Andrew Baker

Items to note:

• This Andrew Baker was NOT married to Nancy Briant.

• There is no factual evidence that Andrew was married to a Cherokee Indian named Rainwater.
Born: 20 Sep 1765 in North Carolina
Died: 10 Sep 1842 in Laurel County, Kentucky; buried in the Bryant Cemetery

There are still some unanswered questions concerning Andrew Baker, but, thanks to research by many people, we know more now than we used to.

Andrew was the son of John "Renta" Baker of North Carolina. The main genealogical support for this comes from a brief family history by Jim Baker, one of Renta's greatgrandsons. In an oral history told about 1916, Jim seems to say Renta had a son named Andrew who lived in Laurel County. The paragraphing of the document is a little confusing but I tend to believe this interpretation is correct. Andrew did indeed live in Laurel County and was the only Andrew Baker who can be found in the county's records during his lifetime. Bolstering the connection to Renta are results from the Baker DNA Study, which positively places Andrew in the family which includes Renta and his brothers, none of whom have a so-named, unaccounted-for son.

A quick note concerning John "Renta" Baker: Critical new research is casting doubt on much of the published information about this man, most notably of his exploits as a Longhunter and in Lord Dunmore's War of 1774. It's almost certain the John Baker mentioned on hunts based in Virginia is not Renta but a son of Humphrey Baker; however the John mentioned in as being on a hunt originating in the Yadkin Valley may be Renta. Similarly, the John Baker in Lord Dunmore's War may also have been John, son of Humphrey. Research is ongoing.

Perhaps the first solid record of Andrew is in the third company of the 1790 Wilkes County, NC, census. The record for the Andrew Baker in that census is consistent with what we think we know of his children. There is another adult male in the household who could be either a brother or father. There were other individuals in the same company who later have dealings with Andrew in TN, including Eleanor Arnold Bunton and John Brown. It's possible that a 1787 Wilkes document in which an Andrew Baker reclaims land which Renta was forced to give up is this Andrew, which may bolster the case of Andrew and Renta being together in 1790 census.

Andrew had moved to Carter County, TN, (the move may have been a very short one, depending on his location in Wilkes, which became Ashe in 1799) by 1802 when he bought 400 acres of land from John Brown, which Brown had originally been granted in Washington County, TN (Carter was created from Washington in 1796). This property, on which he resided until 1815, was on Fitzgerald Branch of Roan Creek. There is no Fitzgerald Branch on maps today but based on court and deed records Fitzgerald is probably either today's Mill Creek or Morgan, Dye Leaf, or Avery Branch.

From an 1805 Carter County court record, we know Andrew lived near Stone Mountain, which is on the NC-TN line southeast of Lake Watuaga: "Ordered by the Court that Andrew Baker be appointed overseer of the publick road leading by Bakers to the top of Stone Mountain..." Included in the list of people who were to help on the road's maintenance was John Baker and William Bunton. From other court records and deeds, we know John Baker lived at the foot of Stone Mountain, near Big Dry Run, which is near the other watercourses listed above. This area is now part of Johnson County, TN.

As a brief aside, we cannot identify this John Baker. From later records in TN and KY, we know he was not Andrew's father. The best guess is that this person was Andrew's brother, John "Durkham" Baker, who later settled in Clay County, KY, with others of the Renta family. This John may have been in Carter in 1799.

Andrew bought more property, which adjoined the land above, from William Bunton in 1805 and 1806. William was the son of William Andrew Bunton and Eleanor Arnold and a neighbor to Andrew Baker. While no connection has yet been made, it's perhaps more than coincidence that Andrew's daughter Elizabeth married James Arnold.

Andrew and John appear in various Carter County court records, including serving on juries and being part of minor lawsuits.

In 1804 Andrew sold part of the Brown land to William Griffin (who would later move to Pulaski County, KY) and sold part of the Bunton property to William Davis in 1809 and 1813. The last record that can be found of Andrew in Carter was on 15 Nov 1815 when he sold the remaining part of the Brown land to Daniel Ward.

William Davis may be the father of Elizabeth, Lydia, and Sarah Matilda Davis, who married Joel Baker, Andrew Baker Jr, and Elijah Grider (a neighbor of Joel and Andrew in Rockcastle later on), respectively. He may also be the William Davis who was a resident of Cades Cove, which was founded by primarily Carter County families. Andrew Jr and Lydia were married in Blount County, TN, in 1824. Another nearby family, the Cables, also had Cades Cove connections.

Andrew moved from Carter County to Pulaski County, KY, around 1815. The timing is hard to determine exactly. Daughter Martha married Mathew Warren 20 Jan 1816 and Andrew purchased a land warrant from Henry Ott (Grant A on the map) on Line Creek 29 Mar 1816. This property was on the northern section of the creek, very near the Pulaski-Rockcastle line. The James and Elizbabeth Baker Arnold family also shows up in Pulaski for the first time in 1816.

The Baker family is in the 1820 Pulaski County census and Andrew shows up on the Pulaski County tax lists from 1816 through 1820. In 1821 through 1825 he is on the Knox County lists, with no land. In 1826, the year Laurel County was created (largely from Knox), Andrew shows up on that county's list, again landless. In 1833 there is an Andrew and Andrew Jr listed in Laurel, Andrew Jr with 50 acres of land which he sold later that year to William Tuttle.

