Bird was born in 1890 in the home of her grandparents, Margaret Stillwell Bird and James Ross Bird, who lived in Brooklyn. She and her brother, Hildreth Smith, spent all of their childhood summers, from age 5 to 15, in Good Ground, Long Island, New York USA, which is now know as Hampton Bays. Their uncle, Geoge Hildreth, who was the District Attorney, owned a farm three miles north of the Long Island Railroad train station. According to Lucille Ceruti's account, the property consisted of 80 acres of land, 40 cleared and 40 wooded. George also owned Rock Creek with a pond. Rock Creek is now a public park. George would meet Bird and Hildreth in a wagon drawn by two horses named "Mack" and "Major." According to Bird's genealogical document, the Rock Creek Farm consisted of 80 acres cleared and 40 acres wooded.
During her later teen years and her early 20s, she spent summers bathing and boating at Island Heights, New Jersey, USA, with her friend, Marjorie Sanders Uhl and her cousin Edna Patton Young. Bird's mother, Mary Cecilia Bird Smith and Bird's aunt, Margaret Bird Patton, inherited a summer home in New Jersey from Margaret Stillwell Bird and James Ross Bird. Bird's daugher and grandchildren visited Island Heights a few times.
Bird Smith Dawson studied in Brooklyn Teacher's College for three years to become a teacher at Public School No. 18 in Brooklyn. The length of time required for a teaching credential was less in those days than it is now. Subjects included mathematics, English and penmanship. Marjorie Sanders also attended Teacher's college. She and Bird remained lifelong friends. Bird taught classes in a Brooklyn public school for three years before she married Arthur Deane Dawson.
After her marriage, Bird and Arthur moved to Eastport, Long Island, New York. She continued to teach various academic subjects on an individual basis, being responsible for students passing classes that they otherwise would have failed. During the first half of the 20th century, she and her Stilwell cousins, such as Hetty Stillwell Lee, got together annually for Stillwell family reunions. These events included large dinner parties in New York City. During these parties, Bird S. Dawson would recite original poetry that she had composed about the Stillwell family. Each place at the table was accompanied by a business-card with the following verse written on one side. It is the last verse of a much longer poem.
"Here's to the Stillwells one and all, Let every heart respond, May we honor the name and give it fame Till we meet in the Great Beyond."
Continuing her teaching activities, Bird Smith Dawson taught Sunday School in the Westhamtpon Methodist Church, which now is known as the Westhampton United Methodist Church, where her daughter, Lucille Bird Dawson Ceruti was the organist for over 50 years. This church is located on Long Island, New York State. Her Sunday-school lessons included not only theology but archeology as well.
She taught her daughter and granddaughter valuable skills, such as sewing and cooking. She also, by example, instilled a sense of appreciation for family history, genealogy, and patriotism. She was the de facto family historian of her generation. She also enjoyed playing the piano, singing, and listening to music. Bird was adept at gardening, both flowers and vegetables, and taught her grandchildren how to plant a garden. She was alway known for her kind disposition and saintly demeanor. Bird passed away in 1984 at the home of her daughter, Lucille Bird Dawson Ceruti. Her departure from this world was mourned by many in the church, in the family, and in her neighborhood.
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