|Birth: ||Jan. 23, 1882|
|Death: ||Apr. 1, 1936|
St. Louis County
His obituary states his birthplace was Humboldt, Tennessee, but the two are likely in the same vicinity. He was a farmer and he became a carpenter in and around Cairo, Illinois. At one point, around 1912-1915, he worked as a ferry pilot across the Mississippi River around Bird's Point, Missouri. He also worked as a brakeman for the Illinois Central Railroad Company for some time around 1918. Tom was active in his community, serving as Commissioner of Road District No. 2, west of Pulaski, for a number of years prior to and at the time of his death.
One day as a young man, while riding on a horse to visit the nearby Hen-drick farm on business, Tom Baine met a young girl at the entrance gate. She was a teenager, small in stature, and as she opened the gate, she jumped and swung around on it. Her name was Katrien Elizabeth Weiskopf (1884-1950), and she was a niece of the Hendrick family. After her mother died in 1892, she moved to the area as a nine year old with her little brother, John, to live with their Hendrick relatives. She was known as "Lizzie," and she and Tom Baine were married on April 8, 1903, in Cairo, Alexander, Illinois.
Tom and Lizzie's life together was not easy. At one point, they were even separated for awhile. From what Ruby told her daughter, Bonita, the trouble seemed to start at a local barn dance when her mother was dancing with another man. She remembered that she and Carl (both were small children) were both standing against the wall (which was apparently where you stood if you weren't dancing), and she remembered her mother having a very good time dancing with this presently un-known individual.
Ruby apparently did not know completely what was going on at the time, or why, but evidently her father, Tom Baine, found out about it and was very angry. The exact cause of his anger is difficult to speculate. As Lizzie was a very religious and moral person, an affair of any kind hardly fits her personality. It does not appear that we will ever know for certain what caused the rift between them, but whatever happened, they separated for awhile and Lizzie took Ruby and Carl (the only two children at the time) to live with her Hendrick relatives in Rocky Ford, Colorado (the Hendricks had removed to Colorado from Pulaski by that time, and her brother, John Sherman Weiskopf, had already moved with them). A year or so later, Ruby remembered her father coming out to Colorado to get them with a horse and wagon, and brought them home to Illinois. Tom and Lizzie managed to patch up their differences, but whatever happened back at that dance, he apparently remained somewhat embittered by it and reminded Lizzie about it for the rest of their lives.
Tom's parents, Tom Baine, Sr. and Sarah, evidently moved to Cairo in their later years. It appears that Tom Baine, Jr. and Lizzie moved to his parents' farm in Villa Ridge around 1913. Tom Baine Jr. supposedly built their house there, although the house could have been built by his father instead. It was demolished in the late 1990's.
Tom joined the 10th Street Baptist Church in Cairo, Illinois, in November 1907. When he and Lizzie moved out to Villa Ridge, they joined the Shiloh Baptist Church there.
By all accounts, Tom Baine was "a character." He was very well liked, fun-ny, and he was very skilled at talking and story-telling. His niece, Edna Horner Newell, said in October 2006, "Uncle Tom could out-talk any of these talk show people you have on television these days. He could sit down and tell you a story, and he could talk for an hour or so on it, and he'd keep you spell-bound. And I'm talking about adults too, not only children. He was very funny."
Edna also said, laughing, "If I was Aunt Lizzie, I'd have killed that man. He would often say, ‘Lizzie, I'll be back in a little while!' and not show back up for a day or two." He was very popular in the region, and he would go out visiting friends. In those days, transportation was much slower, so it was not unusual to have dinner guests end up staying overnight. He also enjoyed horse-trading. "He was very fond of horses, and he knew how to take care of them well. He could heel them and fix them to where they were workable," commented Edna. "He traded horses a lot."
Tom Baine and his younger brother, John, went "out on the town" from time to time. According to Edna, they went out drinking one night and when they came home the next morning, they were naturally very thirsty for some water. "One of them, I don't remember which one, said to Aunt Lizzie, ‘Lizzie, wake up all those kids and give them a drink of this water. This is the best water I've drank in my life!' You can only imagine what kind of night they must have had."
When asked about where they would go out to drink, Edna responded, "You know, I don't know where they went out to drink. They had to be drinking boot-legged whiskey in order to be getting any, because there was no place to get any alcohol. They probably would go to somebody who bootlegged, where they knew they could get it."
