Family Feuds

The Bakers are the source of many colorful stories. The were involved in one of the longest and bloodiest family feuds in U.S. history which began in 1943 when Dr. Thomas Baker (a grandson of Julius Bob) shot John Bales. Dr. Baker and John Bales were both married to daughters of John White and the two young couples became more intimate than is usual in this mountain country. Dr. Baker became insanely jealous of his wife and Bales. Finally in a fit of rage, he deserted her and began suit for divorce but suddenly withdrew it. He went to the salt works, where Bates worked in Manchester, called him to the door and shot him with an old-fashioned “pepper box” pistol. Bates died, but while he was dying he cursed Baker and authorized $10,000 from his estate to be used toward the capture and conviction Baker. The feud lasted for 59 years and took over 100 lives before it ended.