Scholarship Honors Adair County Family Who Attended Lindsey Wilson Training School
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014 [9:43 PM]
James T. Baker holds a picture of his late mother, Mattie Barger
Baker. Baker started
the Mattie B. Baker & Sons Scholarship in memory or her and
two of his brothers,
Walter and Tyler.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Adair County native
Mattie Barger Baker was born before the first
classes were held at Lindsey Wilson College.
Now, thanks to one of her sons, her legacy will be felt by
future generations of the college's students.
The Mattie B. Baker & Sons
Scholarship will help an Adair County resident earn a
James T. Baker of Richmond, Ky., said he
started the endowed scholarship to honor his mother and two of his
brothers, all of whom attended Lindsey Wilson.
"We were all very grateful to our parents, we were all
very thankful to our teachers, and we were thankful for being
raised in a Christian home," Baker said. "In a way, this is a
delayed gift really from my parents and my brothers to Lindsey
Baker and two of his late brothers,
Walter and Tyler, attended the
former Lindsey Wilson Training School through the sixth grade. All
three graduated from Adair County schools and then had
distinguished careers -- Walter was a state senator and Kentucky
Supreme Court justice; Tyler was a chiropractor; and James served
the Social Security Administration.
Mattie Baker, who was born in 1899 in the Hardscratch
area, used an eighth-grade education and education courses she took
Lindsey WIlson to become a teacher in Macon, Ga., where she earned
$35 a week.
She returned to Adair County in the 1920s where she met
and married Columbia businessman Herschel Baker.
The Bakers had six children, but twin girls died in childbirth and
their oldest son, Herschel Porter, died at age 8
of an appendicitis.
In the early 1940s, Herschel Baker was diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis. That forced Mattie to shoulder an increasingly
larger burden of supporting the family. James Baker said his mother
raised chickens and planted "a large garden" on the home's five
acres, which adjoined what is now the Columbia Post
Then Mattie "bought a few little antique glass pieces for
a few dollars and sold them to double her money," James
That sale began what blossomed into an almost four-decade
business in the antique business. When Mattie died in December
1980, she had become one of the more well-known and respected
antique dealers in the region.
"She was really enthusiastic about antiques, she really
loved the business and developed a good reputation," James said.
"She had second- and third-generation antique customers because she
was so well-known."
In fact, about 12 hours before Mattie died, she recorded
her one of her best sales, James said. By then, her business had
expanded to almost three houses packed with antiques.
"When I was in school, they kidded me that I lived in the
house where people were moving out every day," James said. "Because
when Mom would come home with antiques, and they were piled on the
front porch until she went through everything."
James Baker said he and his two brothers not only
appreciated the educational foundation they received at the Lindsey
Wilson Training School but also advice they received from their
"One thing Dad and Mom both preached to us was save for a
rainy day," he said. "They would say, 'We can't tell you when it's
going to happen, but we can tell you that if you hang around here,
it's going to happen.' And they were right on that. And that's good
advice for anyone."