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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Albert Baxter Dies Suddenly

by Grand Rapids Herald

Albert Baxter, author of Baxter’s History of Kent County and also of History of the City of Grand Rapids and a pioneer newspaper editor of this city, died yesterday at the home of his sister, Mrs. Carrie Baxter Jennings, at Howard City. He had been feeling well all day and ate a hearty dinner, after which he took a nap. He was found dead a short time afterward.

Mr. Baxter had been subject to paralytic strokes and it is supposed that death was due to one of these. The body will be brought to this city Wednesday for burial, and the funeral will take place at the residence of his sister-in-law, Mrs. W. J. Baxter, No. 165 Charles Street. The funeral notice will be announced later.

Came Here in 1846

Mr. Baxter was one of the old residents of this city, and also one of the early newspapermen. He was well known to the older residents of the city. He was born August 3, 1823, in a log cabin by the banks of Mad River in Moretown, Washington County, VT. He attended a village academy, subsequently teaching school in Vermont and in Wisconsin, whither he went in 1845. In 1846 he came to Grand Rapids where he read law for a time, meanwhile working eight hours a day in a carriage shop. He found his health unequal to the task and gave up law.

February 22, 1849, he was married to Elvira E. Guild, who died at Fayston, VT, June 5, 1855. Her body is now buried in Fulton Street Cemetery. In 1854 he was a delegate to the Free Democrat state convention at Jackson, which first nominated K.A. Bingham for governor of Michigan. Otherwise he had never participated in active politics.

Took Up Newspaper Work

In the summer of 1854, he abandoned his shop and spent nearly a year in the east in a fruitless effort to benefit the health of his wife. In August 1855, he entered the office of the Grand Rapids Eagle as business and editorial assistant and remained in that position until July 1860, when he went to Detroit to accept a position with the Tribune. At this time he lost his health and was for nearly two years an invalid. He was then engaged as a clerk spending part of the time in the lumber woods, until 1865, when he again entered the employ of the Eagle, where he occupied the editorial chair for 22 years.

Bought a Fruit Farm

After leaving the Eagle Mr. Baxter went to North Muskegon where he located on a fruit farm. He was for many years a member of the Muskegon County Horticultural Society and was known all over the state for his work along that line. He wrote a number of valuable papers on the subject and these had a wide circulation. He left the farm some time ago and was visiting at the home of his sister at Howard City when death overtook him.

Politically Mr. Baxter was a Republican, but morally he made no profession other than to strive to be honest and kind. Financially he was unsuccessful; with misfortune he was familiar, and likewise had personal knowledge of the distresses of other people. He was always willing to help a friend and this he did too freely. He will be remembered by his works.

Grand Rapids Herald, May 29, 1905, page 5.


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