Henry S. Baird
Baird in 1861
7th Mayor of Green Bay, Wisconsin
In office
April 1861 – April 1863
Preceded byE. H. Ellis
Succeeded byBurley Follett
1st Attorney General of Wisconsin Territory
In office
Appointed byHenry Dodge
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byHoratio N. Wells
1st President of the Council of the Wisconsin Territory
In office
October 25, 1836 – November 6, 1837
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byArthur B. Ingraham
Member of the Council of the Wisconsin Territory for Brown County
In office
October 25, 1836 – November 6, 1837
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byJoseph Dickinson
Personal details
Henry Samuel Baird Jr.

(1800-05-16)May 16, 1800
Dublin, Ireland
DiedApril 30, 1875(1875-04-30) (aged 74)
Fontenoy, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting placeWoodlawn Cemetery
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Political partyWhig
  • Eliza A. (Baker)
  • (b. 1825; died 1915)
  • Emilie Virginia Baird
  • (b. 1829; died 1844)
  • Mary Elizabeth Baird
  • (b. 1831; died 1833)
  • Louise Sophia (Favill)
  • (b. 1833; died 1911)
MotherAnn (Burnside) Baird
FatherHenry Samuel Baird
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service Michigan Territorial Militia
Years of service1832
Battles/warsBlack Hawk War

Henry Samuel Baird Jr. (May 16, 1800 – April 30, 1875) was an Irish American immigrant, Wisconsin pioneer, lawyer, and politician. He was the first Attorney General of the Wisconsin Territory, appointed by territorial governor Henry Dodge. He is known as "Father of the Wisconsin Bar," and was said to be the first practicing lawyer in the Wisconsin Territory.[1]


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Baird moved with his family, at age five, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked in various law firms in Ohio and Pennsylvania—including the law firm of the future governor of Ohio Reuben Wood. Baird moved to Mackinac Island, in the Michigan Territory, in 1822, where he became a teacher. He moved to Green Bay in 1824, which, at the time, was also part of the Michigan Territory.

Baird Law Office at Heritage Hill
Baird Law Office at Heritage Hill

In Green Bay, Baird was admitted to the bar in a special ceremony in the courtroom of territorial judge James Duane Doty, and became the first practicing attorney in what would become the Wisconsin Territory. Baird was involved with Indian affairs, negotiating land transactions as a counsel for the Menominee and Ho-Chunk tribes in 1830, he volunteered as a quartermaster with the militia during the Black Hawk War in 1832, and was secretary to U.S. negotiator Henry Dodge at the Treaty of the Cedars in 1836, and was secretary to the council at Lake Poygan in 1848;[2] Baird also served in the Wisconsin Territorial Council, the upper house of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, and was the first president of the territorial council; he also served in the first Wisconsin Constitutional Convention of 1846. After Wisconsin statehood, he was the Whig Party nominee for Governor of Wisconsin in 1853, and served as mayor of Green Bay for two terms, in 1861 and 1862.[3]

Elizabeth Baird

Family and personal life

On August 12, 1824, Henry Baird married the 14-year-old Elizabeth Fisher, who had been his favorite student. Elizabeth was born in Prairie du Chien in southwest Wisconsin and had moved with her mother to Mackinac Island as a toddler. She was the child of a British fur trader and a French-Ottawa mother and spoke several languages. Baird brought his wife from Mackinac Island, by ship, to Green Bay. Elizabeth's skill at translation and her family connections to the American Indian communities made their home a hub for social life in the territory and contributed to her husband's political success. Elizabeth later wrote of her life in the territory in "Reminscences of Life in Territorial Wisconsin."[4] Henry and Elizabeth had four daughters, with two surviving to adulthood.

Henry's law office, the Baird Law Office, is a small Greek Revival building that he purchased in 1841. The building was moved and is preserved at Heritage Hill State Park.

Electoral history

Wisconsin Attorney General (1848)

Wisconsin Attorney General Election, 1848[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, May 8, 1848
Democratic James S. Brown 17,788 56.00%
Whig Henry S. Baird 13,975 44.00%
Plurality 3,813 12.00%
Total votes 31,763 100.0%
Democratic win (new seat)

Wisconsin Governor (1853)

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election, 1853[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, November 8, 1853
Democratic William A. Barstow 30,405 54.60% +5.24%
Free Soil Edward D. Holton 21,886 39.31%
Whig Henry S. Baird 3,304 5.93% -44.57%
Scattering 88 0.16%
Plurality 8,519 15.30% +14.15%
Total votes 55,683 100.0% +26.01%
Democratic gain from Whig Swing 49.82%


  1. ^ "Cotton House-Baird Law Office". Historical Marker Society of America.
  2. ^ "Baird, Henry Samuel 1800 - 1875". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Henry Samuel Baird-Mayors of Green Bay, Wisconsin Archived 2011-05-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Henry S. Baird (1800-1875), Elizabeth Baird (1810-1890)". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "Wisconsin Official Canvass". Watertown Chronicle. Watertown, Wisconsin. June 21, 1848. p. 2. Retrieved August 6, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (2015). "Statistics: History" (PDF). In Pohlman, Julie (ed.). State of Wisconsin 2015-2016 Blue Book (Report). Madison, Wisconsin: State of Wisconsin. pp. 699–701. ISBN 978-0-9752820-7-6. Retrieved August 6, 2020.

Further reading

Party political offices
New state Whig nominee for Attorney General of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Moses B. Butterfield
Preceded by
Leonard J. Farwell
Whig nominee for Governor of Wisconsin
Party dissolved
Political offices
Preceded by
E. H. Ellis
Mayor of Green Bay, Wisconsin
April 1861 – April 1863
Succeeded by
Burley Follett
Legal offices
New territory Attorney General of the Wisconsin Territory
1836 – 1839
Succeeded by
Horatio N. Wells