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Baker, Edward L.

Born: 1829-06-03 Kaskaskia, Illinois

Died: 1897-07-08 Argentina

Flourished: Springfield, Illinois

Edward L. Baker was an attorney, newspaper editor and proprietor, federal government official, and diplomat. After receiving his pre-collegiate education, Baker matriculated to Shurtleff College, graduating in 1847. He read law with his father, David J. Baker, a prominent attorney, for two years before concluding his law studies at Harvard College. In 1852, Baker joined William H. Bailhache and others in publishing the Alton Telegraph. He ended his association with the Telegraph in 1855 to pursue a career in law. He earned admission to the Illinois bar and began practicing law in Springfield. In addition to his legal practice, Baker became part owner and editor of the Illinois State Journal. In 1860, he was working as an editor and owned real property valued at $14,000 and had a personal estate of $5,000. Working alongside Bailhache, Baker used the Illinois State Journal to promote the Republican Party in Illinois, and Baker played a pivotal role in Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for president in 1860. Baker also used the pages of the Journal to promote the cause of the Union during the Civil War. After the war, Baker was assessor of internal revenue for the Springfield district from 1869 until the abolition of that office. He remained with the Journal until December 1873, when President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him U.S. consul at Buenos Aires, Argentina. He retained that position until his death from injuries suffered in a train accident in Buenos Aires.

Baker married Julia Cook Edwards, daughter of Ninian W. and Elizabeth P. Edwards and niece of Mary Lincoln, on June 6, 1855. The couple had three children.

The Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 10 July 1897, 6:3; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 4, 321; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 278; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Sangamon County (Chicago: Munsell, 1912 ), 1:32, 2:743-44; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 122; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 6 June 1855, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.