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    Jonathan Hamilton Baker Collection

    Jonathan Hamilton Baker     Baker Diary May 1, 1858
    Summary: The original diary of Jonathan Hamilton Baker (July 13, 1832 - October 18, 1918) is thought by many to be the greatest treasure in the Tarrant County Archives. For more than 60 years, Baker kept a detailed diary, which now provides a thorough account of life in frontier Northwest Texas. This personal journal covers from the day Jonathan Hamilton Baker set off from Virginia for Texas on March 1, 1858, to 1918. The image above is a single page from the diary dated May 1, 1858. The Archives also maintains a Biographical File on Jonathan Hamilton Baker.
    A Virginia native, Jonathan Hamilton "Ham" Baker came to Texas in 1858 with his brother G. W. Baker and his Uncle Eli Young. Stricken by malaria while a teacher in Fort Worth, he later moved to Palo Pinto County where his Uncle Frank Baker was homesteading. Here he opened a school in Palo Pinto, and soon after helped establish the town's first Methodist Church. In 1859 Baker was chosen to lead a company of local men organized to defend the area against Indian attacks. He first served under Captain J. R. Baylor and later participated with Captain Lawrence Sullivan Ross in the recovery of Cynthia Ann Parker, a settler seized by a group of Comanche in 1836. During the Civil War he served as leader of the home guard. Baker was also an open-range cattleman, and, in 1869, he began driving his herds to Kansas railheads. Active in local government, he served as Deputy Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Postmaster and Clerk of the County and District. In 1890, he moved to Granbury, where he became a successful nurseryman. He and his wife, Nancy A., are buried in Granbury Cemetery, Hood County, Texas. An historical marker which mentions this diary is dedicated to Baker on the Courthouse Square of Palo Pinto County.
    Donated by Charles Edward Fancher, Charles F. Fancher Jr., Jeanne Fancher and Virginia M. Rigby (Mrs. George W.), 1979
    Transcribed by Archives volunteers Roger Waite and Cecelia Gilbreath, 2012-2017
    The entire 1,600-page transcription of the Diary is currently available in the Tarrant County Archives. Contact the Tarrant County Archivist  regarding use of this material in any published format. 
    Credit: Jonathan Hamilton Baker Diary, Tarrant County Archives, Fort Worth, Texas.
    Pictured: Roger Waite transcribing Baker diary in Tarrant County Archives, 2013.


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    100 E. Weatherford, Fort Worth, Texas 76196