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Yes, I know it’s Wednesday and I’m just now posting “Tuesday’s Tip”. You can blame the NHL playoffs for that! Haha 🙂
Anyways…this week I have been showcasing Thompson Baker. You have already read about his time in Union army during the Civil War. That brings us to today’s tip! Always look…and read…the pension papers!
You never know what you may find in pension papers. Look for both the soldier’s and his/her spouse. For example, Nancy Henderson Baker, Thompson’s wife, applied for the widow’s pension. In her statement, she verified not only that she was married to Thompson, but the date, place, and person who married them. (A copy of that page of her statement is below). Sometimes in pension papers you will find children’s names, ages, and if you are lucky enough, who they married.
My favorite place to search for pension records, and really any type of military record, is http://www.Fold3.com
…and when you find these documents, make sure you actually read them!
This week’s “Sunday Spotlight” is George Thompson Baker, the son of Brice Baker and Mary Arthur. Thompson Baker was born in 1809 in Knox County, Kentucky and was the youngest of seven children.
Thompson married Nancy Henderson on October 31, 1829 at her father’s (John Henderson) home in Knox County. Thompson and Nancy would have a total of 11 children: John (m. Elizabeth Rogers), James Madison (m. Martha Agnes Butcher), Mary, Andrew Jackson, William (m. Emily Martha Tompkins), Emily (m. William Clark), Mahala (m. John Clark), Elizabeth, Pleasant Martin, Eleanor, and Nancy.
The most notable aspect of Thompson Baker was his support of the Union army during the Civil War. It is noted that in his community in Knox County, he was known as a staunch Unionist. His views on the War would cause him to do something that most men his age wouldn’t dare. At the age of 54, Thompson would accompany his son, Andrew Jackson, to Camp Dick Robinson in Kentucky to enlist in the Union army.
Shortly before he was mustered into the Army, Thompson wrote his will. In it he stated, “Expecting in a short time to be exposed to many dangers and being desires to settle my worldly affairs have made and ordained this my last will and testament…” It seems that Thompson knew how dangerous the war would be for a man his age. Thompson and Andrew would be officially mustered into the Union army on September 22, 1861.
Thompson and Andrew, along with the rest of the Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, would see action in not only Kentucky, but also Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi. In 1863, Thompson would fall ill to smallpox and be treated at a hospital near Louisiana. A few months later, Thompson was transferred to the R.C. Wood Military Hospital Steamer on the Mississippi River just outside of Memphis, Tennessee. According to documents, Thompson would die in June of 1863. The official cause of death was listed as dysentery. It seems that Thompson knew his fate was sealed when he wrote his last will and testament.
Thompson’s widow, Nancy, did not find out about his death until a year later. It is noted that the body was never returned home. It is more than likely that Thompson is buried at one of the “unknown” sites in the Memphis Military Cemetery.
While there isn’t too many details about why Thompson was such a staunch Unionist, you have to respect a man who will stand up for what he believes in. I would be interested to know if he joined the army because his son Andrew did, or maybe it was just something he felt strongly that he needed to do. While we may never know what led to his decision, George Thompson Baker is definitely an ancestor to be proud of and one that did not let his age stand in his way.
George Thompson Baker’s lineage is:
George Thompson Baker – Nancy Henderson
John Baker – Elizabeth Rogers
John William Baker – Melissa Charity Tompkins
Stella Alice Baker – Frank Martin