A Tale of Two Otways – Part 2

In Part 1 of this, we learned that there were two men, both named Otway Licepious Bailey, born nearly the same time, residing in Arkansas and Texas at about the same time and we set out to unravel them.  We discovered who “My” Otway, born 1831, was, where he was when, and a little bit about his story.

In this episode of our story, we will meet and get to know the “Other” Otway.

“The Other” Otway – Otway Licepious Bailey, born 1829, North Carolina

Bailey, Otway, 1829, Civil War Service
Civil War Service Record for Ottway L. Bailey

The first hint that something weird might going on comes when my researcher friend, Jane, asks me about the Confederate service record I found for Ottway L. Bailey. 1

According to this record, Ottway enlisted in the 26th Arkansas Infantry (also called the 3rd Trans-Mississippi Infantry) in June, 1862 at Tulip, Arkansas.  Tulip is in Dallas County, Arkansas.  Initially, I thought nothing strange about this record, but when Jane asked about it, I began to wonder.

Grandmother always said her ancestors had not served in the Confederacy.  More importantly, Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas is not part of any of the family migrations.

Tulip, Smith Township, is located southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas, near the town of Carthage.  All of the Bailey families in our line had been pretty much on a path across what is today Interstate 40 – moving from Pope County toward Sebastian County, before heading to Texas.  While this is only a few counties north of Tulip, none of our Baileys have been found in the area of Dallas County, Arkansas.

In particular, at the time in question, the summer of 1862, “my” Otway had been a long-time resident of Dallas County, TEXAS.  What else could we figure out to separate these men? 2

So, we start from the start.  What do we know about “the other” Otway and what more can we find out?

Starting with the service record, it appears that Otway enlisted in a unit that was part of what was called the “Trans-Mississippi”.  It covered units from Arkansas, Texas, and the southwest of the Confederacy.  These units designations seem to change from time to time, sometimes being listed as Texas units and sometimes as Arkansas.  But his original unit was an Arkansas infantry unit, organized in Dallas County, Arkansas.  Shortly after enlisting, he was detached to an artillery battery.  He may have been given a surgeon’s discharge, but the records are fuzzy on this.  In any event, he enlisted in August 1862 for three years or the duration of the war.  It’s not really clear how long he actually served.

That puts him in Dallas County, Arkansas in 1862, so the natural next step is to search the census before and after.  An extensive search has yet to turn up an 1860 census record for Otway (b. 1829).  In 1870, however, we find him in Tulip with a young family – a wife, Laura, and three young children, Pinck, Fannie, Otway Licepious Jr. 3

1870 US Census - Bailey, OL
1870 US Federal Census, Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas

This is where we begin to make some headway and where things get really pretty interesting.  We see that Otway is 41 years old in 1870, giving us a birth year of 1829.  He is from North Carolina.  His wife, Laura V., is 27 years old and born in Mississippi.

Typically, one wants to work backward from the most recent facts.  In this case, there are certainly facts to find coming forward and going back that will help us.  So, we will do a bit of research in both directions at once.

First, who is Laura?  We find a record of a marriage between Otway L. Bailey and Laura V. Stokes on 22 November 1865. 4  But we also find one for a marriage between Otway L. Bailey and Mattie A. Stokes on 19 Feb 1874. 5  Based on the ages of the children, it appears that Otway and his young wife, Laura have a family fairly quickly and then something happens.

Searching further in Find-A-Grave, we find three interesting tombstones in the Tulip Cemetery.  First, we find a grave for Laura V. Stokes Bailey giving her birth as 29 December 1842 and her death as January 1873 with an inscription that says she was the wife of O.L. Bailey. 6  We also find a grave for Mattie A. Stokes, born 12 December 1838, died 21 May 1874, inscribed “wife of O.L. Bailey.” 7  But, we also find a third grave for Bettie F. Saunders Bailey, born 29 Jan 1838, died 14 September 1865, “wife of O.L. Bailey.” 8

From this, there can be no question that Otway was married at least three times.  Each wife died quite young, but based on the ages of the children, all of them were born to Laura V. Stokes Bailey.  First he married Bettie F. Saunders, where, we are not yet sure.  But, we know that he married Laura Stokes, and after she died, he married her older sister.  The 1860 Census for the Stokes family shows us this. 9

So, what happened next to Otway?  He does not appear in the 1880 Arkansas census.  I have not been able to example land or tax records in Arkansas to any great extent, so I have not been able to identify when he bought and sold land, indicating that he was coming or going from the state.  But a broader search in the 1880 census finds a single match that appears to be him.  Otway L. Bailey, born 1829, is living in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, working in a warehouse.  He is alone, living as a boarder. 10  What of his family ?  Has he married again?  The children should not be old enough to be on their own yet.  They wold be at most 13 years old in 1880.

1880 US Census - Bailey, GP
1880 US Federal Census, Oregonville, Rockingham County, North Carolina, Dr. Giles P. Bailey

Searching for the children finds them in the home of Dr. Giles P. Bailey in Rockingham County, North Carolina.  He lists them as his nephews.  Fannie is missing, but a young Robert W. has been added, born in 1872. 11  At this point, we have to backtrack a bit to figure this part out.

