Born: July 20, 1836

Died: March 13, 1912

Married: Margaret Cornelia LaBrake (1853-1910) or Margetta

Children: Katie Baker b~1863, Alice Baker (1872-1961), Freeman J. Baker, Florence Baker b~ 1880, Benjamin R. Baker (Jan. 19, 1882 - Nov. 12, 1904) and Mary Baker

Joseph Freeman Baker was a boat builder, master carpenter and mechanic as well as boat livery proprietor. His house and the Baker Boat Landing were located at 33 Lake Flower Avenue (now 260 Lake Flower Avenue). Due to damage from frozen pipes, the house was torn down c. 2008.

Plattsburgh Daily Press, March 16, 1912


Was Married In This City Many Years Ago.

Joseph Freeman Baker, "Captain" Baker, as he was best known, died at his home in Saranac Lake Wednesday morning. He was one of the oldest residents of the Saranac Lake district and in his early days was a well known lumberman. Later he entered the hotel business founding the summer hotel now known as Rice's on Lake Clear. He once managed the Mountain View House.

"Captain Baker was born in Maine on July 20, 1836. He was the son of Francis Baker and one of a large family of children. Fifty-eight years ago he came to New York State to lumber in the Adirondacks for the Maine Lumber Company, one of the early timber cutting concerns that operated in the mountains. He lived in Essex County much of the time and met Margaret Cornelia LaBrake of Keeseville. The young couple were married forty-four years ago in this city while the bride was but fifteen years old. They spent much time in different enterprises at Paul Smiths, Lake Clear and Saranac Lake. The past 44 years of Captain Baker's life have been passed within fifteen miles of Saranac Lake.

Mr. Baker went to Saranac Lake proper nearly a quarter of a century ago. He acquired much land in the Lake Flower avenue section, and built and operated the first steam boat on the Saranac chain of lakes. It was a stern, paddle-wheel boat, bearing the name of "Wildflower." The craft is now moored at the dock in the rear of Mr. Baker's home, not having been in active commission for several years.

Malone Farmer, March 20, 1912

Joseph Freeman Baker, better known as "Captain" Baker, of Saranac Lake, died at his home in that village last Wednesday morning. He was one of the oldest residents of that section of the Adirondacks, and a fine old gentleman who interested himself much in the improvement of navigation on the Saranac river and lakes. He came to the Adirondacks 58 years ago and first engaged in lumbering. He had been a resident of Saranac Lake village for nearly a quarter of a century, was the owner of considerable land along Lake Flower Avenue and built and operated the first steam launch on the Saranac chain of lakes. It was a stern paddle wheel boat known as the "Wildflower" and is still moored in the river near Mr. Baker's home, though it has not been in active commission for several years.

Excerpted from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 2, 1989 (See Boating and Boat Building)

Crafts that cruised local waterways

By JOHN J. DUQUETTE Freeman Baker in his famous Blue Bird offered the typical cruise, consisting of a departure from Lake Flower, a trip through the river locks, and a tour of Lower Saranac Lake. The Blue Bird would leave Baker's Boat Landing at 2:30 p.m., arrive at the Ampersand Hotel at 4 p.m., and complete the 30-mile round trip at 5:30 p.m.

On Lake Flower, Freeman Baker and Capt. Thomas both ran combined passenger and rental services.

Freeman Baker had his own pleasure boat, the Little Amp.


2012-02-19 12:34:57   Other pages on this site say that Mr. Baker died in the early 1940's, which makes more sense than 1918 —MarkMcDaniels

2012-02-19 13:09:10   I have to believe the death notice here from the Malone paper, but it's also possible there's a father and son here. —MaryHotaling

2012-02-19 15:35:03   "fine old gentleman....came to the Adirondacks 58 years ago". Only 41 years old if died in 1918. I'm just trying to find out more about Mr. Freeman, not sure where else to look. Thanks —MarkMcDaniels

2012-02-19 16:15:41   Mark, yes, you're right, something's going on here. And Mary's right, it could well be a father/son thing. I'll see if I can find anything further in the newspaper archives, at NEWS.NNYLN.NET. You're welcome to help if you like. The Saranac Lake Free Library may have something, too. —Mwanner

  • It turns out that there were several optical character recognition errors in the first obit posted (and I think a logic error in deducing the birthdate from it). Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Mark.
  • * Ah, and now it appears that there was a Freeman J. Baker, born 1876, so that would account for some of the confusion.

2012-02-19 21:19:34   Wow. Thanks for your time, very generous of you both. I will keep digging. —MarkMcDaniels

2012-02-20 05:43:01   No Problem - I love to help solve these little mysteries. —StephanieRybicki