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Below is a sample of a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties Missouri and published by Chapman Bros. in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

JOSEPH BAIER, a member of the firm of Baier & Haysler, wholesale and retail dealers in meats, is a successful business man of Salisbury. He was born March 8, 1835, in the village of Weigheim, Wurtemberg, Germany, where both father and grandfather before him had been born, and where they both died. His grandfather followed the occupation of a farmer, while the father made a specialty of stock-raising, and died in 1884 at the age of seventy years. The mother of our subject was named Mary (Werner) Baier, and was born in Baden, Germany, where she died at the age of seventy years. She had been a devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church, and was the mother of sixteen children, only four of whom survive.

Our subject was the eldest of the family, and was the only one who made a home in America, He was reared in Germany, where he received his education in the excellent schools and worked on the farm. He had read of the United States, and through correspondence with friends had found out something of the resources of the land beyond the sea, and at the age of seventeen he decided to emigrate to the New World.

In the spring of 1852, Mr. Baier left Havre on a sailing-vessel, and after a voyage of seventy days reached New Orleans, but not without mishap. Off the coast of Cuba the vessel was injured so that she sunk on a rock, but was pumped out, raised, and the passengers again set sail. All of the provisions had been spoiled, hence there was a great scarcity of food during the latter part of the journey. From New Orleans our subject went up the river to St. Louis and commenced to learn the trade of blacksmith, but was taken sick, and after recovery made his way to Glasgow. There with his uncle Philip he engaged in the marble business, and remained thus occupied for two years. Afterward he was apprenticed to learn the butcher business under Joseph Steadens, in which capacity he continued for three years. He then became a clerk in a grocery store at Glasgow, and for four years was in the employ of Stillman & Phipps.

Just at that time great excitement was occasioned by the report of vast treasures to be found on Pike's Peak, and our subject was prepared to journey thither, but fortunately he heard of the disappointment of those who had gone and abandoned the idea. He then engaged in business for one year. The desire to travel and investigate for himself induced him in 1860 to take a trip to Colorado. With two wagons and four mules he started overland alone, crossing the Missouri at St. Joseph, reaching the Platte at Ft. Kearney, and by way of Ft. Laramie arriving in Denver. The trip consumed six months, and oftentimes he was in close quarters with the Indians. From Denver he made his way to the mines of California Gulch, and thence to Frying-pan Gulch. At the latter place he did a thriving business as butcher for three months, and then went down the Arkansas River, where he prospected and mined. It was necessary to lie out all night wherever he happened to be at work, and to carry wood for fuel one-half mile. While the mines were productive, the necessities were so expensive that he did not get much ahead, and the frost soon compelled him to stop work.

During the winter our subject did some prospecting, and early in the spring he discovered a claim at the top of one of the mountains called Lost Canyon Mine. He went up on snowshoes and worked there until the middle of July, when the water failed. Then he worked at Cash Creek, where he realized $200. Selling out, he proceeded to Montana, leaving Denver September 20, 1861, with two yoke of cattle and journeying to Virginia City, and thence to Bevins' Gulch, where he remained during the winter. In the spring he began prospecting on the Yellowstone, and there he remained until July. While there he fell in with a tribe of Crow Indians, with whom he became friendly and remained all winter. His were the first wagons they had ever seen. He and his four companions found the Indians disposed to be kind and helpful, notwithstanding their reputation for cruelty.

Later, Mr. Baier went to Big Horn and Little Big Horn. Making his way far up on the divide, he could see where the streams of water which made fertile the valleys below formed on the top of Bald Mountains. Snow was on the ground, and the party made its way back to Virginia City almost starved. For a time our subject worked the mines there, receiving $6 a day, and later was employed in a butcher shop for one month, receiving $100 for his services. At Bevins' Gulch he opened a butcher shop and made $1,000 in six months, but the desertion of the mines caused a failure in trade. He then returned to Virginia City, where he bought out a claim for $3,000, and opening it with another man went to work. Often the outlook was very discouraging, but he persevered until his receipts amounted to $40,000, when he quit.

At that time there was great excitement farther north, and with his partner our subject proceeded thither. They bought a claim for $3,000 but lost it and returned to the old place, bare-footed and ragged. They began to work in an old mine near Helena, and with the start there obtained went to Utah to speculate. There they bought stock, which they drove to Montana, but the business was not a success, as they bought too many head. Then the partners returned by coach to Colorado, which they reached with difficulty. After an absence of nearly twelve years our subject returned to Glasgow in 1872. Many of his experiences in the West had been thrilling, and at one time he shot a grizzly bear.

After locating again in Glasgow, Mr. Baier formed a partnership with William Meyers in the grocery business, which continued for four years. In 1876 he came to Salisbury. At that time the present city contained but one small butcher shop, and as the proprietor of this died soon afterward, our subject bought the business and has conducted it ever since. His capital then was $800. In 1886 he formed the partnership with Mr. Haysler which still continues. Twice he has been visited by fire, but now has a fine brick building 25x70, with out-buildings for ice and storage. He is also the owner of eighty acres of well-improved land and is interested in farming. The firm raises and feeds cattle, and in this way secures the very choicest quality of beef.

In 1891 our subject laid out the Baier & Haysler Addition to the city. This contains five acres and has been sold and built upon. He bought it for $300 and sold for $20,000. The marriage of Mr. Baier took place in Boonville, Mo., in 1873, to Miss Theresa Haysler, who was a native of Saxony, and came with her brothers to Glasgow. Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Baier, as follows: Minnie, now Mrs. Auspurger, of Salisbury; Arnold, Edward, Ernest, Dorinda, Joseph, Jr., Leonard, Myrtie and Flossie (twins). Our subject was Treasurer of Salisbury for eight years, and was also Alderman for the same time, being one of the first Aldermen of the city. He was reared a Catholic, and is a whole-souled Christian gentleman. In his political opinions he is a Democrat.

This family biography is one of 555 biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties Missouri published in 1893.  For the complete description, click here: Chariton County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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