Caroline Eleanor Baker
or Caroline Eleanor Cullum-Sample-Baker-Walker-Carey

Mr. Bill Jackson, and his collection From the 8th Wis.

"You forget, Mr. Mills,
that I am an Abolitionist."

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Mr. Bill Jackson, his collection of correspondence between his Great Great Grandfather, Horace Mann Baker and 
Augie Weisert and Wm Penn Lyon, Cpt. of Co K of the 8th and pertinent photos and histories will be shared with those interested in the history of 'The Eagle Regiment' 
Horace Mann Baker Co. K, 8th WI

Colonel Robbins, 8th WI
Caroline Eleanor Baker
Carlie Baker
Chauncy C. Baker 1st Wis., Heavy Artillery
Ed Farley Co. K, 8th WI

Corp. Theron Aiken 

Caroline Eleanor Cullum was born June 5th, 1821, in Stonington, Connecticut. Her father, John Henry Cullum, a sea captain; grandson of Arthur Cullum of Bury St. Edmonds, England. His people were exiled to Nova Scotia after the revolution because of their loyalty to the crown.

Her mother, Lucy Ann Brewster was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Brewster, six generations away from the crusty old puritan, Elder William Brewster of Mayflower fame.

John Henry died of a sunstroke at New Orleans in 1824, while supervising the unloading of cargo, leaving Lucy Ann a widow with Caroline barely three years old and John Henry Junior almost one.

Benjamin Franklin Brewster had patented an island on the Allegheny river ten miles up from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. To this island home he brought his daughter and grandchildren. It was on Brewster Island that Caroline spent her early years in happy solitude. With her brother as her playmate and her mother as her teacher her world was the freedom of the island. She loved to read and there were lots of books. Caroline was growing into a beautiful young lady.

When Caroline was eleven years old, the island was overrun, and occupied by river pirates. They allowed the family the sanctuary of the home, but that sanctuary was tenuous at best. Often the budding maturity of Caroline would catch the leering eye of one of the crew and Lucy Ann feared for their safety. The decision was made to abandon the island, so one dark night the family, with such of their belongings as they could gather together, climbed into one of Grandfather Ben's river boats and floated quietly away and down the Allegany.

As Ben met and talked to people along the river, he began to hear more and more about Texas. It seemed like a promising place to start life over. He learned that, if he qualified, he would be given a league (4,428 acres) and a labor (177, tillable) of land. As they continued down river the Allegheny turned into the Ohio. They landed in Smithland, Kentucky where Lucy and the children took temporary lodging. Grandfather Ben continued to Texas to look into prospects for establishing the family there.

Caroline was almost fifteen when Ben returned. He had good news and bad news. The good news was that he did qualify for the land grant. The bad news was that Texas was in the midst of a rebellion to free itself from Mexico. To get there by land meant crossing the land of the disputed eastern boundary. There was a no-man's land strip between the United States and Texas inhabited by every kind of brigand, murderer, thief, and cut throat who had something that they were running away from back home.

The decision was made to continue on down the Mississippi to New Orleans, thus giving Lucy Ann a chance to tend to some of her husband's unfinished business. Upon reaching New Orleans, Ben sold his river boat and they boarded another ship to sail across the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston.

Texas had just suffered the defeats at the Alamo and at Goliad. Sam Huston had finally won a resounding victory at Jan Jaciento and Santa Anna was being held prisoner on a ship nearby when Caroline caught her first sight of the Texas she had heard so much about.

Caroline's first home in Texas was at Mina, now Bastrop. It was on the edge of Austin's colony. There she waited with her mother and brother while grandfather Ben went north to look for his land. Mina was on a road much traveled by men who had fought in the revolution and were struggling to form a government for the new nation. Lucy Ann's door was always open to them and the coffee pot was always on. One young lawyer, David Sample, who had been elected Representative from Red River county, started going out of his way so that he could stop for coffee poured from the hand of saucy little Caroline. The attachment grew into a romance which was interrupted when grandfather Ben returned and moved his family to his new land two miles south of Clarksville. This posed no real problem for the young lovers because Clarksville was the county seat of the county which David represented

David had a good friend, Hiram Baker, who had ridden to Texas with Sam Houston. Hiram was also a lawyer, his business was to settle Indian Headrights in the vicinity. David and Hiram shared Sam Houston's belief that the future of Texas would best be served by becoming a part of the United States. One drawback was the uncertainty of the Boundaries, especially the neutral zone to the east. Every one agreed that the line needed to be surveyed, but no one wanted the job. It was the time of year that yellow fever was rampant along the Sabine bottoms. Finally David made up his mind that he would give up his position as Representative and take on the job as surveying the eastern boundary line.

