| || Notes for AMENZO WHITE BAKER:|
Amenzo White Baker by George W. Baker, Sr.
Amenzo White Baker, son of Simon and Mercy (Young) Baker, was born June 9, at West Winfield, Herkermer County, NY.Soon after his birth the family removed to Pomfret, Chautauqua County, NY, where they resided until 1839, when they became Proselytes of the Mormon faith and moved west to Iowa, which was then a territory.At this place he attended the village school and assisted in the labor on their new farm until the spring of 1846 when during the "exodus" of the Mormons from Illinois, he, together with his parents, left their new farm and joined the fleeing camps of Mormons, who continued their march to Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, where they remained until the following August, when they moved across the river and went into winter quarters.During the winter of 1846-1847 he went with his father, some 300 miles into the state of Missouri, to work for provisions for their journey to the Rocky Mountains.
In May 1847, the family started on their march for the west.Mr. Baker being assigned to drive tow yoke of oxen on one wagon, maintained this position until they arrived in Salt Lake City, October 2, 1847, where he assisted his father in getting out material for their house and making preparations for the winter.Being short of provisions and as there was an abundance of thistles in the bottoms, about one mile south of the fort, Mr. Baker was assigned the duty of gathering thistle roots with which he supplied the family during the winter of 1847-1848.The following spring he assisted his father in putting in some crops and in the fall helped his father gather what little they had raised, mostly corn, damaged by an early frost, necessitating an early harvest; his father being forced to economize, determined to make the best of his misfortunes, so while the boys were cutting and stripping the blades from the cornstalks, made a wooden mill to press them, and from which he made molasses.This proved to be a success and with Mr. Baker as one of the chief operators, he continued in the business until the fall of 1849, attending occasionally a winter school.
In 1851 he went with his father to work in what was afterwards called Baker's Canyon, inDavis County, where he labored until the fall of 1853, when he, together with his brother, George W. and some fifty others, were called on a mission to the Indians, where they built Fort Supply, at what is now Robertson, Wyoming, and labored at farming and preaching to the Indians, until the fall of 1856.This year Mr. Baker raised a good crop, and this being one of those experimental years in hand-cart emigration, several of the rear companies were caught in the deep early snow in a destitute condition, this being reported to President Young, a call was made for volunteers with good teams and wagons, to go to their rescue and bring them in to Salt Lake City.Mr Baker volunteered for the trip, and being 100 miles to the east of Salt Lake City, it gave him and his Fort Supply comrades 100 miles the lead of the Salt Lake City volunteers, so traveling east until they met the roar companies, bringing them on until they overtook the next company, etc.Here Mr. Baker experienced the most heart-rendering cites of his life; women and children, almost naked, in snow to their knees, some with frozen feet, and almost famished with cold and hunger.Here he performed the heroic acts of his life, in helping and caring for those unfortunate beings; he seems to have had the courage of a lion to have accomplished what he did.Some one or more of those unfortunate died each night, so there was a burial every morning, before breaking camp.
On one occasion they buried 16 persons in one grave or pit.He continued his labors with those people until they arrived at Fort Bridger, when he was relieved by fresh recruits from Salt Lake City, and returned to his home at Fort Supply, some 12 miles to the south.
During the early summer of this year, 1856, Mr. Baker and his companion My. James Brown, were out among the Indians, preaching and traveling from one camp to another, when, in a lonely place, they were surprised by a renegade of Navajo Indians, who, while they were hostile towards the United States Soldiers, were friendly with the Mormons.The Indians were out of their own territory and in the territory of the Snake Indians, t6o whom Mr. Baker and Mr. Brown were preaching.
Mr. Baker wearing the United States soldier coat, the Navajos thought they were "Americans" a name applied to all United States soldiers, so surrounded the missionaries, who, though they did not understand the Navajo language, after making examination of their underwear, found they were Mormons, and through his explanations to the others, they were released.Mr. Baker had many thrilling experiences while on this mission, continuing his travels among the Snake Indians until the invasion of Johnston's army in 1857, when the little colony at Fort Supply, abandoned their homes, which they had been four years in establishing, burned their buildings, grain and improvements, to prevent their occupation by the troops.
After being released from this command, he returned to his father's home in Salt Lake City, arriving there December 26, 1857, making this his home during the winter, and in the following spring of 1858 he took an active part in helping to move the poor families from Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah County, during the exodus of the "Saints" to the south.
