The Families of Adam Keith
“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales
The great Baker hoax
Isaac Lemon Baker [1828-1916]
Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Adam Keith2>Adam3>Mary [Keith] m. [George] Heeter4>Mary [Heeter] m. [Azariah] McClain5>Catherine Elizabeth [McClain] m. [Isaac Lemon] Baker6
News Article undated from Lawrence Kansas News
Heir To Millions:
Mr. Isaac L. Baker of this city may get lots of money:
J.B. Hipple, publisher of the Press at Kansas City, Kansas was in Lawrence Saturday to confer with his Uncle, Isaac L. Baker, in reference to an estate in Philadelphia, valued at $300,000,000. An investigation of the property and a search for heirs which has covered a period of seven years is about to reach termination.
The head of the family of claimants to the estate reaches back to George Peter Baker, who was born, reared and died in Strausburg, Germany. He had four sons that came to America in 1727. They were George, Jacob, Henry, and Peter. Henry died a bachelor, Jacob married, but died without issue, and George died when a youth. Peter inherited the property from his father, and the accumulated property of his brothers by will and lease. The property therefore became an entailed estate. The paper reads as follows "To Peter Baker, his children and grandchildren forever." The property became an entailed estate and the claim of Peter Baker, the attorneys hold, are just as valid as today as it ever was.
Peter Baker had two children, Jacob and Elizabeth. Jacob married Hannah Lemon and Elizabeth married Leonard Ellmaker. Jacob had 10 children, one of them being Lemon Baker, the Grandfather of Isaac Baker of Lawrence, Kansas, and also Mr. Hannah Hipple of Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, the mother of Editor Hipple of Kansas City. There are 75 claimants to the estate, so that each may fall into the possession of $4,000,000. The estate consists in part of 2 leases, covering 360 acres of land within the city limits of Philadelphia. One lease covers Fairmount Park where the Centennial was held in 1876, and the 2nd lease of 260 acres in the Zoological Garden. There was a large amount of cash deposited in the North American Bank of Philadelphia which, with the annunities accruing fro the leases of land, amounts to upwards of $80,000,000.
Four distinguished attorneys of Pittsburgh, who have been at work on the estate, say that the records prove the authenticity of the claims of the heirs.
The Ellmaker branch of the family and the Baker branch have joined forces in an effort to settle up the estate. The complete family line has been established, there not being a missing link. Two Bibles, one 165 years old and the other 135 years old, contain indisputable evidence of the genealogy.
Isaac L. Baker one of the direct heirs of the estate lives as a retired farmer of Douglas County, Kansas and resides at 1012 Kentucky St, Lawrence, Kansas. He came to Kansas in 1857, settled at Baldwin, where he now owns two large farms, and moved from there to Lawrence.
Speaking of the matter he said: " We have always had faith in the settlement of the estate, the leases of which expired in 1888. When a boy in Pennsylvania, my parents spoke of the fortune that awaited the grandchildren of Peter Baker.
Peter Baker, who is looking after out interests, was a companion of mine in the East and we have kept up correspondence about the estate for years. I am glad it will soon reach a termination."
Many Bakers were involved across the USA/Canada/Europe and were innocent. They gathered records thinking they were helping others to file a claim on the "phony" estate. Make no mistake, the estate was phony!
No coal mines in PA, no billion dollars to be claimed, no owning Philadelphia or land in 16 counties across PA. I know many of you have letters from a Bakers' Heirs Association that look "official" and many more have stories passed through families about an estate that their family can claim.
The whole thing was proven to be a fake. The court case ended, but each year. More people start family research and find a letter about that old phony PA Baker estate, and the story gets packed to another generation.
Do use caution when accepting info from ANY charts completed by W.H. Baker, he resided later in Independence MO during Feb 15, 1934. He was the genealogist for the Baker Hoax scam. He gathered over 3,000 family trees, for the phony "Baker Association"
Few of the scam artists served time in jail, and if they did, it was for a VERY short time. I think the government wanted this over as soon as possible, since it caused so much news coverage in the USA, Canada, and in Europe.