Born: 20 Sep 1765 in North Carolina
||Items to note:
This Andrew Baker was NOT married to Nancy Briant.
There is no factual evidence that Andrew was married to a Cherokee
Indian named Rainwater.
Died: 10 Sep 1842 in Laurel County, Kentucky; buried in the
There are still some unanswered questions concerning Andrew Baker, but, thanks
to research by many people, we know more now than we used to.
Andrew was the son of John "Renta" Baker of North Carolina. The main
genealogical support for this comes from a brief family history by Jim Baker,
one of Renta's greatgrandsons. In an oral history told about 1916, Jim seems to
say Renta had a son named Andrew who lived in Laurel County. The paragraphing
of the document is a little confusing but I tend to believe this interpretation
is correct. Andrew did indeed live in Laurel County and was the only Andrew
Baker who can be found in the county's records during his lifetime. Bolstering
the connection to Renta are results from the
Baker DNA Study,
which positively places Andrew in the family which includes Renta and his
brothers, none of whom have a so-named, unaccounted-for son.
A quick note concerning John "Renta" Baker: Critical new research is
casting doubt on much of the published information about this man, most notably
of his exploits as a Longhunter and in Lord Dunmore's War of 1774. It's almost
certain the John Baker mentioned on hunts based in Virginia is not Renta but a
son of Humphrey Baker; however the John mentioned in as being on a hunt
originating in the Yadkin Valley may be Renta. Similarly, the John Baker in
Lord Dunmore's War may also have been John, son of Humphrey. Research is
Perhaps the first solid record of Andrew is in the third company of the 1790
Wilkes County, NC, census. The record for the Andrew Baker in that census is
consistent with what we think we know of his children. There is another adult
male in the household who could be either a brother or father. There were other
individuals in the same company who later have dealings with Andrew in TN,
including Eleanor Arnold Bunton and John Brown. It's possible that a 1787
Wilkes document in which an Andrew Baker reclaims land which Renta was forced
to give up is this Andrew, which may bolster the case of Andrew and Renta being
together in 1790 census.
Andrew had moved to Carter County, TN, (the move may have been a very short
one, depending on his location in Wilkes, which became Ashe in 1799) by 1802
when he bought 400 acres of land from John Brown, which Brown had originally
been granted in Washington County, TN (Carter was created from Washington in
1796). This property, on which he resided until 1815, was on Fitzgerald Branch
of Roan Creek. There is no Fitzgerald Branch on maps today but based on court
and deed records Fitzgerald is probably either today's Mill Creek or Morgan,
Dye Leaf, or Avery Branch.
From an 1805 Carter County court record, we know Andrew lived near Stone
Mountain, which is on the NC-TN line southeast of Lake Watuaga: "Ordered
by the Court that Andrew Baker be appointed overseer of the publick road
leading by Bakers to the top of Stone Mountain..." Included in the list of
people who were to help on the road's maintenance was John Baker and William
Bunton. From other court records and deeds, we know John Baker lived at the
foot of Stone Mountain, near Big Dry Run, which is near the other watercourses
listed above. This area is now part of Johnson County, TN.
As a brief aside, we cannot identify this John Baker. From later records in TN
and KY, we know he was not Andrew's father. The best guess is that this person
was Andrew's brother, John "Durkham" Baker, who later settled in Clay
County, KY, with others of the Renta family. This John may have been in Carter
Andrew bought more property, which adjoined the land above, from William Bunton
in 1805 and 1806. William was the son of William Andrew Bunton and Eleanor
Arnold and a neighbor to Andrew Baker. While no connection has yet been made,
it's perhaps more than coincidence that Andrew's daughter Elizabeth married
Andrew and John appear in various Carter County court records, including
serving on juries and being part of minor lawsuits.
In 1804 Andrew sold part of the Brown land to William Griffin (who would later
move to Pulaski County, KY) and sold part of the Bunton property to William
Davis in 1809 and 1813. The last record that can be found of Andrew in Carter
was on 15 Nov 1815 when he sold the remaining part of the Brown land to Daniel
William Davis may be the father of Elizabeth, Lydia, and Sarah Matilda Davis,
who married Joel Baker, Andrew Baker Jr, and Elijah Grider (a neighbor of Joel
and Andrew in Rockcastle later on), respectively. He may also be the William
Davis who was a resident of Cades Cove, which was founded by primarily Carter
County families. Andrew Jr and Lydia were married in Blount County, TN, in
1824. Another nearby family, the Cables, also had Cades Cove connections.
Andrew moved from Carter County to Pulaski County, KY, around 1815. The timing
is hard to determine exactly. Daughter Martha married Mathew Warren 20 Jan 1816
and Andrew purchased a
land warrant from Henry
Ott (Grant A on the map) on Line Creek 29 Mar 1816. This property was on
the northern section of the creek, very near the Pulaski-Rockcastle line. The
James and Elizbabeth Baker Arnold family also shows up in Pulaski for the first
time in 1816.
The Baker family is in the 1820 Pulaski County census and Andrew shows up on
the Pulaski County tax lists from 1816 through 1820. In 1821 through 1825 he is
on the Knox County lists, with no land. In 1826, the year Laurel County was
created (largely from Knox), Andrew shows up on that county's list, again
landless. In 1833 there is an Andrew and Andrew Jr listed in Laurel, Andrew Jr
with 50 acres of land which he sold later that year to William Tuttle.
In 1836 Andrew appears in the list with 100 acres of land on Sinking Creek, the
grant being entered in the name of Baker. The watercourse designation in 1836
was incorrect, the land in reality being on the Dog Branch of White Oak Creek.
