Charles Joseph Baker (born 1821)
[...] Charles J. Baker was a glass manufacturer and banker, one of the most prominent and well-known business men of his day in Baltimore, and identiﬁed with large business enterprises of various kinds, and a successful man in everything he engaged in. He had nine children (eight of whom are living [as of 1898]: William, Jr., George B., president of the Third National Bank; Bernard N., Richard J., Frank M., Ashby Lee Baker, who resides in Raleigh, N. C., and is a cotton manufacturer, and Mrs. Mary H. Bradenbaugh, wife of Rev. A. E. Bradenbaugh, and [Charles E. Baker]. All reside in Baltimore except Ashby Lee. [The] ﬁrm of Baker Bros., glass manufacturers, [...] was founded in 1857 by [Charles Joseph Baker] and [brother] and has continued to do business under that ﬁrm name up to the present time , forty years. [...]
CHARLES J. BAKER.
Charles Joseph Baker, President of the Canton Company and head of the house of Baker Brothers & Company, was born in this city on the 28th of May, 1821. His parents, William and Jane Baker, then resided at "Friendsbury," their country seat, situated in what is now the growing and rapidly improving northwestern section of the city, within the corporate limits, although fifty years ago, it was considered sufficiently remote from the built-up portions of the town, to be denominated country. The paternal grandfather of Mr. Baker, who was the head of the dry goods importing house of Willam Baker & Sons, once well known in this city, came to Baltimore to make his own way in the world at the early age of twelve years, having been left an orphan by the massacre of his parents and all the other members of the family, by the Indians, about the year 1750. The scene of the massacre was near the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, not far from the present town of Reading, in Pennsylvania. The grandfather of Charles J. Baker, on the mother's side, was Richard Jones, who emigrated to this country from Caernarvonshire, in Wales, in 1781, preceding his family, in order to provide a home for them, before sending for wife and children to join him. He settled in Baltimore, in the part of the city which has retained the name of Fell's Point, and began business as a manufacturer and dealer in paints and oils, a branch of commerce which three generations of his descendants have since continued. In 1793, Mr. Jones purchased and improved the beau tiful site to which he gave the name of "Friendsbury," where the parents of Mr. C. J. Baker resided until their death, a few years since, and where the subject of this sketch was born. Like large numbers of his countrymen, Mr. Jones in early life, before his emigration to America, became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Society, under the preaching and influence of its celebrated founder, whose personal acquaintance he enjoyed.
Charles J. Baker received his early education at home, and at boarding school, at the Franklin Academy in Reisterstown, Baltimore county, then under the charge of Mr. N. C. Brooks. After wards, he was sent for a short time to St. Mary's College, in this city, and, in 1835, entered the grammar school of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. In 1837, he was admitted Freshman in the College proper, and graduated with the Class of 1841, under the presidency of the Rev. J. P. Durbin, 1). D. During his stay at Carlisle, in 1836, Mr. Baker united himself in membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in that place. Upon the completion of his college course, he entered the counting-room of his father, who was then engaged in the manufacture of window-glass at the old Baltimore glass works, at the foot of Federal Hill. In 1842, he started in business with his brother, H. J. Baker, on their own account, in the paint, oil, and glass trade, at No. 2 N. Liberty street. Shortly after the firm became proprietors of the Baltimore Window Glass and Bottle and Vial Glass Works, previously carried on by Shaum & Reitz. In 1843, the brothers removed to No. 42 South Charles street, and enlarged their business, until, in 1848, they were enabled to purchase the two warehouses, Nos. 32 and 34 South Charles street, and changed the stylo of the firm to that of Baker & Brother. In July, 1850, their two warehouses, with all their contents, including $75,000 worth of glass, paints, &c., were destroyed by fire. Nothing daunted by this disaster, the firm immediately commenced the work of rebuilding, and, in the course of the following year, had finished the present five story warehouses, Nos. 32 and 34, on the same site. During 1850, the two brothers, Charles J. and Henry J. Baker, organized the firm of H. J. Baker & Brother in New York city, for the purpose of conducting the same business there, and also importing French glass and chemicals. In 1851, the firm in Baltimore was changed to Baker Brothers & Company, upon the admission of a new partner, Mr. J. Rogers, Jr., and so continued until 1865, when Charles J. Baker purchased the entire interest of H. J. Baker and Mr. Rogers, and admitted his two sons, William Baker, Jr., and Charles E. Baker, into copartnership, retaining the old style of Baker Brothers & Company.