There was one thing he wanted to do first, however. He bought a strong new house and headed north to Clarksville to claim his bride. Caroline may have been only fifteen, but she knew that David was her own true love. Despite the advice of her mother and the misgivings of her grandfather Ben, a hasty wedding was performed and the new bride seated herself behind the happy groom and they set out across east Texas.

David was well known by all the plantation owners in east Texas. All along the way, they were offered hospitality and were entertained with one plantation trying to outdo the other. There were parties, banquets, and balls. Finally, however, they began to enter the bottom lands of the Sabine.

It was hot and sultry; mosquitoes brought the threat of yellow fever more prevalent and hospitality harder to find. Caroline's youth and love made the whole thing seem like an adventure. They camped along the work site, and Caroline's happiness was complete when she realized that she was carrying David's child.

Caroline's sixteenth birthday was marred by the fact that David was not acting normal. He complained of a headache and when Caroline felt of him her hand confirmed the fear that he was coming down with the fever. Caroline realized that she must get David back to Clarksville, and finally persuaded him to leave the project for others to finish.

David's condition grew steadily worse as they retraced their earlier route back home. After many days they reached the home of Lucy Ann but David's strength was almost gone. He lived but a few days after returning to Clarksville and died in Caroline's arms. Caroline stumble from the room and blinded by tears, started down the stairs. Exhausted from her long ordeal. She missed the first step and tumbled all the way to the bottom. Her baby, a little boy, was aborted and David Sample was buried in the family grave yard with his son in his arms.

Knowing that he was not going to survive, David had asked his old friend, Hiram Baker, to care for his young wife. At first Hiram did this out of respect for his friend. Soon, however, he realized that pity was not the only reason that he spent so much time on Caroline's behalf. Respect for her deep grief caused him to be discreet about his feeling. He had heard Caroline say that David was the love of her life and that she could never love again.

Hiram was a lawyer, a congregational minister and a professor at McKenzie College of Clarksville. He had a secure position with the new government of Texas as an Indian  agent. He was morally sound as attested to by the statement signed by two select men from Moscow, Maine, his home town. A fine looking fellow, he did seem to be somewhat fiddle footed as evidenced by the fact that he had traveled from Moscow, Maine to Fort Dearborn, now Chicago. He stayed there only long enough to obtain a teacher's certificate, hand written and signed by the Chairman of the Board of Education of Chicago. His wanderlust had finally led him to Texas. As time dulled Caroline's grief, Hiram dared to declare his love. At first, she was quick to refuse, but Hiram was a persistent suitor. He represented security. She did not doubt that he loved her and he finally persuaded her that in time she would learn to love him. It was with a more mature emotion that Caroline finally agreed to marry Hiram than she had felt when she accepted David Sample.

Caroline's adventures did not end here. Hiram managed to curb his wanderlust long enough to father three children; Horace, born in the Republic of Texas, Chauncy (Chan), and Baby Lucy, before the lure of gold in California became too strong for him to resist. With a hug and a kiss, and a promise of wealth that would be theirs when he returned, he bade his family goodbye. He made Caroline promise that if the bad feeling between North and South would develop into a shooting war, she should make her way north to his uncle Perry in Wisconsin and put the two boys in the Northern army.

Caroline waited in vain, because Hiram died in the gold fields and was buried in Grass Valley, California (1849). She was left with no wealth, no riches, only with a promise that seemed her destiny to carry out as the relations between North and South become steadily more hostile.

More to follow....