In 1836 Andrew appears in the list with 100 acres of land on Sinking Creek, the grant being entered in the name of Baker. The watercourse designation in 1836 was incorrect, the land in reality being on the Dog Branch of White Oak Creek. Andrew would live on that property until his death six years later. Presumably, this land included the Bryant Cemetery, where Andrew and others of the family are buried. It's hard to be certain because there is no deed recorded for the sale of the property. Andrew's widow, Hannah, had possession of the land when she remarried to James Adams in 1851; Adams sold half to Jesse Nix in 1865. The tract of land that includes the cemetery was purchased by Mary E. Bryant in 1894 from John J. and Mahala Adams Barrett. There is no record of the Barrett purchase. Mahala's name in genealogies online have it as Mahala Combs but there is a marriage record for J.J. Barnett and Mahala Adams dated 16 Aug 1863. It is logical to assume Mahala was somehow related to James and had inherited the property but I've been unable to find information on Mahala's ancestry.

It's not clear whether Andrew moved directly from Line Creek to White Oak Creek or if he lived somewhere else prior to being granted the White Oak land. We know he was established near the cemetery by the summer of 1835 because son Hiram is buried there. In September of 1833, Andrew and Hiram Baker were chainmen on a survey for William McHargue but where that property was, I don't know (plus, it could be that Andrew was Jr, not Sr).

Andrew died on 10 Sep 1842. His stone reads: "HERE LIES ANDREW BAKER HE WAS Bo SEPT THE 20 1765 DIED SEPT THE 10TH 1842." The stone looks to be original and is very similar to Hiram's in shape and decoration. There has been some debate over the year of his death, whether it was 1841 or 1842. The last number is very hard to read and the stone has flaked off in that spot. However, I believe the number looks more like a "2" than a "1," which also would match best with the tax list data (Andrew is in the 1842 list) and the date of his estate settlement (November 1842).

From the items sold in the estate sale, it looks like Andrew was a blacksmith and farmer.

Three years after Andrew's death, Smith Baker, who was appointed to handle his father's estate, sued Alfred, Charles, and Cyrenius Warren, plus Thomas Nichols and George Hamblin, contending they came onto Smith's property and stole Andrew's blacksmith tools. The Warrens were Smith's half-nephews. The case continued for several years but Laurel court records never give a conclusion to the matter; perhaps it fizzled out after Alfred and Charles died (between 1851 and 1853) and Cyrenius moved to AR (about 1853). (Thanks to Wilma Johnson and Kay Hanna for research on this matter.) This may be evidence of a dispute among the family concerning the distribution of Andrew's property. Another Warren brother, Joel, was bondsman for the marriage of Hannah Baker and James Adams, so at least some of the family were speaking to each other by 1851.

Now to the large unknowns—Andrew's mother, wives, and children.

I'm going to try to fix some errors before moving on into the actual data.

Every genealogy I've ever seen has Andrew's mother as Elizabeth Terrill (of those which list his parents). Best I can tell, that is a part of Baker lore that is completely unproven, although it is stated as fact.

Most genealogies have Andrew married twice, first to an Indian named Rainwater, then to Nancy Anna Briant. The supposed story behind the first marriage is this: Andrew got into a poker game and won the man's mule, supplies and finally his squaw, Rainwater. He then married her and she took the name Polly Smith. It's a good tale. However, this story has no basis in known fact. The source of it has been traced to an elderly gentleman who loved to tell tales and was well known for, shall we say, embellishment. The fact is that we have absolutely no information at all concerning Andrew's first wife.

The purported second marriage is more disturbing, from my standpoint, since it involves contorting real data into what someone wanted to find. The facts which were twisted are these: 1. An Andrew Baker married Nancy Briant in Washington County, TN, on 24 Dec 1816; 2. Andrew's widow was named Hannah; and 3. Andrew is buried in the Bryant Cemetery.

From these documented facts, "researchers" have added the Anna middle name for Nancy, out of thin air, to make her name similar to Andrew's last wife, Hannah, and made Hannah's maiden name Briant to go along with Andrew's burial in the Bryant Cemetery. Plus they've assumed that since Andrew was in east TN, then he must be the Andrew in the Washington County record.

Let me put this whole thing to rest here—the Andrew we're discussing is not the Andrew in the Washington County marriage record.

First, the Andrew we're discussing was in KY in 1816 and was never, that can be proven, in Washington County, TN, at least not after 1799.

Second, the Andrew and Nancy in who were married in Washington County are known and eventually moved to MO.

Third, the Bryant Cemetery is named for the family who bought the land in 1894. (The cemetery looks like two separate cemeteries with basically the Bakers on one end, the Bryants on the other, and a space in the middle.)

Now to what we think we know about Andrew's wives and children. I'm not going to go into a long discussion on prospective children. A complete list of those who are thought to be Andrew's, or who might be his, can be found in his genealogy, which has 19 children listed. While there is good data to support most of their placements, it's likely there are a few who are not his.

It's certain Andrew was married at least twice. Based on the ages of the children I feel comfortable with placing as Andrew's and the data from the 1820 census, I believe he was married three times.

His first wife would have died about 1810, the second about 1819, Hannah would have been the third. Part of this is based on the lack of a female of a wife's age in the 1820 Pulaski County census. Thus, John Bolin Baker, born about 1824, is the only child who I believe is Hannah's.

As to Hannah, we do not know her maiden name, there is no marriage record. My belief is that they were married in late 1820 in Rockcastle County, which would explain the lack of a record (the courthouse fire). Some list her as Hannah Roberts, but that is probably a situation similar to the Nancy Briant thing, in that there was a marriage between an Andrew Baker and Hannah Roberts in Maury County, TN, in 1816. Never mind that Maury County is southwest of Nashville, almost 200 miles from Line Creek where we know Andrew lived in 1816.