Carl Joins the Army

Military – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Carl Everett Bailey, b. 5 Jun 1896

Carl Everett Bailey was their oldest son and they were immensely proud of him. Charles and Viola Tennison Bailey had photos made of him in a time before snapping a thousand selfies was even a thing. As you might expect there were lots more pictures of Carl than of any of the later nine children. But, that’s how it goes for the eldest.

He was born in Milton, Indian Territory on the 5th of June, 1896. Charles and Viola had married just the previous September. By 1900, they had moved back across the Arkansas River into Sebastian County, Arkansas, to Hackett where Charles had grown up.

Left to Right: Charles C. Bailey (father), Donald L. Bailey, Lena Lucille Bailey, Roy Thomas Bailey, Carl Everett Bailey, Viola Tennison Bailey (mother)

By August of 1916, the world was at war. Or at least Europe was. The US was sort of, kind of trying to straddle the fence and stay out of things while still being in things in its own way. But, the US was not yet at war. Carl was twenty years old and wrote a letter to his parents that seems to have take them by surprise. I am not sure where they thought he would be, but from the letter, obviously, this was not the place!

Carl had gone up to Missouri and had joined the Army! This was something that he had wanted to do for some time. This was to be a career rather than a short term of service. He has long felt like the Army is a good profession and he’s really looking forward to it.

I get the impression that this is something that maybe his parents are not so keen on. In his letter, after he drops his bombshell, he sets out to convince then that the Army is a good life, that it’s not as hard as people make it out to be, and that he has lots of opportunity ahead of him.

Carl might have misrepresented things a bit to get into the Army. He says that the enlistment officer must have misheard him when he said his age was twenty and refused to correct his mistake for fear of losing his position. But, in 1916, a man under 21 had to have his parents’ written consent to enlist. This was changed to 18 in 1917, but in 1916, he still needed their permission. (By the way, Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, has a great article about this at https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2012/01/24/a-doughboys-age/)

Carl Everett Bailey, in uniform

But, in the Army, he was. And he was happy about it. He certainly looks proud and happy in his uniform.

From basic training at Jefferson Barracks, he went to Eagle Pass, Texas. His duty was as a mechanic. Eagle Pass is right along the Rio Grande River and the border between Mexico and the U.S. You might recall that there were a lot of border tensions at that time. Pancho Villa had attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916 and the mood was still tense. So, the Army patrolled the border.

One night in April 1917, Carl was returning from guard duty at the Blocker Ranch. While he was about 60 miles from Eagle Pass, the truck he was in was in an accident and he was thrown from it. His leg was run over by the heavy truck, resulting in its amputation above the knee. He also received a serious puncture wound to the groin in the accident. And so ended his military career that he had been so excited about.

Carl returned home to recuperate and rehabilitate. He spent time in Army hospitals and worked to receive a pension. It could not have hurt that his uncle, who just happened to be the presiding judge of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, wrote to advocate on his behalf. He received his pension, but still needed a way to supplement it for a living. He tried several things that would not require his having both legs. It looks like he tried sewing and watch repair and sales, both.

Just to add insult to injury, while recuperating and rehabilitating from his injuries, Carl came down with tuberculosis. He went to Ft. Bayard in New Mexico, a U.S. Army sanatorium for servicemen who contracted TB. Carl took a number of photos that captured what it was like at Ft. Bayard and the surrounding area. He even drew layouts of the interior of some of the buildings. He made friends, participated in debate, and taught Sunday School there.

Carl Bailey (right) with friends at a sanatorium.

In the end, though, Carl’s life was a short one. Based on all of the things of his that his parents saved, he continued to be a favorite of theirs. He always appears to be smiling in his photos. I am sure he had times of brooding and regret for running away to the Army. But, maybe not. He had taken the chance to do something that was important to him. And that in itself was important to him. Carl died in April 1923 at the age of twenty-six, just six years after he joined the Army.

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Bachelor Uncle – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Where’s Hume?

Hume Field Bailey, Jr. – b. 1879

For years, Garrison Keillor told stories of Norwegian bachelor farmers and all of their idiosyncrasies on A Prairie Home Companion. At least the Norwegian bachelor farmers stayed put. My bachelor uncle was neither Norwegian nor a farmer and seemed to be forever on the move.

Hume Field Bailey, Jr. was the last of the six children born to Hume Field Bailey and Sarah Louise Council. With his birth in 1879, he became the 11th child in their Brady Bunch family. Hume Sr. and Sarah were both widowed when they married. Sarah had two children with her first husband, John Oliver Brewer, and Hume had three children with his first wife, Amanda Shafer.

