Woman of the Century/Ida Wikoff Baker
BAKER, Miss Ida Wikoff, business woman, born in Decatur, Ill., 31st July, 1859. Her father, Peter Montfort Wikoff, was a native of Warren county, Ohio, who removed with his father to Illinois while quite young. He was a descendant of Peter Cloesen Wikoff, who came from Holland in 1636 and settled on Long Island, where he held a position under the Dutch Government. He married Margaret Van Ness. Mrs. Baker's mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Fletcher, was born near Crotches' Ferry, Md. On 25th April, 1878, Ida was married to Joseph N. Baker, then a merchant of Decatur, and now connected with the Citizens' National Bank. Of two children born to them, one, a daughter aged nine, is living. In 1889 Mrs. Baker's sister, Miss Laura B. Wikoff, set on foot a plan to organize a stock company composed of women only, for the purpose of promoting the industrial, educational and social advancement of women, and for literary, scientific and musical culture in the city of Decatur. Articles of incorporation were issued to the Woman's Club Stock Company 15th August, 1889, and a building was finished and occupied by the first tenant 1st November, 1890. Mrs. Baker was named one of the nine directors at the first annual meeting, was elected secretary of the stock company 12th January, 1891, and has served in that capacity ever since. In December, 1889, the Woman's Exchange was established as a branch of the Industrial and Charitable Union. Mrs. Baker was elected president and served until forced by illness to resign. After partly regaining her health, she served as treasurer and business manager. She is a member of the Woman's Club, of the Order of the Eastern Star, and of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Her life is one of constant activity.