Personal Gen Sites
Baird, Ely D.
Cunningham, Franklin A.
Dodd, William B.
Gaither, J. W.
Johnson, James W.
LaForge, Pierre A.
Sanders, James F.
Walker, John H.
Watkins, James H.
Webb, George B.
Wilks, John E.
Wilks, John E. - 2
Submitted by Carolyn from History of Southeast Missouri by Robert Sidney Douglas, A. B., LL. B. Publishers: The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York, 1912
Born in humble circumstances and reared in poverty, Ely D. Baird has sturdily overcome obstacles and difficulties that have beset his pathway and now stands as a typical representative of the self made men of Pemiscot county, being numbered among the keen, progressive and business-like farmers who are so ably conducting the agricultural interests of this part of the state, his well cultivated farm being situated in Hayti township. He was born February 22, 1866, in Harrison County, Kentucky, which was likewise the birthplace of his father, Thomas Baird, who spent his entire life in the Blue Grass state, dying in Bullitt county in 1899 in his sixtieth year. Mr. Baird’s mother, whose maiden name was Kate Michael, was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, and died in Hayti, Missouri, October 16, 1906.
His parent having a large family of children and being very poor, Ely D. Baird had no educational advantages whatever as a boy, never attending a public school for a day. After his marriage, however, he studied under his wife's instructions, passed the literary examination for admission to the Kentucky School of Medicine, in Louisville, Kentucky, where he subsequently spent a year. (Note in the margin written in pencil by one of his children: "Left when school burned down and practiced on animals [vet medicine] on & off during the remainder of his life.") When eighteen years old he ran away from home, going to Louisville, where he boarded a steamboat, and as a stowaway in the hold came down the Mississippi to Missouri, a companion furnishing him with grub left by Negro crew during the trip. Securing work in the cotton fields, he proved himself exceedingly apt at the labor, and within six weeks was the champion picker, taking every prize for cotton picking that was put up in Dunklin county.
Ambitious and resourceful, Mr. Baird made a point of saving his earnings, and when he had accumulated a sufficient sum to warrant in so doing bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in Dunklin county, near Holcomb, paying one dollar and a quarter an acre. Fourteen years later he disposed of that property for thirty-five dollars an acre to Dr. C. G. Drace, now of Kennett, a very good increase in those days. He subsequently bought his present farm of two hundred and twenty-six acres near Hayti, Pemiscot county, giving forty dollars an acre for the tract, which is now worth fully one hundred dollars an acre. He has made improvements of an excellent character on his place, each year adding to its beauty and value, and is now engaged in general farming and stock raising on an extensive scale, and is meeting with eminent success in his operations. Mr. Baird grows cotton, corn and alfalfa, and raises hogs, cattle, horses and mules, finding each branch of industry profitable in the years that have elapsed since he came here, in 1887, having accumulated a handsome property. He established a general store at his farm two and one-half miles east of Hayti in October, 1911, and is successfully conducting the same in connection with his farming operations.
Mr. Baird married, in 1887, Jane Burns, a native of Bullitt county, Kentucky, and they are the parents of four children, namely: John, Pearl, Leslie, and Juanita. In his political relations Mr. Baird is a stanch supporter of the principles of the Democratic party. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Brotherhood of America and of the Modern Woodmen of America, at Hayti. Mrs. Baird belongs to the Royal Neighbors, and is a member of the Baptist church.
First Families in Pemiscot, Missouri
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