Bakers of Buckland Society

"I now come to write about the branch of the stock from which I myself more immediately descended," S.J. Baker

Preservation Projects

Closed for 2021: Support the Buckland Elementary School Pandas!

The Buckland Elementary School building sits on historic Buckland Plantation lands, and as part of our commitment to support and fortify the communities of these historic lands, in 2019, Bakers of Buckland Society formally opened an on-going fundraising project to raise money to support this school.

100% of all donations made to the school will be donated directly to them. Don’t forget that any donation you make to our organization (including this) is tax deductible! If you wish to donate to this cause, please contact Susan Wooldridge at Or otherwise, you can use this PayPal link:

Join us and become part of the solution!

Completed Project: Restoration of the Dr. Simmons Jones Baker Painting

What was the problem?  Chips of paint have fallen off the original portrait, which has been stored in a drawer at the Grand Masonic Lodge in Raleigh, NC for several years. The painting would have continued to deteriorate if it had not been restored and now preserved. The photograph below was taken in May 2014. The State Capitol is interested in displaying this portrait now that it is restored and framed because this man laid the original cornerstone for the State Capitol Building in 1831.


More About this Portrait:

Dr. Simmons Jones Baker was an influential man in North Carolina. You can read about him in this article from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography.

Regarding the portrait: Dr. Simmons Jones Baker was elected twice as the Grand Mason for North Carolina. The Masons commissioned a portrait of Dr. Baker to be hung in their hall alongside other Grand Mason portraits. Several years ago the Grand Lodge commissioned a new and smaller portrait to be made from the original. The new painting is cared for. The original painting was removed from its frame and placed in a drawer with other portraits.

What Happened –

  • We partnered with the Masons in Raleigh, NC to commission professional restoration and preservation framing of the painting.
  • On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, members were invited to the Grand Lodge in Raleigh to view the restored portrait. At that time, Josiah Baker of Bakers of Buckland Society, Inc. presented Walt Clapp, Grand Secretary, with a check for $1800.

The Buckland Plantation House

It is still standing, but it is not inhabitable.


More About the Plantation House:

The remnants of Buckland Plantation (93 acres of land and an old, decaying, empty mansion) lie in Gates County, NC, on Buckland Mill Branch, five miles south of the Virginia line.  The old mansion is Buckland Plantation’s third manor house. It was built in the year 1775 or 1795 by William Baker, who was the great grandson of Henry Baker I (of Isle of Wight). Henry Baker had inherited the Plantation’s original 2,750 acres in the year 1670 from his father-in-law, Col. John Blake.


  • A member of our organization has offered to sponsor a restoration project for this structure.
  • The project approval is pending, as the Sponsor needs to provide project plans and meet other criteria.
  • If you would like to serve on this committee, please send an email to and we will  put you in touch with the potential sponsor.

Neglected Hidden Baker Cemetery

A dangerous place to visit.  No care taking, no signage, and no road leads to the cemetery where Dr. Simmons Jones Baker and his family are buried.


More About this Cemetery:

The land wherein this cemetery lies is used by a hunting club. The cemetery is severely overgrown and hidden by trees. There is a black, rusty fence that runs around the perimeter of a small cemetery within a larger cemetery. A monument is found within the fence. In a wider area outside of the perimeter of the fence, hidden in vegetation, are deep holes where graves have been washed out from flooding. Dangerous snakes and spiders live in the thick vegetation that covers the land.  For safety reasons: do not visit this cemetery in the spring, or if there has been excessive rain.  You could slip and fall into an open grave, or you could get bit by snakes and spiders.  Also, you need to make sure that you have clear navigational instructions so that you do not get lost finding it.  This cemetery is part of the heritage of a number of families and it is part of many family legends. People come from all over the nation to find it, and some people have reported getting lost while wandering in the woods in their attempts to find it. It is very obviously important to address the safety problems with this cemetery.

Possible Plans

  • We do not have a sponsor for this project yet, however it is badly needed.
  • To address safety concerns, we need to fill in the open graves so that people do not fall into them.
  • We also need roadsigns so it can be found.
  • To protect the landowners from potential litigation, it is also important to install some kind of a clear path or road for people to use to access the cemetery without trespassing on private property.
  • We also need to clear the area and restore care taking of the property, as is feasible.

The Marmaduke Lawrence Cemetery, Gates, NC

Only one headstone remains, and the grounds are no longer formally recognized as a cemetery.

Marmaduke Lawrence CemCROP

More About the Cemetery:

The one remaining headstone is Margaret Baker Wynn’s. She was buried on this land while it was still held by the Baker family. There are sunken areas that indicate several other graves. We believe it is possible that this is the site of the original Baker cemetery and that the three Henrys and William Baker may have been buried here as well.

A 1940 cemetery survey identifies this piece of ground as “The Marmaduke Lawrence Cemetery” and says that it is a “large cemetery.” The survey also says: “This cemetery is in very poor condition, There are honey-suckle vines and little bushes grov1ing all over it. Holly trees, oak trees and pine trees are also.” Unfortunately, the survey only identifies two of the graves: Margaret Baker Wynn’s and her one year old baby boy, Thomas. We also know that Dr. Edward Neal was supposed to be buried here, although he is not mentioned in the survey.

No plans yet.  These are ideas:

  • Shall work with the county to establish this ground as a cemetery?
  • Shall we investigate old records and attempt to discover other individuals buried here?
  • Shall we install signage to help people find it?

6 comments on “Preservation Projects

  1. Karen D. Rocher
    December 24, 2015

    Please go to the above link. There is apparently a book written in 1985.

    • Susan Wooldridge
      December 26, 2015

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks for visiting our website, and thanks for the link. Here is a quote from your link:
      “there is an unpublished work (booklet) on file at the North Carolina State Library in Raleigh, N.C. called “Buckland Plantation” written by Thomas F. Baker in Nov. 1985.

      You might be interested to know that we have worked with this author to publish an updated version of this very same book. Here is a link to Thomas Baker’s current book:

  2. Crystal R.
    March 24, 2021

    Accidentally stumbled across the book last year and just hit me to do more research and found your site here. I am from the county always heard the stories and rode by the Plantation House many times. Honestly wondering if there could be more awareness for your Organization. I completely never heard of it before and I believe in preserving the history of this county and what you are doing is amazing.

  3. Crystal
    March 28, 2021

    I am wondering if you have tried getting the word out. I’m from the other side of the county but have seen the Buckland Plantation from the road driving by and never knew about your projects to restore the Buckland Plantation house until I found the book. I also never knew about the cemeteries til now. You have a story to tell and a history to preserve I’m sure not just for your family but for this County the Buckland area holds a huge legacy.

  4. Christopher Futrell
    April 20, 2021

    I have always loved this this home and it’s significant architectural Presence in our area. I would love to know more about it being restored or saved thanks. Christopher S Futrell

    • James baker
      November 13, 2022

      Yes I have heard a lot about the plantation and it family and I am one of the family I have looked up the history of it,it go back to the 1600 hundreds,the family came from England and the were more than one plantation,there were around 7or 8 I read and looked it up it was in my family

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