President Young had been giving orders to vacate Salt Lake City, and all the northern settlements in Utah, and to leave their homes ready for the torch.After all the people had abandoned their homes and moved to the south, Mr. Baker, together with about 200 others, was detailed as a secret guard to keep in hiding, to apply the torch to every house if conditions should require it.Remaining in the city until July, when a treaty was made with the Government Commissioners, and all the people returned to their homes.
He engaged in sundry employments the balance of the summer and the following winter attended school, having had but little opportunity for schooling in earlier life.
The spring of 1859 found Mr. Baker preparing a trip to his native state, New York, to visit relatives and collect Genealogy, working his way to Omaha by driving a four mule team, and returning in the fall, worked his way back to Salt Lake City, as a matter of economy.The following winter he assisted in feeding the stock on his father's ranch, on the Jordan River, and in the spring of 1860, having concluded to try and make himself another home, he, incompany with his brothers, Albert M. and George W., gathered together an outfit of agricultural implements and started for Cache Valley April 5, 1860, arriving in Mendon April 18, 1860.
These Baker brothers co-operated in their labors during 1860 and 1861, building a company cabin and corrals, all living together as one family.During this time he was enrolled as one of the home guards, under military discipline, which was necessary in all the new settlements of the Valley at this time, toprotect themselves against the Indians, who were much displeased with the white man's encroachments of the Valley at this time, taking their land and catching their fish, and gave the colonies much trouble.He was subject to the military for about two years, working when off duty, in the canyons and on the farm, getting material together to build a home for himself, and was successful in his efforts in procuring a comfortable home.In 1861-1862 he taught the first school in Mendon, Utah.
In 1862 he was called to go to Omaha to assist in bringing the Mormon emigration to Utah; driving an eight -ox team from Mendon to Omaha, returning the same season, which required five months time for the round trip.Mr. Baker made himself so efficient on this trip that he was called to make a second trip the next year, 1863, thus making him a record of having driven ox teams across the plains five times, a distance of 5,125 miles under campaign discipline, besides having driven an ox team at home, for all of his team work, for a period of forty years, would give him a record of at least 25,000 miles, as a world's record for ox team driving.
The following year, 1864, he worked on his farm and improved his new home, and in the fall having harvested a good crop, and feeling that he was able to feed and shelter more than himself, and that it was not good to be alone, he marriedNovember 19, 1864, Agnes, daughter of Hamilton and Jane (Martin) Steele.She was born December 25, 1833, at Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland.
Mrs. Baker at the age of 17, while in Scotland, became a member of the Latter-day Saints Church on June 15, 1851, and sailed from Liverpool for America November 19, 1855, on the Sail Ship Columbia, landing at New York January 1, 1856, and went direct from there to Lawrence, Massachusetts, making her home with her brother, Alexander Steel, and working at the steam loom factory until the spring of 1859, when with her brother and his family, made the trip across the plains to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City early in the fall.
She married first November 26, 1859, John Hill.He was a widower with five children.On March 1, 1860, they moved to Wellsville, Cache County, where her husband and one of his brothers built and operated a grist-mill the following fall.Here at Wellsville the following children were born to them:Jane Morton, born September 23, 1860, Archibald and Janett, twins, born January 1, 1862, and Frances, born June 30, 1863.On August 30, 1863, while her husband was in the brush between Wellsville and Hyrum, he was mistaken for a bear, and instantly killed by a party of hunters from Hyrum.This left her in sad circumstances, with a family of nine children to care for.
After her marriage to Mr. Baker, she went to his home in Mendon, Utah, where her husband worked on his small farm and continued to drive oxen on the farm and in the canyons until 1874, when he filed on 160 acres of railroad land adjoining Mendon City, which he afterwards bought, and in erecting better buildings, planting out a large orchard, he improved the new tract of land, until he had one of the best farms in that vicinity.
Mrs. Baker died November 11, 1904, at her home in Mendon, Utah.She was a noble woman of sterling character, a true wife, mother, friend and neighbor.This wasthe saddest misfortune of Mr. Baker's eventful life.It seemed to break him down in health and spirits more than all else, but, having three grown daughters at home, he was enabled to continue housekeeping.
His health continued poor for three years following the death of his wife, when he was stricken with pneumonia, from which he died seven days later, on July 13, 1907, surrounded by his children and many loving friends; thus ended the career of a great man, a good Christian, kind husband, loving father, patriotic citizen and a good neighbor.
(This copy, made available through the courtesy of the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers.)