Freeborn Garretson Baker

In the 1800’s music was a common mode of entertainment.  Music teachers, singing masters, piano teachers, and dancing masters were all common careers.

Freeborn Garretson Baker took his first and second name from a prominent Methodist minister of the early 1800’s, Freeborn Garretson.  Baker was a native of Bakersville, born August 19, 1813.  He taught singing schools in Bakerville, Winsted, Torrington, and other neighbouring towns.  He also led concerts, probably held in the dance hall in the Bakerville Tannery, and often played the cello as an accompanist.   In 1856, he moved to Wheaton, Illinois were he was the first director of music and remained a professor until his death.  He was well regarded by the university, and became a Trustee of Wheaton in 1857.  The 1882 Register of Wheaton College stated that: “He was beloved as a neighbor, respected as a man, revered as a Christian, and honored as an officer of the College and the Church.”

He died in Bakerville, July 12, 1879. His funeral was held in Bakersville.  Ironically, until his grand-nephew stepped in, there was no music.


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