Baker, John Reagan (1809–1904)

By: Hobart Huson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 18, 2018

John Reagan Baker, Republic of Texas soldier, son of Peter and Margaret Laura (Reagan) Baker, was born near Blue Springs, Green County, Tennessee, on August 6, 1809. He made a trip to Texas in 1836. In 1839 he returned to Texas and became a member of the Texan auxiliary corps of the Federalista army encamped at Fort Lipantitlán. He followed Ewen Cameron through the campaign, was in the battle of October 23, 1840, at Ojo de Agua, near Saltillo, and cut his way back to Texas with his comrades. When the corps was disbanded, he went to Refugio County and settled in Aransas City. He was elected sheriff of Refugio County on February 1, 1841, and organized a company of minutemen, of which he was captain, although he retained membership and became a first lieutenant in Cameron's Rangers.

In March 1842 he went with Cameron's company to San Antonio on the occasion of the Rafael Vásquez raid, served with the company on the Nueces when Antonio Canales was repulsed on June 6, 1842, and distinguished himself in hand-to-hand fighting at the battle of Salado Creek on September 18, 1842. As a member of the Somervell and Mier expeditions he commanded a spy company and was one of the leaders of the break at Salado on February 11, 1843, when he was wounded. Unable to escape, he was put in the hospital, and there avoided the Black Bean Episode, but he was held in Perote Prison until September 16, 1844.

Baker returned to Refugio County and established a mercantile business at Saluria, on Matagorda Island. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized a home-guard company and was elected its captain. After the war he lived in Goliad County for a while, then moved to Indianola and again entered the mercantile business. In 1876 he moved to Wilson County, to a ranch near Stockdale, where he died on January 19, 1904.

Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). William P. Stapp, The Prisoners of Perote: A Journal (Philadelphia: Zieber, 1845).

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

Hobart Huson, “Baker, John Reagan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 18, 2018