Robert Baird Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

My grandmother, Lucinda Baird, was the fourth of ten children born to Robert and Mary Jane (McDonald) Baird. The family moved to Merrick County, Nebraska, in 1871, where they homesteaded 160 acres in Section 12, Township 14, Range 6. Severe hardships required them to return to Illinois in 1877; however, in 1884 they returned to their Nebraska homestead where they raised their family and became true pioneers of Merrick County. This property is still in the Baird Family, belonging to Robert and Arline Baird, having the distinction of being in the same family for over 100 years.

Robert Gibson Baird was born in Randolph County, Illinois, 31 October, 1939, and died 20 February, 1922, Central City, Nebraska. His parents were Hugh Baird (1806-1856) and Martha Brown (1808-1880) from South Carolina. He was educated near Sparta, Illinois, and became a farmer. He enlisted for service during the Civil War and was assigned to Company H, Twenty-second Illinois Infantry and served from 1861-1864.

He was united in marriage to Mary Jane McDonald (born 12 May, 1943, died 28 December, 1915) on 18 January, 1966, at Sparta, Illinois.

Lucinda was born in 1871, and died in 1966. She was married first to Warren Bice, who died soon after their marriage, and second was married to William S. Desch. The other Baird children were William (died in infancy). Prudence (1868-1902), Hugh (1869-1925), Mary Jane (Scudder) (1872-1945), Martha (Crites) (1874-1964), Elizabeth (1876-1963), Robert (1879-1956), Cora (Bockes) (1881-1947), and David ( 1883-1935).

Robert G. Baird was instrumental in organizing his School District, #21, and served in the various offices of its boards for many years. He and his wife Mary Jane are charter members of the First Presbyterian Church, Central City, Nebraska, which was organized at Central City in 1872.

In 1910, Robert G. retired from farming, and he and Mary Jane moved to Central City and purchased a home. He was actively interested in affairs pertaining to the welfare of Nebraska, especially in Merrick County.

To continue the Baird family back two more generations, Hugh Baird’s parents were James Baird (1782-1861) and Prudence Gibson (1784-1 843) of South Carolina; and James Baird’s parents were John Baird (?-1803) and Lilias McClurken (1758-ca. 1790), also of South Carolina.

Submitted by W. Georgenne Gregg Hall, Great-granddaughter of Robert G. Baird

Robert Baird Family on Homestead
Robert Baird Family on Homestead

Robert G. Baird

Robert G. Baird, son of Hugh and Martha (Brown) Baird, was born in Randolph County, Illinois, near Sparta, Illinois, October 31, 1839. He was educated in his home schools.

He enlisted in the service of his country in the state of Illinois May 1 1, 1861, and served until July 8, 1864.

On January 1 8, 1 866, he married the daughter of William and Jane (McClelland) McDonald, Mary J. McDonald, of Randolph County, Illinois. Both Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Baird’s parents came to Randolph County from South Carolina.

Mr. Baird was engaged in farming in Illinois on his father’s homestead until he and his family came to Merrick County and took up a homestead of 160 acres between Clarks and Central City. He remained on his homestead, except from 1877 to 1884 when he and his family returned to Sparta, Illinois. He returned to his homestead, which he had not sold, and farmed several years before moving to Central City, Nebraska, in 1910.

He was instrumental in organizing District #2 1 in Merrick County, and served on the board for many years.

Mr. and Mrs. Baird were charter members of the First Presbyterian church in Central City, which was organized in 1872. They were active in church and community affairs, and widely known and respected.

They had 10 children: William Henry Baird; Hugh Baird; Miss Prudence Baird; Mrs. Lucinda (Baird) Desch; Mrs. Mary Jane (Baird) Scudder; Mrs. Martha Amelia (Baird) Crites; Robert Bryson Baird; Mrs. Cora (Baird) Bockes; David McClelland Baird.

They had 27 grandchildren and fifty-eight greatgrandchildren. Robert Baird, son of McClelland, with his wife and son Rex, still live on the old homestead between Clarks and Central City.

Submitted by Mildred Crites Karre

Robert & Arline Baird

David McClellan Baird (1883-1935) Annie Mills Baird (1882-1942)

David McClellan and Annie Mills Baird
David McClellan Baird (1883-1935)
Annie Mills Baird (1882-1942)

The Baird family of Merrick County is descended from Bairds who came to the United States from Scotland in the early 1700s. In about 1819, Hugh James Baird and his son, Hugh, moved from South Carolina to Illinois. After serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, Hugh’s son, Robert G. Baird, came to Nebraska with his family and homesteaded a quarter section on Silver Creek in Merrick County, the place where we live on 120 acres of the original 160. This was in 187 1, five years before Custer’s Last Stand. Robert G. Baird and his wife, Mary McDonald Baird, had 10 children with Bob’s dad, David McClellan Baird, being the youngest. He married Annie Mills, whose father had homesteaded a timber claim on the Platte River in about 1868. They had five children, Dorothy — 1908, Prudence — 1910, Marjorie — 1911, Robert G. — 1913, and Annie Louise — 1918-1979. Bob was born on this place and has lived here continuously except for three years of service in the United States Army during World War II.

My family, mostly Czech, came to Nebraska during the late 1 800s with the immigrant wave from Central Europe. They settled near Clarkson in Colfax County, where I grew up. I taught in Merrick and Howard Counties and Bob and I were married in 1946. I continued teaching until 1969 when Rex Allen Baird was born, the fourth generation to live on the original Baird homestead.

The three of us, Robert G., Arline, and Rex continue to live here and attempt to retain the traditions of the family. We have in our possession the original homestead papers and the discharge papers of the first Robert G. Baird from the Union Army as well as the discharge papers of the present Robert G. Baird from the U.S. Army. We preserve these documents with a great deal of pride.

Submitted by Arline Baird


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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