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Subject: [IOWA] 1903 Thomas Baker
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 12:26:52 EST


THOMAS BAKER, A notable pioneer of Iowa, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio,
in 1810 and was appointed colonel of a regiment of militia when but nineteen
years of age.  He studied law, was admitted to the bar and, in 1836, came to
the "Black Hawk Purchase" and made a claim many miles beyond the nearest
settlement in Slaughter County.  He was driven out by the Indians and his
cabin burned.  He returned to his claim in 1838.  In August, 1841, he was
elected to the House of the Fourth legislative Assembly and reelected to the
Sixth, serving through one extra and two regular sessions.  He moved to Polk
County in 1845 and the following year was elected to the Senate of the First
General Assembly to the State from the district composed of the counties of
Polk, Dallas, Jasper and Marion.  Upon the organization of the Senate Mr.
Baker was chosen President, becoming the first presiding officer of that
body.  He was a stauch Democrat and his party had a majority in the Senate,
while the Whigs controlled the House.  Party feeling was intense as the first
United States Senators were to be chosen.  Neither party had a clear majority
on joint ballot, as there were several independent members.  After one ballot
without a choice, the Senate refused to meet the House in joint convention
and the session ended without electing Senators.  During all of the bitter
contest Mr. Baker presided with such fairness as to win the respect and
confidence of every member of the Senate, which gave him a unanimous vote of
approval just before adjournment.  He was a Democratic candidate for judge of
the Fifth District in 1849, but was defeated.  In 1850 Mr. Baker removed to
California where he served in the Legislature and was for many years Receiver
of the United States Land Office.  He died in November,  1872.


Debbie Clough G-erischer


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