Samuel Baker and Sarah Waring Samuel Baker and Sarah Waring who took the bold move to leave Ireland and move lock stock and barrel to Canada in 1819. They were the founding family of the Canadian Branch of the Baker Family and co-founders of Canada’s social, economic, religious and political life.
The Baker family had been members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), since its founding by George Fox in the seventeenth century. They were Christians who separated from the Church of England, they opposed state interference in religious matters, and they were pacifists (refusing to take up arms in war) and were champions of social justice (they believed in the abolition of slavery and equality for women). They referred to each other as “Friends”.
Due to religious persecution they moved back and forth from England to Ireland. William Baker was born in 1660 in Islington, Middlesex, England (at that time the village of Islington was separated by a few miles of country fields and meadows from London) and moved to Dublin, Ireland. His son John Baker was born in 1690 in Dublin, Ireland, and moved back to Islington, Middlesex, England.
John Baker’s son William Baker married Ann Thompson, the daughter of Thomas
Thompson and Margaret Dallen. William and Ann left Islington, Middlesex, England in 1740 and moved to Garryfelam (Garrophilum), in County Wexford, Ireland.
William Baker (1722-1809) married Ann Thompson (1755-1809) and they had the following children:
· John Baker (1763-) – emigrated to Canada with his brother Samuel, died unmarried.
· Thomas Baker (1767-1809) – married Anne Waring, they had 4 children, stayed in Ballymoyler, County of Queens, Ireland.
· Samuel Baker (1769-1861) – married Sarah Waring, they had 11 children, emigrated to Canada.
· Benjamin Baker (1772-) – married Anne Mt. Mellock (1776-), they had 9 children, stayed in Ireland.
· William Baker (1777-) – married Lucinda Coury, they had 5 children, stayed in Ireland.
Ireland in the late 1700s (under British rule)
The population was increasing rapidly and was dependent on an uncertain food supply. The main staple food was potatoes that were susceptible to being destroyed by frost and drought. The lower class (peasants) worked the potato patches and paid exorbitant rents to the landlords. After several years of failed crops, the potato supplies were short and there was a famine. It was said that in the one calendar year of 1739, that 20% of the total population died of starvation and fevers. Neither the British Government nor the landlords did anything to mitigate the misery. The British Act of 1782 established tariff policies that killed Irish industries of almost every kind. This caused political disturbances and unrest.
Because of the famine and the harsh treatment, a violent Irish rebellion started in 1798 against the British Government under the leadership of Theobald Wolfe Tone.
For weeks together Samuel, his father and brothers, were at the mercy of the insurgents. They were obliged during the whole time to keep open house for them. Sheltering and feeding, to the limit of their capacity, all who came.
Samuel remembered two appalling massacres that occurred in June 1798. One example he told of the time when the Irish rebels drove 185 Protestant and Catholic men, women and children into a Scullabogue barn, fastened the doors, and burned the barn. Every individual perished in the flames!
The final battle of the rebellion “Vinegar Hill” took place in full view of the Baker home where 15,000 of King George’s soldiers killed 1300 rebels in a matter of 20 minutes.
In the memoir of Joseph Allen Baker, it was written that by early middle age: “Samuel Baker an educated, sensitive, altruistic man, who believed profoundly in the Quaker doctrine found no happiness in the Ireland of his day. He resolved to seek a happier life in a new country free from the unrest, the poverty, and the sorrow he had known too long.”
The Samuel Baker Family
Samuel Baker (1769- 1861) married Sarah Waring (1783-1824) the daughter of Thomas
Waring and Abigail Wright. They had the following children:
Born in Ireland
· Abigail Baker (1802-1858) married George Doyle Penrose, returned to Ireland, they had 5 children.
· Anne Baker (1804-1831) married George Boon, lived on Amherst Island, Ontario.
· Elizabeth “Eliza” Baker (1807-1897) married William Henry Mullett, they had 2 children.
· Samuel Baker II (1808-1878) married Lucy Ann Howe, they had 3 children, lived in Hallowell Township (Picton) and then moved with several of the Baker family to Huntingdon Township, Moira,
· William Baker (1810 – 1812) died as a child in Ireland.
· Thomas Baker (1812-1855) married Harriet Swetman, they had 7 children.
