I had been told all my life that our family from the Bailey side originated in England. They migrated to Scotland, then Ireland, and finally to America,

The name Bailey comes from the word bailiff. A bailiff is an officer of the court in England and America. He is the one who keeps the court in order.

B-A-I-L-E-Y is the spelling used in England and Ireland. In Scotland it is spelled B-A-I-L-L-I-E.

The family name Bailey is the 53rd most common name in this country.

Old saying - you can't tame a Scot or a German.

It is only in Celtic countries that the grief-stricken break into song.

The Celts have a genius for interpretation and glorification of sorrow. Grief locks the English heart, but opens the Scottish. All their sweetest songs are sad; all their finest music is sad; all their greatest poetry springs from tragedy.

The Celtic race is known for daring and thrift. The Saxon race is known for energy and pioneering spirit. The Germans are known for their pride. Scottish people are guided by principle.


By Mike Bailey

The first Bailey from our family to come over to America from Europe was William Bailey. He was born in Scotland and married a girl named Mary. She was born in Ireland. They first arrived in America in the early 1800's. William worked as a coal miner in Pennsylvania. Later they moved to upstate New York.

Their son, William Albert Bailey was born June 11, 1844 in the town of Jefferson, New York, in Scholarie County.

The Baileys moved to Illinois in the early 1860's. Young William was a drummer boy once in a parade when he was 16. At age 21 he joined the army.

William joined the 89th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company A in Chicago on August 20, 1863. They were also known as the Railroad Regiment. He was 5'6", had a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair. He was by occupation a farmer. To all appearances he was a sound and healthy young man in all respects. He was a man of good moral habits and was not intemperate, and had no outstanding bad habits. He performed his duties as a soldier making no complaint of any disease or disability except for one time in the spring of 1864 he was sick with the measles for a short time.

He was later transferred to the 59th Illinois Infantry Regiment Company D on June 6th 1865 and mustered out of service with an honorable discharge on December 8, 1865 at New Bramfills, Texas. He moved back to De Calb County, Illinois, and stayed there one year.

He then moved to Grundy County, Iowa, in 1866.

William married Caroline B. Staats in Bremer County, Iowa March 26, 1868 by Jacob Schwartz in the town of Grove Hill, near Cedar Rapids. She was German on her father's side and part Delaware Indian on her mother's side. She was born June 21, 1850. She was very musical and could play almost all stringed instruments.

Carrie's father was named Abraham Staats. He was born in New York state. Her mother's name was Mila. She was also born in New York State in June 1815. She smoked a little corncob pipe and kept her tobacco in a little ceramic monk.

Alice E. Bailey was born July 22, 1869.

In 1870 William went to San Francisco in hopes of improving his health by becoming a resident in the mountains on the Pacific coast. He had tuberculosis.

Walter A. Bailey was born February 25, 1871.

Lenora Bailey was born October 27, 1872.

When William came back to Iowa he decided to move his family to Minnesota where he heard the climate was drier. In 1873 he and his wife and three children went by covered wagon to the state of Minnesota. The two older children, Alice and Walter walked quite a bit of the way, tending the teams. They settled on a homestead on Elbow Lake, in Steain County.

Franky C. Bailey was born in February 1874. He died in infancy.

Walter never went past the 3rd grade in school. He started chewing tobacco when he was 8 years old. The school house he went to when he did go to school was a log building and the children sat on homemade wooden benches. Walter sat next to the wall. There was a hole in the wall where he could spit his tobacco juice. He'd spit it when the teacher wasn't looking.

The Baileys moved to Douglas County Minnesota in 1877.

Birton C. Bailey was born June 16, 1878.

Georgie Edna was born August 5, 1884.

Then in 1885 they moved to Grant County, Minnesota.

Charley Al Bailey was born October 19, 1887.

February 1, 1889 Carrie Bailey bought the Central House Hotel in Alexandria, Minnesota.

In the early 1890's Walter started working for the railroad. On one of his railroad runs he was living in a boarding housein St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was run by some people named Reynolds. A young woman was also boarding there by the name of Lucy Robinson. She was from Wadena. She was doing some dressmaking in St. Cloud. They fell in love.

William and Carrie later sold the hotel. Mila and Abraham Staats helped Carrie get it as long as William Bailey ran it. After they sold the hotel William bought a farm in Alexandria.

Their last child, Earl Mortimer Bailey was born April 27, 1892.

Walter married Lucy in December 1894 in the house where they lived.

On September 28, 1895 Lucy Bailey delivered their first child. It was a boy. They named him Ray Allen Bailey. He was born in Wadena, Minnesota. They moved to Melrose shortly after.

Winifred was born to Walter and Lucy February 6, 1898.

Helen was born October 25, 1901.

William and Carrie moved to Hubbard County, Minnesota in 1903 to a farm on the shore of Big Sand Lake, 8 miles from Park Rapids.

Walter and Lucy lost their fourth child. Robert A. Bailey was born September 2, 1904. He died shortly after birth.

