old. Larkin, Sr., also died in Kansas, date unknown. Young Larkin returned to Iowa where he was under the guardianship of David Baker.

Another Kansas connection is suggested by Coda, who seemed to think that when Emily Baker Parr (Willis’s daughter by his first wife) died, she and her family were living there. Emily died at age 38, leaving eight children 18 and under, her ninth child having died at birth during the previous year.

In 1905, Christian Sankey and at least one son moved to Saskatchewan, Canada. His daughter, Letta Sankey, was in Moose Jaw in 1917. By 1917 Martin Baker was living in Albany, Oregon. Jay was living with him and doing household duties, since Martin’s wife, Ollie, had died. Elijah Sewell, Lettitia Baker’s brother, and family moved to Washington County, Kansas, where they farmed from the 1880s to the 1900s.

In 1950, David’s daughter, Corena (Coda), wrote to Wilda Augustine. From one of her letters we learn that Adda and her mother, Lettitia, lived with and/or worked for a time with Simp and Jay in Kansas, returning about 1890 to live with David and his family near Rose Hill. More from Coda’s letter: “No, the family [Willis’] moved down where Arthur is now after Papa [David] took over the place. We were all born in the old house — 3 rooms — except Paul.” Five children were born in and lived, with their parents, in a three-room house. They must have moved into a larger house, as she continues, “We just can’t remember exactly the year the old house was built but Webb [number five] was born Feb. 13, 1890 and he was just a baby at the time.”

Adda Baker married Albert Tobias Augustine in 1891. Simp and Jay returned to Iowa where they lived in David’s home. Jay cared for Simp during his illness the last months of his life. Simpson died in 1899 at age 51. Elijah (Jay) never married. But in the old cedar chest among the things Wilda saved was a brown piece of paper, 4 1/2” wide by 9” long, broken in three pieces. The message was short, written in beautiful script, dated Feb. 19, 1887, from Indianapolis, Iowa, addressed to Adda Baker, and read as follows:

Miss Adda Baker,

Indianapolis, Ia.

Dear Friends,

I am going to tell you something, but I don’t expect to surprise you at all. I am going to be married next Thursday eve at 5 o’clock, and you are invited. I’ll have a way for you to come over, so don’t worry about it.

So good by.


The cedar chest referred to belonged to Adda Augustine. It is a cedar box about 45” x 19” deep x 17” high with an inside tray. It was made by the students of West Chester in the school workshop from cedar ties left by the railroad and is still in use.

Lettitia Sewell Baker continued to live in David’s home. She was 91 years old when she died in 1915. David himself died three years before his mother, Lettitia, in 1912.

David had been a workaholic, inventive, and an intellectual. He was a successful farmer and mechanized parts of the farm operation. He was a teacher, a writer, active in community affairs such as the Literary Societies, and all the churches.

The grandparents of Albert Tobias Augustine were Michael and Hannah Houck Augustine. They came to the United States from Wurttemberg, a small principality in southwest Germany that, along with other states, became a part of Germany in the 1800s. Five of their ten children were born in Germany; the fifth, Godfrey, learned to walk on the boat coming over. The sixth, Martin, Albert Augustine’s father, was born in Pennsylvania in 1829. The family moved on to Ohio and then to Indiana. In Indiana they settled in the South Bend area, north of Kankakee

Swamp. The area was swampy and most of the family got “swamp fever,” or malaria. They soon realized the family needed to find a healthier climate. In 1835, Michael and Godfrey, then ten, went to Iowa and lived with the Sac and Fox Indians while they built a cabin on Dutch Creek. Michael went back to Indiana to bring the family to Iowa, but Michael, Jr., the eldest son, stayed on in Indiana, and then later moved on to Canada. One account says that the first cabin on Dutch Creek in Iowa was abandoned because the Indians had possession of the area. During a skirmish with a war party a “red man” was killed, making it prudent for the family to find another location. The story further says that they arrived at the new location on Christmas day and all they had to eat was corn meal mixed with water from the creek. The Michael Augustine Sr.’s family was the first European family to settle in what would become Dutch Creek Township, Jefferson County. They purchased land from the government for $1.25 an acre.

