was born at Indiana
on 22 September 1901. He was the son of John Otis Baker
and Vida Elizabeth Stipp
. He married Ramona Marie Hanson
on 2 April 1927. Lester Henry Baker was New Tag Reminisces of Lester Baker to his brother and sister, Cecil and Martha.
"Mar. 17, 1984
March 17, 1914 - Our famiy landed in Marineete, Wisconsin, by way of the Ill. Central R.R., the Chicago Northwestern R.R. and the Queen City Hotel, from there to Gall by the Wisconsin Michigan, R.R. from the box car at the Flag Stop at Gall, by wagon to the old abandoned lumber camp one half mile straight south of the 325 acres of land the Skidmore Landology sold our Father.
How he had the urge and the guts to come up there and start on cut over land I will never know. His dream was that all would be fine for us all I am sure, and compared to living in many other places it was very good place to be. I remember our Mother and Father discussing moving, she said whatever you do, do not go where the climate is hotter that it is here, it is in the hot summers that we have the most sickness. This is all she said that I know of and left it up to Father to decided where was the best place for us to move to. How she managed to feed us all in that old Lumber Camp I can't see. There was Clarence Hillerman and his wife, I think her name was Mandy, of course Mandy helped with the cooking, while the house was being built and some land cleared. there was food for us all to be prepared to take up to the land. All, I mean Charley Maske, the carpenter, Joe Mayer, Seven Ax Handle Wagner, who taught us how to use dynamite, (later Gus Toadzy and Henry Fershey) (there was another man for a little while, a carpenter, I can't remember his name). Everything was good that we had to eat, we were ravishingly hungry working out in the open all day. There was a barn at the camp and a bunk house so that made it easy to house everybody, including two cows and five horses.
All the household goods, stoves, beds, furniture, etc. and the livestock, and a wagon, a plow, harrow and I don't know what all else came in a large box car and Clarence had to be in it too, all the way. Of course water and hay for the stock. Clarence slept in the hay, too, I expect.
There was a promise of better roads for us and some other "Pionners" near us, what we had was a wagon track and it was rough and six miles to Gall.
The first part of the house was just 4 rooms, the front two story part was built in the fall, as well as the barn. I was 14 in September and all the time we were working clearing land, I was at it too, and you Cecil were there too. I was as tall as I am now I think and able to work and did work at some things as well as the men. I remember I did lathing in the house and that I hung one door and put on the lock too. we did not have the benefit of any sort of a cement mixer so we had to do it in small batches with shovels on a large platform made of boards. Cecil, you have mentioned several times how we helped to load the wagon with gravel and help mix the stff, then we put in as many stones, that were picked up off the land, as we could to save on the cement mix. Stones were added of course when the cement was in the forms. We did not have 7 Ax Handle Wagner for very long, but Maske was there until the house was built in the back, and the front part started too and finished.
He also helped Joe Beihl in building the barn, the milk house and the milk house got a late start and it was so cold that some of the cement froze before it was fully set, but it held up any way. On the 10th of November there was 10 inches of snow, with the roof not all on the barn. We picked up many good logs that the lumber men had left on their skids. It must have been that the weather warmed up before they could haul them to the river, we found some in the swamp near the Lake Julia that were standing and perfect for the timbers for the barn. I always feared that it would be wrecked by a heavy wind storm, but it still stands there. The timbers for the barn were prepared with a broad ax. I tried to help but I am sure I did very little of that, the logs for the lumber were hauled to Victor Bach's saw mill. He put it up 2 miles away and I do not know if there were many other people he sawed for, but for himself and us.
Martha, you and Julia and Orville too must have been at the camp most of the time we were building the house. I do not know how we all crowded into the 4 rooms before the front part of the house was finished in the fall. We cleared some land, raised some potatoes and planted a big garden, had some chickens, weasels, skunks and hawks got a lot of them.
