Baker, Henry S.

Born: 1824-11-10 Kaskaskia, Illinois

Died: 1897-03-05 Alton, Illinois

Flourished: Alton, Illinois

Henry S. Baker was a lawyer, state legislator, and city judge. While a youth, Baker received his education from public schools in Kaskaskia, Illinois. In 1844, he moved with his parents to Alton, Illinois, where he matriculated to nearby Shurtleff College. He continued his education at Brown University, graduating in 1847. He returned home to read law with his father, David J. Baker, and in 1849, Henry earned admission to the Illinois bar and began practicing law in Alton. In November 1851, Henry married Emily B. Bailey, with whom he shared three children. Like his father, Henry became a staunch opponent of slavery. Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act spurred him to enter the political arena, and in 1854, he won election, as an anti-Nebraska Democrat, to the Illinois House of Representatives, serving in that body from January to February 1855. Henry S. Baker was one of five legislators who insisted on voting for Lyman Trumbull in the election for U.S. Senate, denying Abraham Lincoln’s bid for a senate seat in 1855. In 1856, Baker was among the secretaries of the Anti-Nebraska Convention which established the Republican Party in Illinois. In 1860, Baker was practicing law in Alton and owned real property valued at $50,000 and had a personal estate of $2,000. Emily B. Baker died in 1862, and Henry subsequently married Mary F. Adams, with whom he would have four children. In 1864, Henry was a presidential elector for the Republican Party. In 1865, he received appointment as city judge of Alton, a position he held until 1880.

W. T. Norton, ed., Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:421, 967-68; John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 2:689-90; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Madison County, 26 November 1851, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Illinois Senate, Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 4, Alton, Madison County, IL, 176; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 29 May 1856, 2:3; Gravestone, Alton Cemetery, Alton, IL.