ED C. BAKER, who is engaged in the real estate and abstract business at Mineral Wells and is classed with the representative citizens of Palo Pinto county, was born December 27, 1862, on his father’s farm in this county on the Brazos river, five miles southwest of the present site of Mineral Wells. He is a son of J. H. and N. D. Baker. At an early period in the development of Palo Pinto county the family was established within its borders and its members have since taken an active part in its progress and improvement. The father was born in Grayson county, Virginia, and came to Palo Pinto county in 1857, the year in which the colony was organized. On his arrival here he secured a small farm on the Brazos river and began the stock business in a limited way. Like other early settlers of the county he was compelled too- do considerable Indian fighting to protect his home and his stock and was engaged in a number of battles with the red men on the frontier, including the fight in which Chief Quanah Parker and his mother were captured on the Pease river. About 1864, owing to the continued depredations of the Indians and the consequent insecurity of life, J. H. Baker was compelled to remove from his farm and take his family to Palo Pinto, the county seat, for better protection. His uncle, Frank Baker, who lived just across the Brazos river, was killed by the Indians about that time and J. H. Baker then took charge of the family of Frank Baker.
Following his removal to the county seat Mr. Baker organized a school and was engaged in teaching there for some time. He was also the first justice of the peace elected in Palo Pinto county and subsequently he was chosen for county assessor. At that time there were nine other counties attached to Palo Pinto for judiciary purposes and all of these were sparsely populated. Mr. Baker had to travel over the entire route in the transaction of the duties of his office. Subsequently he was elected county and district clerk and held that office for six years, proving most capable in the discharge of his duties. In 1890, in order to give his younger children better educational privileges, he removed to Granbury, Hood county, Texas, where he now resides, and although he has passed the age of three score years and ten he is still a very active and energetic man, conducting a nursery to he gives close attention, his business proving profitable. All through his life he has been systematic and methodical and since attaining his majority he has kept a diary which is now a valuable document, especially that portion relating to the Indian battles in Palo Pinto and adjoining counties. It would furnish the basis of an accurate and interesting history of pioneer times. He is a member of the Methodist church, to which his wife also belongs. She was reared in Clinton, Henry county, Missouri, becoming a resident of Palo Pinto county in 1859, and was here married to Mr. Baker.
In the year 1874 Ed C. Baker accompanied his parents back from the county seat to the farm on the Brazos and there he lived until 1880, when he went to Granbury, Texas, where he attended school for three years. He afterward went to Weatherford, where he became an employe of the firm of Carson & Lewis, the pioneer merchants of the place, who had become prominent and wealthy in their mercantile interests and had then sold their mercantile business and established a real-estate office. It was for the purpose of acquainting himself with the real-estate business and abstracting that Mr. Baker entered their office as a bookkeeper, and in the discharge of his duties he gained valuable knowledge that well qualified him for carrying on business along the same lines. He accepted that position in September, 1883, and remained there until January, 1885, when he returned to the city of Palo Pinto and became the assistant of his father, who was at that time holding the office of county clerk. He opened the first set of abstract books in the county while in his father’s office and in the summer of 1885 he established a real-estate office at Mineral Wells, dividing his time between the two towns, continuing his dual occupation until January 1, 1890, when he sold his real-estate and abstract business to Judge Hendry. Mr. Baker went to King and Knox counties, where he engaged in real-estate operations and also opened a set of abstract books for those counties. In the fall of 1892 he returned to Mineral Wells and on the first of April, 1893, he entered the real-estate business here. In 1897 he bought out Judge Hendry, thus regaining possession of his original abstract books. He conducted the business alone until 1904, when he admitted W. E. O’Neall to a partnership and the firm is now Baker & O’Neall. Mr. Baker is an expert real-estate and abstract man and is not only thoroughly familiar, from a life-long experience, with Palo Pinto county land, its values, and the situation generally, but he is equally well informed concerning land and real-estate in almost every part of Texas, the requirements of his large clientage taking him into nearly all parts of the state. He has the entire confidence of the people, who know his value and ability, and among his regular clients are some of the wealthiest men of Texas.
Mr. Baker was married in Fort Worth, Texas, to Miss Mamie Staiti, whose home was formerly in Texarkana. He is prominent socially, belonging to the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias fraternities, while in the Masonic fraternity he has taken the degrees of the lodge, chapter, commandery, and the mystic shrine. He is also a director of the Commercial Club and a genial nature has made him popular among his brethren of these organizations as well as in the circles of general society. His residence in Palo Pinto county, covering a long period, has numbered him among the prominent citizens who have been devoted to the public welfare. Whether in public or private life his integrity is above question and his honor above reproach, and the county owes much to him, numbering him among her most prominent representatives.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 242-243.