Soldier's Home Letters

Memphis, Tenn., Feb., 13, 1865
Dear Madame, Among the goods which reached this Department form the U. S. Sanitary Commission, so many are marked Wis. S.A.S., that it leads us almost to believe that more is done in your State than in anywhere in the West, be that as it may, it is certain that your people take a deep interest in the work, and doubtless you would like to know what we are doing here. Since October last, our attention has been turned to the Department of Arkansas particularly, as there has been much suffering there from the want of vegetables.
In November I made a tour if inspection through the State and sent on large supplies for Duval's Bluff, Brownsville, Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith in the interior of the State; and Helena, Napoleon and mouth of White River on the Mississippi; and since that our Mr. D. B. Carpenter has been visiting every Post in the State and distributing supplies. We keep Vicksburg, Natchez and other posts on the river supplied as well as all the vessels of war. The hospitals here are entirely dependant on us for vegetables as none can be had in the markets. Within the past few days the whole of the 16th Corps, A. J. Smith's has been here on their way to----- They came from Eastport, Tenn. where they suffered for want of rations. As is usual, when troops arrive at a Post where there is a depot of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, the first place they come is the store or office; and last Sunday, one office was filled with Surgeons, Hospital Stewards, Officers and privates enquiring for "Sanitary." We are able to give pickles, crackers, apple butter, canned fruits and relishes, also shirts and drawers. It would cheer the hearts of your ladies could they hear the words of gratitude from those war-worn veterans, all of them had taken part in the bloody battles of Franklin and Nashville, and among them found the comrades of my beloved son who was killed at Franklin, and refused to surrender when called on to do so, and who saw him killed. Dear boy, he lies buried in the trenches with many of his comrades. Do you wonder if my heart warmed towards those brave boys who fought by his side? The work you are doing is one of the grandest that can occupy the attention, for upon it depends in a great measure the health and and even the lives of our soldiers, and let me assure you, the men who are fighting our battles appreciate the love and devotion of their friends at home who are working for them. Some weeks since I was at Natchez when some Wisconsin soldiers called for shirts, drawers and socks, as they saw "Wis. S. A. S." one said, "I wish I knew what pretty girl made this shirt, for I know some of them there." It was a homely expression, but his heart was taken to his home, and is always a humanizing thought.
Mr. A. J. Blair is with us for a few days, he gives us cheering news of the state of feeling in your city, and you are all known by your works. If there were no other good done, if no real wants to be supplied, if no suffering were relieved, the work of the Aid Societies is cultivating an ardent and pure patriotism which more than compensates for all outlay and labor. Perhaps it can hardly be realized at home, but we who have served in the army for more than three years, feel it and know it, and O, how it has bound us to our homes as we have received these evidences of remembrance.
I am, dear madam,
your obt. servt.,
Inspector Gen. Com.


example of the Soldier's Home stationery

Soldiers' Home
No. 207 East Water Street,
Milwaukee, May 9th, 1865
Mrs. Carey, 

Dear Madam
The letter addressed to Mrs. Colt, she sent to me for a reply.
The bed quilt - and other articles have been received at the Home, for which the officers of the Home acknowledge their sincere thanks. The bed-quilt shall be reserved and hold its own honored place at the Fair.
Tell the children they deserve great credit for their industry and success in procuring the materials and in assembling a quilt. 
A bed-quilt is a very serious affair. When you begin to dole out the green-backs to pay for one, and the weak and convalescent and wounded soldier can scarcely do without  the warmth and comfort it gives.
In regard to other proffered contributions, anything which you could give our family would be acceptable. We find a use for almost any article of provisions common about a house. At least any thing which you named is used at all times at the home.
I should like to fill this about the good your sympathy and interest does us and the soldiers too, but the many letters unanswered before forbids.
Trusting the good you are doing will form a great     to you, I remain
Yours very Respectfully
Mrs. A. J. Aiken
Sec'y Soldiers House,
Mrs. Carey
All packages are sent free of charge by express to No. 207 West Water Street, Mil. Sol. Home

July 22nd, 65
Dear Madam

In answer to your kind and welcom letter I hasten to answer every important inquiry which it contains and I think from actual experience I can do so to the satisfaction of all concerned. And what I have to say is the experience of a soldier who has been in the Army a good share of the time since Aug. '61 and I here say that as far as my knowledge is concerned of the facts in reference to the Disposition of thousands of delicies and Comforts in the shape of Pies, Cakes, fruits and confections of every description I believe there has not been one article in a hundred but what has been received and enjoyed by those for whom they were designed and I while I believe that the present Christian Commission has the right to claim all the force of truth set forth in the forgoing statements. I cannot deprive myself the privilege of expressing my heartfelt gratitude for those kindnesses that I together with many of my comrades enjoyed even so far back as the Summer and fall of '63 and among those Angels of mercy I cannot fail to mention the name of Mrs. Brookins of Wauwatoosa. God Bless her together with all those who were engaged with her in the truly Christian Phylanthprie Efforts to benefit the patriot soldiers.
Now, Madam, as far as this letter has progressed I have endeavored to speak from the abundance of the heart in answering your important Enquiries in general terms.
Before I close I will consult the proper person in order to answer your particular questions in reference to Dutch Cakes, currants & etc. but I will here venture to say instead of the common adage that small favors are thankfully received. I will be responsible for the assertion that the items  you mentioned will be considered great favors and will be appreciated by all concerned. I am instructed by the Matron, Mrs. Green, to say that anything of the kind which you send to the Home comes perfectly safe by express and free of charge.
Those currants which you sent were received perfectly safe and right and your correspondent enjoyed some of them yesterday evening served up in the best manner. Others will be just as thankfully received. All the articles which you mentioned and last though not least the efforts of your young ladies will be fully appreciated by every soldier old and young - we have not the means at present of sending you the desired information in regard to the amt your other quilt brought but will do so as soon as possible all of which is respectfully submitted. Hoping to hear from you often,
 We remain yours
very Sincerely, J. H. Fuller
11th W.V. and 14th C Co. V.R.I.
to Mrs. Caroline E. Carey

