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Early Settlers – The Baird Families - Silent Land Cemetery, Spearville, Ford County, Kansas

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

One of the names mentioned quite frequently in my research for Spearville and Ford County history is Baird. The names in Silent Land are Archibald B. (1827-1914), John R. (1844-1916), and Henry Clay (1863-1906). All three came from Bath County, Kentucky. If there is a family connection, it is not known.

A.B. was the oldest of the settlers. He married Emily J. Coons and they were the parents of eight children. The family moved to Indiana which is where A.B. enlisted with Co. I 43rd IN Infantry. They came to Spearville in 1885 which is where Emily passed away four years later. A.B. lived with his son in Arlington, Kansas where he died in 1914. They are both buried in Silent Land Cemetery.

John R. Baird was born in 1844. He served as a Pvt. in Co. I 11th IL Infantry. On a cold rainy day, he laid on the battlefield for some time where he developed rheumatism which left him partially crippled for life.

In 1864, he married Virginia in Indiana. They were blessed with six children. The lure of the west drew the family to Sterling Twp., Hodgeman County in 1879. They settled along Sawlog Creek. A few years later, the family moved to Spearville where J.R. was a cashier at the Ford County State Bank. In 1892, the bank was robbed by the Doolan Gang. It seems that J.R. was a recipient of a blow to the head.

J.R. and Virginia were the parents of six children. J.R. died in 1916 and Virginia in 1931. They are buried with two of their children in Silent Land Cemetery.

The third Baird family to settle in the area was Henry Clay. He was born in 1863 and came to Pawnee County with his parents at the age of 17. In 1893, he married Eva Marshall and they were blessed with a daughter. Henry worked at a blacksmith shop and also farmed. In 1905, he was appointed as the postmaster in Spearville. Henry died the following year. Eva passed away in 1958. Both are buried in Silent Land Cemetery.

Note: A newspaper article from the Dodge City Daily Globe of January 30, 1896 reports that “J.R. Baird is rejoiced to know that Bill Doolan, the leader and last of the gang who looted him in the Ford County bank, a few years ago, is in limbo, the other two members of the gang having already paid the penalty of their crimes by the forfeit of their lives.”

Personal Note: I started this column back in May 2020 with my first story in the Spearville News. I did not have any idea how it would be received. Thank you for your readership. I added the Edwards Sentinel in August and the Jetmore Republican in September. I will be writing my second article for the Larned Tiller and Toiler. As of this article, I have written approximately 100 stories. I added a blog this past summer where you can read those stories from other newspapers. I am working on a design where you can see all my published stories.

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