Sunday, December 11, 2011
Ochmig Bird (1813-1878)
Ochmig Bird was born of German descent in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania on March 19, 1813. While he was still a young man Bird removed to Logansport, Indiana in 1834, and married here four years later to Ms. Anne Suttenfield. Two children were eventually born to this couple, James Ochmig (1841-1906) and Eliza Jane (1851-1911).
After his resettlement in Indiana, Bird set about establishing himself as both an engineer and railroad builder. He is also listed as being a prime mover in the construction and development of the Wabash and Erie Canal. In 1842 he was elected to his first public office, that of surveyor for the city of Ft. Wayne. Throughout the succeeding years the name of Ochmig Bird would become quite prominent in the aforementioned city, as he served as both city councilman (1851-1852), and Allen County treasurer (1856-1860).
In 1849 Bird was elected to the first of many terms in the Indiana State Legislature. He served in the House of Representatives from 1849-1851, 1863 and 1865. During the election of 1871, Bird won a seat in the state senate. He won reelection to this body in 1873 and his second term concluded in 1875. Bird died on the 21st of January, 1878, in his native city of Ft. Wayne and was subsequently interred in the Lindenwood Cemetery in that city. His wife Anne survived him by one year, dying in October 1879 at age 58.
The rare portrait of him shown above was discovered in the Pictorial History of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, published in 1917. This work also memorialized Bird's services to Ft. Wayne as ones of "lasting value", and that he "was a man of practical mind, the type of citizen to represent the people at a time when many important public questions forced themselves on the state and county authorities."