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Mercer Maid's Links

Mercer Maids
Read about the beginnings of these courageous ladies.

Copyright 1997, 1998 by Peri Muhich. All rights reserved. This site may be linked freely but not duplicated in any fashion without my permission. Copying, retransmission or unauthorized reuse of this work not only violates federal copyright law, punishable by civil and criminal sanctions, but is outright theft. Please don't do it.

Antoinette Josephine Baker

Antoinette was born December 20, 1838 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. She was the fourth of five children born to George Washington and Dorothy (True) Baker.

The Baker family moved to Lowell, Massachusetts about 1848 and Antoinette began attending Lowell High School in 1851. Graduating at age 16 she was soon teaching school in the adjoining town of Dracut. In 1858 Antoinette secured a teaching position in the Lowell schools, but in the spring of 1864 she resigned her position having been promised by Asa Mercer a position at the Territorial University in Seattle.

After her arrival in Seattle Antoinette taught for one term at the Washington Territorial University under President Barnard. At the close of the term she was engaged by William Huntington, the territorial US Marschal, who had been in Seattle attending court, to go to Monticello (now Longview), Washington Territory to teach.

Antoinette took passage on the "Eliza Anderson" from Seattle to Olympia, at a cost of $5 plus $1 for a stateroom and .50 for each meal. She arrived in Olympia the next day and took the stage to Monticello at a cost of $15 plus .50 additional for meals. Antoinette arrived in Monticello late in the day on Wednesday, August 4, 1864. After taking a teaching certificate exam given by A. R. Burbank, school superintendent of Cowlitz County, Antoinette began teachin on Monday, August 9, 1864.

It was while teaching at Monticello that Antoinette met Mr. Edwin Huntington, the eldest son of Harry Darby and Zervia (Klinck) Huntington.

Antoinette and Edwin were married on Feburary 21, 1865 in Monticello.

There were four children forn to this union;

Eunice Winspy born July 21, 1866 married John Quick

Frederick Baker born Dec. 19, 1867 married Myrtle Cummings

Zervia born July 2, 1872 married William Lampkin

Anna Lowell born Oct. 11, 1875 married Jonah Whitaker

About 1876 Antoinette and her family moved to a farm at Castle Rock, Washington Territory, where she organized the community's first school. She taught classes in the front room of her home. She was paid a salary of $20 per month. Antoinette continued to teach school from her home until 1883 when Castle Rock's first building to be used exclusively for a school was built. In May of 1880 Antoinette was selected the first woman to serve as School Superintendent of Cowlitz County.

Antoinette was a great lover of flowers. She gave a lot of time and attention to the cultivation of Dahlias and Pansies, growing over 50 varieties of dahlias. One of her biggest delights was sending great baskaets of her flowers to friends and acquaintances.

When Antoinette died on June 15, 1916 her funeral was held at the Presbyterian Church in Castle Rock that she and her husband had helped to organize and where she had served as the first organist. The church was beautifully decorated with great masses of flowers in a loverly memorial from her many friends.

Antoinette is buried with her husband in the I.O.O.F. cemetery in Castle Rock, Washington.