ROBERT BAIRD, Street Commissioner, Cairo, Ill. In every local community or city, there is always an “oldest inhabitant," and in this, as in most other matters of interest, Cairo is not lacking, but points with pride to her "oldest inhabitant" in the person of the subject of this sketch, Robert Baird. He is of Irish origin, his father, John Baird, being born in the old country, on the 26th September, 1784. His mother, Jane Walker, was born in Wilmington, Del., on the 9th of January, 1790. The parents were married at Wilmington, about 1806, and reared a family of twelve children, of whom Robert is the eleventh. He was born on June 5, 1826, at Philadelphia, and was left motherless by the death of that parent three years later, September 26, 1829. The father lived to the age of seventy years, and died in Cairo December 18, 1854. Robert left the home of his father when eleven years old, and, in company with a sister and brother-in-law, moved to Pittsburgh, Penn., where they remained but a short time, coming thence to Smithland, Ky., where he began the trade of ship carpenter. It was while working at this trade that he chanced to come to Cairo, being sent here in 1839, then but thirteen years old, to make some repairs on a boat. By some fatality he remained, and now, though in active business life, is a landmark of Cairo's earliest history. He followed his trade for some years after coming to this city, and finally became owner and captain of a steamboat, and during the late war was in the employ of the Government in transporting troops and provisions. He has acceptably filled the various official positions in the city government, and now has the supervision of her streets. He is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity, possessed of a life experience which is a model of temperance, and in politics a Democrat. His worthy wife, Fransina Tanner, to whom he was married in the fall of 1853, was born in Tennessee in 1830. They have been blessed with six children, of whom but three are living, viz., Henry, Robert and Mary Baird. The family residence is on the corner of Ninth and Walnut streets.
Extracted 29 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, page 6.
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