As one of the results of a successful business career, as well as of the enterprising and liberal spirit which has contributed so largely to that success, Mr. Baker has become prominently and usefully identified with various mercantile and manufacturing interests in this city. In 1859, he was elected a director in the Franklin Bank, and in 1867, was chosen its president. In 1860, he was elected a director in the Canton Company , and in 1870, was elected president, He is also interested in the Maryland White Lead Company, the Maryland Manufacturing and Fertilizing Company, and other kindred enterprises of associated capital and skill.
Through the energetic efforts of Mr. Baker, as president of the Canton Company , the Union Railroad, running from the north western limits of the city to tidewater, is being rapidly pushed for ward, and will be of immense service to the business of Baltimore.
Nor have Mr. Baker's life and energies been so far absorbed in business pursuits and undertakings, as to make him neglectful of other and higher duties. His life as a citizen has not been uneventful. In 1859-60, he took an active part in the Municipal Reform movement of that year, and was a candidate for the second branch of the City Council on the same ticket with George William Brown, for Mayor, and was elected by a large majority. In the organization of the branch, although the youngest member, Mr. Baker was elected president ; which position he continued to till during the stormy and memorable days of April, 1861, and the period which followed,—acting as Mayor of the city, ex officio, from September, 1861, to January, 1862, while Mayor Brown was a prisoner in Forts Lafayette and Warren.
The interest in religious matters which led Mr. Baker to identify himself early in life with the Methodist Episcopal Church has never failed or ceased. In 1855, he was associated as trustee of Baltimore City Station with the late R. G. Armstrong, David Thomas, John G. Chappell, Dr. Roberts, and others, and was connected and prominently identified with various religious movements and enterprises, such as the extension and rebuilding of the Eutaw Street M. E. Church, the erection of the Madison Avenue M. E. Church, and in the cause of missions, particularly the German Mission, under Dr. Jacoby, in Bremen, Frankfort, and elsewhere in Germany. As one of the trustees of Dickinson College, he manifested his interest and kept alive his connection with the Alma Mater of his youth. The dissensions, however, which disturbed the peace of the Metho dist Episcopal Church after 1860, led to Mr. Baker's withdrawal from the position which he held in that body. He assisted in organizing the Chatsworth Independent Methodist Church, and in build ing the present church edifice at the corner of Franklin and Pine streets, and, subsecpiently, in 1867, he aided in building the Bethany Independent Methodist Chapel at Franklin Square.
The leading traits of Mr. Baker's character may be readily in ferred from the foregoing incidents in his career. Energy and probity in business ; a high sense of duty in all the relations of life, public and private; a spirit and temper firm in the recognition and advocacy of principle, yet withal kindly and conciliatory, and always governed by the rules of Christian charity, and a liberal heart and hand in the support of all undertakings, secular or religious, which commend themselves to his sympathy and judgment, have made Mr. Baker widely respected, trusted and esteemed in this community.
Mr. Baker married, in 1842, Miss Elizabeth Bosserman, of Car lisle, Pa., daughter of Ephraim Bosserman, a merchant of that place.
CHARLES J. "BAKER DEAD.
Hae Had Been in Failing Health for a Long Time.
AND THE END WAS NOT UNEXPECTED.
His Active Career In Business Affairs - Manufacturer, Banker and, at One Time, Newspaper Proprietor - Prominent In Methodist Church Work.