Growing up on the family farm in Hackett, Sebastian County, Arkansas, it seems like Hume and his parents, brothers, and sisters lived pretty close to the margins. It was a small piece of ground, just across the river from, at that time, the Indian Territory. The house was a log house without a lot of comforts, but they got by. Since there are so many saved letters and photos and lists of the family record that have been saved throughout the years, it seems like family was really important to the Baileys.

But as important as family was, there was a sense of adventure. Two of Hume’s uncles headed to Texas before the establishment of the Republic of Texas. One uncle was a Forty-Niner in the California gold rush. Of his brothers and sisters, only his brother, Charlie, stayed put. Even his two sisters headed west, on their own, as single women!

Hume must have come back to Fort Smith around 1915. This is a photo of Hume (left) and his brother Charlie (right) standing by their father’s gravestone in the Vinita Cemetery in Hackett, Arkansas. The ground in front of them looks freshly turned, so I think this is a photo taken when their mother died. Sarah Louise Council Bailey died 23 Mar 1915, so this must have been taken around that time. The baby in Charles’ arms must be his son Clifton, born in August 1913.

Hume went to work for the railroad as a mechanic. He traveled from place to place, working in different stations. It seems like, as a young man, he would travel and then come at least close to home for a while, and then travel again. But, as times and circumstances changed, he started moving more and more. There has to be more to that story, but I’ve not yet found it. Maybe it’s time to get into the courthouse (like we talked about last week)!

King of the Road

It’s been hard to find a lot of traditional records for Hume. I don’t find a census record for him after 1880. But, I’ve got some letters he wrote home to his family. And I hit the mother lode on Ancestry in the personnel records of the Northern Pacific Railroad. I find him moving all over everywhere:

Travels of Hume Field Bailey, Jr.
  • 1902 – Hume is in Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado. The photo of him at the top of this story says it was made in Salida, Colorado in 1902.
  • 1907-1908 – He is working in Muskogee, Oklahoma, close to home. He’s working for the Midland Valley RR.
  • 1908-1909 – Hume is in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas working for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas RR (the Katy)
  • 1909-1910 – He’s in Springfield, Missouri working for the Frisco RR
  • 1910 – Hume is in Pasco, Franklin County, Washington working for the Northern Pacific RR
  • 1914-1916 – He’s in Heavener, Oklahoma working for the Northern Pacific
  • 1916 – He has moved on to Mason City, Iowa with the Northern Pacific
  • 1918 – He finds his way back to Fort Smith, Arkansas working for the Frisco RR. Here he registers for the WWI draft.
  • 1926-1927 – He is a paid member of the Heavener, Oklahoma Masonic Lodge

In mid-September, Hume was living in Tomah, Monroe Co., Wisconsin. He said in a letter that he is on his way to La Crosse, Wisconsin to try to find work and that he is trying to get his belongings from his last job in South Bend, Indiana.

On 11 June 1930, Hume sends a long letter home from Minden, Louisiana. He came back here trying to find work in a place he had been before, with no luck. Instead, he and another mechanic have set up a tent on Lake Burton and are trying to make a living fishing and running trot lines.

It seems like, as Hume gets older, his time in each place gets shorter. In his railroad employment records, he resigns after a few weeks and moves on frequently. Each time it is phrased as he is allowed to resign and his performance is satisfactory. Today, I would take that as a red flag that there is something else going on and that there was perhaps some sort of trouble. I wonder what was going on that caused him to move around so much. I wonder if that were true. The first thought that came to mind was that he had to move along because of troubles at work, maybe from a problem like drinking. But, his employment applications all say that he neither drank nor smoked. I wonder if there was something else going on, or whether he just liked to be on the move.

When he was in Livingston, Montana in 1916, he seemed to falsify his application for employment with a different birth date and birth place. After a few days, a letter of inquiry showed up from the home office and again he was “allowed to resign”.

I found a document you can help me with. It looks like it is a list of dates, places, and railroad lines. The names on the scrap of paper look like names found in Hume’s employment record. I can’t quite make out all the railroads and places. But, what I can see often matches with Hume’s record with the Northern Pacific. I wonder if this is a list he made of places he lived and worked. Or a list that his brother Charlie made after he died. What do you think?

Hume was also up against the Great Depression. By 1929, work was hard to come by. He says in his letters that a man his age has to compete against the 25 and 30 year old men looking for jobs. I guess age discrimination is nothing new. It’s always been there when jobs are scarce. From his letters, it sounds like he spent time living out-of-doors and riding the rails to get places – the prototypical Depression hobo, maybe.

