These letters were in the possession of Georgia Lee Brown Fowler, daughter of Mary Emma Baird Brown and granddaughter of George Washington Baird and Mary Elizabeth Traughber. Photocopies were provided to me by Robert E. Fowler of Houston, Texas in 1971. In the transcripts below, punctuation has been added for readability, but spelling is left as in the originals.
#6 30 December 1849 letter from Mary and Nancy Ferguson of Springfield to their nephew George W. Baird of Dallas:
This letter was written by George’s spinster aunts back in Springfield, Tennessee shortly after George and Mary had moved to Dallas. Though signed by both, it was evidently written by Mary Ferguson.
I hasten to answer your letter dated November the 11th and inform you that we are getting along about as well as comon. I think Nancy’s health is better than it was last winter. You must forgive me for not wrighting often. I received two letters from you before you reached Dallas and then I rote immediately. I expected it to be there by the time you arrived. We are all getting fat here eating backbones and sausage meat. Tell Liz that the heifer looks like she will have a calf before long. Major Barid sends howdy to you and says he wants to see you very bad. He goes out on the Nashville Road and watches and cryes all day. He is in very bad health. Christmas is most done with its fun and frollick. We had one of the most splendid circuses here. It performed on the square free as a Christmas trick with some of the best performers in the West. We have had one of the finest autums we ever witnessed. We had no winter until the second week in December. The snow is falling fast, it is about six or eight inches deep. It commenced about sun up and more about ten o’clock.
Uncle John B. Persise has moved to Batesville Arkansas. Dear George I want tyou to be cautious about your health. The colera is yet in the valley of the Missippi. You had better come back to Tennessee before the Indians scalp you or the ague slay you before the colera prevents you from your return. It seems like a long time since you left here and I want you to wright as soon as you get this and tel me when you are agoing to start back. Also I and several of your neighbors wants to have a true statement of that country as to the city of Dallas, the climate, the water, the land, the timber, the health of the community, and everything you know about it and which you like best that country or this and under all the circumstances whether you would advise any person to mover there or not. The health of this community is generally good. Flour is three dollars per hundred, pork is two dollars, corn is seventy five cts to one dollar a barrel. I must draw to a close and remain your ever dear aunts,
Mary & Nancy [Ferguson]
The identity of “Major Barid” is unknown but I suspect it was a favorite dog. The only other Baird in Robertson County was Thomas Baird (1 January 1773 – 23 May 1856), who was old enough to fit this description but had no relationship whatsoever with George Baird. Thomas Baird left a will in 1856 naming two sons: Daniel Gould Baird (24 July 1808 – 8 September 1856) and Charles Baird (16 July 1797 – 11 February 1871). He evidently also had a daughter Elizabeth who married a Martin Powell. These Bairds are unrelated to George Baird. Thomas Baird was the son of Alexander Baird of Montgomery County, North Carolina.
#7 3 December 1854 letter from Mary and Nancy Ferguson of Springfield to George W. Baird of Dallas:
This letter is the source of important genealogical information about George Baird’s family, and proven to be amazingly accurate.
I received your kind letter of the 30th ult which gave me much pleasure to hear that you were all well, although I sympathize with you for your misfortune I am glad you were not entirely burnt out and saved your dwelling. Nancy and I at this time enjoys very good health, during the summer my health was not so good. I have been taking Williams Sarsaparilla and think that it would be very good for you.
And now I will give you all the information about your Farther’s family that I can. Your Farther’s name was Isaac and come from Strasburg, Shenandoah Cty, Va. I do not know what your grandfarther name was. I think that your grandmother name was Mary. Your farther had two brothers. One was named Jacob; he come here to this country in 1819 and died in Reynoldsburgh. And he had a brother Joseph that remained in Va. and had two sisters and one of them was name Mary and I cannot remember the other’s name. Your grandmother had two brothers by the name of Reece, one was named Joseph. Your farther learned his trade from him. I do not know the others name. Your grandmother had an uncle that lived and died near Port Royal, his name was Jacob Fettener. And this is about all the information that I can give you it has bin so long ago that I forgot all about it nearly.
John Gorham left here about 2 week of October for the Ironworks in Stewart Cty. He is clerking there and gets $600 a year and you know he will be rich right off. Mary Braden has gone thru the switch patch here at home and she is the topic of conversation in every circle and now she and her farther speaks of going to Europe but they have not started yet. I would give a full account of the affair but it would ocupy too mutch time and space. The know nothings are taking the day her but knowbody knows who they are so it is know nothings all around. Married Mr. I. L. Davis to Miss Ruby Tomma. Sister Percise is still in the pouts yet.
I wish you would be very cautious about your frontier excursions for fear the Indians will come across you and take your scalp. I often see accounts in the papers of murders and other depredations commited by them on the frontier of your state.
Nancy sends her love to you, Lizy, and Babe. She is often taking on about Babe. She wants to see him very bad. I believe I have no more never or anything else of importance to wright to you about. You must wright to me as soon as you get this. I remain yours affectionately,
Mary and Nancy Ferguson
P. S. Direct your next letter to Nancy.
Comments: The family information is surprisingly accurate, and this letter implies that George Baird knew little of his father. It also implies that Mary Ferguson was aware of Isaac’s death and knew him well. Mary Braden is undoubtedly the daughter, then aged 17, in the 1850 household of Daniel P. Braden, a neighbor of the Fergusons I do not know the nature of the scandal surrounding Mary. John Gorham is Mary Baird’s brother-in-law, husband of her sister Lydda Traughber. “Sister Persise” is Alzeda Ferguson Percise, wife of John B. Percise, and the sister of Mary and Nancy.