ADAIR COUNTY NEWS
The Adair County News, July 28,
Returned After Forty-Six Years
Mr. J. B. Baker, brother of Judge H. C. Baker, reached Columbia last Thursday after an absence of forty-six years. He resides at Rey, Mo., where he has lived for many years.
An incident occurred in the history of his life a short time before he left Columbia that is remembered by many citizens of this place. It was on the day that General Morgan and his command reached Columbia. From an up-stairs room in the brick house which stood on the Butler corner of the square, the Confederates could be seen on the Burkesville pike.
Jim Baker, as he was familiarly called at the time, Ben Lee Hardin and some other young men were in this room, and it was suggested that they take a shot at them. They fired, and the position they occupied was noticed by the advanced guard. Baker was wearing a long white duster, and in a few minutes after the shots, Confederates rapidly rode upon the square, went to the building and captured the boys, Baker's white duster furnishing the mark for their identities.
They were carried back of the old Clerk's office and an order was given to shoot them. Messrs. Tim Cravens, Junius Caldwell and Nat Gaither, all Southern sympathizers, were notified of the death warrant and they pleaded with Gen. Morgan and finally succeeded in getting the young men released. Had it not been for the appearance of Cravens, Caldwell and Gaither, who knew Morgan personally, Baker and Hardin would have been resting in the city cemetery.
Mr. Baker will remain here several months, visiting relatives and friends, all of whom were [sic] glad to see him.
[Transcriber's notes: 1) Benjamin Lee Hardin was the son of noted Adair County jurist Parker C. Hardin. 2) Another source quoted young Mr. Baker as saying to young Mr. Parker, as they stood against the outside wall of the clerk's office, "Well, Ben, they will be bad off for bass singers in town when we are gone." 3) The "Gen." Morgan mentioned above most likely was Col. ------- Morgan, a brother of Gen. John Hunt Morgan.]
A related article, in the September 15, 1909 News:
Mr. J. B. Baker, of Missouri, who is spending a few months with his brother, Judge H. C. Baker, returned from Burkesville last Wednesday, accompanied by another brother, Mr. C. L. Baker. While here the Judge and his two brothers visited the photographer and had their photographs taken together. Mr. C. L. Baker is about 70 years old, Judge Baker about 68 and Mr. J. B. Baker about 66. When the latter arrived here from Missouri, having been absent 46 years, Mr. C. L. Baker came up from Burkesville and remained over night at the Judge's home, the first time in 50 years the three brothers slept under the same roof.