My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Adair County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

William Thomas Baird, cashier of the First National Bank, was born in Carroll County, Ky., in 1835. His early life was spent on a farm in that county. His education was such as could be had at the country school. His first start for himself after his majority was in teaching a district school in Grant County, Ky. In March, 1857, he left his native home, and with Prof. W. P. Nason came direct to Adair County, Mo., and taught school for seven months in Judge D. A. Ely’s district north of Kirksville, then taught four months southeast of town, and afterward in the town of Kirksville for one year. In all these schools he gave satisfaction to patrons and pupils. In the fall of 1859 the Kirksville branch of the Bank of St. Louis was organized, and Mr. Baird was elected as clerk. In 1863 he was chosen cashier, and continued in that position till the bank wound up its business under an act of the Legislature relating to branch banks in Missouri. In 1866 he took charge of the private bank of Stebbins & Porter, which he conducted one year, at which time Mr. Baird, with Mr. S. Reed, bought them out, the firm of Baird & Reed continued the business for another year. At the expiration of that period, Melone & Epperson, of Macon, Mo., bought Mr. Reed’s interest, and the style of the firm then became Baird, Melone & Co., the management meantime devolving upon Mr. Baird, the other members of the firm being non-resident partners. The business was continued by this firm for ten years very successfully, passing through the financial crisis of 1873 without the least difficulty, while many banks all over the country were compelled to succumb to the hard times. In 1878 Mr. Baird bought the interest of his partners, and continued the business alone for four years, likewise successfully. In 1882 he organized the First National Bank of Kirksville, Mo. He owns a controlling interest in the capital stock, and has since been cashier and manager of said bank, which has been and now is in successful operation, and has the unbounded confidence of the entire business community. Mr. Baird is a self-made man, and has passed through life with an integrity unsullied, and an honor unstained. Eminently successful in his business, yet the poor, the needy, the worthy have ever found him a friend, whose heart and purse were opened to encourage and sustain. His means have not been hoarded, but expended in and upon all worthy enterprises. As a banker and a financier, he has no superior and few equals; as a neighbor, kind and sympathetic; as a citizen, broad and enterprising. He was acting treasurer of the county four years, also acting commissioner of the common schools of the county for a time; was treasurer of the building and loan association two years; is treasurer of the city of Kirksville at the present time; is treasurer of the Synod of Missouri of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and is and has been treasurer of the North Missouri State Normal School since its beginning as a private school; is a life member of the American Bible Society of New York; is also a member of the board of publication of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn. In the year 1857, during a revival meeting conducted by Rev. J. E. Sharp (now of Marshall, Mo.), Mr. Baird made a profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus as his Savior, and united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which he has since been a member. In this relation his usefulness has constantly been growing. In personal work he has been active and efficient. For a quarter of a century he has been superintendent of a large and prosperous Sunday-school, and a ruling elder in the church, attending the sessions, presbyteries, synods and general assemblies and Sunday-school conventions with promptness and zeal, taking an active interest in their deliberations. In addition to his personal work lie has been a helper of other workers, with a generous and continuous beneficence. For a number of years he was District Deputy Grand Master of the Second Masonic District of Missouri, and for seven consecutive years was Master o£ his lodge. In August, 1858, Mr. Baird was married to Mattie C., daughter of Matthew P. Hannah, she being a native of Randolph County, Mo. To them were born four children—one son and three daughters. Two of the daughters are deceased; the son, Frank, is assistant cashier of the First National Bank. The entire family are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The father, Barzilla Adams Baird, was a native of Paris, Ky., and of Scotch descent, born November 24, 1803. In early life he moved with his parents to Grant County, Ky. It was in Carroll County, Ky., however, that he married Mary, a daughter of Rev. Reuben Scanland, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. To them were born three sons and four daughters. Sometime after her death in 1846, he married Eliza Wright, by whom he had six children. The thirteen children are all living. After a successful life as a farmer, he died September 20, 1885.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 150 biographies included in the Adair County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam, and Schuyler Counties, Missouri published in 1888 by Goodspeed Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Adair County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Adair County, Missouri family biographies here: Adair County, Missouri Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.