XV. THE SECOND GENERATION OF BAKERS (1922-1948)
The Bakerton that had developed by the end of World War I was a bustling village with a roughness and vitality found in many mining towns. It was a working village with a closely knit population and the sights, smells, and sounds you would expect in a place that had a railroad spur running down its main street and regular blasting occurring at the mine. As previously mentioned, the character of the village was a reflection both of the people who worked there and the Bakers who had built it.
During the next quarter century, the character of the village would be influenced by several factors ¾ an influx of new workers, the Depression, new technological developments, labor unions, and World War II. As important as these events were, the Baker-Thomas family was still the main force shaping the village of Bakerton. The biographical sketches that follow provide a glimpse of the second generation of the Baker-Thomas family. A genealogical chart of the Baker family appears in Appendix B.
FRANK C. THOMAS  (1891-1948)
Franklin C. Thomas was one of five children born to C.F. Thomas  and Sarah Baker Thomas . He was a nephew of William , Joseph , and Daniel  Baker and the cousin of J.H. Baker . Thomas attended Western Maryland College from 1908 to 1910 and then returned to Buckeystown to work in the office of the brick plant supervised by his father.1
When Standard Lime and Stone opened a new plant in Woodville, Ohio, in 1914, Frank Thomas assisted General Superintendent Joseph Diauto in its construction. He served in the Army from 1917 to 1919 and then settled in Martinsburg, W.Va., with his wife, the former Helen Chandler. They raised a son and three daughters.
At the age of 28, Frank Thomas replaced the ailing Diauto as General Superintendent of Standard Lime and Stone in 1919. He held this and other positions of authority in the company for almost 30 years.
During his college career and throughout his life, Thomas maintained an active interest in athletics, first playing football and later baseball and tennis whenever the opportunity arose. As one of his contemporaries noted, his emphasis on the active physical life carried over into his work:
The lively gait and quick, lengthy strides of tall, athletic, and balding Frank Thomas tested the physical strength and stamina of those who endeavored to keep pace with him on his travels about any of the Company's plants. His presence was characterized by his singular mode of speech and voice inflection and his choice of words and men listened when he spoke.2
Workplace safety was one of his major concerns, and he was a frequent guest and speaker at plant victory dinners celebrating a continuous year of safe operation. Frank Thomas was not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty, and his battered hat and lime-dusted coat and shoes became part of his trademark as well as an occasional source of amusement. A frequent traveler on the B. & O. Railroad, Thomas once asked a pullman porter if he remembered him and received the reply, "No Sir, I don't remember you, but I sure do remember those shoes!"3
The Thomas house in Martinsburg was another source of interest to Standard employees. Remembering the house, Bill Flanagan noted that "We put out a special whitewash. It was a secret formula at that time. And we'd go around to different places, and finally Mr. Thomas himself built a home up here in Martinsburg and then the town sort of built up around him.... It was a beautiful new brick home, and we had to use this secret whitewash formula on his house.... So we put it on Mr. Thomas' house when it was a brand new brick home to make it look old rather than to be a new one."4
Guy Moler noted that "Mr. J.H. Baker always called by Frank Thomas 'Cousin John.' " Moler remembered Thomas as an "outstanding supervisor. He'd come around the plant, and he'd walk around with the superintendent. He'd come back up to his car and he'd say 'Well now, Brian, do this' or 'We're going to do this'. But he had an advantage. At that time, it was a closed circuit in the Baker family. And he was on the Board of Directors. And he went to Baltimore every Tuesday. He knew what was going to happen and what could happen ahead of time. He'd come around to the plant and walk around and talk to the superintendent and get his problems and so on. And before he left, he'd give him answers. I mean right then and there.... And as a rule, whatever rope he'd give the plant, the Board of Directors in Baltimore went along with.... But he'd come around, and he was very serious and very fair. And his word. Boy, I'm telling you, he'd tell you something and that was just the same as a lawyer drawing up a contract and signing your name to it. If he told you something, that was it. He had that reputation."5
Thomas Cherry, the Superintendent of Standard's Construction Divisions remarked
During the almost 30 years that I worked under Mr. Thomas, I do not recall of him asking anyone to perform any task that he would not have done himself. At all times I found him fair and above board in his dealings with his men, making very few promises, but these were always carried out. Mr. Thomas had more ideas than anyone else he was ever associated with. And in most cases they were workable. His first thought was that working conditions be made safe; after that production of a quality product.6
Shortly before 10 a.m. on August 3, 1948, Frank Thomas took off from Martinsburg Municipal Airport on a business trip. The plane was piloted by airport manager Edward C. Parkinson, and the men were accompanied by George Baker Treide, a Baltimore attorney and newly appointed member of Standard's Board of Directors. A few minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed in a wooded area between Arden and Gerrardstown, W.Va., killing all aboard. Among the numerous places that held memorial services was the Church of God in Bakerton.
