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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory

Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
December, 1960

Page B-22

Bonnie Nell Smith and Gladys Baker Reporting.......

Jesse Laird moved to the Belle Rive vicinity with his parents from North Carolina when he was quite young.  He was born April 7, 1825, in Macon County, North Carolina; the son of David Laird, a native of Virginia, and the former Elizabeth Tumbleson, a native of North Carolina.  He was one of ten children. 

He went to school only about three months, to the old-fashioned subscription school, and this ended his formal schooling.  However, he was by no means an ignorant man, as proved by his later success in life.  He worked on his father's farm until he reached his majority, then he started buying hogs and driving them to St. Louis to sell them.

On one trip while driving some hogs to the St. Louis market he met a young lady, a complete stranger to him, and remarked, "There is my wife, even if I never get her."  The girl's name was Martha Goodner, who had been born November 18, 1828, near Belleville, Illinois.  She was living at Birkner, Illinois, at the time she met young Jesse Laird.  She married him on June 18, 1856.

Martha and Jesse Laird became the parents of six children: an infant daughter who died almost immediately; Clara L., born on February 23, 1859, who married Dell Guthrie; Samuel T., born July 11, 1861; Sarah A., who married H. A. Shields; Flora B., born July 23, 1866; and Cora E., born February 9, 1868.

Mr. Laird got an insight in the stock business and devoted his attention to it, and amassed quite a fortune in it.  He was the most successful stockman in Jefferson County in his day, and owned 280 acres of good land.  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Belle Rive, and served it as a local preacher for a period of time.  He at one time operated a hotel and livery stable in the village, and was one of its most respected citizens.

Pg. B-23

Gladys Baker Reporting....

Charles A. Baker was born August 19, 1853, in Bennington, Illinois, son of William H. Baker, a native of Boston, Ohio, and a merchant.  He was one of five children.

Mr. Baker was educated in Olney, Illinois, where he also clerked in a grocery store for three years.  In 1872, he went to Madisonville, Ohio, where he learned telegraphy.

He secured a position on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, working at Dahlgren, New Memphis, and later at Belle Rive.  At Belle Rive he served in the capacity as station agent for many years, filling the office with tact and ability.

He was an active Mason and Good Templar.  In politics, he was identified with the Republican Party.  In the spring of 1883, he was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of Belle Rive.

Pg. 23 Continued

Gladys Baker Reporting.....

L. D. Davenport was born November 14, 1838, in Indiana.  He was one of seven children.  He went to school mostly in Jefferson County, Illinois.  In early life he farmed, and then learned the blacksmith trade, which he followed for twenty-five years.

Mr. Davenport was married twice.  His first wife was the former Mary C. Estes, and to them were born the following children: Minnie, born January 11, 1863; Nellie T., born December 16, 1866; Mary M., born June 8, 1869; Josie C., born November 2, 1870; Lydia C., born September 29, 1873.  He was married to the former Louisa S. Bunnell on December 24, 1874.  They were the parents of: Jessie, who lived only a short time; Otis, born December 26, 1878; Evaline, born March 11, 1881; and Florence and Bessie.

In 1882, Mr. Davenport formed a partnership with William Hunter, and they engaged altogether in the selling of lumber and farm implements in the village of Belle Rive.

Pg. B-24

Gladys Baker Reporting......

Steven F. Grimes was born January 26, 1838, in Gibson County, Indiana, one of eleven children.  He was educated in different counties in Illinois and Indiana.  He farmed in early life, worked at the printer's trade one year, then studied medicine three years.

On September 15, 1861, Mr. Grimes enlisted as a private in the Forty-eight Illinois Voluntary Infantry, Company I.  He was later commissioned as a second lieutenant, and after the Battle of Shiloh was promoted to first lieutenant; he was wounded, and after his recovery was promoted to Captain of Company A, serving in that capacity until after the battle of Ft. McAllister, where he was wounded a second time.  He participated in many thrilling scenes and famous battles, among them those of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Jackson, Mississippi, and Mission Ridge.  He was with General Sherman on his world-famed "March to the Sea: and participated in the battles which occurred in that march and after reaching the coast.  Finally, he was honorably discharged at Savannah, Georgia, and returned home.

Mr. Grimes went into merchandising after the war, first keeping a general store in Piatt county, Illinois.  In 1866 he moved to Spring Garden, Illinois, and kept a store there until the spring of 1873, when he moved to Belle Rive.

Mr. Grimes married the former Laura A. Hoskinson, who was born on January 26, 1847, in Mt. Carmel, Illinois.  To this union were born the following daughters: Florence B., born November 26, 1864; Minnie M., born December 2, 1867; and Lora A., born January 26, 1873.

Steven F. Grimes was the grandson of Steven Grimes, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, the Florida War and the Black Hawk War.  The first Steven Grimes was a famous Indian fighter, and was scalped and tomahawked; however, he survived, though he lost his eyesight.  He lived to a ripe old age and died near McLeansboro, Illinois.


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