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Ellen Baker Tracy wasn’t what you’d call the demure, retiring type. Born in 1837 in Washtenaw, Michigan, she was a pioneer in every sense of the word. What else could she be, having traveled across the Donner Pass into California in an ox-pulled wagon, married and then widowed all before she was 16? So, when she met and married Colonel Thomas Baker, she was completely ready for the rough-and-tumble life that awaited them as Kern Island’s first settlers. While the Colonel developed the acreage, she made a home for her young family in the humblest of dwellings. Soon, fortunes improved, and the Bakers moved to a larger home where Ellen Baker found herself in the center of life in the tiny community. Her hospitality was renowned. She shared her new-fangled sewing machine with neighbors. And when the kids needed an education, she opened the area’s first school in her own home.

Even after the Colonel’s death and her remarriage to rancher Ferdinand Tracy, she continued to support the community, founding the first orphanage, donating property, and so many other generous acts.

She died in 1924 and rests today beside her last husband in space 61-13 but is nearly side-by-side with Col. Baker as well.

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