John Joseph Birdno
John Joseph Birdno was born in Logan City, Utah, April 10,1868, the son of Nehemiah Wood Birdno and Mary Bird Farrell Birdno. Nehemiah Wood Birdno was born Feb 2, 1824 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio and Mary Bird Ferell was born in White Brook Gloucestershire, England. The Birdnos andFarells, converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, arrivedin Utah in 1847. Nehemiah and Mary were married April 3, 1861. They came to St. Johns, Arizona in 1885, later to Gila Valley, Graham County, and settled on a ranch in Thatcher with their six sons: Charles Nehemiah, born Nov 6, 1862; George Hiriam Birdno, born April 30, 1865; David William, born June 17, 1870;Enoch Lewis, born Dec 29, 1873; Lionel Ferell, born March 10, 1876, and John Joseph, subject of this history.
John Joseph Birdno married Ella Mae Johnson in 1888, who had come to Arizona with her parents, William Didymus and Caroline L Wild Johnson around 1878. William Didymus Johnson was born in 1833 at Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut. William D Johnson was the first justice of the peace in Graham County. He was the first to build a house, dig a well and plant an orchard in the present site of Thatcher. Ella Mae’s mother, Caroline L Wild Johnson, was born in 1838 in New York State, daughter of Horace Wild.
John Joseph Birdno had an accomplished career for his 49 years 11 months, which included farming, teaching in the public school at Layton and Gila Academy at Thatcher. He established the Graham County Guardian March 9, 1895. He provided the leadership for tapping artesian wells in the region to supplement the seasonal water supply in the Gila River. John Birdno interested some of the eastern capital in the construction of one of the finest water systems in the southwest, which furnished mountain water and electric power to Safford. This resulted in the incorporation of the Gila Valley Electric, Gas and Water Company, which installed the electric light plant and piped water into town from Graham Mountains.
…. Commerce and the Civic League. He was president of the Gila Valley Fair Association, a director of the Bank of Safford, and member of the Phoenix Rotary Club. In politics, he served as Chief Clerk of the 1901 Twenty-First Territorial Legislature. In 1903, he started a ten year tenure as Graham County Assessor. During this time, his persistent efforts broke through the crust of the wealthy tax dodgers of Arizona and won him the appointment as Receiver of the United States Land Office by President Woodrow Wilson. John Birdno was chairman of the Democratic Party from 1912-13. He led the fight for the removal of the county seat from Solomonville to Safford and the creation of Greenlee County.
John Joseph and Ella Mae Johnson Birdno produced 5 children,two sons, Leroy and Symore, both died early in life, and three daughters, Mrs.Mildred Larson, Mrs. Blanche Elizabeth Haldiman and Mrs. Mary Lorraine Trimble Meadows. John Joseph died of cancer of the throat on March 12, 1918, in Phoenix, and is buried in Thatcher, Arizona.
This history is submitted by John Birdno Haldiman, son of Blanche Elizabeth Birdno, and Joe C Haldiman. He was born April 27, 1925, and now runs an insurance agency that was established in 1879 by the first Phoenixbanker and has had the Haldiman name since 1949. John Birdno Haldiman married Betty Lou Ketcherside. They have five children, one of whom is named John Birdno Haldiman Jr.
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