After his letter home in September 1929, I haven’t got any records for Hume. I have a note in my files that he died 1 Jul 1930, but for the life of me, I don’t know where that came from. With his moving around so much, he’s really hard to track in newspapers or court records. I mean, he could be absolutely anywhere! I would love to see what happened. I’ve never found a death record, or a grave, or an obituary. If he was on the road, he may well have ended up in a Potter’s Field somewhere.

I hope that in his rambling, it was driven by a sense of adventure rather than desperation or mental anguish. I hope that he loved seeing the country as he rode from railway station to railway station. And I hope that he was ultimately happy being our bachelor uncle.

First – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This is the first post for a new year – 2019. I have been on the road and super busy this week, so I was all set to punt and republish a story about the first time I ever went to the library to research and my first ancestor discovery. But, starting the new year with a retread is lame, so maybe a short post about my first immigrant ancestor to this country would be in order.

While my wife, Kathleen, may have descended from a number of famous and infamous Mayflower immigrants (notably, the Billingtons), my ancestors were here to greet them when the Mayflower arrived.

Cicely Reynolds (b. 1600, England, d. about 1660, Virginia) is my first immigrant ancestor to the New World. She arrived in Jamestown in August 1611 aboard the Swan with Sir Thomas Gates. According to “The Second Boat”:

“Cecily Reynolds was born about 1600 at Waymouth, Dorsetshire, England, daughter of Thomas Reynolds and Cecily Fitzpen. Cecily arrived on August 1610 at Jamestown, VA on the ship “Swan” under the auspices of several near-relatives of Dorsetshire. She made her home with Capt. William Pierce and his wife, Joan. In 1615, in the Pierce home in Jamestown, VA, she married her first husband, Thomas Bailey. Thomas was a young Governor’s Guard and had come to Jamestown, VA in 1612. Thomas died of malaria in 1619, leaving their only child, Temperance, born 1617, which married Richard Cocke about 1632. Cecily Reynolds Bailey married (2) Samuel Jordan (of Jordan’s Journey) on 20 Sept 1620. The Jordons’ famous neighbors were, to the south, John Rolfe, who had married the young Indian Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. After her death, Rolfe wed in 1619, Jane Pierce, daughter of Capt. William Pierce. John was killed by Indians in the 1622 “Great Massacre.” A neighbor to the north was Capt. John Woodlief who in 1619 hosted the first Thanksgiving in America at his Berkeley Plantation. Authentication to this as the first Thanksgiving – and not the one in 1621 in Plymouth Plantation – is contained in a mandate from the London Company to Capt. Woodlief, saying “We ordain the day of our ships’ arrival at the place for plantation on the land of Virginia (Berkeley Plantation) shall be yearly kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized this event.”

“The Second Boat”, vol. 12, number 4, Sept-Oct 1991

If you have ever studied the history of Jamestown, you might recognize that Cicely arrived at a particularly bad time. The harvest of 1611 was poor and that winter was known as The Dying Time. By the next spring, the settlement was reduced to just a handful of people. Those that were still alive were considering their options for abandoning the settlement.

Connie Lapallo has written a trilogy of historical novels, or maybe you would call them fictionalized histories, of Cicely and the women and children of Jamestown. These are fascinating and really provide a view into what things might have been like during those difficult first days. She also has some well thought out and well reasoned new ideas for Cicely’s ancestry in England and how she came to Jamestown. The first book in the series, “Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky” traces Cicely and her arrival and first years in Jamestown. Take a look at this and Connie’s other books in the series

Cicely is also remembered for being the source of one of the first scandalous lawsuits in Jamestown. After Cicely’s second husband, Samuel Jordan, died, Cicely had a number of suitors. Apparently, Rev. Greville Pooley felt like she had engaged herself to marry him. So, when she married William Farrar instead, he brought suit for breach of promise. The suit is well documented in the colonial records.

