Image via WikipediaIn talking to many genealogist or family researchers, they seem to be always looking for that famous link. I have always thought that the ordinary farmer from 200 years ago was pretty famous just to have survived. I don't know if I would have been able to survive, if I had been born then. When I was a child I had measles, mumps, scarlet fever, anemia, chicken pox. You name it and I had it. But I also had the medicine. Big Difference. But this one time I thought I would stray from the ordinary and try to find my famous roots or more famous roots.
From time to time, I have been told that I am a descendant of Thomas Jefferson's grandfather. I have never pursued that side of my family so I thought I would give it a try. Of course, I will have to start all over again with my birth certificates and marriage searches because this is from my father's side of the family. I have mainly been searching on my mother's side of the family. I have also been asked many times where the name Gray comes from in our family. I will also be pursuing that avenue. Many of my family members have that as a middle name. In addressing this side of the family I will also be addressing the differences in Thomas Jefferson family and why the other members became just regular farmers, not statesmen.
I am going to start with my grandfather. His name was Eros Gray Bailey. I know. Why, oh, why did they name him Eros? I don't know if he was a God of Love and I certainly wouldn't have thought to ask my father that question when I was a little girl. I may be straying from the story here. But it doesn't seem right and not only that, no one called him Eros. They called him Bill. He passed away in 1974 so I remember him well. He was a good kind man. He was married to Kizzie Mae Crawley. She was older than him, but her family was from southside Virginia too. He attended Gretna Christian Church and he was a long time employee of Lane Company Furniture. They made cedar chests in Altavista, Virginia. I remember that he smoked cigars, but he stopped later on in his life. I was told that sometime during his marriage and the depression years that he took his family to Detroit to look for jobs. It was also recounted to me that he tried running a Restaurant in Chatham, Virginia, but he was too much of a soft touch. More people ate there for nothing and he couldn't pay his bills.
During his marriage to Kizzie Crawley he had two children, Harold Gray and Clarence Milton. Clarence Milton Bailey was killed in the Korean War in 1953. My mother said that they were all sitting at the dinner table eating rice pudding when they came with the news. To that day no one ever ate rice pudding in the house again. Years later they wrote an article in the Pittsylvania paper about the Korean War Soldiers that had lost their life and Uncle Clarence's name was not included. We called and they corrected the article. Later my brother and I visited the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC and found that they had his date of death wrong and the information was that he had been wounded and later he died. That was all incorrect. My mother worked tirelessly with other Marine Veterans to correct this information.
I have the marriage license of Eros Gray Bailey and Kizzie Mae Crawley from Henry County, Virginia. The license was issued to E. G. Bailey and Mae Crawley on September 17, 1927. They were married on September 17, 1927. The license said that he was 20 and she was 28. Husband's place of birth was Pittsylvania County, Virginia and his present mailing address was Bassett, Virginia. Wife's place of birth was Pittsylvania county and mailing address was Bassett, Virginia. Eros Gray Bailey's father and mother were Bob Bailey and Henrietta Bailey. Mae Crawley's father and mother were William Crawley and Margaret Crawley. E. G. Bailey was employed by a Furniture Factory. The minister was J.P. McCabe and they were married in Martinsville, Virginia which is in Henry County. I also found his obituary in the Danville Bee of March 6, 1974. His father's name was Robert Bailey.
J. P. McCabe was the minister of the lst Baptist Church in Martinsville, Virginia. Since Granddaddy was living in Bassett, I am sure that he was working at the furniture Company.
Below I have entered some sites that may help. As far as I know the Lane Company factory in Altavista, Virginia no longer exists unless there is a small division there. I am not sure.
If you are searching for the bailey family in Henry County, the Virginia project genweb might help. A little bit of knowledge about Henry County wouldn't hurt. Henry County was formed from Pittsylvania County in 1777. At that time it was called Patrick Henry County for the governor of Virginia. Later in 1785 the northern portion of Patrick Henry County and a part of Bedford County was cut off to form Franklin County. Then in 1790 Patrick Henry County was split to form two counties Patrick County and Henry County.
The town of Bassett, Virginia is formed near what was once a fort built in 1756 because of the hostilities between the Indians and Settlers. The Fort was called Fort Trail. The Fort stood near the Smith River. Bassett took it's name from the Furniture Company which is still located there.
The Henry County Circuit Court Deed Room has marriage licenses on record from 1853 to the present. They charge 2.50 for a certified copy and fifty cents for just a copy. They have marriage bonds on record from 1777, but you will have to go to the courthouse or pay a researcher to retrieve those documents. They also have Deed Books from 1777, Will Books and other records.
Their address is 3160 King's Mountain Road Suite B Martinsville, Virginia 24112
phone number 276-634-4880
A History of Henry County, Virginia with Biographical Sketches of its most Prominent Citizens and Genealogical Histories of Half a Hundred of its Oldest Families
I am presently reading the book "They Fought Alone A True Story of a Modern American Hero" by John Keats. It is the story of Colonel Wendell Fertig in Phillippines. Colonel Fertig along with other Americans and Phillippines refused to surrender and fought guerrilla warfare until MacArthur returned. I have just started the book and I am already engrossed and horrified by the details of their struggle. But they never gave up. Much like the American people of today.
Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerrilla in the Philippines
They Fought Alone (Classics of World War II: Secret War Series)