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Andrew Bird (1831-1911)
Born a slave, he settled in Bay City where he was employed at the Sage Mill.

1911 Obituary. Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Nov., 2009.

Bay City Tribune - Wednesday, March 16, 1911 (page 4)

Andrew Bird, Aged 80, Succumbed
Yesterday to Old Age.

Was One of 350 Humans Owned by Edwin Ruffin: Valet to Northern Officers.

At 9 o’clock yesterday morning occurred the death of Andrew Bird, aged 80 years, one of the oldest and best known negro residents in the city. The deceased was born a slave on the large plantation of Edwin Ruffin, near Charles City, Virginia, in the early 30’s and was one of 350 slaves owned by Ruffin. When the war broke out he was impressed into the service of the Union army and finally became valet to the staff of officers in whose regiment he was enlisted. At the close of the war Bird located in Detroit, where he worked at draying for two years, later coming to Bay City, where he was employed by the H.W. Sage Co. for the past 30 years. The funeral will be held from the family home on South Williams street. Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Internment will be in Oak Ridge cemetery.

History reference on Edwin Ruffin. - Added Nov. 2009.

Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, by Du Bois & Lewis

Page 55.

When Edwin Ruffin, white-haired and mad, fired the first gun at Fort Sumter, he freed the slaves. It was the last thing he meant to do but that was because he was so typically a Southern oligarch. He did not know the real world about him. He was provincial and lived apart on his plantation with his servants, his books and his thoughts. Outside of agriculture, he jumped at conclusions instead of testing them by careful research. He knew, for instance, that the North would not fight. He knew that Negroes would never revolt.

-- For more history on Edmund Ruffin and his picture, see [BlueAndGrayTrail.com]

Selina Bird involved in legal property conflict in Bay County. - Added March, 2012.

Michigan Reports of Cases Determined by Michigan Supreme Courts. (1903)


The State of Michigan had become the owner of certain lands by virtue of sale for nonpayment of taxes. On December 21, 1901, Albert A. Griffin, the father-in-law of the petitioner, purchased this land from the State, paying $204.04, and a tax deed was issued and delivered to him. The original title to the land was in Myron Boardman and Stella Boardman, executors. Selina Bird was in possession under a land contract from the Boardmans. The premisee consisted of two lots and three houses. On January 6, 1902, the statutory notice under Act No. 204, Pub. Acts 1899, was served upon Selina Bird and Myron and Stella Boardman. July 22, 1902, Griffin conveyed his interest by appropriate deed to petitioner, who afterwards applied for a writ of assistance. Upon service of notice upon the respondents under the above statue, they referred the matter to this solicitor, Mr. Brigham. He opened negotiatons with Mr. Griffin to redeem from the sale.

Additional Notes.

There is a conflict in the birth date of Andrew Bird as whether he was born about 1831 or 1845. While his obituary states his birth as about 1831, his grave marker which include his wife Selina is scribed as 1845. A check of the old city directories could find only one Andrew Bird living in the Bay City area during this period.

Andrew married Selina Easter in 1872, at Ontario, after the marriage, she and her parents located in Bay City, where Andrew lived.

    1866 - Directory: Pioneer of the Saginaw Valley.

  • Bird, A. - bds 310 Second (Portsmouth)
  • Bird, Mrs. P., h 310 Second (Portsmouth)
    Note: This may not be subject of this history.

    1870 - Census: Bangor, Bay, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew - black, b. 1845, Virginia, at boarding house of Hiram Bunnel.

    1871 - Ontario Marriages: Windsor, Essex.
    (contributed by Jim Petrimoulx, May, 2012.)

  • Date: May 3, 1871.
  • Groom: Andrew Bird, age 35 (b. 1836), laborer, son of Aliku & Aluarki Bird.
  • Bride: Lilian Easton, age 25, spinster, baptist, daughter of John Easten and Fannie Marritte Easten.
  • Officle: Rev. J.O. Donner, minister.
  • Witnesses: George H. Ginnis? and M. A. Ginnis?

    1871 - Directory: Brown's Wenona.

  • Bird, Andrew (col) - Fireman H W Sage & Co., res e s Henry, bet Jane and Jenny.

    1875 - Directory: Brown's Saginaw Valley.

  • Bird, Andrew (col.) - fireman, res w s Williams, nr Jenney and William. (West Bay Cty)
    Note: Number of fireman listed as bording at Andrew Bird's home.

    1879-80 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.
    Colored boarders living at Andrew Bird's homestead on w.s. of Williams, between Jenny and Thomas streets. Andrew is listed a fireman:

  • Collins, Jeremiah - laborer.
  • Easter, John - laborer.
  • Gates, Wesley - laborer.
  • Gordon, Samuel - laborer.
  • Lewis, William H. - laborer.
  • Simpkins, Charles - laborer.
  • Smith, Wm. A. - laborer.
  • Watson, Wm. H. - laborer.
  • Wilson, James - laborer.
  • Wright, Benjamin - laborer.

