Thomas Baird, president of the First
State Bank of Stevensville furnishes an excellent example of pluck, tenacity
of purpose and determination. Mr. Baird is a native of Canada, born March
27, 1863 in New Brunswick, a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Snodgrass) Baird,
farming people of New Brunswick who still survive, being eighty and eighty-two
years of age respectively. There were seven children in their family, Robert,
who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in New Brunswick; Thomas; Isaac,
also a farmer in New Brunswick; Mary who resides on the homestead with her
parents; Rev. Frank B., pastor of the Presbyterian church at Woodstock, Canada;
Edward, a well-known merchant of Boston Massachusetts; and Margaret who married
Cecil Jones, chancellor of the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton.
Thomas Baird completed his education in the
public schools of New Brunswick at the age of sixteen and from that time
until he was twenty remained with his parents, assisting his father in farming
and lumbering. His first employment on his own account was in the lumber
camps of Vermont and New Hampshire, where he continued to work for three
years and then returned to his home. Mr. Baird had intended to remain in
his native locality but his experience in the United States had bred in him
a predilection for the methods and activities of this country and in 1887
he came to Montana and secured employment in the lumbering business at Bonita.
Although the business was flourishing, wages in the sawmill were unsatisfactory
and Mr. Baird went to Evero for six months and when the opportunity presented
itself established himself in the logging business with which he was connected
for seven years. He was beginning to become prosperous and had erected a
large sawmill, but in making a contract for five years work underestimated
the cost, a mistake which caused him to lose his capital, although he fulfilled
his contract and turned over his mill to his creditors.
In the meantime he had purchased a small timber
tract in the Bitter Root country, and this proved his salvation in the business
world. Although he was somewhat discouraged by the turn of his fortunes,
he doggedly refused to acknowledge defeat and as his credit was still unimpaired,
gathered together the broken strands of his fortunes, secured a small capital
began his business life anew. Leasing a new mill, he cut the timber from
his land, converted it into lumber and was soon again on the high road to
success, paying off his indebtedness and rapidly expanding his interests.
Since 1901 his rise has been rapid and steady
and today he is recognized as one of the able, alert and dependable financiers
of his community, being president of the First State Bank of Stevensville
and the owner of a fine residence and much valuable city property, timber
land and saw mills, logging, railroad and equipment. A kindly, genial man,
Mr. Baird is considerate of the rights of others and at various times has
assisted those in need to start in business life. He is a great lover of
home and family but also takes pleaser in fraternal work.
In January 1892, Mr. Baird was married to
Miss Annie Fowler, of New Brunswick, Canada, and they have four children:
Alva, a graduate of the Stevensville high school and now attending the University
of Montana, Hazel, Harold and Eloise.
History of Montana, Sanders, 1913