and Robert are again listed. After 1786 George and Robert Baker remove permanently to Green Co. Tennessee. Thomas is in Madison Co. Kentucky and has been since before 1782. The last location of John Baker known with any certainty is Washington Co. VA in 1786. Speculations lead us to further research in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, but to date we do not know where he settled.
Please contact us if you have information about this John Baker.