Walter was still working for the railroad. He worked at the following jobs: brakeman, fireman, freight conductor and conductor of a passenger train.

One time when Ray and Winnie were little, when they lived in Melrose, they went to a slough near their house and found some quail eggs. When they brought them back to show their mother, instead of being glad she told them not to go into that area again because there was quicksand there. The next day they went anyway and brought back more eggs and put them under their setting hen. When their father came off a railroad run and heard about this they both got a whipping. The eggs hatched after a few days and then after 2 or 3 more days all the baby quail disappeared.

Lucy had Harold Robinson Bailey July 21, 1906.

Walter had wanted to get into the saloon business for quite some time. He was a family man. Working for the railroad kept him away from his family for long periods of time. This was rough on the kids and Lucy. He wanted to be home more so he could be near his family and keep a closer eye on Ray. Walter knew of an acquaintance in St. Cloud who was selling his saloon.

He had been saving some money for some time and struck up a deal with him and bought the business. He sold everything he owned in Melrose and moved his family to St. Cloud. They lived in the family quarters above the saloon. Ray and Winnie used to go down and play in the basement on Sundays.

One Sunday Ray and Winnie were playing in the basement while their mother was upstairs. Winnie accidentally bumped into the spigot on one of the barrels of whiskey that were lying in a row on the basement floor. Whiskey started gushing out. Ray went over and tried to shut it off but didn't twist the spigot tight enough. Whiskey was still dripping out. They forgot about it and kept playing until they heard their mother calling them for dinner. When Walter went down in the basement the next day he found the whole barrel of whiskey spilled all over the floor.

Ray and Winnie always had dogs and cats. One time they had a pet crow. They had a little female fox terrier that got stolen one time. On Saturdays Ray used to ride on the beer wagon while it made its deliveries in town. One day when they were rolling alongside a river, Ray looked across and spotted his dog Fanny standing in front of a barn door. He jumped off the wagon and crossed the nearest bridge over the river and got his dog back.

Walter bought a team of white broncos for their two-seated surrey and the two-seated sleigh that they used in the winter. Walter thought that the responsibility would do his son some good.

Some gypsies came to town once and camped across the Mississippi River in East St. Cloud in a warehouse and freight depot area. When Walter heard that, he told Ray and Winnie not to go there. Ray wanted to go anyway. Later in the day he went. While he was walking near the tracks two of the gypsies ran up to him and tried to drag him away. Ray put up a big fight. A hobo nearby who was waiting for a train saw the kid struggling with the big old gypsy chief who had him by the neck. He went over and rescued Ray from him.

When Ray went home later in the day his mother noticed the black and blue marks on his neck and asked him about it. He told her what happened. The hobo knew Walter and came in the saloon later that night and told Walter about it. Walter gave him some money for rescuing his son.

Alice Jane Bentley was born at 21 Parkdale Avenue in Leed, South Dakota on October 16, 1907. All of her uncles were there at the time of her birth, along with her father and grandparents. After she was born her mother passed her around to let everyone hold her. Alice came into the world the youngest of 4 girls. Her father's name was Samuel Bentley, and her mother's name was Mary. The older sisters were Ruth, Helen and Gladys. There was also a boy born to the Bentleys after Ruth, who died shortly after he was born.

Walter, Lucy and the kids took a train up to Park Rapids once to visit his folks. When they got to town they hired a livery rig and a driver to take them out to Walt's folks' house. On the way there the driver got lost and it was nightfall by the time they got there.

At that time William and Carrie used to lodge tourists who were traveling through the country in their house. When they finally got to the house, Walter thought he'd play a trick on his folks. He had the livery driver go knock on the door and tell his folks that some strangers were passing through and needed a place to sleep for the night. William came out of the house to take a look at these people. He looked them over and said they could stay the night. Walter, Lucy and the kids got out of the rig and started to unload. Then William recognized them.

The next day Ray and Winnie watched their Grandmother Carrie cut a chicken's head off with a hatchet, then pluck all of its feathers off before she got to the house. Feathers were flying everywhere.

Later that day Winnie went into the barn that her grandfather built. She saw an owl sitting on the rafters. It turned its head all the way around its body.

William Bailey always had a lot of farm machinery and tools. He also had teams of horses and mules and raised and trained hunting dogs. He also liked to do cabinent work. It wasn't his regular profession. He did it on the side. It was a hobby that he enjoyed, and he was good at it. He had a good set of tools.

Here is some of the machinery William had:
    a horse drawn mower
    a binder
    a hay rake
    breaking plows and regular plows
This was all the machinery there was in those days.

Helen had dyptheria. The doctor told Lucy and Walter that if they expected to raise Helen they had better get her out in the country. She weighed 36 lbs.

One time when William was up visiting Walter and Lucy, he told Walter that there was a piece of land on the corner of his property for sale in Park Rapids. It was owned by the Red River Lumber Company.

