Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Watsonville is a monument to the aggregate labors of many enterprising business men, among whom is Carey H. Baker, the outstanding figure in the development of the fruit industry of the Pajaro valley and known throughout California as an authority on matters pertaining thereto. He was born near Winters, in Solano county, this state, April 16, 1875, and his parents, William and Margaret (Hanna) Baker, were both natives of Missouri. In 1864 the father settled in Solano county, becoming one of its pioneer fruit growers, and he was also a successful banker. He was a strong champion of the cause of education and served for forty years as president of the high school board of Winters, accomplishing much valuable work in that connection. He was identified with the Masonic order and filled an important place in the life of his community, enjoying the esteem of many friends.

Carey H. Baker received his early instruction in the public schools of Yolo county and afterward attended the Hesperian College at Woodland, California. In 1892, when a young man of seventeen, he gained his first knowledge of the fruit industry, with which he has since been identified, and years of experience, study and concentrated effort have made him an expert in this line of work. He was first employed by the National Fruit Company, later becoming connected with the Green & Dried Fruit Company, both of Winters, and during this time was manager of his father's orchards. In 1898 he entered the service of the Guggenheim Company of San Francisco and afterward was associated with the Earl Fruit Company in the green fruit business. In 1900 he came to Watsonville in the interests of the last named firm, and in 1903 he became a representative of the Simpson & Hackett Company, a Los Angeles corporation. In 1904 Mr. Baker founded the Loma Fruit Company of Watsonville, becoming its manager, and in 1913 the fruit growers of the Pajaro valley formed an association. They retained the name of the Loma Fruit Company and Mr. Baker was chosen its manager for a term of ten years. On the expiration of that period the fifty fruit growers comprising the association showed their appreciation of his services by asking him to renew the contract for a similar length of time and he is still managing the affairs of the organization, of which he is also one of the directors. This constitutes but one phase of his work, however, for his administrative power and exceptional business ability are manifest in the conduct of other corporations of a like nature, and all have received notable impetus from his constructive efforts. He is manager of the Watsonville Vegetable Fruit Growers Association; the C. H. Baker Evaporating Company of Santa Clara; the Hihn Orchard Company of Aptos, which owns one of the finest fruit ranches in the county; and Baker Brothers of Watsonville. He is also serving as president of the Pajaro Valley Packers & Shippers Association, is one of the directors of the Pajaro Valley Investment Company, and the president of the Appleton Investment Company, owners of the Appleton Hotel and Theatre. Mr. Baker is an indefatigable worker and to the solution of the many complex problems constantly presented to him he brings to bear the poise, the vision, the decisiveness and intellectual strength which characterize the man of large affairs.

On December 9, 1905, Mr. Baker married Miss Myrtle Harrold, a natve of Missouri, and they have become the parents of five children: W. Harry, Robert C, Lyman P., Jack H. and Virginia. Mr. Baker is a blue lodge Mason and belongs to Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is a member of the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and served as its president in 1922 and 1923. He is president of the Boy Scouts Association of Santa Cruz county and does all in his power to broaden the scope of an organization of paramount importance to tho nation, an epoch-making movement for character building and good citizenship. Mr. Baker belongs to that public-spirited and helpful type of men whose energies are directed into those channels through which flow the greatest and most permanent good to the greatest number, and measured by the standard of usefulness, his life has been a very successful one.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.