Baker, DeWitt Clinton (1832–1881)

By: Jeanette H. Flachmeier

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

DeWitt Clinton Baker, businessman, was born in Portland, Maine, on November 23, 1832, the son of Symonds William and Mary Ann (Watson) Baker. He was educated at Gorham Academy and Bowdoin College in Maine and was believed to have been an apprentice in the printing business in Portland. He made a trip to Texas from Maine by way of New Orleans in a sailboat, the Billow, with a group of surveyors before 1850. About the same time he moved with his family to Austin, where he was in the drug business for twenty-five years. He married Mary Elizabeth Graham on May 28, 1861, and they became the parents of nine children. Baker was appointed to keep official weather records in Texas. He helped establish public schools in Austin and was the inspector of schools from 1872 to 1877; Baker School in the Hyde Park area of Austin was named in his honor. He probably organized the first Bible society and the first public library in Austin and was treasurer of the Austin Library Association in 1875. He was the author of a number of poems; one called "Sketches of Travel in Texas" appeared in the Portland Transcript. He published A Brief History of Texas from Its Earliest Settlement (1873) and A Texas Scrap-Book (1875). Because of ill health he retired from the drug business and was employed by the Internal Revenue Department. Baker was a member of St. David's Episcopal Church and served as senior warden and superintendent of the Sunday school for several years. He died in Austin on April 17, 1881, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. The Baker home, which was built in 1871, was purchased by a University of Texas sorority in 1968; a historical marker was dedicated at the property in 1971.

Austin Statesman, April 19, 1881. Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, Austin History Center.

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

Jeanette H. Flachmeier, “Baker, DeWitt Clinton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994