Photos courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project
(January 1, 1874 - January 1, 1937)
The Lusk Herald
January 12, 1967
30 Years Ago
Grover Baird, 50, is believed to have been responsible for the death of his father, George Baird and his brother Charles Baird after they perished in a fire, January 1, at the family home near Kirtley.
The Lusk Herald
January 7, 1937
Grover Baird, Believed Insane, Thought Responsible For Death and Cremation of Two Relatives; Father, 84 Years Old, and Brother, 60, Are Burned to Death in Ranch Home Near Kirtley; Man Being Held in Jail, and Cornoner's Inquest Set For Friday.
Grover Baird, about 50 years old, who is believed to have been responsible for the death of his father, George Baird, about 84 years old, and his brother, Charles Baird, about 60, is being held in the County Jail, awaiting a hearing as to his sanity, after his father and brother perished in a fire last Friday, January 1, which destroyed the ranch house, barn and other outbuildings, at the Baird ranch near Kirtley.
A coroner's inquest will be held by Coroner George Earl Peet some time Friday to determine the manner in which the father and son met their deaths, whether they were killed before and their bodies cremated, or whether they were burned to death in the fire which destroyed the home.
A mental specialist from Evanston Hospital for the Insane has been summoned, and he will also be in Lusk Friday or Saturday to conduct an investigation into the mental condition of Grover Baird, who is being closely guarded in the county jail.
The bodies of George Baird and his son, Charley, were so badly burned that it is difficult to determine the manner in which they met their death. Only a piece of the skull and a few bones of the father were found by Coroner Peet, but a large part of the abdomen and some of the vital organs of Charles Baird were recovered. Some of the vital organs, particularly the heart, were sent to Dr. Zuckerman for an examination. It is the purpose of Coroner Peet and County Attorney Miller to determine, if possible, whether their vital organs wre functioning when they were burned to death, or whether they had been killed some time previous. An expert examination of the organs is expected to determine this fact.
FIRE DESTROYS RANCH HOME NEW YEAR MORNING
The fire at the Baird ranch home, near Kirtley, was discovered by Albert Thomas, a neighbor, about 8:30 Friday morning, January 1, and he immediately went to the place. He found the home in flames, with the walls about ready to fall in, and the bodies of the two men could be seen in the flames. Hearing a noise, he went to the garage, and found Grover Baird, who had locked himself inside, and ordered Thomas to go way and mind his own business. Thomas then went after George Martin, another neighbor, and they notified Sheriff Hassed and Coroner Peet. Returning to the fire, Thomas found that while he went for help, that the barn and the milk house had also been burned. A team of large horses and two milk cows were burned to death in the barn.
Coroner George Earl Peet, accompanied by Ed Stigile, was the first official to arrive at the scene, and he was closely followed by Sheriff Hassed.
When the officials arrived, Grover Baird had a fire going in the middle of the garage, and said it was necessary for him to "keep the great light burning" to chase the evil spirits away. He continued to talk in an irrational manner, and the Sheriff Coroner Peet and neighbors overpowered him and brought him to town and lodged him in jail, where he now awaits the outcome of an investigation which has been in progress since the tragedy.
He has been repeatedly questioned at the jail by former Sheriff Hassed, Sheriff Shoopman and County Attorney Miller and Dr. Reckling, but so far has stuck to his claim that he had only "kept the lights burning," and seems to be unaware that his father and brother were burned to death.
He admitted that while the house was burning, he picked up the family dog and threw him into the flames, because the dog kept following him around and he believed he was "full of evil spirits."
MONEY BELIEVED BURNED IN RANCH HOUSE
The father and two sons were in fairly comfortable circumstances, and as they are known to have kept quite a sum of money in the house, it is certain that a sum of money, probably $1500.00, and some bonds and other valuable papers were consumed by the flames. It is certain the Grover Baird's bonus bonds, amounting to about $1500 were burned.
Another son, George Baird, who lives at Ester Park, Colo. arrived in Lusk Saturday night, and has taken charge of the Baird property.
Charlie Baird, who perished in the flames of the ranch house, came to see Dr. Reckling about six months ago and inquired what procedure to take in the case of an insane person. It is believed that at that time he had reason to believe his brother, Grover, was mentally unbalanced. However, aside from the inquiry, he took no action.
The father and two sons had kept house at the ranch since the death of the mother, in March of 1932.
It was customary for Charley to feed the stock and Grover to do the housework, the father being too feeble to do any work. They lived an apparently peaceful existence, and none of the neighbors knew of any contention between them.
The remains of the father and son will be given burial by Coroner Peet some time Friday.
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