John Baker – 4


Emma was a stepchild.  Born in 1850 in Ohio, her father, William Smith, died in 1858.  Like John’s family, Emma had roots in England and Massachusetts colony on both sides of her family.  Indeed, her mother was the first generation to live outside of New England. 

Emma’s mother remarried to Theodore Colbrunn and they lived with him and Emma’s three younger half-sisters, in Medina, Ohio – twenty miles south of Olmstead — and later back in Rockport, near Cleveland.  He was a marble stonecutter, an immigrant from Germany.  Emma’s mother died the year after Emma married.

She and John H married in 1869 in Olmstead, Ohio, near Cleveland. Emma was 18 years old and John was likely 39 years old.  The circumstances of their marriage are a mystery. Perhaps Emma was a “mail order bride.”  After the Civil War, it would not be uncommon for the stepchild of an immigrant, whose mother was perhaps already ailing, to marry a man 20, 30, or even 40 years her senior.  Perhaps Emma’s stepfather contacted an agent who then placed ads in newspapers.  In the ad, suiters would be asked to pay the agent’s fees and the travel expenses for a young bride like Emma.