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MINERVA ANN (BELLER) BAKER

              *VICTIM OF THE 1857 MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE*
 


Minerva Ann Beller was the third daughter of William C. Beller and Martha Lovina Wilburn, born abt. 1832 in Madison County, Alabama. Moving to Carroll County, Arkansas around 1836, Minerva Ann's father, William C. Beller, was one of the most prominent men in Crooked Creek Township. He owned substantial property and was a slaveholder. He was also a merchant who operated a store near his home called "Beller's Stand", was a Carroll County Treasurer, County Clerk, and the Crooked Creek postmaster for several years. The Beller homestead was located a short distance southeast of  Milum Spring (also called Caravan Spring).  In 1850 Minerva Ann Beller married George Washington Baker, the son of John Twitty Baker and Mary A. Ashby, in Carroll County, Arkansas, and the couple resided next to her husband's parents in Crooked Creek Township.

Planning to move to California, Minerva Ann, her husband, George Washington Baker, and their four young children, prepared for their journey, with the other family members that comprised "The Baker Train".  The group gathered, and made their preparations, in the area of Milum Spring (Caravan Spring) near Minerva Ann's late father's store, Beller's Stand. Minerva Ann and her husband had approximately $500 in cash, 2 ox wagons and chains, a rifle, a double-barreled shotgun, 8 oxen, 3 young mares, 136 head of cattle, and beds, bedding, provisions, clothing and other possessions. The family then departed from Carroll County in April of 1857, under the leadership of her father-in-law, Captain John Twitty Baker.

Minerva Ann was one of 15 children. Her mother had died on 7 December 1849, and her father died two months later on 26 February 1850 of smallpox, leaving the youngest of the orphaned children to be cared for by members of the Beller family. Minerva Ann, and her husband, George Washington Baker, became the legal guardians of Minerva Ann's sister, Melissa Ann Beller, and her brother, David W. Beller. The two Beller children accompanied the Baker family on their trip west.

Among the depositions regarding the livestock and possessions that George W. Baker had when he departed from Carroll County were those given by Minerva Ann (Beller) Baker's brothers, William C. Beller and Irvin T. Beller, and Minerva Ann's brother-in-law Joseph Benjamin Baines. Baines was married to Minerva Ann's oldest sister, Mary Frances, and the Baines were also the Bakers next door neighbors. Before leaving for California, Joseph B. Baines had paid George W. Baker $700 in cash, as guardian of Melissa Ann Beller. In his deposition Baines makes no mention of any monies paid out for David W. Beller, the other ward of Minerva Ann and George W. Baker.

Minerva Ann (Beller) Baker's husband appears to have been killed in the initial surprise attack on 7 September 1857. According to the account of their daughter, Sarah Frances, her sister Martha Elizabeth told her she had been sitting on her father's lap, and the bullet that killed him nicked Sarah's ear. Minerva Ann, and their oldest child, Mary Lovina ("Vina") Baker, died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre on 11 September 1857.  During the Massacre, Vina's sister, Martha Elizabeth, said she saw her 7 year old sister being led over a ridge by some men.

Minerva Ann (Beller) Baker was 25 years old when she died.  Along with her husband and daughter, her siblings, Melissa Ann Beller, and David W. Beller, her brother-in-law Abel Baker, and her father-in-law John Twitty Baker, also died in the Massacre. Minerva Ann's three youngest children, Martha Elizabeth "Betty" Baker, born 7 March 1852, Sarah Frances "Sally" Baker, born 20 November 1854, and William Twitty "Billy" Baker, born 15 November 1856, survived the Massacre and were returned to their paternal grandmother, Mary A. (Ashby) Baker, in Arkansas in 1859.

2008 A.C. Wallner for the Mountain Meadows Association. All rights reserved

Inscription:

IN MEMORIAM

IN THE VALLEY BELOW BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 7 AND 11, 1857, A COMPANY OF MORE THAN 120 ARKANSAS EMIGRANTS LED BY CAPT. JOHN T. BAKER AND CAPT. ALEXANDER FANCHER WAS ATTACKED WHILE EN ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA. THIS EVENT IS KNOWN IN HISTORY AS THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE

 MANERVA A. BELLER BAKER, 25

*Please note that the names of the victims of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre that appear here are those who we have personally researched and verified as actual victims. In some cases this list will differ from the names that were inscribed on the 1990 Monument on Dan Sill Hill.

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               FOR MINERVA ANN (BELLER) BAKER


 


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