Biography of Thomas Baird
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





THOMAS BAIRD. - The life which this narrative delineates began at Chipman, Queens county, New Brunswick, October 31, 1835, and closed in Humboldt county, Cal., February 22, 1908. Between these two dates there was an era of great activity, whose identification with California began with the arrival of Mr. Baird in San Francisco during 1858. Hearing of an opportunity to secure employment in the sawmills and logging camps of Humboldt county, he determined to come hither. An attack of typhoid fever had left him emaciated and enfeebled and in no condition for further ocean travel, but he boarded one of the vessels plying the waters along the coast country and at Trinidad (the customary landing place of that period) he was transferred to a surf boat, from which he was washed out upon the beach and tossed to and fro by the waves. It was not until he had been washed upon the beach four times and then rolled back upon the breast of the angry surf that he was rescued by the men on the shore and taken to a house, unconscious and more dead than alive. When able to work he secured employment in the sawmill of John Vance in Eureka. Next he worked at a logging camp in Ryan slough.

As a partner of Allen McKay, David Evans and other men, familiar with the logging and milling business, Mr. Baird bought from the original firm of Duff & Ryan the plant now known as the Occidental mill. After having continued in the business until 1871 he disposed of his interest and formed a partnership with the late John M. Vance in the commission business, fitting up a wharf and warehouse at the foot of F street. During 1884 he purchased the water front property at the foot of E street since known as Baird's wharf, and to this he removed his warehouse. The Baird wharves were the steamship landings for the city and Mr. Baird acted as agent for the original steamer, Humboldt, from the time the vessel was built until it was lost near Point Gorda in 1895. After Eugene Woodin in 1901 had purchased his wharf property, which is now used by the North Pacific Steamship Company, he devoted his attention to an oversight of his property interests in the city and country. Besides land on Maple creek he owned a tract of one thousand acres on the Arcata road near the tannery and on that great ranch stood a shingle mill which he operated for some years. Fraternally he held membership with the Humboldt Lodge No. 77, of Odd Fellows, Mount Zion Encampment and the Veteran Odd Fellows Association. In Humboldt county, April 12, 1866, he married Lydia T. Vance, also born in Chipman, N. B., a sister of the late John M. Vance; she died June 1, 1901, leaving two sons, John R. and C. Alvin.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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