From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Lenawee Co., Michigan by Chapman Bros.; Chicago Ill., 1888.


Lewis C. Baker of Adrian Township, occupies the old homestead of his father, the land which the latter entered from the government while Michigan was a territory; the family have been residents of this county since that time.  Our subject was the sixth of ten children, and was born Feb. 18, 1844, under the roof where he now lives and has since called home.  Like his father before him he is a thorough and skillful farmer, possessing excellent judgment and good business capacities.  The elder Baker assisted largely in the development of Adrian Township, and to his son the intelligent people of the community now look to perpetuate the work which was begun by the old pioneer and carried on in a most praiseworthy manner.

Norton Baker, the father of our subject, was born in Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y., Dec. 9, 1802, while the paternal grandfather , Joseph M. Baker, a native of Massachusetts, was born Feb. 19, 1780, and soon afterwards his parents removed to Rutland, Vt.  Joseph M. continued there under the home roof until nineteen years of age, and then setting out for himself, migrated to Ontario County, N. Y., where he soon afterward purchased a farm near what was then the town of Farmington.  In the spring of 1833 he disposed of his interests in that section and coming to this county purchased  land from the government and located in the new township of Rome, where he built up a good homestead, which he occupied until a few years before his death, when he finally moved into the village where his demise took place May 27, 1872.

About the year 1800 Joseph M. Baker was united in marriage with Miss Sally Cruthers, whose acquaintance he had made after going to New York State; the wedding took place in Phelps, Ontario Co.  She was born in Half Moon, N. Y. in 1778. She became the mother of six sons and five daughters, and came with her husband to this county, her death taking place in Rome, Sept. 15, 1851.  Of this marriage Norton Baker was the eldest child, and his father was one of the pioneers of Ontario Co. N. Y., the early advantages of the boy were extremely limited.  The schools were few and far between, but he learned to read and write mostly at home, and after becoming old enough to be of service on the farm, worked there and in a distillery until he was about twenty-eight years old and until starting for the West.  He came to Michigan in the spring of 1833, with his father, and took up a tract of land in what was then Logan, but is now Adrian Township.  He cleared 150 acres of land, bringing it to a good state of cultivation, and providing it with excellent  buildings, barns, sheds, etc., and a good orchard, and still makes it his home.

The land which Norton Baker selected was situated on the sloping banks of Wolf Creek, a fine little stream of water which passes nearly through the center of the farm, increasing its value as pasture land besides contributing to the general fertility of the soil.  He had been accompanied in his western venture by the young wife whom he had married Sept. 12, 1830, in Ontario Co. N.Y., and who was Miss Almeda, daughter of Jonathan and Mary Howland, of Manchester.  Mrs. Baker was born  Dec. 6, 1812, and was of New England ancestry for several generations.  Her father was a native of Adams, Mass., where he was born in 1789, and the mother of Worcester, R. I., born in 1786.  Mr. Howland came to Michigan in 1846, and purchased a farm in Adrian Township.  His death took place in 1871.  His wife had died the first year of their arrival here, in Sept. 1846.

Mr. & Mrs. Norton Baker experienced all the difficulties of life in a new country, and in common with the people around them, bore patiently and courageously the trials and struggles which they had come fully prepared to meet.  The father of our subject possessed the sturdy spirit required by the men of those times and has prospered in his labors.  In due time the parental household included ten children, who were named respectively:  Sarah M., now the wife of Dr. Willard Perkins, of Franklin, this county; Isaac H., who died in Adrian, April 3, 1852, in the nineteenth year of his age; Ellen L., Mrs. George Gambee, of Adrian; Lois A., who died Mar. 12,1852, at the interesting age of sixteen years; Mary E., the wife of George Hunt, of Rome; Roxanna I., who died Apr. 2, 1852, when eleven years of age; Lewis C., our subject; Frank I., who died June 2, 1862, when seventeen years old; Almeda A., who died Feb. 16, 1852, when four years old and Ava E.