Walter had already decided to get out of the saloon business. His bartender was robbing him blind. Helen was sickly. He sold the saloon and had enough money to buy the land near his father's place.

When William got back to Park Rapids he went down to the lumber company and told them that he had a buyer for their property. Walter took the trip to Park Rapids and bought the piece of land.

At this time a forest fire went through the area near Big Sand Lake. People would back their horse drawn wagons loaded with large wooden barrels into the lake. William went out to help fill the barrels. When he got home later that night he felt that he had overdone it. He laid down exhausted. The next morning he was sick. His health got worse after that.

Georgie's husband sat with him on his death bed.

William Bailey wanted his two mules; Jack and Jenny to pull the hearse that carried his coffin to the graveyard when he died.

William Bailey died of a hemorrhage in his lungs May 16, 1908 at 11 PM, being 67 years, 11 months, 5 days old. At the time of his death he had tuberculosis, rheumatism, volvalar heart (?) and nephritis.

Walter was standing outside the house when his father died. As soon as William was dead his seventeen-year-old son, Walter's youngest brother, Earl came out of the house and said, "Ok, now that dad is dead, there will be no more free oats and hay for your horses. From now on you will pay me for what your horses eat."

A coffin was bought. The neighbors laid him in it. He was not embalmed.

Lucy arrived in Park Rapids with Ray, Winnie, Helen and Harold. Harold was two at the time. Harold went in the house and looked all around for his grandfather and couldn't find him. Finally someone told him to go in the bedroom and look. There was no door leading into the bedroom, just a curtain over the doorway. Harold pushed the curtain aside and saw his grandfather lying in his coffin. His head was tilted back and he had a gray beard.

After William's death someone contacted the funeral home and told them that William had requested that his mules be hitched up to the hearse that took him to the graveyard. Upon hearing this, the person at the livery station told them that he would not allow them to hitch their mules to his hearse. His mules were then hitched to his own buggy. They had to take the seats out so the casket could be placed on it.

The mules pulled him first to a little picnic grove near their house where they had a memorial service. The casket was set on a picnic table. One of the pallbearers was a Civil War veteran; he had a hook for a hand that he used to help carry the casket. After the service the coffin was placed back on the wagon and then they continued the 8 miles to Greenwood Cemetery in Park Rapids. There he was buried.
 Still life of cup and pitchers by Mike Bailey

Walter and Lucy went back to St. Cloud and got their belongings. When they came back Walter and his brothers put a tent up.

Walter's family stayed in the tent for the rest of the summer. By the time winter came Walter had already dug out the basement for their house. He logged up the sides and put a roof on it and tarpapered it. Inside there was no wood stove yet. It had a dirt floor and you could see through the cracks in the logs on the walls because they hadn't chinked them yet. The first part of the winter they used blankets to keep warm until they got a stove.

The next spring June 11, 1909, their fifth child was born in the corner of the cellar. They named him Guy Walter.

Walter hired a man named Art Sanderson and his son Carl to start building their house. Later he had a man named John Langon to work on it. It was going to be a log house similar to William's. Walter had a cistern water pump put in the basement. It was the kind that you have to prime everytime you want water.

Big Sand Lake is 3 miles across and 3 miles long. Walter was named Walter Albert Bailey. He would usually never tell anyone his middle name. He was known to take an occasional drink when he wanted to. He was a great whistler. He used to whistle while he worked in his blacksmith shop and while in his gardens.

After the death of his father, Charley and his wife Delia moved in with his mother. They lived upstairs in the loghouse on Big Sand Lake. Ray and Winnie would sometimes go up in the evening and listen to Charley and Delia sing songs. Charley played the guitar and the mouth organ. One of the songs they sang was "On The Banks of Poncetrain."

Walter's kids called him 'Pop.' His farm on Big sand Lake was 31 acres. Part of the acreage was in the lake. Norway Pine and Jack Pine grow around the Big Sand Lake area. Poplar trees also grew in the area. The people in the area called them poples. All the roads around the area back then were one-track trails. The road to town was nothing but a dirt trail that wound around the trees and over the stumps along the way. The trees were cut just wide enough for a trail. Pavement was not used until many years later.

Walter was a Democrat. He could play the violin, mouth organ, jews harp, and had a good singing voice. Sometimes he would sing in the evening. Their loghouse on Big Sand Lake was a rather big house. It had a cellar, a main floor and an upstairs. When they first moved in after it was constructed, there was no staircase leading to the upstairs. They had to use a ladder until stairs were built later. The logs that were used to build the house were squared off and fitted. They always used to burn wood in the stoves in their house.

When Ray got old enough he would chop wood for the stoves in the house. It was his job to light the fires in the the two stoves in the morning. Some days his mother would want a baking fire. Other days she would want a frying fire.

Out where the Baileys lived you could hear the train chugging through the little town of Dorsett which was five miles away. The mailman brought the mail by horse and buggy. In those days it wasn't too important that the boys in the family go to school and get a good education but that they were able to work. The girls were expected to get an education.

