Archibald Baxter was born at Saddle Hill, Otago, in 1881. One of eight children, he left school aged 12 to follow his father into farming. After two years' military incarceration and ill treatment overseas as a conscientious objector he returned to New Zealand in 1918. He married Millicent Macmillan Brown and they had two children - Terence, who was imprisoned for refusing conscription during World War II, and James K. Baxter, who went on to become one of the country's most well-known literary figures. Archibald Baxter died in 1970.