Note- As with any biographical data there maybe errors and should be checked. This is the way it was listed.  Alice LaBar.


John G. Mason ~ Came to this county in 1840 when a child five years of age, and since that time has known no other home. His first recollections are of its pioneer scenes , amid which he spent his early years, and afterward watched its slow but sure development into a section of country which has since been sought by people from all parts of New England and the South. The interests of Lenawee County have been his essentially, and he has taken delight in its prosperity and advancement.  He was blessed with a good constitution , and the habits of industry in which he was trained by his excellent parents, have resulted in  the accumulation of valuable property, including 200 acres of land, a good set of frame and brick buildings, with all the machinery required for the successful prosecution of agriculture.  Mr. Mason makes his home now in the city of Adrian, where he has a fine residence, and is surrounded by all the conveniences and comforts of modern life.  He busies himself with  superintending the operations of his farm, in which he takes great satisfaction, and which, in addition to its other fine points, is well stocked with Jersey cattle, horses and sheep.

Mr. Mason was born in Richmond, Ontario Co., N. Y., July 9, 1835.  He is the son of Gardner and Olive P. Mason, and his paternal grandparents were John and Sally Mason, natives of Massachusetts.  The former was born in Swansea, in 1767, and died in Bristol, N. Y., in 1836; his wife Sally, was born in Dighton, in 1771, and survived her husband twenty-four years, continuing on the old homestead, where her death took place July 11, 1860.  John Mason, during his early manhood, was a seafaring man, and part owner of a trading vessel, which plied between Boston and  Newbern, N. C.  In 1801 he decided to locate on the terra firma, and proceeding to New York State took up a tract of land in the wilderness of Ontario County, where he cleared a farm, and with his estimable wife spent the remainder of his days.

Gardner  Mason, the father of our subject, was born at the farm of his parents near Bristol, Ontario County, N. Y., Aug. 3, 1808, and was the sixth in a family of seven children.  He was a wide awake and energetic youth, and when eighteen years old purchased  his time of his father and set out  in the world  for himself.  He was married at about the time of reaching his majority, and afterwards, in 1831, purchased a farm not far from the old homestead. He finally became owner of three farms in Ontario County, all of which he bought within a space of five years. He sold his property there after he determined to emigrate to Michigan, and upon his arrival in this county secured a large tract of land in Fairfield  Township, which was  mostly covered with heavy timber.  He cleared about eighteen acres, put up good buildings, and lived upon the place until the winter of 1854-55.  The following summer he sold this and purchased an improved  farm in Ogden Township, of which he took possession, and where his death occurred  eleven years later, Oct. 15, 1865.  The name of Gardner Mason is recalled as that of a man possessing many virtues, and one who endeavored in all his dealings with his fellowman to follow strictly the precepts of the Golden Rule.  In appearance he was of portly and commanding figure, and in his young manhood was distinguished as an athlete of uncommon powers.

The mother of our subject, who before her marriage was Miss Olive P. West, was a native of the same county as her husband, born in Richmond Township, July 9, 1808.  Her parents were Nathan and Sally West, pioneers of Ontario County.  Mrs. Mason came to the West with her husband and survived him fourteen years, her death taking place in Adrian at the residence of her son, John G., Jan. 3, 1880.  The maternal grandparents of our subject were natives of Massachusetts and pioneers of Ontario County, N. Y., where their decease took place at the homestead which they had built up from the wilderness.

