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Ashworth Baker Kohen Little Lowrie Westerman Wierman

Obituary of James H. Baker, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

On January 31, 1914, James H. Baker, a Confederate veteran and a man prominently identified with the iron and steel interests of Pittsburg, Pa., suddenly passed away, He was born near Strasburg, Va., August 15, 1843. In February, 1862, as a volunteer he enlisted in Company C, of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Turner Ashby, who was then stationed twelve miles north of his home. As the enemy's picket lines were within sight of their camp, active service began at once for him and continued throughout the war, with the exception of three confinements in Union prisons.

It was in the early part of 1862 that Stonewall Jackson's famous Valley Campaign began; and as he was on special duty for Jackson, Mr. Baker found himself in many perilous positions. One of these was when they were retreating and he was sent to the rear to burn the bridge under the enemy's fire. He was dismounted at the enemy's end of the bridge, taken by the hands between two cavalrymen, dragged several miles, and threatened with death; but as he was found to be in full Confederate uniform, he was finally paroled. Another capture was effected in June, 1863, when alone he was sent beyond the outward lines to recoinnoiter and ran into a detachment of the 1st New York Cavalry. He outran the advance body with the exception of Captain Otto, of Company L, who ran after a mile's pursuit, overtook him. Mr. Baker drew rein, wheeled, and thought to kill the enemy's horse, but his carbine missed fire. He was knocked senseless, sent to Camp Chase, and there held until April, 1863, when he was exchanged and rejoined his regiment. The division was then detailed to defend the gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains against the advance of the Union forces. He was in a number of battles among them Kernstown and Gettysburg, but actual service ended for him in February, 1864, when he was again captured by the 1st New York Cavalry and sent to Fort Delaware, being released on June 15, after the close of the war.

In 1867 James Baker was married to Eliza F. Little, of Warren County, Va., and removed to Westville, Ohio, where as a blacksmith he began a business career-first, by hand, forging plows and wagon hardware, the the Baker wagons, and on the building machines for forging, proving himself the pioneer in his line of work, In 1887 he removed to Pittsburgh, and promoted the Baker Chain and Wagon Iron Manufacturing Company, whose goods were handled by all heavy hardware dealers in the United States. Later he organized the Baker Forge Company and again the James H. Baker Manufacturing Company.

In the meantime his papers on forging, chain-making, heat-treating, car wheel forging, etc., were solicited by the various trade journals at home and abroad, and his inventions and improved methods along these lines are being used throughout the country. His wife died in 1911 and in 1913 he married Mrs. Janetta C. Wierman, of East Pittsburgh, who, with his five daughters, survives him.

While he was a loyal supporter of the government, James Baker still cherished the devotion and self-sacrifice of the men of the South. Appreciating this sentiment, a Confederate flag was sought to cover his bier along with the Stars and Stripes, but none could be found. A Mrs. Fisher, a Southern woman then in Pittsburg, heard of the quest, and knowing him and his devotion to the South, she purchased the silk and made a beautiful emblem and sent it to his family to be used. Four Union veterans, prominent citizens of Pittsburg, in honor of the brotherly feeling existing between them, escorted his remains to their last resting place. These men were Col. Daniel Ashworth, James Lowrie, and F. P. Kohen, of the 123d Pennsylvania Regiment, and H. J. Westerman, of the 193d Pennsylvania Regiment.

And so a man whose motto was the "Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" and whose potent but quiet force for human welfare will manifest itself in many directions and generations to come is at rest in the valley of peace.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, February, 1915.

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