iN Memorian

Mountain Meadows Memorial

Mountain Meadows, Utah, USA

IN MEMORIAM    "In the valley below between September 7 and 11, 1857, a company of more than 120 Arkansas emigrants led by Capt. John T. Baker and Capt. Alexander Fancher was attacked while en route to California. This event is known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre."    This memorial erected September 1990 by the State of Utah and the families of those involved and those who died.


George Washington Baker was the oldest son of John Twitty Baker and Mary A. Ashby, born abt. 1830 in Jackson County, Alabama. When gold was discovered in California, he is said to have spent time in Columbia and Sonora in Tuolumne County, and Stockton, in San Joaquin County, before returning home to Carroll County, Arkansas around 1850. (His younger brother John Henry Baker was said to have gone to California with George W. Baker on that trip, although John H. Baker would only have been around 15 years old at the time.)  After his return, he married Minerva Ann Beller  the daughter of my 4th great-grandparents William C. Beller and Martha Lovina Wilburn, and they resided next to George W. Baker's parents in Crooked Creek Township.

Planning to move to California, George W. Baker, his wife Minerva Ann, and their four young children, prepared for their journey, with the other family members that comprised "The Baker Train".  The group gathered, and made their preparations, in the area of William C. Beller's homestead at Milum Spring (also called Caravan Spring) near Minerva Ann's late father's store called "Beller's Stand". With his family, George W. Baker departed from Carroll County in April 1857 with "The Baker Train", which was under the leadership of his father, Captain John Twitty Baker. Also traveling with his family were his wife's orphaned siblings, Melissa Ann Beller, and David W. Beller, who were his wards. They planned to move to California, and took with them about $500 in cash, 2 ox wagons and chains, a rifle, a double-barreled shotgun, 8 yoke of oxen, 3 young mares, 136 head of cattle, and beds, bedding, provisions, clothing and other possessions.

Depositions regarding the livestock and possessions that George W. Baker had when he departed from Carroll County were given by his brother John Henry Baker, (whose wife Sarah Elizabeth (Deshazo) Baker was the brother of Mountain Meadows Massacre victim Allen P. Deshazo), Minerva Ann (Beller) Baker's brothers, William C. Beller and Irvin T. Beller, and Minerva Ann's brother-in-law Joseph Benjamin Baines. Before leaving for California, Baines had paid George W. Baker $700 in cash, as guardian of Melissa Ann Beller. George W. Baker also had two hired hands with him.

If his daughter Sarah Frances' account is accurate, George Washington Baker appears to have died in the initial surprise attack on 7 September 1857. Her account says her sister, Martha Elizabeth, told her she had been sitting on her father's lap, and the bullet that killed him nicked Sarah's ear. He would then probably have been among the ten men killed during the five-day siege that the Arkansas Emigrants buried somewhere within the circled wagons of the encampment (located west of the 1999 Monument in the valley). George Washington Baker was 27 years old when he died. His wife, Minerva Ann (Beller) Baker, and their oldest child, Mary Lovina Baker, also died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, along with his father, John Twitty Baker, his brother Abel Baker,  his sister Sarah C. (Baker) Mitchell, his brother-in-law Charles Roark Mitchell, and his nephew John Mitchell. George Washington Baker's three youngest children, Martha Elizabeth "Betty" Baker, born 7 March 1852, Sarah Frances "Sally" Baker, born 20 November 1854, and William Twitty "Billy" Baker, born 15 November 1856, survived the Massacre and were returned to their paternal grandmother, Mary A. (Ashby) Baker, in 1859.

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