John G. Mason was reared to farm pursuits, and completed his studies in the fall of 1855, in the public schools of Adrian. Afterward , until his marriage he was engaged in agriculture  in Ogden Township, remaining there until 1872.  During this interval he filled the offices of Postmaster, School Inspector, and Township Supervisor three years, was Deputy Sheriff six years, and in the fall of 1872 was elected Sheriff, which office he held two years. He was then renominated by acclamation, but defeated by Col. N. B. Eldredge.  Mr. Mason, in January ,1873, took up residence in Adrian, and two years later engaged in the drug business, which he carried on until the spring of 1883.  He then sold out to his son-in-law, Mr. Alfred Johnson, and resumed the more congenial pursuits of farm life.  He has been prominently identified with many of the enterprises tending to elevate people, and has given particular attention to the management of the public schools, as he is a warm friend of education and is willing to make sacrifices that the young may have the advantages which are due as citizens of a free and enlightened republic.  He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the public schools of the city for several years, five of which he has been President, and still holds that office.  Mr. Mason, on the 3d of February, 1856, several months before reaching his majority, assumed domestic ties by his marriage with Miss Amanda D. Carter, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride in Ogden.  Mrs. Mason is the daughter of Norman B. and Mentha M. Carter, natives of New York and now deceased. She was born in Ashford, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., Oct. 10, 1834, and came to Michigan with her parents when a child of two years of age.  She grew up amid the wild scenes of life in a new country and was trained by her excellent mother to all those virtues and employments which constitute the model wife and mother.  Mr. and Mrs. Mason became parents of two children: Glendora E. who was born in Ogden, Aug. 29, 1857, and now is the wife of Alfred Johnson, of Adrain, and Stella D., who was born Sept. 28, 1859, became the wife of George L. Bennett, and now resides in Adrian.



Rial Niles  ~  Mr. Niles has had considerable experience in the affairs of the world, but under all circumstances, whether the smiles of prosperity or struggling  against adversity, he has been cheerful and hopeful and always even tempered.  He is now comfortably situated, and expects to enjoy much sunshine in all the future that there may be left for him.  He came to Michigan in the fall of 1838 from Onondaga County, N. Y., and is now located on section 36, Madison Township.

Mr. Niles was born in Ontario Co. N. Y., in what was then Onondaga County, on the 10th of April 1822, and was the son of Samuel and Alathear ( Woodworth) Niles.  The father died in 1824, and the mother came to Lenawee County in 1838, and died in Madison Township in June of 1880, at the advanced age of ninety-six years. Rial Niles was the eighth in a family of nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity, and spent his early life  in the state of New York.  When eighteen years of age he came to Lenawee County and worked for various persons by the month until he was twenty-one years of age, when he learned the trade of a mason, which occupation he followed until about 1850.  He then bought a farm in Madison township, and gave his attention to farming until 1856, when he disposed of his property and moved to Adrian, where he engaged in the drug business for the next fifteen years.  Disposing of his drug-store he went to Kansas and engaged in the banking business at Baxter Springs, but during the three years that he remained in that place he was unfortunate in his financial transactions.  He then returned to Adrian, and clerked in a drug-store three years, after which he returned to Madison township. He was appointed a postal clerk on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, and held that position until July 1887, when he was relieved on account of the change in the administration of the government; since that time he has given his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits.

On the 24th of March, 1856, Mr. Niles was married to Mary H., daughter of Asa and Hannah (Waters) Phetteplace , who came to Lenawee County in 1833 from Niagara County, N. Y., and settled in Madison Township, where they both died; they were the parents of six children.  Mrs. Niles was born in Niagara County, N. Y., on the 24th of August, 1824 and with her union with  Mr. Nilesthere have been two children - Elsie and Clara.  Elsie died in Kansas when twenty-one years of age, and Clara resides at home with her parents.

Mr. Niles has held the position of Alderman for three terms in Adrian, was Mayor of Baxter Springs, Kan., two years, and a member of the Board of Aldermen, and has been  Constable in Madison Township.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, in the affairs of which he takes an active interest.  In politics he votes and acts with the Republican party, and his fidelity to that party can be understood when it is known that he preferred to surrender his position in the postal service rather than yield one jot or title of his political manhood.  He is an excellent citizen in all respects, and engages in every progressive movement inaugurated in his community.


With many thanks to Alice LaBar for sharing these biographical sketches.


Back to Biographies


Return to the Ontario Co. GenWeb page

              Copyright © 2002-08, Ontario County NYGenWeb and each contributor and author of materials herein. All rights reserved.

102305