Francis Baker was born about 1611 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. He came to Plymouth Colony on the ship Planter in 1635. He was called a tailor on the passenger list, a common subterfuge by which many skilled artisans left England. His parents are not known.
Francis married Isabel Twining 17 June 1641, probably at Plymouth. Isabel was the daughter of William and Ann (____) Twining. Some sources have her as the daughter of William Twining Jr., but that’s inaccurate.
Francis was permitted to dwell at Yarmouth in June 1641. He lived at what became the Mayfair area in Dennis, at the head of Kelley’s Bay on Bass River and near Follins Pond. His original neighbors were Thomas Folland, Gabriel Whelden and William Twining.
|Follins Pond, Dennis source: Wikipedia|
The family is believed to have been Quakers, as were many of their neighbors in the Mayfair area. Swift wrote that Francis was “not in full accord with Puritan notions.”
In 1653 he was in court for "selling wines without license." On 8 June 1655 John Hall of Yarmouth complained that Francis Baker was abusing his servant Samuel Hall, who was John Hall’s son, by kicking him and unreasonably striking him. The court took Samuel away, putting him in the custody of his father and the father was to pay Baker 8 pounds for Samuel's remaining term. There is no record of Francis being warned or fined.
In 1659 he was living in Eastham on 10 acres "lying upon Poche" by the land of his father-in-law William Twining. He soon sold the land and returned to Yarmouth where he was a copper and later a blacksmith. He served the town as surveyor of highways and on the jury. (Note that Nancy Thacher Reid writes that he never left Yarmouth.)
Francis Baker wrote his will on 4 March 1692/3. Isabel is named as “Jesball,” and he leaves her his house and lands (meadow and uplands) at Yarmouth, his cattle and moveable goods during her lifetime. He left five shillings to each of his children John, Daniel, William, Elizabeth Chase and Hannah Pearse. He left two shillings to his grandson Samuel, the eldest son of his son Nathaniel. All other real estate and moveable goods to go to his son Thomas. Thomas and widow named executors.
The inventory was taken on 24 November 1696 by Benjamin Gage (signed by a mark) and Isaac Chace and sworn to 8 December, 1696 by Thomas Baker of Yarmouth. The real estate, housing lands and meadow and orchard, had a value of £30.
Francis Baker died 23 July 1696 at Yarmouth at age 85, the last of the “First Comers” to pass on. He and Isabel had been married 55 years. Isabel died 16 May 1706.
The Baker homestead was not sufficiently large enough to accommodate the growth of this family and the second generation settled in the area near the present day Ezra Baker School where West Dennis and South Dennis merge, and northward and eastward along the shore of Grand Cove.
Francis and Isabel had eight children: Nathaniel, John, Elizabeth, Samuel, Daniel, Thomas, Hannah, and William. My information on the Baker children is not complete.
Nathaniel married and had three sons Samuel, Nathaniel and Silas. I’ve seen conflicting information on his wife/wives. Some sources give his wife as Desire (perhaps Gray) and others give Mary Pierce as his first wife, Desire as second. Nathaniel died December 1691 in Yarmouth.
John Baker married Alice Pierce, daughter of Abraham. They had seven children: Jonathan, Isaac, Mary, John, Bethiah, Elizabeth, and Sarah. They raised their family in Yarmouth. I believe he served in King Philip’s War, despite his Quaker religion.
Elizabeth married John Chase and they had eight children: Sarah, Desire, John, Thomas, Jeremiah, Isaac, William, and Jonathan.
Samuel married Martha ____ and had Martha, Daniel, Hannah, and Sarah. I believe he also served in King Philip’s War. Have read his children relocated to Swansea.
Daniel married Elizabeth Chase and had Joseph, Daniel, Samuel, Abraham, Elisha, Hannah, Thankful, Tabitha, and Elizabeth. Daniel served in King Philip’s War. He built a house in Dennis, now the oldest one standing in town and known as the Judah Baker house.
Thomas married Bersua (Lewis?) and had Mary and Thomas. He seems to have also served in King Philip’s War.
William Baker married Mercy Lawrence and lived at Yarmouth. They had 12 children: Mercy, William, Dorcas, Experience, Judah, Elizabeth, Josiah, Johanna, Patience, Elisha, James, and Thankful. He also served in King Philip’s War.
Hannah married Abraham Pierce and lived at Plymouth. Children: Abraham, John, Samuel, and Isaac.
I have many Baker lines and descend from siblings Nathaniel, Elizabeth, John, William, and Daniel.
Charles F. Swift, History of Old Yarmouth; comprising the present Towns of Yarmouth and Dennis from the Settlement to the Division in 1794: With the History of Both Towns to 1876. Yarmouth Port, MA: The Historical Society of Old Yarmouth, 1975 reprint.
Nancy Thacher Reid, Dennis, Cape Cod from Firstcomers to Newcomers, 1639 – 1993, 1996
Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700,
Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, The Baker Family of Yarmouth, Descendants of Francis, No. 73, CW Swift Publisher, Yarmouthport, MA, 1912