Randolph  County,  Indiana

Jesse  F.  Bird

            In looking over the list of eligibles for this history and studying the data for the same the biographer finds that many of our enterprising citizens have come from the Carolinas. Those old states, while yet able to sustain a vast population are pretty well worn, the soil not having been properly managed and has therefore become thin, so many of the thriftier of the citizens of that section of Dixie land have desired newer countries where the soil was richer and therefore opportunities greater, so large numbers have been coming to Randolph and other counties in the Hoosier state since the close of the Civil war. Among them was the Bird family.
            Jesse F. Bird, farmer and stock raiser of Washington township, was born in Randolph county, North Carolina, January 28, 1851, the scion of an old Southern family, many of whose praiseworthy traits of head and heart he seems to have inherited. He is a son of  James and Caroline (Macon) Bird. James Bird was born September 30, 1811, 
in the same county and state as was our subject and there he grew to manhood, received a meager education in the common schools, married  Caroline Macon, who was born October 7, 1815, and there established the family home, where he remained until the fall of 1867, when he made the long overland journey with his family to Randolph county, Indiana, locating in Washington township, walking from Richmond, this state. After living here three years he went back to North Carolina. Politically, he was a Republican, and in religions matters was a member of the Christian church. His death occurred on May 20, 1888, and his wife died February 28, 1895. He and his wife were the parents of eleven children, five of whom are deceased; those living are Hartwell, Mrs. Rebecca Brown and  Zimri, all residents of North Carolina; Gideon lives in Winchester, Indiana;  Eli lives near Castleton, and  Jesse F., of this sketch.
            Jesse F. Bird received practically no schooling, for he was a boy when the war between the states was in progress and schools as well as most everything else was neglected in his section of the country. He was sixteen years old when he came with his parents to Indiana, and soon afterward began working out by the day on various farms. At the age of seventeen he went to Missouri and stayed a year. After working as a farm hand for seven years he rented seventy-five acres which he farmed nearly five years, then purchased eighty acres, which is now a part of his home farm. He worked hard, managed well and therefore prospered with the advancing years His original purchase had no buildings, but he improved it properly and added to it until he now owns one of the choice farms of Washington township, consisting of two hundred and thirty-four acres, all well tiled and well drained. He has a large up-to-date home, good barns, fences of the latest model, steel and concrete posts. He raises a general breed of livestock and feeds large numbers of hogs for the market.
            Politically, Mr. Bird is a Progressive. He belongs to the Christian church in which he is an elder and trustee and was superintendent of the Sunday school for a great many years, in fact, is one of the pillars in the local church. For many years he was president of the Washington Township Sunday School Union and was one of its organizers. He is a trustee of New Liberty cemetery. He has served as road supervisor and was elected a member of the advisory board, but refused to serve.
            During the war a Confederate camp was located a mile or two from the home of  James Bird. A brother of our subject refused to enlist and in retaliation, the Confederates held our subject's parents in their camp as prisoners for several weeks, leaving six children at home alone.
.Mr. Bird was married February 15, 1877 to  Aletha J. Willis, who was born in Washington township, this county, September 22, 1853, and here she grew to womanhood and received her education. She is a daughter of  Joseph and  Sarah (York) Willis. Her father was born in 1825 in this county, his parents having been among the earliest settlers here.  Joseph Willis was an invalid from his twenty-first year. His death occurred September 14, 1866. Sarah York was born in Guilford county, North Carolina, July 7, 1823, and came to this county in early life where her death occurred April 24, 1898.
            To Mr. and Mrs. Bird two children were born, namely: Walter F., born May 30, 1881, died October 17, 1886;  Clara May, born September 20, 1887, married  Walter A. Johnson, and they live on the old home farm. They are the parents of one child,  Aletha Jane, born November 5, 1913, in Detroit, Michigan.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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