As soon as they got settled at Big Sand Lake Lucy signed their kids up in school. One day when Ray, Winnie and Helen were in school, a small bird flew in through a broken window and flew around Helen's head, then Ray's, and then Winnie's head. Then flew back out the window. Later in the day they found out that Grandpa Robinson had died.

One time Earl and Ray got into some pickled onions Lucy canned. They ate them all. Earl was 16 and Ray was 12.

About once or twice a year Walter would take a pipe down from a top cupboard in the kitchen and smoke it. He usually chewed tobbacco. He felt that tobbacco kept him from getting colds and the flu.

He considered himself an Irishman and could do the Irish clog real good. Both Lucy and Walter liked to square dance and they were pretty good at it.

Ray used to eat garlic all the time and kept it in his pocket. You couldn't get near him for the smell. For light at night the Baileys used kerosene lamps. They had no electricity at the farm, or at the house they later moved to in town. Their washing machine had a lever that you had to pull back and forth with a counter balance at the bottom. It was hard work using that machine.

There was a big tree near the lake that Ray and Winnie used to like to climb. Later the other kids liked to climb it too. Ray and Winnie would see who could climb the highest. When they got as high as they could go, they marked it with a knife. Winnie was lighter than Ray, and could climb higher.

There was a lake about a half a mile south of the Bailey farm. Ray named it Limberlost Lake after a novel that he read. The name stuck, and it's still called that to this day.

Around 1909 when Ray was 13 years old, his sisters were sent to the neighbor's house for the night. No one was paying too much attention to him. He got up from the chair he was sitting in and disappeared. He was gone for a couple of days. He slept in a neighbor's barn at night on some straw. When he was caught and brought home he came up from the lake kicking the sand as he went. He had been eating raw carrots from the man's garden.

Lucy Bailey had a very good soprano voice. When she was out in the yard singing, you could hear her two miles accross the lake. She sang real tearjerkers like: 'Red Wing,' 'After the Ball,' and 'On the Banks of the Wabash.' She also sang hymns. 'Throw out the Lifeline' is a song that used to give Winnie goosebumps. Another hymn Lucy sang was 'Holy City.'

One time Walter had all the kids come up to the first hill above their house. He had a bonfire going. They were all standing there when Haley's Comet went across the sky. It scared the kids and they all ran down to the house. Guy was about 1 year old at the time.

One day Ray and Harold went down to Limberlost Lake to go fishing. They fished for the most part of the day. When it started to get dark Ray told Harold to get his stuff as they were heading home. On the way back Ray had to drive the cows back to the barn. They were in a nearby field. They could hear the cowbells from the lake. Ray gave Harold the fishing pole to carry back while he ran up to the field to tend the cows. Harold started to walk through the brush. The hook caught on a branch and the line started to unreel. After awhile he looked back and saw that the line was unreeling. Harold yelled over to Ray and told him what happened. He thought he heard Ray tell him to cut the line off with his knife. Harold cut the line off with his knife and walked home. When they were both home Harold gave Ray the fishing pole with the line cut off. Ray was surprised that the line was cut off. Ray told him that he said to cut the hook off. The next day Ray went out in the woods and found his fishing line. He wound it up and brought it home.

One day Ray was going to teach Harold how to swim. He took him to the end of the dock and threw him in the water. Harold began kicking and splashing. He almost drowned but somehow made it to shore.

Both Walter and Lucy were muscial and they always had a lot of musical instruments around the house. They had a steel guitar, a piano, an accordian, a violin and regular guitars. Ray learned to play all of them. When Walter and Lucy would leave the house to go to town, Ray and his sisters would get out the instruments and have a jam session.

One time Ray formed a musical group with some of his friends around the area, called the Pie Face Noisy Club. He played the fiddle.

One time when Ray was fishing on the lake, Lucy was out by the back steps. She had just scalded an old hen and was picking the feathers out. Harold was also in the back of the house pulling a little toy dray horse on wheels that he had gotten for Christmas. He was backing toward the house. At that moment Ray hollered to his mom that he had caught a fish. Harold kept backing up and ran into the bucket of hot water and feathers and sat down in it. He had bib overalls on and the feathers stuck to his back. He was burnt pretty badly. Lucy took him down by the lake and put him in the cold water to stop the burning, then brought him in the house and laid him on his stomach and put some kind of ointment on his back while Winnie entertained him.

Walter and Lucy had only one butcher knife. They used it when they butchered in the fall.

Winnie used to always carry Harold on her back when he was little.

While in Park Rapids, Walter and Lucy started going to the Methodist church in town. The kids went to Sunday school.