Andrew would live on that property until his death six years later. Presumably,
this land included the Bryant Cemetery, where Andrew and others of the family
are buried. It's hard to be certain because there is no deed recorded for the
sale of the property. Andrew's widow, Hannah, had possession of the land when
she remarried to James Adams in 1851; Adams sold half to Jesse Nix in 1865. The
tract of land that includes the cemetery was purchased by Mary E. Bryant in
1894 from John J. and Mahala Adams Barrett. There is no record of the Barrett
purchase. Mahala's name in genealogies online have it as Mahala Combs but there
is a marriage record for J.J. Barnett and Mahala Adams dated 16 Aug 1863. It is
logical to assume Mahala was somehow related to James and had inherited the
property but I've been unable to find information on Mahala's ancestry.
It's not clear whether Andrew moved directly from Line Creek to White Oak Creek
or if he lived somewhere else prior to being granted the White Oak land. We
know he was established near the cemetery by the summer of 1835 because son
Hiram is buried there. In September of 1833, Andrew and Hiram Baker were
chainmen on a survey for William McHargue but where that property was, I don't
know (plus, it could be that Andrew was Jr, not Sr).
Andrew died on 10 Sep 1842. His stone reads: "HERE LIES ANDREW BAKER HE
WAS Bo SEPT THE 20 1765 DIED SEPT THE 10TH 1842." The stone looks to be
original and is very similar to Hiram's in shape and decoration. There has been
some debate over the year of his death, whether it was 1841 or 1842. The last
number is very hard to read and the stone has flaked off in that spot. However,
I believe the number looks more like a "2" than a "1,"
which also would match best with the tax list data (Andrew is in the 1842 list)
and the date of his
From the items sold in the estate sale, it looks like Andrew was a blacksmith
Three years after Andrew's death, Smith Baker, who was appointed to handle his
father's estate, sued Alfred, Charles, and Cyrenius Warren, plus Thomas Nichols
and George Hamblin, contending they came onto Smith's property and stole
Andrew's blacksmith tools. The Warrens were Smith's half-nephews. The case
continued for several years but Laurel court records never give a conclusion to
the matter; perhaps it fizzled out after Alfred and Charles died (between 1851
and 1853) and Cyrenius moved to AR (about 1853). (Thanks to Wilma Johnson and
Kay Hanna for research on this matter.) This may be evidence of a dispute among
the family concerning the distribution of Andrew's property. Another Warren
brother, Joel, was bondsman for the marriage of Hannah Baker and James Adams,
so at least some of the family were speaking to each other by 1851.
Now to the large unknownsAndrew's mother, wives, and children.
I'm going to try to fix some errors before moving on into the actual data.
Every genealogy I've ever seen has Andrew's mother as Elizabeth Terrill (of
those which list his parents). Best I can tell, that is a part of Baker lore
that is completely unproven, although it is stated as fact.
Most genealogies have Andrew married twice, first to an Indian named Rainwater,
then to Nancy Anna Briant. The supposed story behind the first marriage is
this: Andrew got into a poker game and won the man's mule, supplies and finally
his squaw, Rainwater. He then married her and she took the name Polly Smith.
It's a good tale. However, this story has no basis in known fact. The source of
it has been traced to an elderly gentleman who loved to tell tales and was well
known for, shall we say, embellishment. The fact is that we have absolutely no
information at all concerning Andrew's first wife.
The purported second marriage is more disturbing, from my standpoint, since it
involves contorting real data into what someone wanted to find. The facts which
were twisted are these: 1. An Andrew Baker married Nancy Briant in Washington
County, TN, on 24 Dec 1816; 2. Andrew's widow was named Hannah; and 3. Andrew
is buried in the Bryant Cemetery.
From these documented facts, "researchers" have added the Anna middle
name for Nancy, out of thin air, to make her name similar to Andrew's last
wife, Hannah, and made Hannah's maiden name Briant to go along with Andrew's
burial in the Bryant Cemetery. Plus they've assumed that since Andrew was in
east TN, then he must be the Andrew in the Washington County record.
Let me put this whole thing to rest herethe Andrew we're discussing is
not the Andrew in the Washington County marriage record.
First, the Andrew we're discussing was in KY in 1816 and was never, that can be
proven, in Washington County, TN, at least not after 1799.
Second, the Andrew and Nancy in who were married in Washington County are known
and eventually moved to MO.
Third, the Bryant Cemetery is named for the family who bought the land in 1894.
(The cemetery looks like two separate cemeteries with basically the Bakers on
one end, the Bryants on the other, and a space in the middle.)
Now to what we think we know about Andrew's wives and children. I'm not going
to go into a long discussion on prospective children. A complete list of those
who are thought to be Andrew's, or who might be his, can be found in his
has 19 children listed. While there is good data to support most of their
placements, it's likely there are a few who are not his.
It's certain Andrew was married at least twice. Based on the ages of the
children I feel comfortable with placing as Andrew's and the data from the 1820
census, I believe he was married three times.
His first wife would have died about 1810, the second about 1819, Hannah would
have been the third. Part of this is based on the lack of a female of a wife's
age in the 1820 Pulaski County census. Thus, John Bolin Baker, born about 1824,
is the only child who I believe is Hannah's.
As to Hannah, we do not know her maiden name, there is no marriage record. My
belief is that they were married in late 1820 in Rockcastle County, which would
explain the lack of a record (the courthouse fire). Some list her as Hannah
Roberts, but that is probably a situation similar to the Nancy Briant thing, in
that there was a marriage between an Andrew Baker and Hannah Roberts in Maury
County, TN, in 1816. Never mind that Maury County is southwest of Nashville,
almost 200 miles from Line Creek where we know Andrew lived in 1816.