Soldier's Home
No. 207 East Water Street
July 24, 1865

Dear Mrs. Carey, 
I was very much pleased with your kind and sensible letter. If everybody was sensible like yourself it would save a great deal of hard and unappreciated labor. 
I did not receive your letter until after you had been at the home and had seen the kind of currants which you sent. There were five soldiers seated around the bowl, which was in the dining room, and they were picking over the berries for use and eating all they wanted. As I stepped into the room, it was the intention I had had of a fruit-ful arrival, I said Well, you seem to have a good business and plenty of it - they all answered "Yes, and we like it!" When I read your letter a few hours later I could not half wishing that you who sent the luscious fruit could have been with me to witness the cheerful scene in the morning.
Already every one of those currants are eaten or canned - nothing is wasted at the home. We can use more currants. We wished Saturday that we had the other bowl that you had offered to send so we fed at the Fair Building. 650 men of the 4th Minnesota and the 18th Wisconsin. It would be better if the currants were put up in smaller packages - say two in place of one as the weight mashes them. Enclosed I send a letter written by one of the soldiers who has a wounded hand. I read a portion of your letter to him and he was made perfectly happy because I asked him to write to you what he pleased. Others have promised to do the same.
Tell the young ladies that all of the quilts at the fair were sold at an early day. They went off among the first articles but I could not learn how much they were sold for - I was in my own department almost constantly and I had to many varieties of things on my mind that I overlooked that until it was too late. I have been so near sick since the Fair that I expect every day to be confined to my room. If the whole thing had not proved so entirely successful I believe I should be seriously ill.
I should be very happy to see the little girls who made the nice quilts in Milwaukee. I should enjoy nothing better than to show them over the Home and take them into the dormitory where there are 25 cots covered with a patchwork quilt - the work of fairy fingers.
Tell them to piece away and never be discouraged. The ladies who have this enterprise on their hands are sometimes borne down with the care, labor and responsibility but I venture to say that not one regret nor discouraging thought will they allow to gain ascendance pf and retard the good work.
Where we should be, in our peaceful homes, think you, today if the soldiers had been discouraged in midnight marches, in rain and hunger and lonely picket watching.
Yours respectfully,
Mrs. A. J. Aiken
Secy, Soldiers Home

Soldier's Home
Milwaukee, September 22, 1865
Dear Mrs. Carey,
After much diplomacy we have arranged matters satisfactorily, to all parties we hope. We have seen the Superintendent of the Road who has consented to pass your party at half fare. But we must first now on what day you can come next week or the week after that we may  inform the Superintendent. A committee of six ladies will meet you at the depot. The ladies are very much delighted that you are coming and we trust that it will be at as early a day as possible and that you will enjoy the visit.
We have been obliged to mail the portion of the rail road men for several days and as I told you we could not get the ladies together until the regular meeting.
Hoping we have not wearied your patience till it has ceased to be a virtue, on behalf of the Executive Officers, I remain
Mrs. A. J. Aiken, Secy
Soldiers' Home

Soldiers' Home
Oct. 4th, 1865
Dear Mrs. Carey, 
There are loud inquires, "Where are our friends in Springfield?" The ladies called a official meeting expecting to learn the day you were coming. We are all anxious to see you.
We will provide tea and coffee at the home for you and as you kindly offered to bring your own refreshment, we will make every other arrangement - for your reception we will even ring the bells and fire the cannon if you will permit us.
Do come Mrs. Carey with all you are pleased to bring.
Mrs. A. J. Aiken
P. S. I have already written to you that you can come half fare at the day you specify that I can inform the Superintendent. I wrote ten days ago or more.