Charles Baird son of Charles Baird and Elizabeth Knowles spent a good part of his life helping people with their spiritual well-being.
Born 25 February 1865 in Montrose at the age of 16 Charles worked as a stonebreaker with his father, a road surface-man.
On census night 1891 Charles residing in 17 North Wellington St, Dundee with his mother and siblings was described as “Evangelist”. Charles Sr remained in Montrose at Little Nursery.
Evangelistic meetings held in the old Schoolhouse, Logie every night for the last three weeks by Mr Charles Baird, Dundee have been well attended. On Monday night Mr Baird held a meeting in Craigo Hall and is to continue these meetings for two weeks.
And at Laurencekirk Charles’ cousin Alexander Baird, baker paid a fine of 10 shillings for obscene language.
In April 1895 Charles age thirty, took the opportunity to marry eighteen year old Mary Mather Crockett daughter of retired Sergeant, Alexander Crockett and Euphemia Neilson (deceased). Minister John McPherson of the Hilltown Free Church, Dundee officiated.
Examining the marriage certificates of Charles’ sisters reveals the diverse religious faith each wed under – Elizabeth Milne Baird in the Established Church – 1882; Jane according to the Wesleyan Methodist faith in 1897; Williamina 1905 and Mary 1906 both under the auspices of the Baptist Church. In the Free Church on 31st December 1898 brother, David Beattie Baird married his first wife.
By 1897 Charles and Mary resided in Inveraray where both their children were born: Ruth according to Ancestry’s 1901 census in 1897, the year her grandfather Alexander Crockett passed away and Charles Alexander, 25th October 1898 in Main Street, Inveraray. On Charles Jr.’s birth certificate Charles Sr. gave his occupation as tailor.
Unable to find much on the web about the everyday life of an Evangelist, specifically income and housing needs when viewing the 1911 census for this couple they were enumerated as lodgers at the home of David Ogg in North Queenferry, Inverkeithing, Dunfermline.
Charles 46 gave his occupation as travelling missionary working on his own account. In answering the “particulars as to marriage” question Mary 34 stated she had been married for sixteen years, three children had been born alive with one still living. Charles Jr attended school.
Surely the life of an itinerant missionary’s wife would not have been easy, Mary foregoing materialistic comforts her peers of that period enjoyed or took for granted.
An article appeared in The Evening Telegraph & Post, Thursday 10 August 1911 page 3 concerning the inquest into the death of Lawrence Atkinson an engineer on board a tug connected with the Rosyth Naval Base.
Atkinson fell overboard at Charlestown Harbour on the 17th July and died six days later in Dunfermline Hospital. Giving evidence, Charles Baird, evangelist, Cowdenbeath said he was taking a walk with a friend when Atkinson passed and he appeared to him to be under the influence of liquor. Witness remarked to his friend that that was how so many men went missing, going down to the harbour late, missing their footing and falling into the water.
Charles Baird 68, Missionary died on 23 April 1933 at 21 Backmarch Road, Rosyth, Dunfermline. His death notice described him as Rev. Charles Baird late of the United Free Church, Tomatin.
Using the canmore.rchms.gov.uk site to find out more about Tomatin United Free Church – “a fine example of a ‘tin’ church built in 1903 by the United Free Church as a mission church to serve the needs of the workers from the newly built distillery and railway. Tomatin Church came under the ownership of the Church of Scotland in 1929. [Date 2010 Event ID 961942, Documentary Reference]”
Possibly for his life-long commitment to God, the Church made him Honorary Reverend in the same way his nephew received the Decree of Doctor of Divinity in September 1937. “Rev. Alexander MacDonald, M.A., B.D. minister of the parish of Dunino since 1911 and formerly assistant to the professor of Hebrew in St Mary’s College and warden of the Church’s Pastoral Institute in St Andrews”.
Mary Mather Baird 75, widow of Charles Baird, Minister of Religion was found asleep in bed at 9.30 am on 8th September 1951, the cause chronic myocarditis. The informant gave his qualification as Grand Master.
Adding to an already picture heavy post – Mary’s father Alexander Crockett was in his 90th year when he passed away on the 17th June 1897 at Luthermuir. Chicago papers were asked to copy. NOW THAT’S what you call a late in life baby – Mary born 1877.