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Baker, Charlotte Alice (1833–1909) - New England History

school deerfield indian captives

Charlotte Baker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on April 11, 1833. She was the daughter of Dr. Matthew Bridge and Catharine (Catlin) Baker. The family on her mother’s side descended from Rowland Stebbins, one of the founders of Springfield. Because Baker was believed to be a delicate child, she did not attend school regularly until about age eleven, when she entered Misses Stone’s School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and later Deerfield Academy, where she and another young woman were the only females. She eventually became an assistant teacher and in 1856 opened a school in Chicago with lifelong friend Susan Minot Lane. The school was discontinued in 1864, when Baker returned to Cambridge to help her mother. She began writing book reviews and newspaper and magazine articles on botany, art, and women’s work. She also wrote a series for children, Pictures from French and English History . She became interested in white settlers kidnapped by Indians and read a paper entitled “Eunice Williams, the Captive” before the Pocomtock Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield.

In 1897 Charlotte Baker printed a volume of thirteen papers entitled True Stories of New England Captives Carried to Canada During the Old French and Indian Wars . During the course of her research she traveled to Canada several times to locate the official records of Montreal and Quebec and to visit villages and Indian missions. She found eighteen Deerfield captives and identified many more whose fate had been unknown. She became known as an expert in New England history and was invited to join the New York, Cambridge, and Montreal Historical Societies. Another historian, Mary Hemenway, asked her to teach early American history to Boston children, and she prepared a series of lectures. Charlotte Baker died in 1909.

Baker, Chet (actually, Chesney Henry) [next] [back] Baker, Augusta Braxton (1911-1998)

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