JOHN H. BAKER  (1869-1954)
William G. Baker's  son John H. Baker attended Western Maryland College and Eastern Business College, finishing his studies in 1889. He married Lena Millard (sister of P.S. Millard) in 1893 and had two daughters (Figure 15-1). J.H. Baker became active in several of the businesses managed by his father or uncles, including the Citizens National Bank of Frederick (Maryland), Standard Lime and Stone, and the Washington Building Lime Co. When Daniel Baker II  died in 1921, he became president of Standard Lime and Stone. He left the position to Daniel Baker III  in 1944 and became Chairman of the Board. J.H. Baker also served as president of the Buckeystown Packing Company and the Columbia Brick and Coal Company and as secretary and treasurer of the Buckingham School. He was a trustee of Western Maryland College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and the Buckingham School.7
Frances Millard, who lived in Buckeystown with J.H. and Lena Baker for a while, remembered an "Uncle John" in his 60's who "was a good Christian man, a good business person.... He did a lot of good with his money.... As a child I knew him more on a formal basis, rather than a hail fellow well met. I mean you just didn't go up and pull his coat tails. He was more dignified." David B. Baker, Jr., has similar memories of "Cousin John" as "very prim, stiff collar, coat, tie."8 (See Figure 15-2.)
Another sketch of J.H. Baker portrayed him as the patriarch of Buckeystown and the Baker family:
He held a note on every farm, a lein on many endeavors. And he sat, a white-haired giant, in the center of the settlement and looked upon all men as his own. He owned them, gently and patiently, and his small, lace-collared wife adored him for it.9
Guy Moler remarked that "Mr. J.H. Baker used to call Bakerton 'his plant.' Brian Houser's daddy [D.R. Houser] was superintendent there for a long time. And Mr. J.H. and Mr. Houser were real good friends other than from a business point. At that time, when anybody out of the Baltimore office would come to Bakerton, they'd come to Harper's Ferry on the train and hire a horse and buggy, a team of horses, and drive out to Bakerton, and sometime they'd go to Mr. Houser's house for lunch. He'd entertain them.... And Mr. J.H. always used to call this ¾ Bakerton ¾ 'His plant.' When Mr. Baker was in the hospital one time for some operation, Brian got a card and took it all around and got everybody in the plant's signature on the thing and mailed it down to him. And the day he got out of the hospital, he come back to the main office and went from one office to the other and showed them the card he got from his plant. And he really got a thrill out of it. But then they say when they were notified that the Bakerton plant had voted to join the union, they say that just about killed him. He was very disappointed that the Bakerton plant would join the union."10
Within the family, J.H. Baker played an important role in getting the younger ones established in the business. As David B. Baker, Jr., remarked, "I don't know whether you would call him a caretaker in today's terms ... He was an equalizer when he was around, trying to ride herd on the next generation of boys. And I would not describe him as a very aggressive man. He was a very nice person, a very gentle person." 11
John H. Baker retired from the presidency of Standard in 1944, being replaced by Daniel Baker III . He spent the last years of his life at the Hotel Belvedere in Baltimore and died on August 27, 1954.
WILLIAM G. BAKER, JR.  (1874-1948)
The second son of William and Susan  Baker, William G. Baker, Jr., graduated from Western Maryland College in 1894 and received additional baccalaureate degrees in finance (Yale, 1896) and law (University of Maryland, 1899). With Sewell S. Watts, he founded the investment banking firm of Baker, Watts, & Co. in 1900. He retired as an active partner in 1942 but continued to be a limited partner in the firm until his death. (See Figure 15-3.)
