An American Family History

Philip Baker and Mary Elizabeth Kessler

Rockingham County (now Page County), Virginia
German Township, Clark County, Ohio

A Dower is a provision for a wife's support should her husband die before her. Her dower right was the use of ? of her husband's estate. The dower was settled on the bride at the time of the wedding. A drowry was the property a bride brought to her marriage.

In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

Buildings in Clark County, Ohio ranged from simple log cabins to sophisticated Italianate and Gothic Revival structures.

Philip Baker and Mary Elizabeth Kessler were married on May 7, 1803 in the part of Rockingham County, Virginia that is now Page County.

When they were first married, they made their home in Virginia and their first four children were born there. Elizabeth Baker Branstiter was born in September, 1805, George B. Baker was born on October 4, 1808 and, Mary M. (Polly) Baker Rockel was born on November 6, 1810.

The family moved to Clark County, Ohio in between 1810 and 1813. They moved with Mary Elizabeth’s parents, Henry and Barbara Kessler, Philip’s parents, Jacob and Magdalene Baker, and his siblings and aunts and uncles. The younger children were born in Ohio. The move is described in Mary Rockel’s obituary and in The Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark County

Philip Baker, [was] well known as one of the early pioneers of Clark County; he came here in 1813, and settled one half mile west of Eagle City Mills, in German Township.There he bought several hundred acres of land, heavily timbered, of which he cleared quite a large tract before his death.

Philip was a soldier in the War of 1812.

Sarah (Sally) Baker Hunt Bilger was born on January 11, 1813. William Baker was born on October 15, 1815 and the twins James Baker and Susannah Baker Ryman were born on July 4, 1819. 

The Philip Baker household appeared in the 1820 census in Green Township, Clark County, Ohio. The household consisted of a man over 45, a woman between 26 and 45, a boy and a girl between 10 and 15

Jacob Baker was born in August, 1821.  Elizabeth married in 1823 and Daniel Baker was born on March 6, 1825.

Philip died March 5, 1828 (from his tombstone inscription) when his still exploded. He left Mary Elizabeth with small children to raise by herself. Jefferson Baker was born January 29, 1827 which was after his father's death according to his son's biography. 

The family continued to live in Clark County. George and Mary both married in 1829.

The family appeared (Elizabeth Baker) in the 1830 census of German Township, Clark County, Ohio. The household consisted of one male under 5 (Jefferson, age 3), three males between 5 and 10 ( Daniel, age 5, Jacob, age 9, James age 11), one female 5-10 (Susannah, age 11), one female 10 -15 (Sarah, age 17) and one female 40 - 50 (Mary Elizabeth age 49).

Their Daniel died when he was only ten years old on September 17, 1835 and is buried in Lawrenceville Cemetery in Clark County, Ohio.

After Philip’s death, daughters Mary Rockel and Elizabeth Branstiter and their husbands filed a lawsuit and forced Mary Elizabeth to sell the family farm so that they could have their share. Sarah married in 1832, Daniel died in 1835, and William was married in 1837.

Elizabeth remained in German Township in 1840 and in 1850. In 1840 the household consisted of one woman between 60 and 70 (Elizabeth age 59), and a boy between ten and fifteen (Jefferson age 13) and a man between 20 and 30.  In 1850 she was living near her son Jacob.

Susannah married in 1842, Jacob in 1845, and James and Jefferson in 1846.

Elizabeth Baker died in 1869 in Shelby County and is buried with other family members in Glen Cemetery.

Lawrenceville Cemetery is in the village of Lawrenceville, German Township, Clark County, Ohio.


Ohio 1840
From an Ohio newspaper in 1840.

Clark County, Ohio was formed March 1, 1817, from Champaign, Madison and Greene Counties. The first settlement was in 1796. The inhabitants of German Township were German Lutherans who came from Virginia.

Rockingham County, Virginia was established in 1778 from Augusta County. European settlement began in the 1740s.
American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

Most Americans were farmers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The first Europeans settled in the Northwest Territory in 1788. Migrants came from New York and New England. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state on March 1, 1803.




from the History of Shelby County, Ohio by A.B.C. Hitchcock; Sidney, Ohio; 1913, Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co.; Chicago, Illinois

His [William C. Baker's] grandfather Philip Baker was born in Pennsylvania and when he came first to Ohio he settled in Cark county, four miles from Springfield.

He married Mary Elizabeth Kessler, whose parents were natives of Germany, and their children were all born and reared in Clark county, namely: George, William, Jacob, Jefferson, James, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary and Susan. Of the above family, Sarah lived to the remarkable age of ninety-three years. Philip Baker died a few months before the birth of his son, Jefferson Baker. His widow survived until 1869 and her burial was in the old cemetery at Port Jefferson.

In 1831 Page County, Virginia was created from Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties. Originally it was part of Frederick County.

Shelby County, Ohio is in western Ohio and was formed in 1819 from Miami County.
Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.