Another Warren Old Soldier Joins the Bivouac of the Dead


One of the old soldiers of the Republic, the defenders of the Constitution and the flag, the heros of the days of Lincoln, Grant, and Logan, the men who served all the dear and loving ties of home and braved death by sword and bullet, shot or shell in defense and support of that greatest boon, liberty on American soil, are fast being mustered out by the silent messenger of the Great Commander Death.


            Jessie W. Bird, a veteran of the war of ’61-5, silently and suddenly passed away at his home in Warren about eight o’clock Sunday morning Jan. 27, 1889. Comrade Bird had been complaining slightly since Christmas of a dull pain in his left shoulder and in the region of the heart, and had been using medicine prescribed by his physician, but had as a rule attended to his daily work in the cooper shop, but did work Saturday. Saturday evening, however, he went out in the town, made some purchases for over Sunday, called at the barber shop and was shaved, and preformed several other little errands about town. Returning home he eat supper with apparent relish and retired early, seemingly sleeping during the night better than he had for several nights. Mrs. Bird did not retire until after eleven o’clock and when she did so he was sleeping soundly and did not waken. Sunday morning Mrs. Bird prepared breakfast without disturbing him, and when his little grandson Jimmey Bird passed his room going to the breakfast room, he spoke to him saying “how do you feel this morning, granpa?” “ I feel better, Jimmey, but weaker” was the reply. Jimmey had not been from the room five minutes before Mrs. Bird heard a peculiar noise or groan, and surmising it might be her husband she hastened to his room and found him in bed gasping his eyes partially closed, and seemingly unconscious. She called to Jimmey to run and call his father, which the lad did, and his father, James Bird, at once hurried home. Seeing his condition of his father Mr. Bird hastened for a physician, and finding Dr. Easter at the hotel, the doctor at once went to the Bird residence, but found it was too late to do anything for his relief-the old soldier had been relieved by a higher command and had already joined the ranks of the brave comrades on the other side of the dark river.


            Jessie W. Bird was born in Union county, Penn., in 1813 and was 76 years old Jan. 1, 1889. He was married to Henrietta Orwig. Ten children were born to this union, five sons and five daughters, of whom three sons and two daughters are left with their aged mother to mourn the death of a kind and indulgent father.


            Comrade Bird was a member of Warren  Post 315, G.A.R. and always taken a keen pride in acting as color-bearer whenever occasion offered. His first enlistment was in the 19th Illinois infantry, in 1861 at Galena in Company I, commanded by Captain Bruce Howard and known as the “Galena anti-Bureguard company.” He enlisted from Bellevue, Ia., where his family then resided. About six months after his enlistment he was discharged from the service on account of rheumatism. In ’62, having recovered from his disease, he again enlisted, this time in the 23d Illinois infantry a regiment that afterwards became part of the famous “Mulligan’s brigade.” He re-enlisted in the regiment in “64 as a veteran, and served in the regiment in all its battles as a true and faithful soldier until the close of the was, when he joined his family, which had removed from Bellevue to Warren during his absence. During his service he participated in the battles of Cedar Creek, Fisher’s Hill, Opaquon Creek, Petersburg, Gettysburg, Winchester, Harper’s Ferry and Newmarket, besides numerous skirmishes he was at Appomattox court house at the surrender of Lee’s army, thus seeing the beginning and the end of the civil war.


            During his residence here Mr. Bird followed his trade, that of a cooper. He has always been more or less afflicted with rheumatism, and had drawn a pension for that disability for a number of years. He had but recently been granted an increase of pension on account of the aggravated condition of his disease. There is no doubt but what his sudden death was occasioned by the disease attacking his heart.


            When a young man Mr. Bird was a member of the Methodist church, but of late years he held no membership with any church, unless it may be said that he was under “the watch and care” of the Free Will Baptist society. Mr. Bird was known as an industrious, hard working citizen, in busy seasons being in his shop from twelve to fifteen hours a day. A few years ago when his pension was first granted, he bought and paid for the little home where he died. Aside from that he left no property, the prosperity usually attending a long and busy life ever seeming to elude his grasp.


            The funeral took place yesterday (Tuesday) from his late residence, The Rev. W.E. Wilkinson officiating, under the auspices of Warren Post G.A.R., it having always been the desire of comrade Bird that when with him the battle of life ended he be accorded by his comrades the burial of a soldier. The remains were deposited in the family plot in Elmwood cemetery.


Warren Sentinel Leader      Thursday January 31, 1889  pg 3  col. 4     Warren Library   Warren, Illinois

Submitted by Alayne Hammer.