Mr. Charles J. Baker, head of the firm of Baker Bros. & Co., died yesterday at "Athol," his country home on the Frederick turnpike.
He had been in failing health for a long time and his death was not unexpected. He was afflicted with diabetes, which caused his death. In March last Mr. Baker bad two strokes of paralysis within five days and commenced to fail from that time, though bis Vigorous constitution and strong will-power enabled him to withstand these attacks. When he recovered from this prostration he continued bis active business pursuits and bad given almost daily attention to his many enterprises until last Monday. Da that day he ordered his carriage to drive Into town, as was his custom, and while waiting for it be was taken suddenly sick and went to bed, from which he never arose.
Mr. Baker was widely known as one of the oldest and most successful business men of Baltimore. Besides being the head of the firm of Baker Bros. & Co., in which house he commenced his business career more than City years ago, he was also interested in many other enterprises In and around Baltimore. Among these were the Baltimore Car Wheel Company, St. Clair-Scott Manufacturing Company, Equitable National Bank and the Canton Company .
While president of the Canton Company , in 1870, Mr. Baker was largely instrumental in securing the construction of the Union Railroad and tunnel, now owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and which gives the Northern Central and Western Maryland Roads tide water terminals at Canton, Baltimore, Maryland .
For more than twenty years Mr. Baker was president of the old Franklin Bank, on South street, which a few years ago was merged into the Equitable National Bank. The Franklin was a State bank and under Mr. Baker's direction was for some years successfully conducted. He retired from active banking business when the old Franklin went out of existence, though he was a large holder or the stock of its successor and always manifested much interest in its affairs.
His full name is Charles Joseph Baker. He was born May 28, 1821, at "Friendsbury," an old family estate belonging to bis father, but Which is now a part of Baltimore city, being in the northwestern section. Baker Circle was a portion of this estate, and the circle gets its name from the former owners of the land. He received his early education in the schools of this city, and was graduated from Dickinson College in 1841. He then entered his father's counting-room, and was continuously engaged in the business of manufacturing window glass and dealing in paints and oils. In 1865 Mr. Bakor secured the whole control of this business and admitted to the firm two of his sons. William and Charles E. Baker. With his brother, Henry J. Baker. Mr. Charles J. Baker established a branch of the business in New York city.
Mr. Baker became an active leader in the municipal reform movement of 1859 and 1800. He was elected to the Second Branch of the City Council on the same ticket with the late George William Brown, and although the youngest member of that body was chosen its president. He occupied this position during the stirring and memorable days of April, 1861, and the stormy period which followed. When Mayor Brown was taken prisoner and confined in Forts Lafayette and Warren, Mr. Baker was Mayor of the city ex-oifficio, serving in that capacity from September, 1861, to January, 1862. Mr. Baker used frequently to tell how he was notified that he must perform the functions of chief executive of the city by a troop of Federal soldiers riding up to his house and Informing him that as Mayor Brown was a prisoner he must take up the work of the Mayor's office.
While attending college Mr. Baker joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he continued a practical Christian in that faith to his death. At the outbreak of the civil war, When the Methodists as a body became involved in the sectional differences and determined to separate into the North and South Churches, Mr. Baker disapproved the separation. lie at once took an active and leading part in establishing the Independent Methodist Church.
It was largely through Mr. Baker's efforts and liberality that this church obtained such a strong foothold in Baltimore. From his private fortune he first built Chatsworth Church, tho first Independent Methodist Church in the city. He also built Bethany and Epworth churches. Friendsbury, St. John's and several other chapels for use ot Independent Methodists in various sections of the city.
At one time Mr. Baker purchased a controlling Interest in the Baltimore Gazette, a daily paper formerly published in this city. It was said that Mr. Baker thought he could extend his sphere of usefulness in advancing the material welfare of the city by controlling a newspaper with which to promulgate his ideas of what was best for the city's interests. His other large business enterprises, however, prevented him from giving the necessary attention to the newspaper. He soon sold bis Interest in the Gazette.
