Transcript:Indiana, United States. Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties/B/Baxter, William


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Hon. William Baxter (p 107)

In the death of William Baxter, September 6, 1886, Wayne County lost one of her most prominent and useful citizens, and though more than a decade has been added to the past since he passed to his reward he is remembered in many a home, and his good works in various directions still speak his praises. While he was deeply concerned in numerous philanthropic enterprises, he was more especially, heart and soul identified with the temperance cause. Gifted with eloquence and a ready flow of language, he delivered able addresses on the subject of temperance, in all parts of this state and Ohio. A Republican, politically, he was elected on that ticket to the Indiana Legislature, and served one term there in the 1870s. Later being elected to the State Senate and while a member of that honorable body he introduced and secured the passage of the bill known as the Baxter Local-option Bill further honored him. He was actively engaged in all measures of public importance and was a thorough disbeliever in the system of capital punishment, which prevails. Not only was he prominent in the Woman's Reformatory of Indianapolis and deeply interested in all state prison reforms, but in every practical manner he also sought to do good to his fellowmen. In short, his life was the embodiment of the highest teaching of Christianity, and love and service toward God and man.

A native of Yorkshire, England, William Baxter was born February 11, 1824. His parents were John and Mary (Pollard) Baxter, likewise of Yorkshire birth. The father was a minister of the Methodist Church, and doubtless his beautiful example and wise teaching had much to do in forming the character of his son William. He was very influential in his own neighborhood, for he was not only a good man but also one of brains and liberal ideas, and a great student. He was the father of ten children, three of whom died in England. The father having died, William Baxter came to the United States in 1848 and made a home in Philadelphia, to which his widowed mother came the following year, and the rest of the family later crossed the Atlantic.

Prior to leaving his native land Mr. Baxter had studied law, but he concluded that he would not follow that vocation, and instead he accepted a position as a manager of a woolen-goods factory. At the end of a few years he became interested in the tea trade in Liverpool, and after arriving in Philadelphia he dealt in wool in wholesale quantities, as a partner in the firm of David Scull & Company. When he came to Richmond in 1864 he continued buying, shipping and selling wool to his old Quaker City house up to 1875. He became the owner of a fine one-hundred-acre farm in what is now West Richmond, and from 1875 until his death he was a stockholder and director in the Wayne Agricultural Works, of Richmond.

In England Mr. Baxter married Mary Wickett, who died soon after their removal to Philadelphia, and their only child, a son, died in infancy. December 3, 1856, Mr. Baxter married Mary Barker, who survives him and resides in Richmond, loved and respected by all that know her. Her parents, Enoch and Sophia (Davis) Baker, were both natives of North Carolina, and left that state to take up their abode in the north on account of their opposition to slavery. They came to this state in 1831 and five years later the father died at his home near Thornton [Thorntown?], Boone County. The mother survived him for sixty years, dying at a very advanced age in Richmond, in 1896

The five living children of William and Mary (Barker) Baxter are: Sarah, wife of Edward Fletcher, of this place; Mary E., wife of John G. Sutton, of Warsaw, Indiana; Maria, at home; Lucy V., who married Percival B. Coffin, of Chicago; and William H., a citizen of Richmond.