The Augustines were strong rugged people — Michael and one of his sons could split a thousand wood rails a day — and added to their original holdings until they had a thousand acres in the Dutch Creek area and several “sets of good buildings.” At this time, Burlington, Iowa, on the Mississippi River, was the largest city in the area, the territorial capital, and the only place to get supplies. It was also where some of the men in the family worked. Other men in the family worked as lumberjacks in Wisconsin when they needed cash.

Three of Michael’s children, John, Albert, and Tobias, went to California. John made some money and came back to Iowa. Albert made one trip and returned to Iowa, but he had gotten gold fever. He then captained a wagon train on a second trip to California on which his brother, Tobias, accompanied him. Both men returned to settle in Iowa.

Michael’s sixth born was Martin, Wilda’s grandfather. He was born the first year after the family arrived in the United States, 1829, in Dutch Creek Township, Jefferson County, Iowa. Michael and his wife would eventually have ten children, seven boys and three girls, and 70 grandchildren. Imagine – 70 first cousins.

Martin married Pauline Guise January 15, 1855, and settled on the family farm. Martin had his own farm by the time his father died in 1864. After Michael Sr. died, Martin sold his own farm and moved to Missouri. He soon returned to Iowa and bought a farm near Dublin. Michael and Hannah are buried in White Oak Cemetery.





Martin Augustine and family. Front row left to right: William, Martin and Pauline Augustine, Andrew.


Back row left to right: Albert Tobias, Louise, Mary, Ella.

Martin and Pauline had eight children, five boys and three girls. One son died within a year. David, their second son, was unmarried and died at age 19. Most of the rest of the children, including Albert Tobias, settled around West Chester, Washington County. When Martin died in 1904, Pauline moved to West Chester with her unmarried daughter, Louise.

Albert Tobias Augustine was born June 13, 1859 in Washington County. He married Adda Baker, Willis Baker’s youngest daughter, on May 5, 1891. Adda was an extremely small-boned, dainty woman of average height. At her wedding she carried a small brown art glass vase of flowers. The vase is still in the family. They were married in Oskaloosa, the Mahaska County seat, and lived in the Dublin area before moving to West Chester in 1901. Albert T. and Adda Baker Augustine had two children: Howard Porter and Wilda Ann, both born in Washington County, Iowa. Wilda Augustine was born August 25, 1894 or ’95. Her brother was born December 23, 1892. They held Howard back a year before starting him in school and sent Wilda to school along with him, a year early for her probably so they could share supplies and take care of each other. Before long, Wilda gave her age a year older than it actually was. She never had a memory of any birth certificate. In the 1970s, Wilda made application for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Needing a birth certificate, she got a delayed certificate


Albert Tobias Augustine Family

from the Iowa State Department of Health, Records and Statistics. Her letter of request said:

...I tho’t I was born August 25, 1894 and have used that date (1894) on my voting registration, driver license, and so forth thru the years. A few years ago a relative wrote that I was born in 1895. So of course it was a mistake that I was born in 1894. The above [County Clerk and Recorder, Cascade County, MT] said that I should keep on using 1894 as she could not look up and change all records....

Among Wilda’s childhood memories was the time she was not much more than a toddler and she climbed up the windmill. Unable to descend, she started to cry. Her mother had to chase down someone to climb after her so Wilda could be rescued. She never forgot another early experience going into the chicken yard. The rooster and even the hens were nearly as big as she. When one of the flock flew at her, she became so terrified the memory was etched in her mind forever.

Albert (Al) Augustine had a farm in Washington County where he kept and fed cattle and hogs until they were prime and ready for market. If he purchased calves he would have hay fed them for three to six months, watching the market and selling them at its peak. More likely he bought older cattle, fed them a shorter time, fattening or “finishing” them on corn; this he could