William G. Baker, Jr., was president of the Investment Bankers Association of America in 1918-1919 and a director of Standard Lime and Stone Co. and the Chesapeak & Potomac Telephone Company. He was one of the trustees of the Buckingham School, and during World War II was Director of the Liberty Loan Fund for the Baltimore District.12
HOLMES DAVENPORT BAKER  (1880-1950)
The son of Joseph  and Emma  Baker, Holmes Davenport Baker graduated from Western Maryland College in 1899 (Figure 15-4). He entered business as a clerk in the Citizens National Bank of Frederick, Maryland, and became president of the organization in 1922. He held positions of assistant secretary, treasurer, and vice president of Standard Lime and Stone and Washington Building Lime. H.D. Baker was a trustee and vice president of the Buckingham School for Boys and a member of the Maryland Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources.13
DANIEL BAKER III  (1890-1956)
Daniel Baker III was the son of Daniel  and Mary Bratt  Baker. After graduating from Princeton (1917) and serving in the Army (1918-1919), he became vice-president of Standard Lime and Stone (1919). During the next two years, he worked at Millville, W.Va., where a refractory plant was being built. While at this location, he established a supply inventory system that continued in use through the 1950's. His brothers, Joseph D.  and David B. Baker , also held positions of responsibility in Standard Lime and Stone.
Daniel Baker III organized the first safety program in the company at the Martinsburg, W.Va, plant in September 1927. According to one of Standard's publications, he was "largely responsible for the marked reduction of occupational injuries and the excellent safety record the Company has established."14
He became president of the company in 1944 upon the resignation of John H. Baker  and remained in that position until September 1954. (See Figure 15-6.) He retired at this time, when Standard was purchased by the American-Marietta Company. He was vice-president of the Buckingham School until it closed in 1944. Daniel Baker died on October 16, 1956.
DAVID B. BAKER, SR.  (1891-19.. )
The second son of Daniel  and Mary Bratt  Baker, David B. Baker, Sr. (57) became vice-president in charge of purchasing at Standard. He was responsible not only for ordering supplies such as coal but also for administration of the many acres of farmland owned by Standard. He retired from Standard in 1949.
JOSEPH D. BAKER, JR.  (1894- )
The third son of Daniel  and Mary Bratt  Baker, Joseph D. Baker, Jr., graduated from Princeton in 1916 and married his cousin Ellen Baker in 1925. He pursued a career in finance and was director of the Eutaw Savings Bank and the U.S. Fidelity and Guarantee Company.15 (See Figure 15-5.)
1. Millville Safety Department, Standard Lime and Stone Co., "Franklin Charles Thomas, Sr.," The Insulator, vol. 13, no. 11 (November 1948).
2. Millville Safety Department, "Franklin Charles Thomas, Sr."
3. Millville Safety Department, "Franklin Charles Thomas, Sr."
4. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985.
5. Interview with Guy M. Moler, July 8, 1985.
6. Millville Safety Department, "Franklin Charles Thomas, Sr."
7. Matthew Page Andrews (ed.), Tercentenary History of Maryland (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1925), vol. III, pp. 371-372; Frederick [Maryland] News, August 27, 1954.
8. Interview with Frances Millard, April 13, 1986; Interview with David B. Baker, Jr., September 15, 1986.
9. Mary Bland Armistead, "Town Needn't be on Map to be Titled 'Historic,' " Roanoke Times and World News (January 1980), cited in Nancy Bodmer, Buckeystown Remembered, p. 194.
10. Interview with Guy M. Moler, July 8, 1985.
11. 11. Interview with David B. Baker, Jr., September 15, 1986.
12. Who Was Who in America, 1943-1950, vol. 2, p. 39; Frederick [Maryland] News, December 28, 1948.
13. Who's Who in the East (Chicago: A.N. Marquis Co., 1948), vol 2, pp. 98-99.
14. "Accident Round Table," October 31, 1956, Standard Lime and Stone Co., Baltimore, Md.
15. Who's Who in the East (Chicago: A.N. Marquis Co., 1957), p. 46.
XVI. BAKERTON (1922-1948)