Walter taught his kids how to trap and hunt at an early age. One night Ray got Winnie to hold the lantern for him while he set his rabbit snares and traps. When he was finished setting them he asked for the lantern back, Winnie gave it back to him then he went running in the house, leaving her in the dark to find her own way back. After this happened a couple of times she vowed she'd never hold the lantern for him again. After a few days he would ask her to go out and hold the lantern for him again. When she said "no," he kept after her until she changed her mind. He promised that he wouldn't run away anymore. Finally she went out with him again. As soon as he was through setting his traps he grabbed the lantern and ran for the house, leaving her in the dark again. She didn't go out with him after that.

 Still life cone, ball and cylinder by Mike Bailey

In the fall there were so many Candian geese flying south, that the whole sky darkened. The same happened in the spring.

Walter used to take his kids to town sometimes on Saturdays when he had business to take care of. He would hitch up a couple horses to his lumber wagon and make the ride in town. Sometimes he'd stop at a hotel in town and buy the kids lunch so they would know what it was like eating out. He hitched the horses to a pole outside the hotel. They would stay in town all day. Then later, on the way back, they would eat some of the stuff they bought in town. Things like rye bread, sardines and cheese.

Sometimes Walter would take Ray downtown with him on Saturdays. Walter would take him to different places in Park Rapids. When they were through with all their business in town Walter would let Ray drive the wagon home.

Winnie used to keep salt and pepper in her pocket so she could go in the vegatable garden whenever she wanted and have salt and pepper for the vegetables she picked and ate.

In the wintertime Ray and Winnie would go out on Big Sand Lake and ice skate. They had to hold onto each other because the wind was so strong. The wind would take them and blow them clear to the other side of the lake. It was impossible for them to skate back, so they had to take off their skates and walk along the side of the lake to get home.

Once they had a tame goose. It loved to go boating with the kids. He was taller than all of them when he sat on their laps. One day Walter asked Winnie to hold the goose by the neck on the chopping block, while he chopped its head off. Reluctantly she did it. A few days later when the goose was served as a meal none of the kids would touch it.

One time a circus came to Park Rapids. There were too many people for Walter to take, so instead they decided to go on a picnic at the school grounds. Lucy made a lunch and put it in a picnic basket. They all loaded up in the lumber wagon and went.

A few days later Ray went to the circus with a friend. While he was there he had his initials tattooed on his arm. Later when his dad found about it he was very angry. He wanted to take Ray to the doctor and have him cut the tattoo out of his skin. He was very mad at Ray for getting the tattoo. Lucy talked Walter out of taking him to the doctor.

One time the Bailey's two cows were dry so Winnie had to go over to Aunt Nora's to get some milk. She usually would take one of her little brothers with her. She carried a paring knife in her hand for protection. After she would get the milk she would put her brother on her back like she usually did and they would go back home.

Ray quit school so he could help his dad with things around the farm. It was planting time and everyone was out in the fields: Uncle Charley, Uncle Earl, Walter and Ray. After they finished the planting for the day, Walter sent Ray down to the Allen's to get some milk because their cows went dry. Walter had to go in town to get some more seed to plant the next day. Ray stopped by the house on the way to the Allen's and asked his mother for a bucket. She walked in the house and came out with a bucket and a napkin and asked him to get get some butter while he was there. He took them and started walking toward the street. On his way on the path he saw Charley and told him he was running away. Ray hid the bucket and towel in some bushes near the edge of the property.

Later that day Charley stopped by Walter's house and asked Lucy if Ray had come back with the butter yet. She said that she hadn't seen him since he came to get the bucket and the towel. Charley then told them what Ray said to him earlier. Walter didn't believe him. Walter walked over to a small town, a short distance away called Akley and asked the station agent there if he had seen a young boy walking around. The station agent hadn't, so Walter went home and borrowed his mother's one-seat buggy. It had lights on both sides and on top. He hitched up the horse, and he and Charley took off to Akley again. This time they talked to a different station agent. He had seen a young boy walk through there with two bums a couple hours before. Walt and Charley proceeded to go to the next town over called Nevas. No one had seen him there so they went back to Akley. Just as they got there, and were about to go across the railroad tracks there came these two bums and Ray. Walter stopped the horse and yelled over to Ray. "Don't you think you've gone far enough?" Ray didn't say a word. He got in the buggy and rode home with his father and Uncle Charley. It was pretty dark by then. Lucy was waiting for them when they got home. Winnie was watching from the second story window. Walter and Ray got out of the buggy and came in the house. Charley took the buggy back to his mother's. Ray went upstairs to bed, and so did Walter and Lucy. No one spoke a word to each other. The next morning after Winnie and Helen went to school, Ray came downstairs. His mother fixed him breakfast. After that Walter came in and told him that he wanted to talk to him. They went out and sat on the woodpile behind their house and talked for a couple of hours.

The next year at planting time Ray had been up in the fields with his dad and his uncles. The next thing you know he's down at the house getting his coat. He told his mother he was leaving. He said, "Pop told me to get the hell off the place." Ray left. Later that night Walter explained that he didn't say for him to get off the place. Ray had been sitting on the marker and was making the rows crooked. He told him, "to get the hell off the marker." The next Sunday Lucy fixed up a box of socks and shirts and other things to give to Ray. She and her daughters went out to look for him at some of the neighboring farms. They came to the Wintinburg farm where he had stopped to ask for work. He didn't get a job there. They tramped all over the countryside looking for him, but couldn't find him. Later they found out that he had gotten work on a boat on the Great Lakes.

