BAKER, ANDERSON YANCEY
BAKER, ANDERSON YANCEY (1874–1930). A. Y. Baker, political boss of Hidalgo County from 1918 to 1930, was born in Uvalde in 1874, the son of Thomas G. and Verda (Bates) Baker. The elder Baker was a Spanish-American War veteran. A. Y. Baker joined the Texas Rangers in 1896 and went to the Rio Grande valley. As a ranger he made valuable allies and was accused of brutal acts. In one such incident in Cameron County, Ramón de la Cerda, owner of a small ranch abutting the King Ranch, was killed. The next year, 1903, Baker was brought to trial for the murders of Cerda and his brother. Baker's defense attorney, James B. Wells, Jr., argued self-defense and won an acquittal. In 1904 Baker retired from the rangers and started work as a mounted customs inspector, in which capacity he began to build an agriculture and real estate fortune from lands he acquired inexpensively. During this period he also married Lena Sapington.
He left his job with the United States Customs Bureau in 1908, when he was elected treasurer of Hidalgo County. In 1912 he exchanged offices with Sheriff John Closner, the county boss who wanted to be treasurer. Baker became boss in early 1918 when Closner was charged with misappropriation of county funds and forced to resign his position as treasurer. The foundation of Baker's political control of Hidalgo County was his patriarchal relationship with local Mexican Americans. He provided charitable favors to them and supported the segregated Mexican schools. Enemies disparaged him as "the multimillionaire sheriff of Hidalgo County." Baker, president of the Edinburg State Bank, was indeed a millionaire, who lived in what his wife described as a "palatial mansion." He died of a stroke on November 1, 1930, in Edinburg and was survived by his wife and three children. See also BOSS RULE.
Evan Anders, Boss Rule in South Texas: The Progressive Era (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982). Catherine Baker, "Through a Woman's Eyes," Junior Historian, December 1964. San Antonio Express, November 3, 1930. E. F. Smith, A Saga of Texas Law (San Antonio: Naylor, 1940).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Laura Caldwell, "BAKER, ANDERSON YANCEY," accessed February 21, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fba19.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 24, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.