William Baker

William H. Baker was born in Brooklyn in 1889, the son of Rhoda and Charles Baker of Brooklyn. William married Bertha Gollnick of New Jersey on September 10, 1910. The couple had eight children; William, Bertha, Henry and Ruth, Carl, Robert, Elenore and Walter. William H. Baker was an electrician by trade and had his own business according to the 1930’s census. William descended from a whaling and shipbuilding and a Shinnecock Indian maiden. Until 1916, William only owned a horse and carriage which he exchanged for an automobile. At this time he began taking trips to Brentwood. By 1920 he had purchased a home on Clark Street in Brentwood. In 1930 the house was valued at $4,000. The house was built in 1905 by the original owners; Mr. and Mrs. George Seiffert. There new home hardly had any conveniences as compared to their home in Brooklyn. There were only four rooms and a hand pump in the kitchen connected to a cistern in the yard. There were outer houses in the backyard. With the purchase of a cow, 100 chickens and other small farm animals they started their new life in 1921 in Brentwood. In 1926 a forest fire broke out on their property taking part of the barn. Soon after the fire William H. Baker was appointed a New York State Fire Warden. As a Fire Warden he enlisted volunteers to patrol the area for forest fires. After another series of fires, William H. purchased a 1926 Cunningham automobile which he converted for fighting forest fires. The fire truck was outfitted with a 350 gallon tank of water, a suction pump which provided pressure for the fire hoses and other equipment. In 1938 William H. resigned as Fire Warden. Perhaps if William H. Baker did not move to Brentwood there would more homes and property that would have sustained damage caused by fires. M. Koferl -- July 2007 -- Local History Newsletter

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