One day when the boat came near shore Ray left the boat and spent the day walking around the town that was built on the edge of it. He met up with some streetwise thugs in the area. They took him to a Chinese opium den where he spent the next few days. He finally got away from there and got a job on a telegraph crew in the state of Wisconsin. He also worked on a freighter for a while. He was gone for about a year. When he came back his mom had had another baby. It was a girl and they named her Esther.

He went back to working with his dad. One day while working in the cornfield his dad sent him down to the house to get a jug of water. Ray took the jug out of his father's hand and went down toward the house. When he was out of sight of Walter he hid the jug in some bushes and walked over to his friend, Earl Graves' house. They walked over to the train station and boarded a train that took them to Sand Point, Idaho where Ray enlisted in the Army. Earl Graves did not enlist at this time. He chickened out at the last minute and went back to Park Rapids.

Scroll pen and ink jar by Mike Bailey
In 1912 Ray left home to join the Army.

At the age of 17 Ray Bailey joined the U.S. Army and served 31 years.

This is a letter written to his sister when he was 21 years old:

Fort Casey
May 8, 1916

Dear Winnie,

I read your letter the 7th and the paper today. I saw the item about you. I guess you have landed a good job alright. I think I know what I will do. I was up to Victoria, Canada last week and was talking to some English soldiers. They sure do treat the U.S. soldiers fine. They join for one year, and get six months drill in Canada. Then they are sent to England, and from there to the front. I think I will join and take a chance in the trenches for 6 months. If I don't get shot or captured I will be alright. You tell Elsie Maar, (whoever she is) that if she wants a gunner-boy, to write and ask for one, and I'll send her one. Now don't think I am curious, but where is Minnie now? I had a dream about her the other night. I went 30 miles to a dance last Friday night. Had a fine time. We went in a car. What Johnsons do you mean skipped out? I gave that letter to a fellow and had a great time with it. He didn't know what the dickens it was when he started it. Here is a little piece about Minnesota...

I come from Minnesota where the peach and cherry, and every kind of berry bends bough and bush, and shines like showered drops of rubies and pearls.

I have seen heavens of delight where the linnet swept his lute, and the thrush rang his silver bells in the dusky chambers ofthe forest.

I saw June un-bar her gate of roses in the sweet scented morning,and come forth from the pavilion of enamored night carrying in her girtle of light the keys of a thousand heavens.

I saw October open her gate of opals, and I walked in the heaven of Autumnal glory.

I saw the forest splashed with the tints of a thousand shattered rainbows.

And then I saw the veil of Indian summer; that mysterious phantom of the air which conjures yellow sunlight into mystery and turns the world into a dream. End

Say, anytime you have an old paper, ship it along. This writing is not very good. I started to typewrite it, but a fellow was using my typewriter. I have got an Oliver single keyboard with an eighteen inch carriage. I won it in a raffle. It's worth about $60. Well, I have said all I can. Of course if I had the gift of Shakespeare I might set down and write something about Fort Casey from morning until night. I am sending a first class gun pointing chevron. Well, I'm going to quit now. If you want to hear from me, answer soon. I wrote Danny a letter last week.

Ray Bailey

13th Regiment
3rd Battalion
149th Company C.A.C.

He was made a sergeant when he was just a kid. He served in World War I for 17 months overseas in France with the 91st infantry. His duty station was artillery. One time he was on a truck with some other soldiers. They stopped to borrow a pack of cigerettes from a guy in another truck. They didn't have any matches so they asked for some. The other guy threw some matches, but they fell on the ground. Ray jumped off the truck to get the matches. While he was on the ground a rocket hit the truck in a huge explosion and killed everyone on the truck. Ray was not killed because he had jumped off the truck to get the matches. Ray was injured in this incident. He received shrapnel in the back. The shrapnel was located close to his heart. Doctors couldn't take it out without endangering his life. He said that if the shrapnel started to move around then he'd be in a very dangerous condition. Ray spent quite a bit of time in the hospital in France before coming home. Even after the war was over Ray was still in the hospital in France. This caused Ray a lot of worry for the rest of his life. He could not do any kind of strenuous work because of this. This is why he became an instructor at the University of Washington.

One time while Ray's unit was moving from one place to another, enemy artillery shot the track off one of the trucks that the gun was being carried on.

When Ray was teaching at the University he dressed immaculately. His belt buckle was shiny. His shoes were shined. His uniform was neat in every way. He was a model soldier. He was very proud of the United States. He believed in the U.S. Government and trusted in it.

He was a military instructor at the University of Washington for 17 years. In 1942 he retired from the army on account of physical disability. His rank was sergeant. He reenlisted and served in World War II.