Mr. Baker's first wife was Miss Elizabeth Rosserman. They had seven children, all living. One of his sons, Mr. Bernard N. Baker, Is president of the Baltimore Storage and Lighterage Company, and is one of the prominent business men of the city. His other children are, William, Charles E., Mary H., Richard J., Frank M. and Ashby Lee. A few years ago Mr. Baker married a second time. His widow survives him.
Mr. Baker has always lived at "Athol." In 1880, during the sequi-centennlal celebration, Mr. Baker and his family were away from borne and on returning found the house afire. When the lire was first seen by him Mr. Baker supposed it was a bonfire as part of the celebration, and when he reached his grounds he found the house and its contents destroyed. He at once built the magnificent, residence that now occupies the high hill on his land.
Rev. J. W, Jones, pastor of Bethany Independent Methodist Church, announced to the congregation last night the death of Mr. Baker. '
In his need for financial backing (for The Baltimore Glass Works) (after his brother John Friese died in December 1831,), Phillip (Phillip R.J. Friese) turned to William Baker, a judge in the Orphans Court of the City of Baltimore and a son of the William Baker, who had founded William Baker & Sons, a dry goods house. An interest in the Baltimore Glass Works was natural, for, according to an 1837 Baltimore directory, William Baker had a glass warehouse on Hanover Street.
By 1837, William Baker had already acquired a “glass warehouse on Hanover Street” although it is unclear whether the property was only for storage of glass or if this were a glass factory. McKearin & Wilson (1978:73) were also unclear about what products were produced or stored in this “warehouse.” Because this property is not mentioned further, it was likely only for storage.
In March of 1837, William Baker became involved with Friese in the Baltimore Glass Works. Baker assumed $5,650 worth of mortgages for the factory the following September and acquired the entire property a few months later. The plant was located at 3 N. Liberty St. and apparently only made window glass. It was not until January of 1845 that Baker executed the bill of sale, apparently incorporating as the Baltimore Glass Works at the same time (McKearin & Wilson 1978:73; Roller 1998).
William Baker, along with his brother, Charles [George Baker], and four associates, bought the Baltimore Glass Works in January 1845. 3 William’s sons, Henry J. and Charles J. Baker began serving as commission merchants and agents, selling the products made by the Baltimore Glass Works and the New Jersey Glass Works (probably Coffin, Hay & Bowdle) under the name of C.J. and H.J. Baker in 1851. The name was changed to Baker & Bro. by 1850 and became Baker Bros. & Co. in 1851 – with Joseph Rogers, Jr., as the “& Co.” 4 About 1849, the senior Baker had moved into semi-retirement (McKearin & Wilson 1878:73; Roller 1998)
Atlantic Transport Company
9 Broadway, Rm 268, New York
Charles Joseph Baker, of Baltimore, was president of the Franklin Bank, Baker Bros. & Co., and the Chemical Company of Canton. Baker Bros. were dealers in Lykens Valley, Sunbury and hard coal, “By the ton or cargo,” and they manufactured Baltimore Window Glass, Flint & Green Glassware, chemicals, paints, oils, and glue and imported French window glass. Baker Bros. & Co. and the Chemical Company of Canton were at 32‐34 S. Charles St.
Bernard Nadal Baker was secretary of the Chemical Company of Canton and in 1888 was in business with James S. Whiteley and Ashby L. Baker as the Baker, Whiteley Coal Co. at 409 Second S t . and Bernard was president of the Baltimore Storage & Lighterage Co,. steamship agents and ship brokers at 409 Second St. Charles G. Helm was secretary.
