Life Sketch of Agnes Steele Baker

Written by her daughter Hannah Baker Buist in 1920.

Agnes Steele Hill Baker is shown in the photograph at right with her husband Amenzo W. Baker.

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Agnes Steele BakerAgnes Steele Hill Baker

Agnes Steel Hill Baker, daughter of Hamilton and Jane Morton Steele was born December 25, 1833 at Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland.

At the age of thirteen her mother died. Being the youngest in the family, and her brothers and sisters all married, she was her father’s only housekeeper for many years.

At the age of seventeen she was converted by Mormon Elders, and became a member of the Mormon Church on June 15th, 1851. Her father and family were bitterly opposed to her joining the Mormon Church, and when told that she was going to America, her father’s grief was touching. Her coming to America was the cause, however, in later years, of her father, two brothers, two sisters, and their families joining the Mormon faith and coming to Salt Lake City Utah to live.

She sailed from Liverpool for America on November 19, 1855 on the sailing ship Columbus, landing in New York, January 1, 1856. The journey took six weeks and she was seasick all the way.

After landing in New York, she went directly to Lawrence, Massachusetts, making her home with her brother Alexander Steele and working in the steam loom factory until the spring of 1859, when she made the trip across the plains with a company of Mormon immigrants. She traveled with a family by the name of Piper, doing the family’s cooking to pay her way. She arrived in Salt Lake City in the early fall.

On November 16th, 1859 she married John Hill, a widower with five children. March 1 1860 they moved to Wellsville, Cache County, where her husband and one of his brothers built and operated a gristmill the following fall.

September 23rd, 1860, her first child, a girl, was born. January 1862, twins were born, a boy and a girl. June 30, 1863 another girl was born.

August 30th, 1863, her husband, in company with other men were hunting a bear, that had been killing their cattle, between Hyrum and Wellsville. He was mistaken for a bear by a party of men from Hyrum, who were hunting bear also, and was shot and instantly killed. This left his wife in very sad circumstances, with four babies of her own, the oldest not yet three years old, and five stepchildren to care for.

She married Amenzo White Baker on November 19th, 1864, and moved with her four babies and one stepchild to his home in Mendon. She had eight children by him, five girls and three boys, making twelve children she brought into this world.

In the early days of Mendon she used to gather straw, braid it and make hats for her husband and boys, and used to help one of her neighbors weave cloth, taking her pay in cloth which she made into clothing for her family.

During her life, she was called to part by death with four of her children; a little girl, two and one half years old, a son seventeen, a daughter eighteen, and a married daughter twenty eight years of age.

She endured all the poverty, hardships, and privations the early settlers of Utah had to endure.

She was a member and a teacher in the Relief Society for many years, and a faithful member of the Church. One of her greatest pleasures was attending her meetings. She was good to the poor, needy, and sick. She was a true and faithful wife, mother, friend, and neighbor. In all her trials, hardships and sufferings, she never once lost faith in her religion and God.

On November 11th, 1904, at the age of 71 years, she died at her comfortable home in Mendon, Surrounded by her husband, eight children and many friends.

Thus ended the career of a faithful and noble woman.

Hannah Baker Buist