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BAKER, ANDREW JACKSON

BAKER, ANDREW JACKSON (1842–1912). Andrew Jackson Baker, land commissioner and legislator, was born on September 4, 1842, near Granada, Mississippi. He was a law student at the University of Mississippi when the Civil War started. He served in the Confederate Army as a member of Company A, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia. He was wounded at Antietam and then at Gettysburg, where he was captured; he spent the rest of the war in a Northern prisoner-of-war camp. After the war Baker returned to Mississippi and served in the legislature. In 1868 he married Corinne Jordan Kearney. After she died in 1872 he married Elizabeth Newsom Kearney. He had at least six children in each marriage.

He practiced law in Oxford, Mississippi, until 1884, when he moved to San Angelo, Texas. He represented Tom Green County in the Twenty-second Legislature (1884). In 1894 and 1896 he won the elections for land commissioner and served from January 26, 1895, to January 16, 1899. Baker believed in the efficient management of the General Land Office. His efforts were frustrated by what he saw as the continual repurchasing of lands and retraining of personnel. The School Land Acts of 1895 and 1897 placed heavy workloads on the office, which had to sell school lands and reprocess an enormous number of forfeitures, which accounted for some five million of the six million acres originally sold. Baker supported a civil-service system of employment for the land office and believed that the state should drop out of the land business.

He later went into banking in San Angelo. He was a Presbyterian and a Mason. At the Democratic Convention of 1912 he was considered a possible candidate for the vice presidency, but he did not seek nomination because of poor health. He died in Los Angeles on June 21, 1912, and was buried in San Angelo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, June 22, 1912. A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity, Vol. 1., by Philip Lindsley; Vol. 2., Selected Biography and Memoirs, ed. L. B. Hill (Chicago: Lewis, 1909). James William Madden, Charles Allen Culberson (Austin: Gammel's Bookstore, 1929). Garry Mauro, Land Commissioners of Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1986).

William N. Todd IV and Gerald Knape

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

William N. Todd IV and Gerald Knape, "BAKER, ANDREW JACKSON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fba20), accessed July 12, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.