· Jane Baker (1814-1891) married Arthur Mullett, they had 12 children.
· Hannah Baker (1816-1888) married James Clothier Mullett (brother of her sister’s husband Arthur), they had 8 children.
· Maria Baker (1818 -1835) was never married. Born in Canada
· William Baker (1820-1895) married Esther Cunningham, they had 11 children (as recorded in the Bible of W.H. Coombs) and then he married Mary Carr.
· Joseph Baker (1823-1892) married Roxy Leavens, they had 2 children and then he married Sarah Ann Brewer, they had 4 children.
How the Bakers Came to Canada - their ship turned left at Greenland!
In 1819 Samuel Baker and Sarah Waring left Waterford, Ireland, and sailed for Canada aboard the chartered transatlantic brig “Constantia“(a scale model of the ship is shown below). They sailed with 90 people on board with all of their belongings.
An Excerpt from Samuel Baker’s Diary (from memoir of J.Allen Baker)
This morning, the meridian of the year, ushered in another day of quiet, our rate of sailing at about three knots per hour, still close hauling on a moderate breeze; the capacious surface of the great western ocean participated in the surrounding calm, not a broken wave, not a rolling billow to be seen. All our company quite well and frequently enjoying the agreeable company and conversation of our affectionate captain. At mid-day found our situation latitude 50.29.
Still slack winds though favourable. We collected our small company of Friends, 19 in number, into the cabin where we held our little week-day meeting, which to some of us was a favoured time. The recollection of our awful posture floating along in our excellent bark on the bosom of the unfathomable deep, alone supported and preserved by that all-sustaining providence whose protecting hand directeth the events of the universe.
Now two weeks on board, and from our calculation find we have not made more than 600 miles of our voyage from the place of our departure, yet quiet and contentment seem generally to prevail, and as there has not anything occurred to excite alarm as yet, we generally feel cause of thankfulness.
Last night it blew a smart gale right from the west, therefore we had to veer a due north course through a cross unpleasant rolling sea which sometimes broke in over the starboard side of our vessel; yet all was in safety, and the good order maintained by our humane and attentive captain, and courteous and obliging crew, seemed sufficient to alleviate all anxiety as to the appearance of danger, or impatience about so tedious a passage.
The wind is still against us. We spoke (to) different vessels on our passage, and this morning heaved alongside the “Elizabeth” transport brig of London No 37 from Barbados to Portsmouth with transports as crowded as the deck would stand. this in Lat. 47 Long. 20. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon spoke to the “Planter” ship from Barbados to London, a fine ship.
All our people now quite well, and from the daily care of our captain and committee of inspection for ordering the affairs of the vessel relative to conduct of the passengers, etc., in giving out water and fuel, cleansing and washing out their apartments daily, health has been preserved without exception other than sea-sickness. We saw some of the monsters of the deep.
We are now one month on board, making about a third of our passage.
A rough head sea for the last two days occasioned by a heavy squall from the north- west which tore some of our canvas and lasted about four hours, but we soon refitted and this morning are getting on finely.
About the same hour at about four miles to the northward of our course an enormous island of ice hove in sight which it was supposed would cover twenty acres at its base on a level with the sea, and on each end a mighty tower, supposed to be 300 feet above the level of the water. It appeared like the broadside view of a great man of war. What a wonderful natural curiosity.
The wind still in our favour and increasing we made sail at from eight to nine knots per hour, and at four o'clock this morning we were called up on deck by the captain to behold another of those wonderful floating islands of ice which hove in sight right ahead of our vessel. They kept the vessel to leeward of it at a safe distance... Just as we were abroad side of it the great column which was the part next to us gave way and it was considered that no less than one hundred tons of it separated from the mighty mass and fell off with a wonderful noise into the deep, and occasioned a wonderful surge of the sea about it. When it became relieved of this burden and lost much of its former balance, the other end heaved downward and turned up the monstrous bulk which before was under the water when it rocked to and fro. To our great admiration the lower part seemed quite smooth and rounded by beating of the waves. Some of the sailors compared it with the great Rock of Gibraltar.
This morning at four o'clock we found soundings at 33 fathoms on the great Bank of Newfoundland. At twelve o'clock the “Charles William” bark of Hull, bound for London, hove alongside. We lowered our boat and wrote Anne Waring of Waterford (Note: Sarah’s sister, married to Samuel’s brother Thomas Baker), giving an account of our health and voyage. This day we dined with the captain, and had the favour of being treated to part of a nice turtle which we caught as before noted.