    1880 - Census West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Andrew Bird - black, b. 1832, Virginia -laborer
  • Selina, wife, black - b. 1852, Ohio - married 25 years.
  • Easter, Charles, black - b. 1855, Ohio - laborer.
  • Easter, John black - b. 1860 Canada - laborer..
  • Easter, Clara, black - b. 1856, Ohio - dress maker. (Died Dec. 10, 1885, single, seamstress.)
  • Zadet, Edwin, white - b. 1862, Ohio - laborer.
  • Gates, Wesley, black - b. 1858, Kentucky - laborer.
  • Sanders, Hurmon, black - b. 1858, Kentucky.
  • Bradford, William, black - b. 1851, Kentucky - married.

    1880 - Census: Bangor, Bay, Mich.

  • Easter, Joan - black, b. 1817, Virginia - farmer. (aka: John)
  • Ann, wife - black, b. 1817, Virginia. (Nee: Booles, bowels)

    1881 - Directory West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew (col'd) - fireman, res w s Williams 1 s of Jenny, 2d Ward.
    Note: Directory lists several firemen boarding at Andrew Bird's residence.

    1884 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew (col'd) - laborer John Welsh, res Williams 4 s of Jenny.

    1889 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew - watchman, 408 s Williams.

    1891 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew (col'd), lab., res 408 S Williams.
    Note: Many others with the name Bird are listed in Bay City directory, but none identified as colored.
  • Easter, Charles J. (col'd) - eng. Lewis & Cousins, bds 2801 S Water. (Bay City)
  • Easter, John E. (col'd), bds 408 S Williams. (Andrew's homestead)
  • Easter, Wm. (col'd) - lab. McKinnon Mnfg Co, res 2801 S water.(Bay City)

    1893 - Directory West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew (col'd) - lab, res 408 S William.

    1894 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Bird, A. - b. 1838.
  • Selina, wife - b. 1843.
  • Easter, John E., father - b. 1816.
  • Easter, John, son - b. 1860.
    Note: Easter is Selina's father and brother.

    1896 - Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Bird, Andrew - laborer H W Gage & Co., res w s William 4 n of Thomas. Note: Believe "Gage" should be "Sage."
  • Bird, Cook - laborer Wilson Hoop Co.
  • Easter, John (col'd) - res w s Dean 2 n of Thomas.
  • Easter, Wm. H. (col'd) - engineer, bds 50 Dean.
    Note: Six Birds listed in Bay City directory

    1900 - Census: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Bura, Andrew - black, b.(none given), Virginia - watchman. (aka: Bird)
  • Selina, wife, black - b. Apr., 1852, West Virginia - married about 1871.
  • Easter, John, father-inlaw - black, b. Apr., 1816, Virginia - widowed.

    1902 - Missouri Deaths: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • John Easter, white, b. 1816, Virginia, widow and farmer, son of Nancy Easter, died Nov. 10, 1902.

    Obituary in Bay City Times Press, Tuesday, Nov., 12, 1902:
    (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx, May, 2012)

    John E. Easter Died Last Night - Was Native of Virginia and Aged 86.

    John E. Easter, for years one of the best know colored residents of this city, died last night after an illness of several days. Mr. Easter, although born in Virginia in the height of the slay days, was never a slave, his parents having been made free by their master some years before his birth.

    Mr. Easter was the father of eight children, four of whom survive him. Arrangements for the funeral have not yet been made.

    1904 - Missouri Deaths: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Selena Bird, black, married, b. 1850, Virginia, daughter of John Ester and Fannie Meritte, died Sep. 22, 1904.

  • Note: 1905 - West Bay City was merged into Bay City.

    1910 - Census: Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Rainbow, John - age 46, b. Mich.
  • Edith, wife - age 37, b. Sweden - immigrated 1887.
  • Edward, son - age 16, b. Mich.
  • Johnny, son - age 14, b. Mich.
  • Easter, Floyd, son mulatto - age 8, b. Mich.
  • Easter, Frederick, son mullato - age 6, b. Mich.
  • Bird, Andrew - mullato, age 70, b. 1840, Virginia - widowed.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Arlington House
Article: Black History.
People Referenced
Bird, Aliku (father)
Bird, Andrew (subject)
Bird, Alurku Mrs. (mother)
Bradford, William
Bunnell, Hiram
Collins, Jeremiah (border)
Donnor, J.O. Rev.
Easter, Ann (Fanny) Mrs. (m-inlaw)
Easter, Floyd
Easter, Frederick
Easter, John E. (f-inlaw)
Easter, John (bro-inlaw)
Easter, Selina (wife)
Gates, Wesley (border)
Ginnis, George H.
Ginnis, M.A.
Gordon, Samuel (border)
Lewis, William H. (border)
Rainbow, Edith Mrs.
Rainbow, Edward
Rainbow, John
Rainbow, Johnny
Ruffin, Edwin
Sage, Henry W.
Sanders, Harmon
Simpkins, Charles (border)
Smith, Wm. A. (border)
Watson, Wm. H. (border)
Welsh, John
Wlson, James (border)
Wright, Benjamin (border)
Zadet, Edwin
Subjects Referenced
Bangor, MI
Bay City, MI
Bay Co. MI
Charles City, VA
Civil War
Detroit, MI
Essex, Ontario
H.W. Sage Mill
Henrco County, VA
Lewis & Cousins Co.
McKinnon Mfg. Co.
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Union army
West Bay City, MI
Western, VA
Windsor, Ontario
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.