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Biographies : United States



The biographical sketches below are people whose second christian name is Baird either through their mother's maiden name or some other means. Also listed are prominent individuals who have married Baird persons, or known by another name but are related to a Baird.

Bryan, William Jennings 1860 - 1925 [ Congressman ]

Mr and Mrs Bryan

Congressman from Nebraska, three-time presidential candidate (1896, 1900, and 1908), and later Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. Sometimes known as "the Boy Orator of the Platte," is a native of Illinois. born in Salem, Marion County, March 19, 1860. He entered the Illinois College at Jacksonville in 1878, graduating with honors in 1881. He later attended a law school in Chicago, and began the practice of his profession at Jacksonville, Ill., In 1887 he removed to Lincoln, Neb. From his earliest years he had a fancy for public speaking and 1880 he won second prize as the representative of Illinois College in the State collegiate oratorical contest.
In religion he is a Presbyterian, and married Miss Mary E. Baird, the only daughter of a prosperous merchant in Perry, Ill. After the birth of her first child Mrs. Bryan began the study of law, with her husband as instructor, taking one course prescribed by the college from which he graduated. She was admitted to the bar in 1888. She never thought to practice. Her only motive was to aid her husband in his life work. Their children are Ruth, aged eleven; William J., Jr., aged six, and Grace, aged five.
In 1925 Bryan faced off in the courtroom against Clarence Darrow in the famous 'Scopes Trial,' held in Dayton, Tennessee. The trial tested whether evolution could be taught in schools, and Bryan represented the views of creationists who supported a literal interpretation of the Biblical creation story. Though Bryan won, the conviction of John Scopes a Tennessee teacher, was later overturned. Bryan died a week after the trial. Mrs and Mrs Bryan pictured above.

Douglass, Thomas Baird 1841 - 1902 [ School Founder ]

Was born in Glasgow, Scotland, August 7 1841. At the age of nine he came with his parents to Waukon, Iowa. October 2, 1862, at the age of twenty-one, enlisted in the 27th Iowa Infantry of the Union Forces. During the fighting in the Civil War, he was captured and taken to the Andersonville Prison in southwest Georgia. Fortunately, he was able to tunnel his way out of this infamous prison. He mustered out of the Union Army in Dec, 1864, and became a proud member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1868, Thomas returned to Iowa, married Matilda Hannah Ewing and had a family of eleven children. The wanderlust and the desire for a better life led him and his family from Iowa to many parts and finally in a covered wagon pulled by an ox-team to the Dakota Territory near the present Box Elder.

On a tract about ten miles east of Rapid City on Box Elder Creek, he took up a homestead and timber claim. This homestead was about 360 acres of some of the most fertile land in the valley with Box Elder Creek running through it. He raised livestock, and was a mule skinner - he freighted with a ten-mule team from Pierre to Deadwood. Consequently, he became friends with such personalities as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. He was an entrepreneur as he also had the contract to grade the streets of Pierre. During all these transactions he became acquainted with "old timers" such as Bill Cody and Granberg Behrens. Because the Douglass family had brought an organ with them, the only one for miles around, guests such as Buffalo Bill had many enjoyable evenings singing and listening to the music of this organ.

Linguistically gifted, he spoke Lakota fluently and was a friend of Chief Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Crazy Horse who had been born on Box Elder Creek. Nevertheless, he joined other Civil War veterans at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Thomas Baird Douglass had the nickname "Lonesome Tom" because he was the only Republican in his precinct. Nevertheless, this was no deterrent to getting a school for his family. He got the farmers in the area interested and together they built a one-room wooden structure so their children could learn. April 21, 1891, the Douglas Precinct school, our present Douglas School District, was formed. July 5, 1890, Thomas's wife, Matilda, died at age 40. The family continued to live near Box Elder two more years before they were forced to separate and sent to live with various relatives. Thomas is buried in Missoula, Montana, where he was killed by a train May 2, 1902.

