Otho W. Baker, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Otho W. Baker

The Famous "Fortune Teller" Passes Away.
Mishawaka Enterprise.

Otho W. Baker died at his home in this city Sunday morning at 5:30, after a brief illness of two days, from catarrh of the heart, with which he had been troubled for some time. His death was a great surprise to the community.

"Dr." Baker, as he was familiarly called, was a remarkable individual and his fame as a "fortune teller" was known far and near. For many years his home had been thronged daily with people coming long distances to have their "fortunes" told or, as was more frequently the case, to learn from the mysterious man the whereabouts of some lost or stolen property, or other secret information. On the morning of his death, early as it was, there were patrons on hand who had come from a distance of 38 miles, and other arrived later. This will doubtless continue for a long time to come.

There is no doubt of the fact that Dr. Baker possessed some remarkable occult clairvoyant power by which he was enabled to divulge many marvelous things, although he was frequently wrong in his prognostications. How he was able to thus peer into the future or learn of the past, was as much of a mystery to him as to his patrons. He was an uneducated man being unable to read and write. The superstitiously inclined believed that the secret of his gift lay in the fact that he was born with a "double veil" over his face. Countless stories of his remarkable powers could be told, would space permit.

One particular case in point was illustrated by the experience of a sheriff who came all the way from Arkansas to see if Baker could give any information concerning a prominent resident of his county who was missing. The sheriff was told to go home and look up in an attic of a big barn on the missing man's premises and he would find his corpse there, hung by a halter. The sheriff laughed at the information, but went home and subsequently wrote back that the body was found just as described, the man having committed suicide.

Another case, not quite so tragical, occurred in the case of a Goshen man who lost his "Jenny" and came to the Dr. to learn where the animal could be found. Baker factitiously told the man that his Jenny had started ahead of him up to the other world and that he would find her in his haymow where some joking neighbors had hidden her. The man went home and sure enough found the animal in the hay-loft as stated, where it had been secreted as an April-fool joke.

Elkhart Truth relates another still more remarkable feat, the facts of which are well known hereabouts and have heretofore been published in The Enterprise. J. C. Shenefield a well known and highly reputable citizen of Madison township whose family had a tradition concerning the hiding of a large sum of money some place on the farm of a relative residing near Cincinnati, the money being hidden in the course of the late war. Often but in vain had a search been made and it was given up as lost. Dr. Shenefield consulted "Dr." Baker, as a last resort, and he described with rare minuteness just where it could be found. Mr. Shenefield went to the farm, found just such a described place and found hidden there the money which was in silver. There was over a thousand dollars of this money which was divided up between the relatives. Baker had never been in that part of the country and this find was a great advertisement for him.

Hundreds of similarly remarkable results of his powers could be given. He accumulated considerable property by his fortune telling.

The deceased was born in Harrison county, O., January 1, 1829, and at the time of his death was aged 65 years and eight months. At an early date he moved to Porter county, Ind., where farming was his principal occupation up to and a short time after the war. While still a resident of Porter county, Mr. Baker married Miss Nancy M. Coppernoll at Jackson Center, Ind., Aug. 31, 1856, who survives him. To them were born seven children, five girls and two boys. The surviving children are Mrs. George Bolin, Mrs. John Deane, Mrs. J. W. Milner and Mrs. L. Walter, of Chicago. Besides these he leaves two brothers, Jacob and Abraham Baker, living near Valparaiso, Ind., and other brothers and sisters living in Ohio; also 18 grandchildren.

"Dr." Baker was also a veteran of the war the Union, having been a member of Co. B. 38th Indiana volunteers, and marched with Sherman to the sea. It was in the army that he first discovered his fortune telling abilities which afterwards made him famous.

In 1881 Mr. Baker and family came to Mishawaka, where they have since resided. Tomorrow night would have been his 38th wedding anniversary, and it was to have been celebrated by a family reunion.

The funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon, from the Methodist church, Rev. B. A. Kemp officiating.

Newspaper: The Tribune
Date of Publication: September 14, 1894
Volume Number: 11
Issue Number: 23
Page: 4
Column(s): 3

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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