The men went fishing every night and I had to clean fish every morning. We had Old Gotchey bringing us fish in exchange for a pail of milk later. Hay and oats had to be bought for the horses and cattle. We got a Holstein bull, Old Segis, he was only 6 mo. old. A little later whe he was older he treed me and I was lucky that that tall stump was right in the right place for me to scramble up on. After that he was locked up and once when he was being led out his ring in his nose broke and we had one scarey time getting him back in the barn. Father, Cecil and I each with a pitch fork were half scared to death that he would gore one of us. He was one terrible critter bellowing and pawing the ground.
In Aug. World War I started, which caused everything to go up in price as much as double, which made the money that was to get the farm going fade away fast. I do not know how much there was to start with but I guess it was about $15,000. That was a lot in those days.
Before time for school to start in the fall, a teacher was hired by the township. She was paid by the school board and she lived with us at our expense. The first one was a gal from Crivitz. Her name was Richie, or Richmeyer. She was the one that tested the thin ice and went into her hips in the freezing temperature. Her clothes were all ice before she could run to the house. Then came Ethel Lowe, then May Hanson, Mabel Ruff and an Irish gal from Marinette, can't think of her name. There was a French gal from Marinette, Ethel Tremeaur, she was the only one that did not stay a full school year. She died not long after, Ethel Lowe married a man in Marinette there was a daughter, a divorce, and she and the daughter went to Africa as Missionaries. May Hanson went to Lansing, Mich., had a good job with State of Michigan, never married and died quite young, to today's standards. Mable Ruff became a Registered Nurse, was married in Marinette, had 2 very fine boys, so I have been told. That is about all I can tell about the teachers. We were very fortunate to have had them in the house and the school room there too. When you think of the nearest school being 6 miles away, and there no good roads, no snow plows anywhere, and no school buses anywhere either.
There were all of we kids and Ingabor, Inga, and Gustin Versland, as well as Alfred Wauwarzine. Those kids walked a mile in all kinds of temperature and rain and snow. After their Father died, (very depressed, from taking poison), they lived in the same place a mile south of our place. Gustin married, had several fine looking children. He had me come to Wausaukee to make a family group picture and it was the occasion of the funeral of his wife. I had to make a picture of her in the coffin too. Not very long after that he died. He tried to make a living on the old farm, too small and too poor, so he worked in Marinette at the Marinette Marine Ship Yard. Had to drive over 20 miles to and from work, as hundreds of other workers there do even now. Inga and Ingabor came to see up a time or 2 at the Studio. They were living in Minneapolis I think and were very good looking people.
I never thought I would ramble on so long. I was awake a 4 AM, thinking of much more I could and should add to this but time is running out. There was the scarey time of the forest fire. My memory of it just now, I am wondering where was I then. Father had to go to Marinette, and I must have been told to stay with the family. The wind was from the south and from the Old Lumber Camp we could not see what was going on near a mile away. Mr. Toadsy was trying to plow a small field and the sod was so heavy and the grass so long he thought it was a good idea to burn the grass off, not thinking that he was setting the woods on fire too. Good thing for the Lakes. Joe Mayer took the horses over to the space between the lakes and they were safe from the fire. Charley Masky and the other carpenter were all set to go down in the well if they had to. Fortunately the fire did not get so close to the house that made it in danger, due to the clearing that had been done, and the fact that they men were there. A stump near the house did catch on fire but a pail of water put it out.
The neighbors were Verslands, good clean poor people; Wauwurzines, Livingstons, Kradwell Brothers on the Big Hill, Phillips, Vic Bach, the store keeper Orsett. He had a son who became a teller at the Farmers & Merchants Bank. I knew him well and his wife. He died young. She is still living and is stone deaf. The Wagner families, Wagner and McAllister, Joe Mayers. You will think of many more. There were the Haberstacks on the River Road, I knew one of the girls in Marinette. Haberstack means Haystack. There was the Fershey family, Henry worked for us awhile, I met him years later in Marinette. He was a street car motorman. Florence Livingstone and her Mother lived in Marinette for awhile. I think Florence was going to high school then, her father might have been dead." On 17 March 1984. Lester died on 11 October 1996 at Marinette, Marinette Co., Wisconsin
, at age 95.