The Bakers were residents of the Owens Valley in California. They were one of the Owens Valley's oldest pioneer families. Through various marriage arrangements, the Baker family became tied to other pioneer families, such as the Hines, the Bells, and the Whites. One of the first Bakers to reach California was William A Baker, who arrived to California in 1849. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he travelled to the mining camps of San Francisco, California. He visited his sister Mary E. Bell in Independence, California in the early 1850s and decided to settle near Big Pine, California, where he homesteaded a ranch, now known as the Baker Ranch. In the spring of 1872, Fannie Fain White came to the area with her uncle John B. White from Knoxville, Tennessee. She met William A. Baker in Independence and they married in October 1872, settling in his ranch. Moreover, Mr. William A. Baker's neighbor, Andrew Neal Bell married Mr. Baker's sister, Mary Louise Baker (not Mary E. Baker) in 1870. She brought her sister, Sarah Baker with her to California, and Sarah Baker soon married John B. White, Mrs. Fannie F. Baker's uncle. Mr. and Mrs. William A. Baker had five children: George A., William F., Fannie, Elton P. and Walter Baker. Mr. William A. Baker died in 1885 and his son Walter Baker died in 1908. They were buried in Big Pine, California. George A. Baker, however, married Mary E. Baker (also referred to as May Baker), daughter of James F. Hines, and they settled in his father's ranch. They had two daughters, Irma Garner (also referred to as Irma Baker) and Alice Walters. In 1932, Mrs. Fannie F. Baker sold the Baker Ranch to the city and relocated her family to Fontana, California.
Scope and Content
The Manuscripts series contains William A. Baker's diaries from 1864-1866, as well as the diaries his granddaughter, Irma Garner, kept during her college years (1929-1931). It also holds ledger/account books, sermon notes, reports for Harold P. Richards from the U.S. Department of Interior division of Grazing in Salt Lake City, Utah, and other financial documents. The Correspondence series is primarily related to various members of the Baker family with a bulk of the letters associated with Irma Garner. Furthermore, over forty letters are from family friend, Chris Connor, to Irma Garner. The Photograph series is composed entirely of photographs, photograph albums, and a video. They are arranged in alphabetical order and are mostly grouped together by family (i.e. Baker family, Garner family, etc.), or other common theme. There is one folder dedicated to Irma Garner, the Baker cabin/ranch, Fannie Fain Baker, and Denver Silar Garner. Box 5 contains a video interview of Irma Garner. The Ephemera series includes newspaper clippings, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate programs, receipts, books, empty envelopes, a wallet, and redwood from Big Pine, California. The oversized folder is connected to this box as it has four newspapers that have articles that were of interest to the Baker family.