Edna remembered a story Tom told her about his youth. "When they were kids, Tom and John Baine worked for an old man who liked to drink. The old man's name was Adamson and he liked to have a nip or two. They knew he drank, but he didn't know they knew, and he wouldn't let them see him take a drink. They noticed a certain noise he would make when he was drinking nearby, and when he left, they would go find the bottle he had stashed and help themselves to his whiskey. I don't know if the old man ever caught them or what," Edna laughed.
When asked about Tom's preferred mode of transportation around the county, Edna replied, "Most of the time Uncle Tom either walked or rode horseback. I would think it took at least a half-hour to get from where Tom and Lizzie lived to get over to the Shiloh church. They would have come down the road, as they couldn't cut across a field, and there were no short-cuts that I know of."
Considering that the Baine farm near Villa Ridge was between Mounds and Pulaski, I asked Edna which town they likely went to more often. "I'm sure they did most of their buying in Pulaski. It was closer, because Mounds would have been quite a distance. They might have come to Villa Ridge as I think it had a few more stores then than Pulaski, but not as many as Mounds. Mounds was a railroad center, and Villa Ridge was a shipping center.
When asked about Tom and Lizzie's children, Edna laughed, "The Baine boys were something when they were growing up. I think T.W. was maybe more like his father, Tom, than Harold was. One time, when they were young boys, T.W. and Harold had some new pups. Uncle Tom kept finding pieces of dog tail in the yard, and he wondered about it, but didn't say too much until curiosity got the best of him and he asked the boys about it. T.W. and Harold told him they were ‘bobbing the dogs' tails' (i.e. cutting them off) and they said they were taking them off a little bit at a time so it wouldn't hurt the dogs."
According to Edna, "The Baine boys were also quite mechanical, and they liked to fool with old cars. Back when they were boys, you could fix a Model T Ford with bailing wire. They would find an old car someplace, fix it up, and when they finished, they often had parts left over. When someone would ask them about the left-over parts, they would say, ‘Well, I guess we don't need them, because the car seems to be running right.'"
Barbara Ridgeway Dunker remembered her grandfather very well. She said that she remembered being at the farm as a child with her grandparents. She called him "Pop Baine" and her "Ma Baine." She remembered that they had a vegetable garden, and she recalled being with them on a wagon full of vegetables. She said they would take the wagon to Cairo with their produce and sell it along the way. "Hopefully," she related, "we'd return with an empty wagon."
Barbara also remembered when Aunt Margaret Parsons would visit in the summers. "Did you ever hear about Aunt Margaret's violin?" she laughed. "Aunt Margaret liked to play the violin, but she was not very accomplished, let me put it to you that way. She sounded pretty bad, actually. I don't think Pop Baine liked her playing the violin," she laughed. When I asked if he got on her case, Barbara responded with laughter, "Oh yes, he could get on anyone's case."
Barbara's younger sister, Bonita Ridgeway Robertson, said that Margaret was the main family contact. She related, "Margaret made Tom Baine crazy and he used his kids to aggravate her when he could. He would put them up to some mischief he knew she wouldn't like. When she came after the kids, he would open the dining room window so they could make their escape. He and the kids loved that game. I have no idea what Margaret thought of Tom."
Bonita also said, "Ruth was just crazy about him (her father, Tom Baine). Every time something came up, Ruth always had a Tom Baine story. He was just funny. He used to comment on my mother's (Ruby Baine's) little legs. He used to tell her how she was just the bravest child to venture out on them." Bonita said that she heard that he was "a character."
"From what I recall my mother saying about him," Bonita said, "Tom Baine was kind of lazy in some ways. I mean he worked hard, but he often left his tools out in the field to rust, and things like that. He didn't put things where they belonged. My mother said he was a very nice man, but he had that ‘Baine temper' and he would sometimes get very angry very quickly. All the Baine men have that temper, it seems." As she said that, I thought about the similar "no nonsense" temperament of my grandfather, my own father, and myself.
"One of his favorite sayings," Bonita recalled, "was, when someone was at the door, he'd say, ‘Come in, come in, make yourself at home, and the Lord knows we wish you were.'" "My brother, Bill, was a lot like him," Bonita added, "and Ruth was too. Just a tremendously quick humor that just fit the moment. You know, they couldn't have thought it up or planned it. They were just funny. I'm sure it all came from Tom Baine." Bonita recalled, "I remember T.W. laughing a lot. It seemed like the Baines always laughed a lot. They're all happy people."
