The Past and Present of Vermilion County
Page 375, 376, 377
W. I. Baird
W. Baird is well known in Jamaica, having pined a favorable place in public regard while acting as telegraph operator and station agent here. At the present time he is engaged in the grain trade, owning an elevator. Mr. Baird is a native of Champaign County, Illinois, born January 28, 1870, his parents being J. C. and Eliza (Jones) Baird, the former a native of Brown County, Ohio, and the latter of Clermont County, Ohio. They were married in Clermont County, locating upon a farm there and in 1869 they sought a home in Illinois, making their way westward to Champaign County, where the father again carried on agricultural pursuits. In 1892 he removed to Shelby County, Illinois, where both he and his wife are still living. In his political views he is a Republican and at the time of the Civil war he manifested his loyalty to the Union cause by enlisting as a member of Company B, Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry in July, 1861. With the boys in blue of his command he went to the front and served faithfully until September, 1864, when his term of service having expired he was honorably discharged. He had participated in the battles of Shiloh, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga, 'Kenesaw Mountain, Pittsburg Landing and in all of the engagements of the -Atlanta campaign, preceding Sherman's celebrated march to the sea. At the battle of Shiloh he was wounded in the abdomen. He now belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, thus maintaining pleasant relations with his comrades of the blue. He has held a great many township offices, proving capable and efficient in public service and he is a member of the Christian church. In his farnily were ten childern: Charles, who died at the age of twenty years: Dora, who died at the age of twenty-five years. W. I.. who is the oldest living son; Martha. who died in infancy; Howard, who is married and resides in Niantic, Illinois; Bertha, who is engaged in teaching in the public schools and makes her home with her parents ; Arthur John. Ethel and Myrtle. all of whom are still under the parental roof.
W. I. Baird pursued his early education in the North Raymond School near Sidney, Illinois, and afterward attended in the Whitehall district near Broadland. Illinois. He subsequently was a student in the Normal school at Valparaiso, Indiana, after which he returned to Champaign County. There he engaged in teaching for two years, after which he attended a school in Janesville, Wisconsin, taking up the study of telegraphy, in which course he was graduated in 1892.. He next entered the services of the Chicago (L Eastern Illinois Railroad Company, serving as relief agent for that road for six months on the Chicago division. On the 2d of January, 1894. he came to Jamaica as starion agent and telegraph operator, continuously filling the position with marked capability until February, 1901, when he resi-
gned and purchased the grain elevator which he now owns. Already he has become established in a good trade, which is returning to him a profitable income.
On Christmas day of 1894. at Goldfield Iowa, was celebrated the marriage of W. I.
Baird and Miss Ethel Jones, who was born in Moultrie County, Illinois, on the 13th of December. 1873, her parents being J. R. and Rebecca (Wilson) Jones, the former a native of Indiana, while the latter was born in Moultrie county, Illinois, where their marriage was celebrated. There they located and Mr. Jones engaged in farming until 1894, when with his wife he removed to Iowa. where they are- now living. He is a Republican in his political adherence and is at present serving as notary public and justice of the peace. In his religious faith he and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Jamaica, and he is now superintendent of the Sunday-school and president of the Epworth League Fraternally he is connected with Longview Lodge #254 and Jamaica Camp, So. 9222 M.W. in which he is serving as clerk.
Mr. and Mrs. Baird have a pleasant residence in Jamaica and the hospitality of the best homes is extended to them. His courteous obliging manner and helpful disposition made Mr. Baird a popular station agent and he is equally well and favorably known as a grain merchant.