When Ray left France after World War I he first went to New York, and then came to the state of Washington where there was an opening for an instructor at the University of Washington. They liked the way he got along with people and worked so well with them, so he got the job.

There were debates at the time about where the Deception Pass Bridge was to be built. They wanted it to be built in a scenic place. They ended up building it over the place where there was once a horsedrawn ferry.

When Ray was a young soldier he used to work as a surveyor on Whidby Island. He always claimed that he convinced the Head Surveyor of the Deception Pass Bridge to build it in its present location. They wanted to build it in a different spot, but Ray claims that he changed their minds. He had been surveying with a crew in the area at the time. Before the bridge was built people crossed the water to the island by a little ferry pulled by horses. It held one or two cars at a time.

Ray made a lot of friends among the women in France while he was there. While others were fighting in the war he was keeping the peace in the rear with the women. The men of France didn't believe in helping the women out at all. Ray always helped the women out. He watched their kids for them. He'd do all sorts of things for those French women. He didn't speak the language, but he got along real well with them.

Ray never saw any kid in France drink any water. They only drank wine.

Ray liked France quite a bit, and after he had a family he wanted to take them there and ride bikes all over the country. That was the best way to see the country.

The ground where the University Hospital now is used to be the parade grounds where the ROTC students practiced marching. Ray was mad when it was decided to build a hospital there.

One of the yarns Ray liked to always tell was about the time he was in France. He was walking down the road and came upon a very tall, dark-skinned French soldier who had a dagger on a chain across his chest. They got to talking, but neither of them knew what they were saying but they got along real well anyway. The Frenchman had a bottle of wine in his hand, and offered Ray a drink. Ray took a drink of wine. Later they went to where the guy lived, and drank and talked until the wee hours of the morning.

Ray was impressed with France. He was stationed in the rural part of France where tourists don't go. The people there used to invite him into their houses and give him food and then send him off with sandwiches. He loved it there.

 Mountain village by Mike Bailey


Mary Bentley owned the Fairbanks Hotel in the University District in Seattle. It had four little apartments and 25 or 30 rooms. There was a public bathroom for those who rented rooms. The Fairbanks Hotel was right next to Helen Ardel's Candy Factory. Samuel Bentley wanted his wife to buy a hotel down the street that was bigger but Mary settled for the Fairbanks Hotel. He wanted the other one so he could come down in the wintertime and work on the grounds. During the summer he was taking care of his gardens in Leed and couldn't get away. Mary kept three rooms in the hotel for her and her daughter's use: one room was kept as a place to talk to people, one was an office, and the other was where they slept.

Ray Bailey, who was an instructor with the ROTC program at the University rented a room there. He had no belongings at all when he lived there. He lived at various other places too besides the hotel. He got along very well with Mary. A lady that lived near her one time told her that Ray was just like velvet. He was so soft and gentle to the ladies. He treated them right. They quickly became good friends . He got to know all of her daughters one at a time and they really liked him.

After Mary bought the Fairbanks Hotel she kept hearing from some of the locals around that the hotel had a bad reputation. She decided that she would turn it around and make the place have a good reputation. When she took it over there were still a few drunks living there. In time they all moved out and she rented out mostly to students. They were always glad to live there because it was close to the campus. Married students especially appreciated living there. They brought their families to live with them. At first Mary was concerned about the reputation it had because she had three daughters with her. After a while she got the place the way she wanted it.

When Alice came back from living with her father for a year she had developed a case of tonsillitis. This gave her a lot of trouble and when she came back to Seattle it got worse. No one seemed to be too bothered that she had it. Her sisters and mother ignored it at first thinking that Alice was just complaining as usual. When she finally went to the doctor about it he was surprised that her tonsils weren't taken out sooner. Alice's parents thought that she would outgrow it if they left it alone. Her tonsils got worse and it took the doctor longer than usual to get them out. After the operation Alice spent about three months in bed.

She lost her voice and couldn't talk to any one for a long time. She had to write notes whenever she wanted to tell anyone anything.

Until this time Ray and Alice had not met. One day Mary brought Ray up to see her.

"Ray, I'd like for you to meet my youngest daughter, Alice Jane." Alice nodded because she couldn't say anything. "I think I'll call you Jane." he said. Alice wrote her note on a note pad and gave it to Ray.

Mary asked Ray if he would take Alice for a ride in his car. She thought that it would make her feel better if she got out of her bed and did something. Ray said he would. He started taking her places but it didn't stop there. He continued taking her to different places as the weeks went by.

The first thing Ray did was teach Jane how to drive his car. She was 14 at the time. Ray had a Ford Coupe.

When Ray and Jane were going together they always had a good time. They were always doing something.

