The Laird Family from Calais in Vermont

UPDATED: These two photos have been returned to family members!

These two faded photos came to me from the United States. And although only one of them is labelled with names, I believe they are connected. Both of the photos were printed at the photo studio of one E.H. Doton, located in North Calais, in Vermont.

The Laird family tree has been well-researched and published on Ancestry. But there are no photos added to any of the family trees I’ve found. My hope is to reunite these photos with their genealogy-loving family! But first, I’m curious to find out how the lives of these children turned out!

I will start with the labelled photo of “Clyde, Dorothy and Edwin Laird, Willis and Elsie’s children

First up, we have Clyde Henry Laird, the oldest sibling of the family, looking dashing in a white shirt with ruffles and a bow tie. Clyde was born on July 27th, 1894, in Worcester, Vermont.

Clyde was drafted for both WWI and WWII. In 1918, when he was drafted to serve in the WWI, Clyde was a farmer. He was of medium height and physique, had grey eyes and brown hair. He was discharged from the army in January 1919 after the WWI had ended.

In 1923, Clyde was working as a mechanic. In July the same year, as their first child was born, Clyde married Nettie Lillian Ladd née Getchell. Nettie had two children from her previous marriage to Arthur Raymond Ladd: Elva Dune Ladd (born in about 1918) and Raymond Ladd (born in about 1921). At first I thought Nettie was perhaps widowed, but I looked into the Ladd family history and Arthur Raymond didn’t pass away until 1960. Moreover, he re-married and had 7 more children with his second wife. Clyde seems to have raised Elva and Raymond Jr. as his own, and Clyde and Nettie had at least 4 more children together: Dorothy Lucille Laird Caiya (1923-2018), Harold Loren Laird (1926-2013), Rachel Elizabeth Laird (born and died in 1926), Loraine Marie Laird Brule (1929-2013), Phyllis Ruth Laird Maranville (1934-1993). Perhaps any of them had children and great-grandchildren who are missing this family photo?

Clyde passed away in April 1965 in White River Junction, Vermont, at the age of 70. His wife Nettie lived to be 92 years old and passed away in 1991. They were buried at the Eaton Cemetery in Marshfield, Vermont.

Clyde’s signature on his WWI draft card

The little girl in the photograph was Dorothy Louise Laird, born on January 4th, 1896, in Cabot, Vermont. Looks like Dorothy never married. According to the 1930 Census of Berlin, Vermont, she and her younger sisters Priscilla and Elizabeth were living with her parents Willis and Elsie. Dorothy was a housekeeper at the time. In 1940, Dorothy was living in Montpelier. The 1940 Census is somewhat confusing. Dorothy was 44 years old at the time, living at 140 State Street in Montpelier, Vermont, together with her sister Priscilla, who was listed under a different family number. Other persons listed under the same family number as Dorothy were her 15-year-old niece Dorothy Lucille (Clyde’s daughter) and sisters Katherine and Helen Flannagan (I am confused why they are listed as “daughters” cause just by looking at their ages, they clearly weren’t). I also wonder why the niece was living with her aunt at the time and not with Clyde’s family?

Dorothy passed away in January 1956. Her death certificate marks her occupation as a retired schoolteacher. She died of a “subarachnoid hemorrhage” which I believe was a stroke. She was buried at the Plainmont Cemetery in Montpelier at the gravesite of her parents.

The baby-boy in the photograph was Edwin Wallace Laird, born on March 28th, 1898, in Calais, Washington. Edwin was drafted for both WWI and WWII, too. In September 1918, when Edwin was drafted to serve in WWI at the age of 20 years, his occupation was blacksmith’s helper with the “Montpelier and Wells River River Railroad Car Shop” in Montpelier. Edwin was described as tall of medium physique, he had hazel eyes and brown hair. I hope he was never shipped out to the front as WWI ended 2 months later.

Edwin married Sadie A. née Snow sometime in the 1920s. Sadie was 10 years younger than Edwin. In the 1930 Census, Edwin and Sadie were living in Manchester, Connecticut, with Sadie’s relatives. In 1930, Edwin worked as a fireman with the railroad, and Sadie as a bookkeeper at the Silk Mill (probably at the Cheney Brothers Mills, the first Ameica-based silk company). In 1940, Edwin and Sadie were living in Mansfield, Tolland in Connecticut (1940 Census). Edwin had changed careers and was now working as an electrician. In 1942, at the time Edwin was drafted to serve in WWII, the couple was still living in Mansfield and Edwin was 44 years old. There are no children listed for the couple in the 1930 and 1940 Census lists. Edwin passed away in March 1973 and he was buried at the Willington Hill Cemetery.

Edwin’s signature on the WWII draft card

A few words about the children’s parents and siblings anyways. The children’s father Willis Joseph Laird, born in 1873 in Woodbury, Washington, and the children’s mother Elsie Jane née Conner, born in 1870, were married in January 1893 in Calais, Washington. In the 1910 Census, father Willis was a conductor with the railroad company. In 1930, he was working as a labourer with the State Engineering Department in Berlin, Washington. Willis passed away in 1938, and Elsie in 1953, and they are both buried at the Plainmont Cemetery in Montpelier.

After Willis and Elsie had had Clyde, Dorothy and Edwin, the family grew by 5 more children:

–Barbara Emma Lucile Laird (1900-1994)

–Hugh S. Laird (1902-1960)

–Rachel M. Laird (1908-?)

–Priscilla Rachel Laird (1908-1996)

–Nelli Elizabeth Laird (1913-1963)

Now on to the second photograph. Such a pity this one isn’t labelled! I first suspected these could have perhaps been Clyde, Dorothy and Edwin’s parents Willis and Elsie Laird with their children. The first photo was taken in about 1900, when Clyde was about 6, Dorothy about 4 and Edwin about 2 years old. And judging by the fashion of the mother in the second photo below, the second photo must have been taken at about the same time, latest in the early 1900s, so none of the Laird children were the age of the children in the second photo by then. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the sitters of the second photo were for sure, perhaps relatives of Willis and Elsie?

And here we are, at the end of our research for now. I hope to make contact with Clyde’s descendents, as he seems to have been the only one of the trio who had children of his own. I will also add the first photo to the Find A Grave pages of the Lairds. Keep your fingers crossed that these photos find their way back to the family!

3 thoughts on “The Laird Family from Calais in Vermont

  1. Kurt Boutin says:

    I just found this page. These are my ancestors! Nettie Laird is my great grandmother. My grandmother is Betty Bell (nee’ Laird) and is still alive! She was very excited at the prospect of seeing some of these pictures! Thank you so much for saving them!


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