The Valley of Heart's Delight

Pioneer Farmer- Santa Clara County

SURNAMES: McIntyre, Buck, Pruett, Cottle
Coming here in early manhood without means or influential friends, Orlando L. Baker has worked his way unaided to a position of independence. He was born in Hornellsville, now Hornell, Steuben County, N. Y., Janurary 19, 1836, a son of James and Anna (McIntyre) Baker. His father, James Baker, was a farmer, who removed to Michigan when Orlando L. was one year old, and where he purchased timber land, which he cleared and on which a home was built. Here the father passed away, when Orlando was ten years old.

Mr. Baker secured his early education in the schools of the district, working on his father's farm in summer, and after the death of his father, he assumed a good share of the farm work. When he was fourteen, his mother was married the second time to Andrew Kilberry and the family removed from Sturgis, Mich., to Indiana, where Mr. Kilberry owned a 130-acre farm. When ninteen Mr. Baker determined to start out for himself, and engaged in farming for a time, renting a thiry-acre farm in the Wabash Valley, near Peru, which he planted to corn. His residence on the farm coverd a period of two years, after which he left for the goal of his ambition, Pikes Peak, Colo., when gold was discovered. They met so many discouraged men returning from Pikes Peak that they decided to go on to California, crossing the plains in the usual way, a wagon drawn by oxen. The trip was accomplished without mishap, although accompanied by many hardships. They crossed the Missouri River at Nebraska City, Fort Hall, then by Suiblette Cut-off and on to Lassen County, Cal. Three years were spent in Plumas County and went to work in a store. At the same time he farmed, his brother, Simeon, carrying on the work. They raised grain, but traded the grain for a fourteen-acre potato crop and disposed of the potatoes to his employer for cash, thus making a double profit.

During the year of 1862 he removed to Santa Clara Valley and purchased a ranch of eighty acres, a protion of the old Santa Teresa grant. This he successfully farmed for six years, but was obliged to relinquish all right to same on account of its being a part of a Spanish grant. He then purchased a 120-acre tract on McLaughlin Avenue, on which he raised grain; also having a number of cattle and horses. He also rented additional grain land, which brought him fine return for his labor. After spending seventeen years on his ranch, he sold out and obught a thiry-seven-acre tract on the Senter Road, on which he built a house and where he resided for twenty-three years. He still retains ten acres of this land.

The first marriage of Mr. Baker occurred December 18, 1867, in San Jose and united him with Miss Mary A. Pruett, a native of Missouri. Her father died when she was a small girl, and her mother was married a second time, to a Joseph Aubrey, a pioneer of Grass Valley, who came to California in 1850, settling first in Grass Valley, two years later coming to Santa Clara Valley, where he pruchased land and engaged in farming. Mrs. Baker's schooling was obtained in the public schools of San Jose. She passed away in San Francisco in 1894, the mother of one daughter, Lillie A., now wife of Frank H. Buck, who resied on a ranch of the Santa Teresa grant.  Mr. and Mrs. Buck have onrdaughter. Mary A.  On July 26, 1897, Mr. Baker's second marriage united him with Miss Paulina Cottle, a native daughter, born in Santa Clara County, a daughter of O. B. Cottle, a pioneer of 1850.

Mr. Baker is a man of the type which has been largely responsible for the latter-day development of the West.  Politcally he adheres to the principles of the Democratic platform. He has alwys done all in his power for the advancement of his local community, and at his advanced age, enjoys a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 457


SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valley of Heart's Delight