"Maggie and Alice (Tom's sisters) were in and out quite often. I knew them when I was a kid. Alice always struck me as more successful. She lived in Memphis and I had a feeling that she had a nicer home and she dressed very nice. She seemed a little more sophisticated, a bit more urban," Bonita recalled. "Maggie lived down in Cairo, and she had that crippled foot, which stuck straight out to the side instead of the front. Something happened to her with a horse when she was a child. My sister, Barbara, spent a lot of time with her as a child. She would tell Barbara to get on the bus and come down and spend the weekend with her. We loved Aunt Maggie."
"Maggie had some kids. Alice had a daughter, and I think a son," Bonita re-called. "The daughter was called ‘Baby Jo' although it wasn't her given name." Bonita met John Von Nida, Alice's husband, but she doesn't remember much about him. "They were a fun family," Bonita said. "They'd drop in and mother would fix lunch."
Bonita remembered that Alice dropped in for a visit once, and that she was on a diet. Bonita, as a small child, had a big appetite in those days, and she just couldn't understand why someone would limit what they wanted to eat. Alice would say, "Oh no, I'm going to eat just so much because I've got to get ten pounds off." Alice ate small portions and she was very disciplined. And when she finished, she set it all down, and little Bonita thought it tasted quite good and she wanted to finish it herself.
John Robert Baine, according to his grandson, Ed Baine, was a very tough man. He apparently enjoyed the nightlife, which in those days usually entailed barn dances and such, and had a particular fondness for the ladies, with whom he was apparently quite popular. John and his older brother, Tom, spent quite some time out on the town together over the years. John was so tough that when he became ill with terminal cancer, he continued to work until he could work no more, literally dying three days later on April 13, 1934.
Tom died slightly less than two years after his younger brother. "I was five years old when my grandfather died," Barbara said. "I remember him in his casket in the living room (of Ruby's hair salon in Mounds). It was all a mystery to me. After he died, there was no one to deal with life on the farm. Carl Baine had a little farm up the road from his mother. He was married by then."
"I was very close to grandmother," Barbara related. "She was very kind. I never heard her raise her voice, and I never saw her angry about anything. She was a very hard worker, and I remember she used to milk the cows. I remember her walking from the barn with a bucket of milk in each hand. She was a small person. She did work very hard to keep the farm going. The animals in the barn had to be taken care of. She had people come in to help her pick green beans so they could be sold."
Edna Horner Newell said this about Lizzie, "Lizzie was a very quiet person. She was very friendly and all, but she was very quiet. She was a small woman, not too tiny but small and never heavy." Edna also related that she thought that Lizzie had a rough early life. Edna said that Lizzie's older sister, Margaret, married into a family that was much wealthier and she used to help Lizzie out with a lot of things.
"I was with my grandmother often, until I had to go back to Mounds to go to school. I always wanted to go home with her," Barbara said. "When Carl and Jeannette would come into Mounds to watch a movie, I would lie awake, because if I stayed awake, they would bring me home with them back to the farm and I could stay with grandmother. If I fell asleep, however, they wouldn't wake me and I would be frustrated the next day." When I asked her what Carl Baine was like, she said, "He was very kind."
"I loved the farm. There was a meat house, apple trees, dogs (which I loved), chickens. We would go for a walk down the road and over a bridge. I was very, very content there. I played with dolls by myself, and colored coloring books. One thing I enjoyed was when my grandmother would come to me and tell me we would have a bible reading," Barbara explained. When I asked her what Ma Baine's religion was, she responded, "I think she was confirmed in the Lutheran church. She lived with the Hendricks and had to work very hard. I don't think her father was a very good caretaker for his children."
Tom Baine died from a blood clot following gall bladder surgery at St. An-thony's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, at 10:20pm, on Wednesday, April 1, 1936. He was buried on April 5, 1936, in Beechwood Cemetery near Mounds, Illinois, Lot 8, Plot 140.
Thomas William Baine (1845 - 1922)
Sarah Jane Polk Horner Baine (1841 - 1918)
Katrien Elizabeth Weiskopf Baine Wildy (1884 - 1950)
Thomas William Baine (1916 - 1974)*
Thomas William Baine (1882 - 1936)
John R Baine (1886 - 1934)*
Beech Grove Cemetery
Plot: Lot 8 Plot 140
Created by: Tom Baine
Record added: Apr 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35612129