James Addison Baker, lawyer, son of Rowena and James Addison Baker, was born in Huntsville, Texas, on January 10, 1857. He graduated from Texas Military Institute in Austin and was admitted to the bar in 1880. On January 10, 1883, he married Alice Graham; they had five children. Baker practiced law in Houston, where he eventually headed Baker, Botts, Andrews, and Wharton, a 100-year-old law firm (see BAKER AND BOTTS). After the Commercial National Bank, which he organized, merged with South Texas National Bank, he became chairman of the board. He was founder and board member of the Houston Gas Company, organizer and first president of the Guardian Trust Company, and one of the organizers of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railway and the Southwestern Drug Company. Baker was also president of the Houston Bar Association and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and the Presbyterian Church. He won special renown as the personal attorney of William Marsh Rice in the litigation concerning Rice's will, which left Rice Institute a trust fund. Baker, as an executor of the will, was instrumental in proving that Rice had been murdered and that a second will, leaving the bulk of Rice's estate to Albert Patrick, was forged. He then became the first chairman of the board of trustees for the institute and served in that capacity until his death. Baker died in Houston on August 2, 1941, and was buried there in Glenwood Cemetery. In his will he left his home, the Oaks, to Rice Institute.
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Houston Post, August 3, 1941. Andrew Forest Muir, William Marsh Rice and His Institute: A Biographical Study, ed. Sylvia Stallings Morris (Rice University Studies 58.2 [Spring 1972]). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Anonymous, “Baker, James Addison, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 24, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/baker-james-addison-jr.
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