Biography of Ezra Baird
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In the year which witnessed the arrival of so many of Idaho’s prominent pioneers. 1862 this gentleman cast in his lot with the early settlers, and through the period which has since elapsed he has been an important factor in the development and progress of the state. He is a native of Schoharie County, New York, born May 11, 1839, and is of Scotch and English descent.
His ancestors came to America in colonial days and the maternal great-grandfather of our subject. Major Norton, fought throughout the struggle for independence. Joseph Baird, the father of our subject, was born in New York, and married Miss Sally Ann Gifford. For many years he engaged in the operation of a flouring mill, but in 1849 took up his residence upon a farm near Binghamton, New York, where he spent the remainder of his life. He took an active part in public affairs, and held various county offices, discharging his duties with marked promptness and fidelity. Both he and his wife were faithful members of the Episcopal Church. The former departed this life in the fifty-ninth year of his age, the latter in her seventy-seventh year. They had a family of four sons and three daughters, of whom five are living.
Ezra Baird was reared and educated in Binghamton, New York. With the hope of more rapidly acquiring a competence in the west, in 1861, when twenty-two years of age, he went by way of the isthmus of Panama to San Francisco, where he remained for a year. The following year he arrived in Lewiston, where he has since made his home. He engaged in placer mining on Newsom creek and in the vicinity of Elk City, meeting with fair success, and taking out at times as high as one hundred dollars per day. After these early mining experiences he engaged in the stage and express business between Lewiston, Warren’s, Elk City and other places, and met with prosperity in that undertaking, which he continued for ten years. He was then called to public office, being elected sheriff of Nez Perces County in the fall of 1874. So fearlessly and efficiently did he discharge his duties that he was elected for three successive terms and served in all for eight consecutive years, proving a most capable officer and true to the public trust. He was also United States marshal for the territory of Idaho, appointed by President Cleveland. He is now largely interested in quartz mining in Montana, British Columbia; and, in Idaho, at Buffalo Hump, Dixie, Florence and on the Snake river, where he has rich copper mines. He is also engaged in buying and selling mines on his own account. At Lewiston he was also engaged in the livery business for several years, and has uniformly met with success in the various undertakings to which he has devoted his energies.
In 1873 Mr. Baird was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Odle, a native of Oregon and a daughter of James Odle, a pioneer of the Sunset state. They have two children, Edna May and Lewis Lawrence. They reside in a very attractive home, which stands on the hill near the State Normal School, and the household is noted for its genial hospitality. Socially Mr. Baird is connected with the Masonic fraternity, being connected with the blue lodge, chapter and Commandery and has also attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish rite. In addition to his service as county sheriff, he has filled the office of alderman of Lewiston and has also been its mayor. He has exercised his official prerogatives for the upbuilding and development of the city, and at all times gives a hearty support to all measures intended for the public good. For thirty-seven years he has been a resident of Idaho and is widely and favorably known throughout the state.