John "Jack" and James Campbell Baird

John Campbell Baird, "Jack Baird", and his brother Jamie were in late 1872 or early 1873 founder members of Vale of Leven F.C. They also played in the club's Scottish Cup wins of 1877, 1878 and 1879, both as forwards, Jackie in all three, Jamie in the second and third, with Jackie pictured as a player. And Jackie also would also win three Scottish caps. 

They were the sons of a Paisley-born plumber, who would die in 1865, and his Greenock-born wife. Jack was born in 1856 and James two years earlier, both in Alexandria, where they were raised largely by their mother, with the former away from football becoming a clerk, then a yarn salesman and finally a yarn buyer for the local Turkey Red dye works to trade, the latter initially a coppersmith.   

Jack Baird retired from football in 1881. He would marry three years later, his wife being Margaret Whitelaw from Jamestown with them settling first in Bonhill. And they were to have two children a daughter and a son, both Bonhill-born, before moving to Renton. Furthermore it would be in Renton that he died, quite suddenly and young in 1902. He was just forty-five, struck down with a virulent pneumonia to be buried in Vale of Leven Cemetery, his coffin born by his ex-team-mates. 

Margaret Baird would outlive her husband by twenty years, dying still in Renton in 1922,. His brother would survive him by six more, living to, as can be seen from his dapper and  distinguished  photo below.  

He seems to have hung up his footballing boots at much the same time as Jack. Like his brother he was not in the Vale team that lost the Scottish Cup Final in 1883. And work might have taken him away from the valley but he does return. Whilst in 1891 there is no easily identifiable record of him in Scotland and none in the whole of Dunbartonshire, in 1901 he is in Alexandria. But it is at his mother's house, as a visitor, a "Mechanic Coppersmith" and single. Yet in 1928 he was to die back in his hometown., still single but with a change of livelihood. In fact his return would seem to have been in stages. Despite in 1911 there again being no easily identifiable record of him in Scotland, in 1921 he was boarding in Jamestown and recorded as a storekeeper at the Singer Sewing Machine factory, presumably at Kilbowie by Clydebank. 

And it was still as a storekeeper that he is recorded on his passing at Willieslea, a house that is still there on Smollett St. a quarter of a mile from where he and his younger brother were born. 

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