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Ellen (Ella) M. Baker (nee Brinsmead) 

English Childhood

Ellen (Ella) M. Brinsmead, born October 26, 1873, was the only daughter of William Brinsmead and Mary Ann Williams.  Her mother, Mary Ann, died of bronchitis and complications of childbirth when Mary Ann was just seven. Shortly after that, her father left England for America, taking two of her brothers, William and Arthur with him. 

Mary Ann and her two other brothers, Henry and John Charles, were left with William's parents Henry and Mary Ann Brinsmead who lived at Ada Villa, Holdenhurst, Hampshire.  Henry died in 1886 and Mary Ann died in 1890.  The census in 1891 lists Ella as living in the Brixton Orphanage in Lambeth, Surrey, England.

Move to America

At that time, her two brothers in America were both doing well on farms in Iowa.  Ellen left Liverpool, England for Iowa USA, on April 22, 1891, aboard the Teutonic. The Iowa census taken in 1895 lists her as single and living in Monroe, Fremont, Iowa. According to the 1900 census, Ella arrived in America in 1891 which must be a mistake. The 1910 census suggests she arrived in 1896, but this conflicts with the earlier Iowa census.

Dr. Lewis L. Baker and family, 1909

In 1897, Ella married Dr. Lewis L. Baker. He had grown up in the area and was about 20 years her senior. Ten years later they had a son Ralph Marlen Baker, born at Imogene, Iowa, on April 5, 1907.

Dr. Lewis L. Baker

Lewis Leland Baker was born in Canton, Illinois on June 5, 1854, the son of Robert Nevel and Pruella Rose Baker.  He had two brothers, Levi and Mattias.  In 1867 his family moved to Shenandoah, Iowa where they engaged in farming at Tarkio, just a few miles south of town.  In 1892, Lewis graduated from the Northwestern Medical college in Chicago with an MD and began practicing as a physician.

He practiced medicine in Imogene, Silver City and Shenandoah.  At one point he took up the practice of homeopathic medicine.  An account by a younger family members suggests that he gave up the practice of orthodox medicine when he was unable to save his brother Levi when he suffered a heart attack and died.

Death and Descendents

The grave of Ella and Lewis Baker

Census Records show that in 1910 the family lived at Maier Street, Monroe, Fremont, Iowa and that Dr. Baker ran a family practice.  On the 1915 Iowa census they are in Silver City, Mills, Iowa and Dr. Baker is listed as a homeopathic medical doctor and MD.  In 1920 they are at Shenandoah, Ward 1, Page County, Iowa.

Lewis Baker died on March 26, 1926, in Shenandoah. In 1930, Ella is living in the same location, but with her son's young family with her.  Ralph Marion (Marlen) had married Thelma Katherine Waller, of Swedish origins but born in Nebraska (apparently the state, although there is a Nebraska Iowa).  He worked as a duplex pressman. On September 2, 1928, Ralph and Thelma had a son, Ralph Lewis ("Buddy") Baker, born in Loomis, Nebraska. He was 19 months old at the time of the 1930 census.  The 1940 census shows Thelma and Ralph, son Ralph Lewis and Ella all living at 109 McBain Ave. Columbia City, Boone, Missouri. By then Ralph was working as a Snooker and Pool Hall Manager.

Ralph Lewis ("Buddy") BakerRalph Lewis "Buddy" Baker - Ella Brinsmead's only Grandchild

Ralph Lewis ("Buddy") Baker graduated from Hickman High School in 1947. He married Barbara Jo. Sutton, four years his junior, on August 2, 1952 in Aiken, South Carolina. His obituary indicates that he was a member of the American Legion and the IBEW and a charter member of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church. He enjoyed golf and took great pleasure spending time at a cabin he built on the Lake of the Ozarks.

Ella died on December 18, 1957, at age 84, in Columbia, Missouri.  She is buried with her husband at the Rose Hill Cemetery, Shenandoah, Iowa.

Ralph Marion died in Columbus in January, 1983 and his wife Thelma in August, 1987. They are both buried in Columbus.

Ralph Lewis "Buddy" Baker; Ella's only grandchild, passed away at age 78 on Saturday, July 7, 2007, at his home in Columbus. He was survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, along with six grandchildren.