Eaton, Abel E 1834 - [ Teacher - Mill Owner ]

Mr. Eaton was born, on May 20, 1834, in Conway, Carroll county, New Hampshire, he entered the ranks of the educators of the then west. - Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and taught successfully for a number of years. On May 7, 1862, he left these scenes and came to the wilderness of the west, making the journey in the fashion then prevalent, by ox teams. His cash capital was seven dollars and fifty cents when he landed where Baker City now stands, and inside of six years he had one hundred yoke of oxen and two six-mule teams, which enabled him to do a large business. About 1867, he settled on a farm in the Grande Ronde valley. Then erected a woolen mill in Union, and for its size has a reputation second to none in the west.
In 1867 Mr. Eaton and Miss Mary E. Baird were married, and faithfully she walked by his side as the real helpmeet for twenty-seven years and then at the age of forty-three was called by the rude hand of death to the rewards of her faithful service in another world. Her remains peacefully sleep in the cemetery at Union. The second marriage of Mr. Eaton was with Miss Mary L., Shaw, a native of Scotland. For thirty-five years Mr. Eaton has been a steady and earnest worker in the Methodist church. For one term he was mayor of the city of Union. Mr. Eaton has been president of the county Pioneer Society. Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties 1902

Favill, Henry Baird 1860 - aft 1893 [ Medical Practitioner ]

A successful practitioner and popular citizen of Madison, Dane County, WI, was born in this city on 14 Aug 1860. He is one of three children: two sisters, Therese, and Eleanor Tenney, whose husband is a prosperous attorney of Chicago, IL. John Favill, father of the subject, was a native of Herkimer County, NY. Louisa Baird, mother of the subject, was a native of Green Bay [Brown County], WI. John Favill was a physician, received his medical education at Harvard University, practiced two years in Lake Mills [Jefferson County], WI, whence he removed, in 1848, to Madison, WI, where he was well and favorably known for a great many years, and died in Madison, Dane County, WI, in Dec 1883. Louisa (Baird) Favill still survives, and resides in Madison, WI, where she is the center of a large circle of friends. Her father, Henry S. Baird, of Green Bay, WI, was a prominent man in the early history of WI. He was at one time Attorney General of the, then, Territory of WI, and did efficient work in the advancement of its best interests. Henry S. Bairdís maternal grandmother, Elizabeth T. Baird, was a prominent character in the early civilization of WI. She descended in blood from the ruling chiefs of the Ottawa nation, with a mixture of French and Scotch, and was a great niece of President Monroe.

Our subject, received his early education under the efficient instruction of his worthy mother, after which he attended the high school of Madison, WI, until he was 15 years of age. The following year he entered the State University, at which he graduated at the age of 19 years. Thence he went to the Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL, at which he graduated in 1883. He began the practice of medicine, previous to leaving college, in the Cook County Hospital, in Chicago. On completing his studies, he returned to Madison, where he engaged with his father in the practice of medicine, which partnership was dissolved by the death of the revered parent, since which time he has continued alone. He has a general practice, devoting himself to no special branch of his profession. He is also special lecturer on Medical Jurisprudence in the law department of the University of WI. And married 17 Jun 1885 to Susan Cleveland Platt, an intelligent lady, and a native of Brooklyn. They have one child, John, born 09 Sep 1886.
Biographical Review of Dane County, WI. Chicago: Biographical Review Pub. Co. 1893, Vol II, p 521

Harrison, Ninia [ Co Founder - Baker ]

Ninia Lilla (Harrison) Baird baked the bread and gave birth to the son that made Mrs. Baird's Bakeries possible. Roland W. Baird, Sr., the company's founder, was the sixth of her eight children. His father, William Jasper Baird, moved his family to Fort Worth in 1900. The Baird's Fort Worth neighbors were the first to become acquainted with her bread, in 1908. Nine-year-old Roland helped knead the dough while standing on a box at the kitchen table. In the beginning Ninnie would give away her pies, cakes and bread. In 1912 William Baird, her husband, died of diabetes, a then incurable disease. The family had been supplementing their income for some years selling Ninnie's baked pies, cakes and breads. At first the boys delivered their bread on bicycles, but the delivery area soon grew so large that by 1915 the Baird's converted the family buggy into a delivery vehicle. The horse, Ned, knew the route so well that after each stop he started trotting down the street towards the next house buying bread.

