FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
BAKER, Robert C.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
III, page 132, 1923.
BAKER, ROBERT C. Palm Beach County was organized in 1909. From the time the official
machinery of the county was started until the present, the office of county sheriff has been
filled continuously by two men, father and son, the late GEORGE B. BAKER and ROBERT C.
BAKER. This is almost a unique record of public service, and it is a striking testimony to
the efficiency, spirit and ability of these two men as executive officers of law and order.
The late GEORGE BELL BAKER was born in Madison County, Florida. About 1889 he removed with
his family to Alabama, but after a short time returned to Florida, made his home for several
years at Plant City in Hillsborough County, subsequently lived in South Jacksonville, and
from there came to West Palm Beach in the early part of 1901. He was a railroad man for many
years, largely employed in the construction services. He built a considerable part of the
old F. C. & P. Railway, and he came to West Palm Beach, in April, 1901, as foreman of
construction on the Florida East Coast Railway.
By act of the Legislature the northern part of Dade County was separated and the new county
of Palm Beach was created in 1909, the county organization being effected in July of that year.
GEORGE BELL BAKER was one of the new county officials selected by Gov. ALBERT W. GILCHRIST.
After serving the temporary appointment as sheriff, he was elected to the office at the first
regular county election, and by subsequent reelections was retained in office until his death
on March 8, 1920. He was a man of splendid character, and as an official enjoyed and merited
the complete confidence of the people. He was a Mason and a Shriner. GEORGE BELL BAKER
married JULIA PRESTON McLENDON, who is still living.
Their son ROBERT C. BAKER, was born at Ocala, Florida, in 1888, and has practically spent all
his life in this state. He attended Massey Business College at Jacksonville, and the schools
at Plant City and West Palm Beach. In July, 1909, at the age of twenty-one, he became deputy
sheriff under his father, and has participated in the service of the sheriff's office ever
since that date. At his father's death he was appointed sheriff, and in the regular election
of 1920 he was elected, and was reelected in 1922.
Sheriff BAKER has endeavored to live up to the splendid record made by his father, and he
has performed his duties without fear or favor and with a promptness and skill that would do
credit to any officer in the state. Within a year after he was appointed his father's deputy,
in April, 1910, he had his foot shot off by a Negro criminal whom he captured. This injury
necessitated the amputation of his leg. In spite of this critical handicap he has personally
followed every fleeing law breaker and criminal coming within his jurisdiction, and has
effected some notable captures. In May, 1922, three bandits held up and robbed the Bank of
Stuart at Stuart, Florida, and Sheriff Baker immediately started in pursuit and captured the
three criminals. For this particular act he received a special resolution of commendation
from the Board of County Commissioners.
Sheriff BAKER is a member of Palm Beach Lodge No. 1352, Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks, and at the annual meeting of the State Association at Jacksonville in 1922, was elected
third vice president. He is member of Eastern Star Lodge No. 46, Knights of Pythias, Mihamia
Temple No. 225, D. O. K. K., and is a member of Mangrove Camp No. 236, Woodmen of the World.
He also belongs to the West Palm Beach County Motor Club. Sheriff Baker married Miss ANNIE
ETTENE CHANDLER, of Georgia. Their three children are JULIA ADELINE, ANNA BELL and MARTHA ETTENE.
This page created August 24, 2010
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