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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

150 members of Stillwater family show for 150th reunion


150 members of Stillwater family show for 150th reunion

On Saturday, 150 people showed up to celebrate the Baker family’s 150th reunion.
150 members of Stillwater family show for 150th reunion
The Baker family of Mechanicville has been having 'brother reunions' for 150 years, starting with the 16 sons of a Revolutionary War veteran. Here, A little massage therapy during the reunion: Back, Lynn Leonard massages Diane Saunders while front - De...
Photographer: Stacey Lauren-Kennedy


That number is significant to the Baker family of Stillwater.

On Saturday, 150 people showed up to celebrate the family’s 150th reunion, held in Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta.

Those 150 folks are mostly descendants of James Baker, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and his 16 sons.

Maria L. Carr has been the Baker family historian since 2003. She started with five boxes of letters and documents — in no order whatsoever. It was her job to sort through them and help figure out the exact genealogy of the family through the years.

It took her two years to do the research and figure out the family history, and she computerized the files, as well.

But it wasn’t frustrating, she said. In fact, she loved it.

“It was like a treasure hunt,” she said, her face glowing.

Joseph Cutshall-King, president of the Baker Family Reunion, explained that in the old days when the reunions first started, most of the family lived close to each other. Over the years, that has changed, as members have scattered all across the country and the world.

The first James Baker came from England in 1630, settling first on Long Island and then in Dutchess County. His son, also named James, settled in the Stillwater area, where he raised 16 sons. Between them, they had about 100 children.

Although the number of family members who showed up Saturday was impressive, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, at the 148th reunion, only 20 people showed up.

Judy Farnan-Farago was one of them. She and others realized if the family didn’t get enough members to show up for the 150th, it might mean interest in the reunions would be over and they might end.

Farnan-Farago was chairwoman of the 150th Baker Family Reunion Committee, and she and Cutshall-King figured out ways to bring in more family members, such as reaching out to them through social media.

At the 149th reunion, about 60 showed up, and on Saturday, the number was obviously increased. Roger Higley, 73, even came from Alaska for his first Baker family reunion.

For Eric Clough from Latham, who was at the reunion with his two daughters, ages 1 and 4, Saturday’s reunion won’t be his last.

“I would come back again,” he said.

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