We tacked to the southward and providentially in about two hours the fog cleared away and by four o'clock we came in full view of the Islands of St Peter, Langley and Acquilon [sic St. Pierre, Langlade (formerly Langley) and Miquelon], and a most beautiful evening and moonlight night set in to our great comfort, and many expressions of thankfulness were expressed for sight of land after so long though pleasant and safe voyage across the great Atlantic.
This morning we saw a great whale pursued by another monster supposed to be as long as our main mast, and would raise up a great length out of the water, and then with a mighty stroke lash the poor whale, dashing up the water in a great foam and the whale spouting water as high as our top mast. They call this prodigious long creature the Thrasher Fish, and the scene was truly interesting. At about ten o'clock we made our grand entrance into the Gulf of St Lawrence. The evening and night was beautifully serene and moonlit, and the great Gulf, in parts unfathomable, was smooth as a lake.
This morning still beautiful clear weather, with a nice breeze we made five knots per hour, and at ten o'clock bore off Bird island, a small prominent rock about five acres and completely covered with sea fowls that it seemed as if its surface resembled a swarm of bees.
This day ushered in the most beauteous prospect of the land of New England, Cape Rosier. The hills to the utmost extent of sight are covered with continual forest of trees, with but few abodes of men to be seen below the entrance of the great river St. Lawrence.
This day we arrived off the entrance of the River Battaan [?], where the first American settlement of about twenty neat-looking timber houses presented themselves to our view. Here we took in our pilot, and here lay a brig which had killed a whale and were cutting it up on board, and about twenty monstrous whales playing and spouting around us with a noise like the hollow roar of a monstrous wild beast.
Still beating up the river against wind and tide. Saw several settlements on the New England side, a quantity of fine-looking corn, nearly ripe, and, and timber on fire for many miles. Though the wind still remains against us right down the river, yet we still find our excellent vessel is still the best sailor we come in with, as in the course of this day we have completely run away from ten or eleven very fine-looking barks and brigs and left them quite out of site.
On Reaching Their Final Destination
The ship sailed 58 days to get to Quebec City they took the steam boat “Malsham” to Montreal and then they travelled overland to Hallowell, Prince Edward County, Ontario.
From the “Malsham” ships list the members of the Baker family (approximate age) aboard included:
· Samuel Baker (50)
· Sarah (Waring) Baker (36)
· John Baker (56) – older brother of Samuel
· Abigail Baker (17)
· Ann Baker (15)
· Eliza Baker (12)
· Samuel Jn. Baker (11)
· Thomas Baker (7)
· Jane Baker (5)
· Hannah Baker (3)
· Maria Baker (1)
After their long adventure across the ocean down the St Lawrence and then overland, Samuel Baker finally settled in Hallowell, in Prince Edward County. Hallowell lies in the Bay of Quinte, on Lake Ontario, forty miles from Kingston. When he arrived at the landing-dock of the little township, he was met by two Friends, Abraham Barker and Sarah Spencer, who helped him to "store the luggage," and gave the hospitality of their houses to his party. Then the diary records:
23.09.1819 Purchased 200 acres of land from James Armstrong, of Hallowell, and on the 29th moved our family to settle thereon. By 4th of the 10th month got 5 acres of wheat finished sowing, to our mutual sensibility of thankfulness for the great preservation we have experienced in so long a journey, coming as it were, direct to the spot on this vast continent which now appears to be the place of our future abode."
1. Beatrice Brigden, and Frank Wilson, 1971. The Descendants of Samuel Baker and Sarah Waring Baker, Founding family of the Canadian Branch of the Baker Family. Unpublished notes.
2. Elizabeth Balmer Baker and Philip J. Noel Baker, 1927. J. Allen Baker, Member of Parliament – A Memoir, The Swarthmore Press, Ltd., Museum Street, London.
|Date of Birth||1769 (circa)|
|Date of Death||1861 (circa)|
|1. Beatrice Brigden, and Frank Wilson, 1971. The Descendants of Samuel Baker and Sarah Waring Baker, Founding family of the Canadian Branch of the Baker Family. Unpublished notes.|