The Fabulous Baker Brothers

I think Tennessee Ernie Ford said it best when he posed the musical question: “You load Sixteen Tons, and whaddya get?”

The genealogical spin on that timeless classic is, of course: “You have Sixteen Sons, and whaddya get?” (The answer – A DYNASTY!) Sixteen children is a feat in itself, of course – but all the same gender? I can’t even fathom the odds – astronomical, I’m sure.

I’m speaking specifically of the sons of James Baker and his estimable wife Ruth Post. (In truth, the eldest son was from a different mother, but she didn’t survive the birth. Ironic.)

Sisters Cornelia and Rhoda Howland, of Halfmoon, New York (2nd cousins of mine, 5 times removed) each married a Baker Brother – and each ended up with fifteen brothers-in-law for their trouble. Wild.

There’s a lot to love about the Howland line. Henry Howland, my 10th great-grandfather, was an early Plymouth Colony settler. He wasn’t on the Mayflower with his brother John’s family, but followed a couple years later. LOTS of famous people descend from John and Henry’s father: FDR, Churchill, the Bushes, Humphrey Bogart, Brigham Young, and Anthony Perkins.

But I had a terrific WHOA! moment the other night investigating Cornelia Howland Baker’s family. The discovery concerns my great-grandmother Jessie B (Hermans) Watson, and a post here I wrote here in April 2014. Of course, looking back at that post to find the specific anecdote to be referenced here, I found I never did the Part 2 post I promised. SO – I’ll leave this one as is, then do up the Part 2 post, and THEN address my WHOA! moment.


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