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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Edward Bird

England has given to California no more enthusiastic citizen than is to be found in Mr. Bird, a rancher located four miles from Santa Rosa, on Rural Route No. 5. Born in Shropshire, England, in 1843, he was reared and educated in the locality of his birth, and the first employment which he followed after attaining mature years was as a farm hand. He had a considerable experience along this line when, in 1865, at the age of twenty-two, he came with his brother James to the United States. The voyage across the Atlantic was accomplished without incident worthy of note and the vessel finally landed its burden of human freight in the harbor of New York. For a short time the brothers remained in the vicinity of this metropolis, and then went to Pittsburg, Pa., remaining there altogether about three years, when they came west as far as Iowa. Two years were passed in that state, when they again took up the westward march, this removal taking them to South Dakota, Clay county profiting by their citizenship for about thirty years, or until 1895.

In the year just mentioned Edward Bird came to California and located in Sonoma county on the property he still owns and occupies, four miles from Santa Rosa, on Rural Route No. 5. Here he has fifty-five acres of unexcelled land, well suited to the raising of the produce which, he has planted it to. Thirty acres are in small fruits, prunes, grapes and berries, while the remainder of the land is in grain. Diversified farming is the wisest policy to follow in the opinion of Mr. Bird, for in the possible shortage or failure of one crop, the others will bring in an income and make any loss less apparent. He has been exceptionally successful, however, and during the season of 1909, he gathered six tons of grapes, about the same returns from his prune trees, and a large crop of luscious berries.

In Clay county, S. Dak., Mr. Bird was united in marriage with Miss Mary Haver, who died three years later, in 1875. Two children were born of this marriage, both sons, but the elder one only, John E., born in 1873, is now living. In October, 1882, in Lodi, Clay county, S. Dak., Mr. Bird was married to his present wife. In maidenhood she was Miss Phebe Smith, born in Van Buren county, Iowa, in 1840, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Prine) Smith, natives of Canada and Kentucky respectively. Her first marriage united her with Michael Harrington, who died in 1881, and in the following year she became the wife of Mr. Bird. She is an exceptionally broad and intelligent woman, interested in the welfare of humanity, as is practically demonstrated in the work which she attempts and accomplishes in the cause of temperance. She is also especially interested in the Grange, in the work of which she has assisted greatly. She is also an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she is a member, while Mr. Bird holds membership in the Episcopal Church. Both are held in high esteem in the best circles in Santa Rosa, to whose citizenship they have contributed in a marked degree. Politically Mr. Bird is a Republican, and while a resident of South Dakota he held a number of appointive offices in his community

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011