Born: December 1, 1829, Belfast, Ireland
Died: October 14, 1904, Carson City, Nevada
For about four years (beginning in 1860) Samuel Baker rode pony express between Fort Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego, California, across desert wastes and among hostile Indians.
Samuel left Belfast for New York as a sailor boy at age 15 and was a mariner on American ships. He was on the US transport ship Monterey of Vera Cruz at the time of the siege in 1846. November 8, 1848, sailed from New York to California on the US transport ship Iowa under command of General Bennet F. Riley, the first provisional Governor of California, by way of Cape Horn and arrived in San Francisco March 14, 1849. Sailed in Coasting service between San Francisco and Santa Curz, then struck out for the California gold digging-was in Sutters Fort in June of 1849.
In 1852 Sam was an overseer at the California State prison at San Quentin. He arrived in Nevada in July 1860 as wagon master with a train of thirty-five US government wagons loaded with supplies for Fort Churchill, then went with the column to Arizona where he was post wagon master at Tuscon. During this time he rode for the Pony Express.
Took a wagon train out to Star City, Humboldt County, Nevada, for Col. C.F. Snowden and Major Kyle. August 1863, Sam arrived in Nevada Comstock lode and was employed as brakeman at the hoisting works of the Gould & Curry, Savage, Yellow Jacket and other leading mines for about ten years. Then he became city jailer in Virginia City, Nevada, injuring himself while chasing a burglar and suffering partial paralysis. He was a watchman in the US Mint in Carson City for two or three years and then kept a small cigar and variety store. Sam Baker was one of the founders of the Society of Pacific Coast Pioneers.
He married Catherine McAdoo in Benicia, California, in 1858. A daughter, Sarah, was born in Benicia, September 4, 1861. A son, Charles, was born in San Francisco in 1863. Another unknown daughter was married and living in Butte, Montana at the time of his death.
Eight years before he died, Sam dictated his obituary to friend and famous Nevada journalist, Alfred Doten. The obituary included the information about his pony express experience. It was printed in the Carson City Morning Appeal, October 15, 1902.
Information provided by Samuel Baker's great great grand daughter Kathy Wetzel, June 1999.