Lieu­tenant-Colonel Ge­orge Harold Baker (1877-1916) Hero of East Bolton

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Serge Wag­ner spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Pat­ri­moine Bolton Her­itage

One of the great he­roes of the First World War, Colonel Harold Baker was closely linked to East Bolton, a lit­tle known fact.

Ge­orge Harold Baker came from a large fam­ily of Loy­al­ists. Af­ter the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, his great grand­fa­ther, Joseph Baker, left Mas­sachusetts with his wife and chil­dren to live in Dun­ham, East­ern Town­ships. His grand­fa­ther and his father har­boured Loy­al­ist sym­pa­thies, which they trans­mit­ted to the young Ge­orge Harold, af­fec­tion­ately called Harry.

Three mem­bers of the im­me­di­ate fam­ily in­flu­enced the young Harry: his grand­fa­ther, his father, and an un­cle – all three be­came mem­bers of the Mili­tia, the army re­serves of the time. Harry joined the mili­tia as well in 1903. The three were elected as mem­bers of Par­lia­ment; Harry be­came a deputy in 1911 when he was elected to the Cana­dian House of Com­mons as a mem­ber of the Con­ser­va­tive Party. Ge­orge Harold was an au­then­tic Con­ser­va­tive. Like his par­ents and fore­fa­thers, he re­spected the Bri­tish Crown and the Union Jack, and he was a fer­vent de­fender of the Bri­tish Em­pire.

His three close rel­a­tives were ac­tive in busi­ness and Harry would be also. He be­came an at­tor­ney like his father and prac­ticed with him in Sweets­burg (now Cowansville) and then Mon­treal. Glen­mere, East Bolton

The most no­table trait of Harry Baker was per­haps his love of na­ture. Farm­ers for gen­er­a­tions, the Bak­ers lived close to na­ture and an­i­mals. The fam­ily owned prop­erty in East Bolton (now Bolton-Est) that was orig­i­nally a pri­vate fish­ing and hunt­ing club. Over the years, the house, Glen­mere, be­came their sum­mer res­i­dence. It is prob­a­bly at Glen­mere that Harry de­vel­opped his con­nec­tions to na­ture. Two of his sis­ters, Har­riet and Effie, stayed reg­u­larly at Glen­mere be­tween 1910 and 1920. In 1915, when Ge­orge Harold joined the mil­i­tary full time, he pro­vided as a ref­er­ence his sis­ter Effie of “Bolton Cen­tre.”

The Bak­ers liked an­i­mals. In his let­ters from Europe, Harry de­scribed the pic­turesque coun­try­side and noted in Eng­land the splen­did cat­tle, horses and sheep, com­ment­ing that he “didn’t see one sin­gle poor cow, only two old horses all the day through.” Morn­ing Glory, his mare

Harry’s af­fec­tion for horses was so deep that he es­tab­lished the 5th Bat­tal­ion Cana­dian Mounted Ri­fles, a cavalry unit com­prised of vol­un­teers from the East­ern Town­ships.

Above all, Harry was close to his mare Morn­ing Glory that he took to Europe in 1915. Un­for­tu­nately, it was de­cided that the Cana­dian cavalry would join the in­fantry so Harry had to leave Morn­ing Glory. Yet Harry saw the mare again in Bel­gium in April and May of 1916 and he wrote that he hoped “some day to have her back”.

As to Morn­ing Glory, a friend of Harry’s, Gen­eral Den­nis Draper, repa­tri­ated the mare to his farm at Sut­ton Junc­tion in 1918. She lived a good life, pro­vid­ing mail de­liv­ery for many years. At her death in 1936, she was buried at Glen­mere where a mar­ble plaque com­mem­o­rates her life.

Nowa­days, on Mon­tée de Baker Pond in East Bolton, the Glen­mere prop­erty can still be ad­mired: Baker Pond on one side, the Glen­mere res­i­dence on the other. The site is just as peace­ful, call­ing to mind a man and his horse who so much loved this cor­ner of the earth. Each of them, in their way, made a con­tri­bu­tion to Lib­erty.

Pho­tos coutesy of Pat­ri­moine Bolton Her­itage

Ge­orge Harold Baker, at Glen­mere, East Bolton, when he was elected M.P. for the rid­ing of Brome.

Lt.-Col. Baker, 1st wooden grave marker, Poper­inghe New Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery, Bel­gium, 1916.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.