The Baird family soon built a small bakery in their backyard. In 1920, they built their first plant in Forth Worth. Eight years later, Roland, who had been to business school, was married and had four children, moved the family and its business to Dallas. A third bakery was built in Houston in 1938, and a fourth in Abilene in 1948, making it the largest independent bakery in the U.S. Roland retired in 1954. Ninia died on June 3, 1961. Both are buried at the Baird family ranch in Johnson City, which was purchased by Roland in 1951.

Owen, Ruth Bryan 1885-1954 [ Congresswoman ]

Ruth Bryan Owen

Born in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., October 2, 1885; educated in public schools, Lincoln, Nebr.; attended Monticello Seminary, Godfrey, Ill., and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Mrs Owen was the first women to represent the "old south" in Congress, She was a widow and the mother of four when she was elected to Congress in 1928, eight years after women obtained the right to vote; she sponsored a Cabinet-level Department of Home and Child and wrote legislation to create Everglades National Park. She was the first Congresswoman to serve on a major committee. President Roosevelt appointed her minister to Denmark in 1933, which was a diplomatic first for women. He later appointed her to the drafting committee for the United Nations charter. In 1948, President Truman named her an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly.
She was born into an environment of public service as daughter of William Jennings Bryan and Mary Baird. She began her speaking career as a young girl stumping for her father when he was battling for the presidency of the United States. During the first World War she was Joint Secretary-Treasurer with Mrs Herbert Hoover of the American Women's War Relief Fund in London and later served as a nurse in the Egypt-Palestine campaign.
As Congresswoman it has been said that she had as large an influence on legislation as any Congressman ever had during one term. She was no less successful during her three years in the diplomatic service as Minister to Denmark. Today Mrs Owen is engaged in the most varied activities. In addition to writing and lecturing, she is a member of the American Greenland Commission, collaborator with the United States Travel Bureau, member of The Adult Education Board of Columbia Broadcasting Company, member of the Board of Regents of the University of Miami and visiting Professor in Government and Social Science at Monticello College, Godfrey, Illinois. Mrs Owen holds four honorary degrees. As member of the Advisory Board of the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, she is especially well equipped to speak with authority and first hand knowledge on prisons and prison reform. She died in Copenhagen, where she had gone to receive a royal award

Schenck, Benjamin Baird 1809- [ Medical Practitioner ]

Was born in Charlestown, Montgomery country, in the same State, on July 10th, 1809. His father, Rudolf Schenck, of New Jersey, was of German extraction. In 1815, he emigrated to the most northwestern portion of Onondaga county, accompanied by his wife, a daughter of Major William. Baird, and six children. At an early age his services were made useful in clearing the land and working the farm, his education being obtained at odd times in the common or district schools. He entered the private school of T. W. Allis, Skaneateles, in November, 1832. Then in June, 1834, he attended Homer Academy and began the study of medicine, under Jas. H. Skinner, M. D., in Plainville, and attended his first course of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Fairfield, N. Y. in 1835-36. Then attended lectures at the Geneva College, N. Y, graduating in 1838.

He began practice in Plainville, N. Y., and soon monopolized the entire patronage of his vicinity. In 1844, he united with the Christian Church, and four years after was ordained a minister of the Gospel by its Conference. As he presented the Scriptures in a literal light, his early popularity waned, and he was dropped from the list of preachers as "out of harmony with the Church", in 1852.

Some three years previously, he had commenced an examination of Homeopathy, by reading Hahnemann's "Organon," and Hartman's "Acute and Chronic Diseases." Continuing his investigations patiently through 1849 and '50, he adopted Homeopathy as his mode of practice. In 1852, he took his brother-in-law, who had been his student for three years, into partnership, and in two years retired in his favor. Then he entered into mercantile business, but the crisis of 1857, and the war, seriously embarrassed him. His brother-in-law having removed to Memphis, N. Y., he was prevailed upon to resume the practice, which continued to grow steadily. In June, 1838, he married Harriet, daughter of Capt. R. Sullivan, of Seneca county.