Searching in 1850, we find what appears to be Otway listed in the household with an older woman, Nancy Stubblefield.  It is not clear the relationship to Nancy, but it seems likely that she is an older relative of some sort. This is an area that needs to be pursued.  We will come back to this shortly. 12

The Census at this point has mostly  run out as a source for us.  But, Ancestry has recently published a lot of will and probate records.  Searching that, we find a huge cache of helpful documents.  First, we find a will for Giles P. Bailey 13 that names all of his siblings, including his brother Otway.  It also names his nieces and nephews.  Giles must have been close to his nephews Robert, or at least seen some potential in him.  Giles provided funds for Robert to pursue a liberal education preparing him for a profession.  Giles, himself, had attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in medicine, 14 just as his father had. 15

Using Giles’ will, along with his father’s 16 and his mother’s 17 wills, we can get a clear enough picture of the family to see that Dr. Otway Licepious Bailey, born 12 Sept 1793, married Sena Bethell, born 1795, in 1821 in Rockingham County, North Carolina.  They had at least five children: Nancy B. “Fannie”, Giles Pinkney, Sarah Jane, Otway Licepious, and Eliza Virginia.  When Otway Sr. and Sena died, they distributed their property, but kept it locked up in life estates or undivided until all of the children had come of age.

In the meantime, Otway appears to have decided to move west for one reason or another.  While searching for him in North Carolina and Virginia, we find his marriage record where he marries Betty F. Saunders on 31 May 1856 in Wythe County, Virginia. 18  That means that he and Bettie must have moved west together; they were married prior to the move and she lived until he returned from the War.

But, why go to Arkansas?  The answer isn’t completely clear, but here’s what seems likely:  Remember Nancy Stubblefield?  Remember that Otway’s mother was Sena Bethell and that she was named Watt when she died?  Well, in searching the 1860 Census for Dallas County, Arkansas, those names – Bethell, Stubblefield, Watt – all occur pretty frequently for a small county, and they occur among people born in North Carolina.  I am pretty sure that a little research would show a migration pattern.

But, it’s more interesting than that.  Otway’s second wife, Laura, the mother of their children was the daughter of Dudley G. Stokes of Caswell County, North Carolina and his wife … wait for it … Frances W. Bethell of Rockingham County, North Carolina. 19 20  It’s pretty clear to me, though by no means proven, that Laura’s mother was in some way kin to Otway’s mother and that Otway moved west with a group of people that he had at least passing familiarity.  This just proves how important it is to follow the “FAN Club” in genealogical research.  That’s Friends, Associates, and Neighbors.

So, how do “my” Otway, b. 1831, and the “other” Otway, b. 1829, connect?  Turns out that they are first cousins.  Otway, b. 1829’s father was Otway, b. 1793.  Otway, b. 1831’s, father was Francis Baker Bailey.  Francis Baker Bailey and Otway, b. 1793, where two of the several sons of Revolutionary War veteran Peter Cock Bailey.  But that’s a story for another day.

In the end, there really were two Otways living in Arkansas about the same time and sorting them out was really a pretty interesting exercise.


  1. “Civil War Service,” digital images, NARA, Fold3.com (http://fold3.com : accessed 31 March 2016), Ottway L. Bailey. 
  2. History of Texas together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties, p. 623. 
  3. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Dallas County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Tulip, Smith Township, Page 26, Dwelling 181, Family 179, Otway L Bailey. 
  4. FamilySearch.org, “Arkansas Marriages, 1837-1944,” database, FamilySearch.org (http://familysearch.org : accessed 9 April 2016), Otway L Bailey and Laura V Stokes, 22 Nov 1865; citing Dallas, Arkansas FHL microfim 985, 892. 
  5. “Arkansas Marriages, 1837-1944,” database Otway L Bailey and Mattie H Stokes, 10 Feb 1874; citing FHL Microfilm 985,892. 
  6. Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital images (http:/findagrave.com : accessed 10 April 2016), Laura V. Stokes Bailey, Memorial no. 6611271, created by Pat Hall, Laura V. Stokes Bailey. 
  7. Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, Martha A. Stokes Bailey, Memorial no. 6611274, created by Pat Hall, Martha A. Stokes Bailey. 
  8. Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, Bettie F. Sanders Bailey, Memorial no. 6610491, created by Pat Hall, Bettie F. Sanders Bailey. 
  9. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Dallas County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Princeton Township, Page 103, Dwelling 650, Family 650, Fannie W. Stokes. 
  10. 1880 US Federal Census, Pittsylvania County, North Carolina, pop. sch., Danville, ED 181, Page 36, Dwelling 316, Family 489, Otway Bailey. 
  11. 1880 US Federal Census, Rockingham County, North Carolina, pop. sch., Oregon Township, ED 318, Page 15, Dwelling 115, Family 134, Dr. Giles P Bailey. 
  12. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Rockingham County, North Carolina, pop. sch., Eastern District, Page 61, Dwelling 438, Family 447, O.L. Bailey. 
  13. Ancestry.com, “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” database, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 April 2016), Rockingham County, Wills, 1804-1864, Giles P Bailey. 
  14. General Catalogue of the Medical Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania: with an Historical Sketch of the Origin, Progress, and Present State of the Medical Department (Philadelphia: Medical Faculty of the University, 1845), p. 162. 
  15. The American Medical Recorder of Original Papers and Intelligence in Medicine and Surgery (Philadelphia: James Webster, 1820), p. 315. 
  16. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” database Rockingham County, Wills, 1804-1864, Otway L Bailey. 
  17. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” database Rockingham County, Wills, 1804-1864, Sena B Watt. 
  18. Ancestry.com, “Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” database, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 10 April 2016), Wythe County, 31 May 1856, Otaway Bailey to Betty F. Saunders. 
  19. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Dallas County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Princeton Township, Page 81, Dwelling 548, Family 548, Dudley G. Stokes. 
  20. “North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004,” database Rockingham County, Dudley G. Stokes to Frances W. Bethell. 
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1 thought on “A Tale of Two Otways – Part 2”

  1. WOW!!! An intricate exercise that clearly demonstrates your acumen in research and persistence in “getting it right”.

    Like

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