The business interests of El Monte, had in Isaac Funk Baker one of their most important factors, his enterprise and progressive spirit having contributed no little to the material upbuilding and development of the place. Mr. Baker, a native of Illinois, was born in the vicinity of Bloomington, February 15, 1865. his father, N.S. Baker, was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 1814, and in manhood became a pioneer settler of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He finally located in Story County, Iowa, where he made his home until 1893, in which year, his death occurred. He was descended from a Revolutionary family, his grandfather having served as a patriot in the colonial army.
Isaac Funk Baker, when ten years old, became a resident of Iowa, where he grew to manhood, alternating home duties on the farm with an attendance of the public schools, which was completed by one year at the State Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa. His first independent effort was as a clerk in Colorado, Story County, where he continued for about two years, and in 1886, went to Boone County and followed a similar occupation for six years. He came to California in 1895, and in El Monte, established a meat market with his brother, B.F. Baker, the two continuing in business for two and a half years. He then sold his interest and went to Alaska, arriving at St. Michaels and thence going to Dawson by riverboat, reaching his destination October 1 of the same year. He remained one year, engaged in mining with success, when he returned to El Monte, September 1, 1898, purchased a lot and put up the block in which for years, he engaged in business. In 1904, he put up a brick building 52 X 84 feet in dimensions, on the corner of Lexington and San Bernardino Road. He was one of the original stockholders of the First National Bank of El Monte, which was organized in 1903, and served as director for twenty years. In 1912, he sold his mercantile business and retired. In 1920, he was appointed a deputy county Assessor.
In Providence, Rhode Island, September 26, 1906, Mr. Baker was untied in marriage with Miss Jenny Tucker. She was a native of Providence and a descendant of the famous Tucker and Green families of Rhode Island, whose ancestry can be traced for five generations in that state. She was born in Shannock, near the old Greene homestead, which had been in the family for generations. She received her preliminary education in the public schools, after which she attended and graduated from the State Normal School. After coming to California, she attended Pomona College, at Pomona, and was one of the first year’s boarding students of that school. Later, in Los Angeles, she became prominent in educational work, and at the same time, accepted the principalship of the El Monte Schools, which position she retained for fourteen years. Her resignation took place in July 1906, when she returned to Rhode Island and, in her home in Providence, was married in the September following. Her school work was not however to end on assuming home making duties, for she was appointed a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education in 1917, where she served until July 1st, 1935. She was a woman of rare ability and culture, abreast of the times in every particular, broad-minded to an unusual degree, and capable of making and retaining friends wherever known.
Mr. Baker was associated fraternally with Lexington Lodge, No. 104, F. & A.M., of El Monte, having been made a member of the organization in Columbia Lodge, No. 202, of Colorado, Iowa. He was for six years, master of the El Monte Masonic Order. He and his wife were members of the First Presbyterian Church of El Monte. Politically a Republican he developed liberal tendencies in later years and in 1932 became an enthusiastic supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Source: Mayon, C. D., F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.