Her family always called her Alice or Alice Jane. To Ray she was always Jane. All of the Bentley girls liked Ray. At this time the two older sisters had already gotten jobs as schoolteachers. Helen was teaching school down near the Oregon border. One day Mary asked Ray if he would go down and get her. Even though Jane was still recovering from getting her tonsils out she decided to go with him. He kind of took her under his wing. When they got to the place where Helen lived, Helen looked in the window of the car and saw Jane sitting in the front seat. "You came too!" she exclaimed. When they got out of the car Helen tried to persuade Jane to stay in her apartment and wear her clothes while she went back to Seattle with Ray. When Ray heard them quarreling he told them he wasn't going to leaveJ ane there. That was final. He liked having her around. She amused him with her sweet naive nature, and rustic innocence.

After this Ray started taking Jane to many places. They did this for about 2 years before they got married. They liked each other's company. One day Mary said to Jane, "Don't you think you ought to stop seeing Ray? He's twelve years older than you." "No, I don't want to stop seeing him. I'm having fun," said Jane.

Sometimes Ray would take all the Bentley girls out at the same time. Sometimes he would take them out one by one. He only had a coupe at the time. Once he took Jane clear out to Bothell to get BBQ ribs.

When Jane was around 15 she used to be invited by Ray to go to dinner at different Chinese resturants in Chinatown. Usually he would go with a bunch of soldiers but when they weren't around he'd invite her. One of the resturnants they went to had a curtain that completely encircled them. Ray used to eat with chopsticks when he ate at Chinese resturants.

Ray used to take Jane fishing up on a river near Carnation, Washington. He also liked to hunt, but he had to be careful not to exhert himself because he had a piece of shrapnel near his heart.

When Jane first met Ray she noticed that he was kind of the forward type. He flirted with her but she never flirted back. He first liked her two other sisters, Helen and Gladys. She thought she'd never end up marrying him.

One time he took her to a friend's house. While they were there Ray and his friend got drunk. When it was time to go he told Jane that she would have to drive him home. She drove and he slept in the back seat all the way back.

One time Ray, Helen and Jane went to Canada to look around. They got a room in a hotel for the night. Helen and Jane were discussing going to sleep in the same bed. Ray heard them and said, "If you two are going to sleep together in that bed, where am I going to sleep?" He ended sleeping down the hall.

Ray and Jane used to go east of the mountains to Okanogan County to pick up Helen quite a bit. She taught school there. They would pick her up and take her to different places then take her home. They went on several trips together.

Sometimes Ray and Jane would go to Mount Rainier. Other times they would go to Mount Baker. He liked to drink the water that came out from under glaciers. He thought it was great-tasting.

One time Ray and Jane went to Mount Si. When they got there Ray chopped Jane a load of firewood and told her to start a fire in the fireplace inside the cabin. He put the wood outside the cabin door in a pile. He went back to the car to unload some of their gear. After a few minutes Jane came out of the cabin with a man's hat on her head. There was a man sitting a little way from the cabin. "Hello sir," he said to Jane. "Hello," she said, "But I'm not a sir." The man looked very pale. Jane sensed something was wrong. "What's the matter with you?" she asked. "I'm starving to death," he answered. "I was supposed to meet some people up here a few days ago, but they never showed up." He went on to tell her that he fell on the trail and hit his head. "I was unconscious for a while, and when I came to there was a cougar on my chest. When the cougar saw me starting to come to and move my eyes all around, it ran away." Jane told him she would get help and ran up toward the car and met Ray as he was carrying a box of supplies toward the cabin. "There's a man over near the cabin. He's starving to death," Jane said and then went into the details. Ray set the box down and rushed over to where the man was sitting and helped him into the cabin. Ray got out a skillet and a pan and started cooking the man something to eat while he rested at the table. After the man ate baked beans, bacon and cornbread Ray and Jane helped him back down to his cabin that was down the mountain a little way. They got him to his front porch and sat him down on a barrel in front. "Before you leave could you fill my bucket full of water?" asked the man. Ray took his bucket and went down to the stream and filled it full of water. The man went in his cabin and built a fire on his little wood stove and made some coffee for them to drink. They sat around and talked for a while. He told them that he was living off the dandelions that were growing around his place. He also picked and ate the wild berries that grew around. He was a prospector.

One time Ray taught Jane how to shoot a rifle. She shot a duck once. Ray went out and got the dead duck. He wanted to take it to Jane's mother. Ray used to go hunting with a lot of the guys he worked with. Jane never went. Her mother would never let her.

One night Ray took Jane to Edmonds, Washington. Ray asked her if they should have their first kiss. Jane consented. He gave her a little kiss on the lips. After they got to Jane's mother's house Ray said, "Well, we had our first kiss." "How was it?" Gladys asked. "It was as it should've been," said Ray.

One time Ray took Jane to Vancouver, Canada. They ate in a Chinese resturant. Ray contacted a Chinese cook that he knew who worked there. Ray left Jane sitting at the table while he went away with the cook. When he came back his eyes were glassy, and he seemed to be high on something. When he came back he walked right past Jane.
Portrait by Mike Bailey


Copyright 1997 - Mike Bailey - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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