Baker Brand and Sarah Ann Higby Tragedies and a Troubled Marriage

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Baker Brand (1826-1903) and Sarah A. Higby (1831-1904)

Baker Continues the Family Tradition

Baker Brand, apparently like his father Benjamin, was a wanderer and perhaps partly because of that his marriage to Sarah Ann Higby did not last. He was born 26 March 1826 in Acton, Suffolk County, England, to Benjamin Brand and Abigail King. He came to America on 26 Mar 1827, arriving in New York on the Brighton, with his parents when he was only a year old. After immigrating to the United States, the family first moved to Lewis County in New York, named after Morgan Lewis, Governor of New York when the county was established.

An attempt to Settle Down

The Brand family settled in Turin Village, where Baker’s father was a butcher. Baker married Sarah Ann Higby on 15 Oct 1848 in West Turin, Lewis County, New York. He was 22; she was just 17. Sarah had been born in 5 Feb 1831 to Abijah Higby and Tryphena Perkins in Lewis County, New York.

Between 1849 and 1872, Baker and Sarah had eleven children, six of whom died before the age of ten. The children who died young are listed in red:

A move to Rice county, Minnesota

Before their daughter, Effie, was born in 1867, Baker and Sarah migrated to Richland, Rice County, Minnesota. In the 1870 Census, Baker’s occupation is listed as a carpenter. He is 44 years old and Sarah is 39. Living with them are six of their children: Sam, 20; Etta, 17; Leonard, 14; Julia, 9; Bessie, 7; and Effie, 3. By this time, Sarah has also had several miscarriages or given birth to children who died very young.

After 26 Years, The Marriage Fails

Sarah and Baker’s marriage slowly fell apart and they divorced in 1874 in Richland, Minnesota. He was 48; she was 43. They had been married for 26 years. That same year, their daughter, Bessie, at the age of 10 died after being thrown in front of a reaper. Sarah, of course, had already lost at least five children in childbirth or in infancy. At the time of their divorce, their children were: Samuel, age 25 (who married that same year); Etta, 21; Leonard, 19; Julia, 13; and Effie, 7. Sarah still had two young daughters to raise. The decision to divorce must have been difficult; it was very uncommon in the 1800s, and difficult to obtain, usually impossible without one of four reasons: adultery, abandonment, abuse, or alcoholism. In 1880, according to the historian Robert L. Griswold, one marriage in 21 — fewer than 5 percent — ended in divorce.

Alone and Separated; Sarah Remarries

Six years later, in 1880, Baker is in Tombstone, Pima County, Arizona, working as a carpenter, while Sarah (who lists herself as “married” on the Census rolls) remains in Richland, Minnesota with three of her children — Leonard, 25; Julia, 19; and Effie, 13. Leonard may very well have been supporting the family; he is listed as a farmer, although it is not known whether Baker sent money to the family or not. Also living with them at the time is Mattie Brand, 23, identified as a “boarder” and a “cousin.”

There is some evidence from the Waterbury, Connecticut city directories that Sarah lived between 1882 and 1886 with her daughter, Effie, and Effie's husband, Edwin J. Pierpont. Here is the information:

Ten years later, in 1900, Baker is 75 years old, a lodger with the Thomas Seogoe family in Pomono, California. It is said that he had moved there with some of his brothers.

On November 10, 1892, Sarah married John Kell in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

Baker died on 17 Nov 1903 in Pomona, California, and is buried there. He was 77 years old.

Sarah died just one year later on 29 Feb 1904. She was 73 years old. Family information states that Sarah died in Canada but was buried in Kansas City (and at least one document on states that she died in Kansas City). Two of her daughters, Julia and Etta, lived in Kansas City prior to their deaths, Etta before her mother and father in 1890, Julia in 1928. There seems to be quite a bit of connection with the Brand family both in Kansas City and Missouri.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of Baker Brand and Sarah Ann Higby. This page last updated on May 6, 2019.

Return to Table of Contents for Exploring My Husband's Ancestral Roots: Ingrahams, Herricks, Moshers, and Brands

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. 

  2. For more information about Samuel's life, click on his name. 

  3. Thanks to Mr. Charles Shutz who gave me copies of the pages from the Brand family bible. I had not been able to discover the names of the children who died young until I saw those pages. 

  4. Although listed as a widow, she could not have been one, as Baker Brand died in 1903. 

  5. Again, she was not yet a widow.