At that time, several steamship companies provided service from Baltimore to Europe and the British Isles. Bernard wanted to expand his business and in 1890 started the Atlantic Transportation Line in the office of the Baltimore Storage & Lighterage Co.. Baker was president, James Whiteley vice-president, Charles G. Helm secretary, and James C. Gorman manager. Because the cost to build and operate American ships was about 30 percent higher than in England, Baker chose to build and operate under the British flag, but English law prohibited direct foreign ownership of English vessels so the company hired an agent, Alfred S.Williams, and formed the Atlantic Transport Co., Ltd., in London to own the ships and lease them to the Atlantic Transport Co. in New York. All the stock in the London company was owned in New York. The first British ship was the Surrey and eventually the company operated 16 foreign-built ships. About 80 percent of the stock ownership was American with Baker owning just over 50 percent of that. Next was Harlan & Wolf, Alexander Brown 8: Sons, and investors in New York, Chicago, and Baltimore.
In 1891 the Atlantic Transport Line of Steamers offered weekly sailings between Baltimore and London on the Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, British Crown, Maryland, Maine, Memphis, and Montana.The company acted as agents for the Hamburg American Packet Line and the Lord Line. Freight was handled by Baltimore Storage and the company opened offices in Chicago and St. Louis.
In 1897 Atlantic Transport was at 403-409 Water St. and had offices in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. The Maine, Massachusetts, Manitoba, Mohawk, Mobile, Minnesota, Mississippi, Maryland, Missouri, and Montana ran between Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, London, and West. The company added the Bristol Channel Line and the Empire Line to its agency roster and had offices in Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and Philadelphia.
1n 1898 the U.S. government purchased Atlantic Transport's ships for the Spanish-American War. To replace his ships, Baker found investors and incorporated the Atlantic 'h'ansport Company of West Virginia with a capital of $3,000,000 and moved to offices on the 5th floor of the Continental ' I r u s t Building. Charles Helm was treasurer and Wade Newcomer was secretary. Baker replaced the confiscated ships with ships from the Wilson & Furness‐Leyland Line, the famous “Minnies”: Minneapolis, Minnehaha, Minnetonka, and Minneumska and acquired other ships.
In 1901 Baker sold his stock to the International Mercantile Marine Corp., but not the ships.The voting trustees were John “J.P. ”Morgan, J. Bruce Ismay, Clement A. Griscom, and Peter A.B. Widener. Four new ships were ordered from American yards for Atlantic Transport with IMM money: the China, Korea, and two big liners Manchuria and Mongolia.
Financial difficulties ensued and in 1904 the IMM bloc sold the Manchuria and Mongolia to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Atlantic Transport was then reorganized. Baker moved to an office at 504 Union Trust Building. James Whiteley became president of the Baker-Whiteley Coal Co. and the L.H. Miller Safe & Iron Works. James Gorman was the resident manager in Baltimore at 201-207 Chamber of Commerce Building and Arthur W. Robson was the passenger agent at 127 E. Baltimore St.
In August 1915, Pacific Mail announced that the La Follette Seamen's Act of 1915 made it impossible for them to compete against Japanese operators in the Pacific so they were selling their liners Korea, Siberia, China. The Atlantic Transport Company of West Virginia would buy back the Manchuria, and Magnolia for $5,250,000. The last trip to the Orient would be made by the Mongolia on August 25. Philip A.S. Franklin said the liners would be put on trans-Atlantic service "under the American, British,or any other flag depending on which gives the lowest cost.”
Pacific Mail said they would put their eight remaining ships on coastwise routes between San Francisco and Panama and sell them before the end of the year.
Bernard Baker was born in Baltimore on May 11, 1854,to Charles Joseph and Elizabeth Baker. He was president of the Atlantic & Pacific Transport Co., the Baltimore Trust & Guarantee Co. and with Albert Ballin was the agent for the Hamburg-American Line. He died at Santa Barbara, California, on December 2 , 1918, where he had moved on advice of his doctors.
In 1918 Philip A.S. Franklin was president, John J. McGlone secretary, and Horace B. Phillips treasurer. The company’s three ships, Manchuria, Mongolia, and Minnesota were requisitioned by the Shipping Board and bareboat chartered to the Navy for operation by the Army.