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Narrator: Mrs. Caroline Williamson, 84, Breckenridge, Missouri

Mrs. Williamson is a grand daughter of Elder Andrew Baker and Nancy Bryant. Rev. Baker was born in Washington County Virginia 1797 and died about forty years ago. He was an outstanding character in the church history of Caldwell county. His grandfather Andrew Baker was a farmer-preacher in Virginia and was a chaplain in the Revolutionary war. He himself followed in his grandfather's steps and was ordained a Baptist Elder at Versailles Indiana in which State he and his young wife had moved as pioneers in 1828. In 1860 he moved to Caldwell county in what is now New York Township and acquired a farm of 400 acres. While a splendid farmer in reducing the unimproved lands to fertility, he never forgot his church and the ministry.

He busied himself in arousing an interest in the Missionary Baptist church in his community. For some years they had held occasional services in homes before he came on the scene. Finally he organized the Hopewell Church; its organization dates from November 10 1866; and he and his wife Diana, his son Thomas and wife, his grand daughter Caroline (later Williamson), Sarah Cox, and Elizabeth Puckett were some of the constituent members. He preached there till he died. He gave liberally to the church building erected 1867 and besides gave $1000 to be loaned at 6% to be used in paying a preacher's salary. This fund still is being used for this purpose.

When the Hamilton Baptist church was being organized in May 1868 at the home of Elder Bennett Whitely we find Elder Andrew Baker there to help in the organization as a messenger from the "Baptist church on Shoal near the mouth of Crab apple Creek" which was an early designation for his church.

By his first wife, Elder Baker had ten children. After her death 1861 he married Diana Bateman and had two daughters Mrs. Hattie Young and Mrs. Grace --- who was a milliner here in Hamilton in the nineties. Grace Baker his youngest child was much younger than his grand daughter, Mrs. Caroline Williamson the narrator aged 84. Rev. Baker is buried in the Hopewell Cemetery.

Interviewed September 1933.


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