Noah Bird. Pages 771-772 Portrait and Biographical Album

Among the many pleasant and remunerative farms to be found in Trivoli Township, that of the gentleman above named should not e passed unnoted. It comprises one hundred and thirty-five and one-half acres on section 30, all tillable and pastureland, watered by Copperas Creek and divided into two parts by the road. The land is surrounded and divided into fields of convenient size by substantial fences, is furnished with a comfortable dwelling, barns and other outbuildings, a good orchard and an abundant supply of small fruits, and further beautified by groves of forest trees. The dwelling is about five miles from Farmington, thus affording the inmates a convenient trading post.

Mr. Bird is of German descent in the paternal line, and his near ancestors have been natives of the southern States. His grandfather died in Virginia and his father, Henry bird, a native of West Virginia, operated a farm in the Old Dominion. While still single, he removed to Hardin County, Ky., where he married Mary Parker, a Virginia lady. He located on and cleared a farm residing upon it until 1833, when he removed to Macoupin County, IL. There he lived two years upon rented land, then changed his habitation to Peoria County, and after renting land in Trivoli Township some years, purchased a quarter-section in Orion Township, Fulton county. This was raw land, which he placed under excellent improvement, adding to it until at the time of his death his estate amounted to two hundred and forty acres.

Mr. Bird belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church, being an official member of the organization at Concord, whose edifice he helped to build and which he otherwise aided. He was an old-line Whig, and in later years a Democrat. He died in 1872, having passed his three score years and ten. The mother of our subject having died, the father married a second wife.

The gentleman of whom we write was the firstborn of the seven children of this mother, his brothers and sisters being: David, who died in Fulton county; Richard, now living in Iowa; Mrs. Sarah A. Hollingsworth, of Sioux City, Iowa; Joel, whose home is in Northwestern Iowa; Jacob, who lives in Northern Nebraska, and Mrs. Nancy Escue, whose home is in Kansas.

The natal day of our subject was January 13, 1826, and his birthplace Hardin County, Ky., near Elizabethtown. When seven years old he accompanied his parents North, the journey being performed with a four-horse team and wagon over mud and corduroy roads. He helped to drive the stock through, and after the family located did what he could on the farm in the intervals of attendance at the district school. In the spring of 1835 the family came to this county with the same “prairie
schooner,” our subject driving cattle and sheep. Passing through Peoria, which was but a small village, the lad assisted his father on the Fulton County farm, ere long becoming a champion ox-driver, breaking prairie with from five to six yoke and a twenty-four-inch plow with a wooden mold-board. Rattlesnakes were quite numerous, while wild deer, wolves, and foxes abounded, making hunting the prominent excitement and recreation.

When twenty years old young bird rented a farm in Trivoli Township, receiving one-third of its produce for his labors thereon. In 1848, he bought eighty acres of raw land which forms a part of his present estate. It was partially covered with timber, necessitating grubbing as well as breaking, but by dint of perseverance it was ere long placed in good condition. A small frame house was built upon it and the owner turned his attention to farming and stock-raising, Peoria and Reed’s Landing being his markets, and all grain and supplies being hauled to and fro in wagons. After a time he was enabled to buy an additional
eighty acres, which he also improved. The whole now making one of the fine farms of the township, and being worth a much larger sum than the $3.50 per acre which his first purchase cost him.

In the summer of 1865 Mr. Bird, with two brothers and a number of other men, started with ox-teams for Denver, Colorado. Upon reaching Council bluffs, Iowa, our subject thought it would be better to remain in that State and hire out at breaking land. His brothers being of a similar mind, they returned Knox county, Iowa, and bought eight yoke of oxen and two large plows with which they labored in Iowa until July. They received $5.00 an acre, turned the sod on from five to six acres per day, and were enabled to return to their homes with a nice purse which, Mr. Bird says, was the easiest and quickest money he ever made, as he received “spot cash” for his labors.

Upon coming back to his home Mr. Bird again turned his attention to work upon his estate, devoting his energies principally to grain and stock. He has some graded Short-horn cattle, a good grade of hogs, but makes a specialty of horses, having inherited from his father a love of equines which amounts to a hobby. His herd of those animals is the largest in the county and made up of the finest animals, all being standard-bred. Among his herd is a Norman and English draft horse, “Prince,” which now leads the van. He always keeps a stable horse, which is certain to be of good blood.

The first marriage of Mr. Bird was celebrated in this Township in 1845, his bride Miss Margaret A. Reed, a native of Hamilton county. His second marriage took place in Peoria, in 1856, to Miss Susan Ousley, a native of Cass county. This union resulted in the birth of one son, Alva, who is married, living in Fulton county and occupied in farming. The present Mrs. Bird was formerly known as Miss Abigail Mathis. She was born in Hamilton county, and celebrated her nuptial rites in Knox county in
1868. She has borne her husband two children- Ora A. and Edgar M., both of whom are still at home.

Mr. Bird is now President of the School Board, and has been School director about half of the time since he has lived here. He is a sturdy Democrat but interests himself in politics only to the extent of keeping himself well posted and depositing his vote on election day. He has served on both Petit and Grand Juries. The work in which he takes most interest is that of the church, in which he has for many years been prominent. His membership is in the Methodist Episcopal society at concord, where he now holds the positions of Trustee and Steward, and is regarded as one of the chief supports. He assisted in building the first
edifice in which this society worshipped, served as Trustee, and when it was rebuilt in 1884, was a member of the building committee. His son is now Class-Leader, has been Superintendent of the Sunday-school and has frequently attended Conference as a delegate, having united with the church when but a boy.

Submitted by Londie Benson