Blessed Uncle Adin—Everyone’s favorite uncle!
Grandma Kate Baker was always a busy woman but in the early years of her marriage she really packed it in! Married September 6th, 1885, she and Byron apparently rented a house on a small farm.
When Kate became pregnant very early in their years together, the owner of the house objected and said ‘he wanted no child born there’ and made them move out.
Such treatment upset young Kate and caused her to lose the baby. You can see the stone, labeled ‘Baby 1886’ in the Baker plot in the Center Lisle Cemetery. Kate never forgave that man!
She and Byron then moved to the house on Caldwell Hill Road (1183), paid down on the farm and again they started their family.
Nancy Ethel Baker born July 30th, 1887
Adin Leonard Baker born June 26th, 1889
Ruth Inez Baker born January 21st, 1891
Lillian Rosina Baker born November 4th, 1892
Thus, in six years, Kate had borne five children.
Further complicating a busy time, Ruth was born with a condition known then as ‘blue baby’—a heart condition where the blood does not pass through the proper heart valves to be oxygenated, re-oxygenated and sent through the body. No surgery was possible in those years, so Ruth’s life was known to be short and she needed extra care.
Ethel, I know from her tales, spent a fair amount of time with next door neighbors, so I imagine that Adin did also.
Adin, as I knew him, was a hardworking, cheerful, quiet person. He had an above average IQ, judging by the success of his farm work and the number of things he was interested in and had great knowledge of. He was also close to family members, always attending cousins’ events and funerals. He did have a proper suit of clothes for these events, but his daily attire consisted of long underwear (any season), flannel shirt-- always hanging half tucked in, and work pants with a belt, but low on his hips!
When we ‘helped’ him with his work, he never let us think that we were not indispensible to its success! Winding the wheel when he sharpened axes or knives to helping collect old branches from the woods, we were ‘important’. He had rules, though, which we observed. We were NOT allowed in the barn during milking times (strangers upset cows). We were allowed to take a cup of grain in a sack and go find the horses (Pet and Reba) but NOT chase any of them. If we could get on a horse we could ride it.
He was the soul of generosity. Everyone in the area came to ‘borrow’ money. We knew, because they’d come to the door for Adin, and he’d take them into his bedroom, transact ‘business’, share a half glass of ‘hootch’ with them and they would leave.
Was he ever repaid? Sometimes, maybe. At the time of his death, his sisters found only a handful of i.o.u’s . I do know that from time to time, a new chair or footstool would appear in his house, probably ‘paybacks’ for loans.
And sometime during the 1930 depression years, an elderly neighbor and his wife, having lost their farm and home, came to him in despair. Adin had a large barn behind the house that he kept farm tools, rakes, and wagons in. He portioned off a section as their apartment and the man helped with farm work as he could.
Harold and he conversed about his ‘wandering years as a hobo’. I know I’ve written of them; they must have occurred before he bought the farm from Kate and Byron.
In the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, Adin finally bought plans for a catalog house and put it on a lot carved from farm acreage down the road. Gladys helped him choose it. Living room, kitchen, his bedroom downstairs with inside toilet—it had three bedrooms upstairs. Kate, forced to move, always mourned ‘her home’.
Adin spoke often of the traveling he hoped to do, go west, see the Rocky Mountains, but good son that he was, he stayed home to care for Kate who lived to be 91 years old. Both Adin and Ethel were at her bedside when she died.