William H. Baird

William H. Baird was born April 27, 1839, in Erie County, Pennsylvania, possibly Lake City, the son of William B. (b. 1810) and Mary (b. 1811).

Pennsylvania native William B. married Massachusetts-born Mary, possibly in Pennsylvania, but in any case they were living in Pennsylvania by 1836. They eventually moved westward and between 1839 and 1841 settled in Ohio. By 1850 the family was living in Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio where William B. worked as a carpenter and William H. attended school along with two of his siblings. William B. moved his family westward again, settling eventually in western Michigan by 1860 when William was working as a farm laborer and living with his family in Nelson, Kent County.

William stood 5’7” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 22 years old when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. At some point prior to the mid-summer of 1862 he was detached to the Third Brigade as a teamster, a position he would hold until the end of the war. In July of 1862 he was serving in the wagon trains a teamster and he also worked as a saddler, probably in the Brigade trains. By January of 1863 he was detached at Brigade headquarters, in September he was with the First Division supply train, and the following month he was back on detached service with the Third Brigade where he remained through November.

William reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Walker, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February when he was again reported as a teamster at Brigade headquarters. From March through May he was serving with the wagon trains. He was still on detached service when he was transferred to Company I, the Fifth Michigan Infantry (although the Fifth lists him as from Company H, Third Infantry), upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and by November of 1864 he was on detached service as a nurse at City Point, Virginia hospital, and in December he was with the Quartermaster department. He served as a teamster until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war William returned to Michigan.

He was married to Michigan native Sarah (b. 1854), and they had at least three children: Elmer (b. 1870), May or Mary (b. 1874) and John (b. 1876).

He later claimed that he resided in Montcalm County after the war for about ten years, then in Nelson Township, Kent County for four years, Lakeview, Michigan ten years then to Lake City, Michigan and from there to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home in 1908.

William possibly lived briefly in Grand Rapids, but was living in Crystal Springs, Montcalm County when he lost two fingers in a sawmill accident in 1866. Apparently he put his foot against a log he was sawing and when the log turned over his foot gave way and as he stuck out his hand to ease his fall, he lost two fingers from his right hand which was caught in the saw. He and Sarah were probably still living in Crystal in 1870, as his father William. In any case, by 1880 he was working as a laborer and living with his wife and three children in Nelson, Kent County. By 1888 he was residing in Sylvester, Montcalm County, and in February of 1890 he was skidding logs for Harvey Borst in Hinton, Mecosta County when he broke his left knee in a logging accident.

He was probably residing in Lakeview, Mecosta County in 1890, in Sylvester in 1891 and probably in Hinton in 1894. According to a statement he gave in 1909, from 1865 to 1876 he lived in Crystal Springs, Montcalm County, in Cedar Springs, Kent County, from 1876 to 1880, in Lakeview, Montcalm County from 1880 to about 1900, in Lake City from 1900 to 1907 when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4929) on February 18, 1907. he was living in the Home in 1920.

William was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Macomber Post No. 141 in Lakeview, Mecosta County, was a Protestant and he received pension no. 631,482, drawing $50.00 in 1920.

William died a widower, at the Michigan Soldiers’ Home on January 16, 1921, at 1:30 p.m. of mitral insufficiency, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section 7 row 15 grave no. 22.