Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BAKER, David Jewett, lawyer, born in East Haddam. Connecticut, 7 September 1792; died in Alton, Illinois, 6 August 1869. In his boyhood he worked on a farm, but secured a classical education, was graduated at Hamilton College in 1816, and was admitted to the bar in 1819. He began practice in Kaskaskia, Illinois, attained a high position in the state bar, and was made probate judge of Randolph County, although he so strenuously opposed the introduction of slavery into the state that his life was threatened. In 1830-'1 he was United States senator, and carried through congress the important measure of selling the public lands to actual settlers in tracts of forty acres. He was United States district attorney for Illinois from 1833 to 1841, and afterward resumed the practice of law.
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