Loudon Park Cemetery has endless surprises. One of them was a monument I caught out of the corner of my eye—it had more text, and in visibly different formats, than the normal monument with bare anagraphic details. The carving, especially on side 1, is actually quite beautiful. Here, I transcribe the sides beneath each photograph, reserving a few comments to the end.


Figure 1. William Baker monument, side 1. Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: author.

Born in 1747 near the Blue Ridge Mountains
Died in Baltimore December 30th 1816
aged 69 years.

In him were united all those virtues which charac
terise the Kind Husband, the affectionate Parent,
the Good Citizen, and Real Christian.
He was a pattern of Integrity, Industry, Economy,
Morality, and a warm supporter of all Institutions
having for their object the glory of God and the
Happiness of Mankind.

  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest
from their labors.”

Keep safe O tomb! thy precious sacred trust,
Till life divine awake his sleeping dust.

And also To the Memory of
Relict of William Baker, who was born in
Fredericktown, Maryland October 28th, 1757.
Died December 3rd 1841, aged 85 years.

The God of Abrah’m praise
At whose supreme command,
From earth I rise and seek the joys
At His right hand.


Figure 2. William Baker monument, side 2. Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: author.

Eldest child of WILLIAM and ANNA BAKER
was born in Baltimore on the 11th of September 1781.
Died at “Friendsbury” on the 10th March 1865
in the 86th year of his age.

Inheriting the character of his father the testimony
given of him may be truly recorded [. . . . . . . .]
As a husband, a parent, a christian and a citizen [he]
fulfilled the law of duty and loving kindness.
In his intercourse with the world he pursued the
straight path of rectitude, evincing a strong sens[e]
of justice, yet ever tempered by mercy.
Respected and honored by those who knew him full
of years, he sank gently and gradually into death
giving testimony that Jesus was with him to the end.

“So fades a summer cloud away
So sinks the gale when storms are o’er
So gently shuts the eye of day
So dies a wave along the shore.”

Born in Liverpool, England, June 19th, 1784.
Died at “Friendsbury” on the 18th May 1868
in the 84th year of her age.

“Her Children rise up and call her blessed.”


Figure 3. William Baker monument, side 3. Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: author.

Born in Caernavon, North Wales, January 30th 1751.
Died at “Friendsbury” June 4th 1811, aged 60 years.
A Man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.

Wife of RICHARD JONES, born in Milnthorpe
Westmoreland, England, November 9th 1749.
Died at “Friendsbury” June 7th 1806, aged 57 years.
—— —— ——

Born on 19th January 1810.
Died at “Friendsbury” October 10th 1855, aged 45 years.

Died November 10th 1845, aged 30 years.

Died at “Friendsbury” September 5th 1847,
aged 22 months.

Father, Mother, Child! They are not here, for God took
them to himself to dwell with Christ in glory.
Many years have passed since their bodies were laid
in the tomb, but their memories are not buried in
its dust and ashes. This model pair lived not for themselves
but to do good unto others. In the midst of their use
fulness on earth, they were called to a higher life in
heaven leaving behind them an enduring testimony
that they had not lived in vain.

“Faithful unto death.”


Figure 4. William Baker monument, side 4. Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: author.

1839 — 1926


The poem on side 2 (figure 2) is the second stanza of Anna Laetitia Barbauld‘s The Death of the Virtuous. Here is the whole thing, on pages 315-316 the first volume of her Works of 1825. We’ve encountered her in these posts before.

Sweet is the scene when Virtue dies!— 
When sinks a righteous soul to rest, 
How mildly beam the closing eyes, 
How gently heaves the’ expiring breast! 

So fades a summer cloud away; 
So sinks the gale when storms are o’er; 
So gently shuts the eye of day; 
So dies a wave along the shore. 

Triumphant smiles the victor brow, 
Fanned by some angel’s purple wing;— 
Where is, O Grave! thy victory now? 
And where, insidious Death! thy sting?

Farewell, conflicting joys and fears,
Where light and shade alternate dwell;
How bright the’ unchanging morn appears!
Farewell, inconstant world, Farewell!

Its duty done,—as sinks the clay,
Light from its load the spirit flies;
While heaven and earth combine to say,
“Sweet is the scene when Virtue dies!”

There are a lot of people marked on this obelisk. Let’s see if we can sort them out. Richard Jones (1751-1811) immigrated to the U.S. from Carnarvonshire, Wales, in 1781, at the age of 30. He had married Anne Thompson (1749-1806) in Liverpool en route. He settled in Fells Point in Baltimore, now a hive of scum and villainy (I mean drinking joints) but ornamented by him with places of worship. His prosperous religiosity was passed down through the family. There he founded an urban estate called “Friendsbury.” Thus the two people on the top of side 3.

Jones’s contemporary, William Baker (1747-1816), was born near the present site of Reading Pennsylvania. When he was six, he and and unnamed sister were the sole survivors of an “indian massacre” and he was relocated to Philadelphia and thence, at age 12, to Baltimore. He married his wife Anna (1757-1841) there. He became a prominent businessman. Thus the two people on side 1.

William (I) and Anna produced William (II) (1781-1865). William II was a judge on the orphans’ court in Baltimore, and married Jones’s daughter Jane (1784-1868). From this point, everyone lives at Friendsbury. They had about a billion children who lived long enough to be cited in biographical literature. These included four sons, William (III) George Baker, Richard Jones Baker, Henry J. Baker, and Charles J. Baker. There are also mentioned five daughters, a “Mrs. Dr. Graves” and four others, unnamed. Thus the principals on side 2.

William (III) (1810-1855) had a “delicate constitution,” as they say, dying young. He was evidently quite intellectually apt, especially in mathematics; he turned to law, and ultimately became a member of the Maryland legislature. Like his forebears, he was a great philanthropist, though interestingly he is said at one point “not to be a professing Christian.” Was he an agnostic or atheist? A deist? That would make him interesting indeed, but the biographies I read dance around this question because they evidently thought it unseemly. Well. He married Margaretta Armstrong (1815-1845), and they produced the luckless William (IV) Armstrong (1845-1847). The dates indicate that the wife died during or soon after childbirth; and William (IV) followed her 22 months later. Thus the lower three persons on side 3.

Henry M. Graves (1839-1926) is perhaps the “Dr. Graves” to whom on of William (II)’s daughters was married. William (III), born in 1810, was the first of at least 9 children; were she the last child of the nine, she could not have been born before about 1820, and assuming (as I fear we must) miscarriages and infant mortality, she might well have been born around 1830, or even later. So it is entirely possible Henry M. Graves was “Dr. Graves.” However, if my counting is off, and William (III) was merely the first son, and not the first child, I suppose that Henry could be the son of a Dr. and Mrs. Graves if the latter had been born before or a very little after William (III).

The chief source of bibliographical information is George Washington Howard’s The Monumental City: Its Past History and Present Resources (Baltimore 1873); there is a biographical sketch of William (III) in the Magazine of Western History, May-October 1889, pages 169-172. A vignette of him lies between pages 168 and 169. This biographical data seems dependent upon Howard, however.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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