Memorable Manitobans: George William Baker (1854-1917)
Born at Ottawa, Ontario on 14 August 1854, son of Godfrey Phipps Baker (1822-1882) and Elizabeth Julia Clements (1832-1858), he was educated at Ottawa Classical and Commercial School, Ontario College, Picton and Ottawa Grammar School. He was a barrister in Ontario; came to Winnipeg in 1881, and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1882. He was a member of Winnipeg City Council (1888, 1897-1898) and a Winnipeg Police Magistrate (1901-1903). He was appointed a Kings Counsel in 1914. He was responsible for the introduction of the Judicature Act into Manitoba.
He was married three times: in 1884 to Jeannie Harward Eastman (1863-1895, sister-in-law of B. E. Chaffey), in 1906 to Annie Grime (c1878-1908) of Harrogate, England, and in 1912 to Ursilla Katherine Hay Bell (1880-1928). With them he had ten children: Edwin Godfrey Phipps Baker, Miriam Eastman Baker (1886-?), Basil Glyn Baker (1888-1936), Doris Harward Baker (1890-1981, wife of William McDonnell), Henry Ahern Higginson Baker, George Hamilton Baker (1893-1937), Ralph Dennistoun Baker, Paul William Grime Baker (1908-1929), Agnes Ursilla Bruce Baker (1915-1935), and George William Baker (1917-2003).
He was a member of the Diocesan and Provincial Synod of the Church of England, a member of the University Council, and served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA. he was a member of the Northern Light (Masonic) Lodge and was installed as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba AF & AM in 1910. He was a member of the Manitoba Club and St. Charles Country Club.
Brother-in-law of H. A. Higginson.
He died at his summer home in Keewatin, Ontario on 1 September 1917 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. His diary (1881-1882) and papers are held at the Archives of Manitoba.
Death registrations [Jeannie Harward Baker, Annie Grime Baker], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“Winnipeg barrister dies at Keewatin”, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 September 1917, page 1.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Bruce Varcoe for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 March 2020