John Gordon Baker, known locally as “Uncle John”, was born in 1818 in Madison County, Kentucky. When he was 19, he moved to Missouri and married Catherine Blevins. Catherine was born June 1, 1823 and died January 16, 1912. She was the first white woman to settle between the north and south Yamhill Rivers. She is buried at the Masonic Cemetery.
In 1844, the Bakers built a cabin on present junction of Baker and Panther Creek confirming their status as the first residents of McMinnville. “ There they laid out their donation land claim, built a cabin and broke ground for their first cop of wheat. ‘640 acres from 12th street to a point one mile west and from what now is McDonald lane to a point one mile west’.”
John G. Baker continued on to be the first Sheriff of Yamhill County under Provisional Government and served as a member of the McMinnville School Board. He was serious about the quality of local education and greatly enjoyed sports. He died on March 4, 1887 and is buried at the Masonic Cemetery.