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Baker, David J.

Born: 1792-09-07 East Haddam, Connecticut

Died: 1869-08-06 Alton, Illinois

Flourished: 1819-1844 Kaskaskia, Illinois

Baker graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in 1816. Afterward, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in Illinois in 1819. He practiced law and lived in Kaskaskia until moving to Alton in 1844. In 1829, Governor Ninian Edwards appointed Baker to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. In 1833, President Andrew Jackson appointed Baker U.S. attorney for Illinois and President Martin Van Buren re-appointed him to the office in 1837. Politically, Baker was a Democrat until 1854, when he became a member of the newly-organized Republican Party. Baker owned two female slaves in 1840, but was an advocate of abolitionist Owen Lovejoy by the 1850s. In 1850, Baker was practicing law in Madison County, Illinois and owned $25,000 in real property. Baker was first married to Sarah T. Fairchild, who died in 1859. In 1860, he married Elizabeth Swanwick. Baker and his wife Sarah were founding members of the Presbyterian Church in Kaskaskia.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 607; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Randolph County, IL, 220; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Madison County, IL, 366; Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: J. L. McDonough, 1883), 125, 126, 257, 447; W. T. Norton, ed., Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:418, 967; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Randolph County, 1 May 1860, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.