JOSEPH BIRD. For many years Joseph Bird has been identified with the progress of Macoupin county and today, living retired at Carlinville, his mind reverts to the pioneer times before the advent of the telegraph, the railroad, the improved farm machinery, the telephone or the automobile. He remembers distinctly the ox cart, the prairie schooner, the log cabin and the flintlock musket, and has lived to see the various stages of the mighty transformation by which the face of the country has been changed and modern civilization introduced until it now holds undisputed sway. Born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, May 4, 1828, Mr. Bird is a son of William and Mary (Steward) Bird, both of whom were natives of England. In their family were four children: Isabel, now deceased, who married a Mr. Pattingill and after his death married Adolphus Sloper; Joseph, of this review; Mary Ann, who is the wife of David Deeds, of Carlinville; and William, who died when he was about nine years old.
The father of our subject engaged in farming in the Keystone state but, believing that more favorable conditions prevailed in the west, came to Illinois in 1836 and settled near Eldred, Greene county, where he died the year following. His wife survived him for many years, following him in 1863. She was a consistent member of the Church of England. The grandfather of our subject on the paternal side spent his entire life in England and among his children were William and Annie, the wife of William Potter.
Joseph Bird came to Illinois with his parents when he was eight years of age and grew to maturity in Greene county. He lived with his mother until 1849, when he married, and two years later came with his wife to Macoupin county and located in Bird township, which was named in his honor. He became remarkably successful as a farmer and stock raiser and acquired two hundred and ninety-seven acres of land, which he greatly improved. Subsequently he bought seven hundred and fifty-six acres and still later increased his holdings by two hundred acres, so that at one time he owned ten hundred and thirty-six acres in Bird township. He also owned three hundred and twenty acres in Carlinville township, which was known as the Gore farm, and he still retains possession of this place. He gives the use of the land to his children and all he asks is that they shall pay the taxes. On September 12, 1879, he moved to Carlinville and has since made his home in this city. He erected a large residence here, which he gave to his daughter, Mrs. Minton. This house was afterward destroyed by fire and a modern building now occupies the site. After giving the residence to his daughter he moved to another home on High street, where he lived until 1904.
On the 9th of January, 1849, Mr. Bird was married to Miss Eliza Ann Lasater, a daughter of Enoch and Charity (Hill) Lasater, and they became the parents of seven children: Ada Eugenia, who died in infancy; Morris Edwin, who died when nearly twenty years of age; Amy C., who also died in infancy; Carrie, who married Foster Gore and is the mother of six children, Bird, Victor, Joseph, Gladys, Hazel and Hugh; Ida Alice, who married Elza Childs and died at the age of twenty-two; Mary Ollie, who is now the wife of Coy Roach and lives in Girard; and Daisy, who became the wife of Hugh Minton, a bridge builder of Carlinville. Mrs. Bird was born in Greene county and became acquainted with Mr. Bird when she was four or five years old. Then went to school together for a short time. Her parents were natives of Tennessee and were among the pioneers of Greene county. In their family were six children: Eliza Ann; Serena, who married George Arnett; Abner; Mary, who became the wife of William Fitzgerald; Almira, who married Joseph Casteel; and Jennie, who is now the wife of Horatio Peebles. The father of these children having died, Mrs. Lasater was again married, her second husband being John Coatney. Two children were born to this union, Carl and Cyrus. The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Bird was Abner Hill.
Mr. Bird was called upon to mourn the death of his wife, which occurred June 29, 1904, at the age of seventy-one years. She was a woman of many noble traits of character and her memory remains as a benediction to all with whom she was brought into contact. She was a Baptist, as is also Mr. Bird. They were among the early members of Charity Baptist church in Bird Township. Politically Mr. Bird is a democrat. He was highway commissioner of Bird township for several years and for four years served as president of the Macoupin County Fair Association, assisting in organizing the association and putting it on a paying basis. He was alderman of the second ward for several years. He has always been a liberal contributor to worthy objects and no good work of charity or religion has sought his aid in vain. In the various duties of life he has ever attempted to perform his part faithfully and is justly entitled to the highest respect of a generation which is enjoying the blessings that he assisted so ably in establishing.