Vance, Zebulon Baird. 1830-1894 [ Lawyer - Govenor - Senator ]

Zebulon Baird Vance

Best known as North Carolina's Civil War Governor, was born in Buncombe County in the North Carolina mountains on May 13, 1830. His family was Scotch-Irish on both sides and he was the third of eight children of David Vance and Mira Baird, daughter of Zebulon Baird, who was a prosperous merchant, and built the first log courthouse and jail in Asheville. In 1797 he laid off in lots about 63 acres of land for the town of Asheville. He was one of the town's first five commissioners, and for a number of terms represented Buncombe County in the state legislature.
During the American Revolution his grandfather, Colonel David Vance, had fought at Germantown, Brandywine, and the Battle of Monmouth. His uncle, Dr. Robert Brank Vance, was a congressman from 1824 to 1826 and Vance's father was a captain during the War of 1812. The family lived in the house Colonel David Vance had built in the 1790s. Young Zeb was sent to Washington College in East Tennessee when he was about twelve, but at fourteen he had to leave school and come home when his father died. When he turned twenty-one he wrote to former Governor Swain, who was at that time president of the University at Chapel Hill, and asked for a loan so he could enter Law School. Governor Swain arranged for a $300 loan from the University and after a reportedly brilliant academic year, Vance was granted his County Court license in Raleigh in late 1851. The next year he went to Asheville and began to practice law.

The young lawyer first ventured into electoral politics when he was only twenty-four years old as the Whig candidate for a seat in the State House of Commons. He won that election against an opponent twice his age. In his whole career he was only defeated once at the polls, in 1856, when David Coleman and not Vance became the State Senator from Buncombe. He bounced back in 1858 and won his first congressional seat, to which he was re-elected in 1860. When Vance first came to Washington he was, at age 28, the youngest member of Congress and one of the strongest Southern supporters of the Union. In March of 1861 however, when indications were that the North Carolina legislature was going to vote for secession, Vance resigned his seat and came home.
When the ordinance of secession was passed that May, Vance was already a captain in Raleigh commanding the company he had raised. The company was known as the "Rough and Ready Guards" and Vance and his men soon became part of the Fourteenth Regiment. Subsequently in August he was elected colonel of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina. He became the "soldier's candidate" for North Carolina governor. He took office in September 1862 and was re-elected in 1864.

At the end of 1865 he went to Charlotte and resumed practicing law. He also began a new career on the lecture circuit and used the monies earned to maintain his family and satisfy old debts. In 1870 the governor won one of the North Carolina seats in the U.S. Senate, but still being under parole, was not allowed to serve. But six years later, by a majority of 13,000 votes, he defeated Thomas Settle and was voted into his third term as North Carolina's governor. During this third term the remaining federal troops left North Carolina. This third term was a short one, for in 1878 Governor Vance became U.S. Senator Vance, an office he held until his death on April 14, 1894, he is buried in Asheville's Riverside Cemetery.
Zebulon Vance was married twice. He was first married in 1853 to Miss Harriet Espy. Two years after his first wife's death in 1878, the Governor was married in 1880 to Mrs. Florence Steele Martin of the State of Kentucky. Governor Vance was the father of four sons by his first marriage.

Weaver, James Baird 1833-1912 [ Politician ]

James Weaver

Born in Dayton Ohio on June 12, 1833, and graduate from the Cincinnati Law School in 1856, beginning to practice at Bloomfield, Iowa. In 1861, he entered the Union Army as a lieutenant and was promoted to colonel for conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Corinth Mississippi in 1862. After the Civil War, Weaver as a Republican was a district attorney and a federal assessor of internal revenue in Iowa for some years. Transferring his allegiance to the Greenback Party, he was later elected to Congress on its ticket in 1878 and again in 1884 and 1886. In 1880 he was the Greenback candidate for president, polling about 308,578 votes. He later joined in organizing the Peopleís Party, which nominated him for the presidency in 1892, when he won 22 electoral votes and a popular suffrage of about one million votes. After 1895 he lived in Colfax, Iowa and was a mayor of the city for two years. His political philosophy is expounded in A Call to Action.

Wesson, Daniel Baird 1825-1906 [ Gunsmith - Inventor ]

Gunsmith, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. After serving an apprenticeship with his brother, he engaged in the making of firearms. His long association with Horace Smith (1853-5, 1857-73) was profitable for both men; they patented a new type of repeating pistol (1854) and the Smith and Wesson revolver (1857). After Smith's retirement (1873), Wesson worked alone (1873-83) and then brought two of his sons into the business. His most notable achievement was his development of the first metal cartridge used in ordnance, making breech-loading rifles possible.


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