William Benjamin Baker
Baker was born near Aberdeen, Maryland and attended the common schools. He engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1872, when he became interested in the canning industry, and later in banking. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Aberdeen and served as its first president from 1891–1911. He was also an organizer and director of the First National Bank of Havre de Grace.
In 1868 he married Olivia Wells, of Aberdeen, who lived only a little more than one year. In 1872 he married again to Mary C. Hollis, of Bush Chapel.
Baker was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth, Fifty-fifth, and Fifty-sixth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1895, to March 3, 1901. He represented the Second Maryland Congressional District which included, at that time, Harford, Baltimore, and Carroll Counties. He was the father of the rural mail delivery. When the matter of rural mail delivery was spoken of in Congress, there were none willing to assume the responsibility, for it was considered controversial to have rural merchants serve as postmasters. Mr. Baker, however, was willing for the experiment to be made in his district, and the first rural route of the country was started in Carroll County, from Westminster post office.
He was not a candidate for renomination in 1900, and resumed the canning business. He died in Aberdeen in 1911, and is interred in Baker’s Cemetery.
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Joshua Frederick Cockey Talbott
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