Good Old Dorchester: A Narrative History of the Town, 1630-1893. By William Dana Orcutt. Cambridge, 1893.
James Baker was born September 5, 1739, and owing to the gentleness of his disposition, his parents were induced to fit him for the ministry. With this in view he went through Harvard college, graduating in 1760, and then began to study theology with the Rev. Jonathan Bowman, the minister of Dorchester, whose son-in-law he afterwards became. While fitting for his profession, Mr. Baker taught school, and this delayed him in getting started in the ministry. It soon became apparent that his extreme diffidence would prevent him from performing the duties of a minister; so he voluntarily gave up the idea, and began to study medicine, teaching school at intervals during this period. The profession of medicine, however, proved distasteful to him; and he laid in a stock of merchandise, and opened a store. In 1780, he saw that there were great possibilities in the chocolate business; so he closed his store, and began to manufacture chocolate. The success of this undertaking as remarkable, and “Baker’s Chocolate” has been manufactured ever since, now being known in all parts of the world. By careful attention to his business, and fortunate investments, Mr. Baker became a rich man, and retired on his wealth. The latter part of his life was devoted to reading and study in his library. He died January 2, 1825.