Cicely Reynolds is the ancestor of a large number of famous families that can claim Jamestown lineage. She is my 10th great-grandmother:

  1. Susan Louise Bailey (1919-2006) m. Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr. (1919-2007) – my grandparents
  2. Charles Council Bailey (1868-1935) m. Viola Tennison (1875-1970)
  3. Hume Field Bailey (1829-1891) m. Sarah Louise Council (1837-1915)
  4. Francis Baker Bailey (1796-1855) m. Evalina Belmont Hill (1802-1854)
  5. Peter Cock Bailey (1765-1844) m. Sarah Baker (d. 1822)
  6. Roger Cocke Bailey (1727-1790) m. Mary Rennard (1732-1777)
  7. Temperance Cocke (1698-1770) m. Abraham Bailey, Jr. (1694-1774)
  8. William Cocke (1674-1717) m. Sarah Perrin
  9. Thomas Cocke (1638-1696) m. Agnes Powell
  10. Temperance Bailey (1617-1652) m. Richard Cocke (1597-1665)
  11. Cicely Reynolds (b. abt 1600, d. abt 1660) married Thomas Baley (b. abt 1580, d. 1619, Virginia)

So, there you have it. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to come to Jamestown and to live through all that, not only she and the Jamestown settlers, did, but the succeeding generations. That small group of settlers, the vast majority of whom died in their first years in the New World, laid the groundwork and foundation for us today. Hopefully, we can continue to live up to their ideal.

Winter – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I was surprised that a blog post on winter was as hard to come by as it ended up being.  I am certain that I remember a set of photos from the late 1940s when my father and his family traveled to Niagara Falls.  The pictures show the falls frozen and lots of snow.  But, I can’t find them anywhere.  Maybe Dad will know where they are.

But I found some pictures that were just as interesting and tell a story of a “big snow”, at least for Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I have talked about my granddad, Robert H. Dickson, Jr., previously.  Granddad took a lot of photos with his old camera (I think Dad still has that camera).  And Granddad did his own developing back in the day.  I guess he didn’t have an enlarger, or maybe only had a small one, because so many of his photos are 2″ x 2″ and maybe a bit grainy.  But, they are great fun to see, since so many of them are really candid and completely unstaged.

So, I found a few pictures that Grandmother (Susan Louise Bailey Dickson) had captioned “Robert H. Dickson Jr. in that big snow of 1940”  Digging around in climatology history web sites, it looks like there was a snowstorm that dropped 9.4 inches of snow on Fort Smith, Arkansas in January of 1940.  Looks like Granddad and, I guess, Grandmother took the opportunity to go out in the snow.  I am betting that Grandmother took these photos.

Robert H. Dickson Jr. in the snow of January 1940

It doesn’t look like 9.4 inches in this picture, but it does look like Granddad needs a jacket!  I am only guessing that Grandmother took these photos.  Robert and Susan met in June 1938 and been dating for a year and a half by this point.  They got married just a month later on 23 Feb 1940.  It’s fun to see Granddad so young.  He looks so skinny.  And the paralysis on his face sort of gives him a scowl.  Kathleen thought that he looked mean in these pictures.

But, how could you think of him as mean when you see him out in the snow in his bare feet!  His pants are up around his knees and he’s barefoot in the snow here.

Robert H. Dickson, barefoot in the 1940 snow

The last of the pictures that I found was a fun one of the house that Granddad grew up in.  I find my great-grandparents, Robert H. Dickson, Sr., and Ethel Garner Dickson, in their house at 2230 N. 14th St., Fort Smith, Arkansas by 1925.  They lived there until Robert Sr’s death.  After that Grandmother Dickson lived there for at least a couple of years before moving.  I have never heard the reason that Fort Smith decided to renumber their streets.  North 14th St. became North 29th St., but the family didn’t move.  Grandmother notes that that’s her future father-in-law, Robert Sr., on the front porch.

Robert H. Dickson, Sr. on his porch at 2230 N. 14th St., 1940

So, even back in the day, wintertime could be a good time for our ancestors.  They could be excited by unusual snows.  They could go out to play in the snow.  And they could do goofy things in the cold, just because.  That’s the kind of thing that makes sure we remember that our ancestors were all real people just like we are.


Thankful – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

As I write this, tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2018 here in the United States and Amy Johnson Crow has suggested Thankful as our them for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

When I started thinking about this, I found so many different directions that I wanted to go.  At first, I thought about one of my very favorite Thanksgiving Dinners that I celebrated with my grandfather Robert H. Dickson, Jr.  I talked about that some time back and you can see it here.

Then, I thought about pointing out that My ancestors were actually here for the First Thanksgiving in the Colonies, while Kathleen’s Mayflower ancestors were Johnny-Come-Latelys for the second one, even though they get all the credit.  Folks forget that the first commemoration of Thanksgiving took place in the Virginia Colony took place at the Berkeley Plantation in 1619.  My ancestor, Cicely Reynolds, was living very near to the plantation at that time and may well have been at that celebration of thanksgiving.  Kathleen, on the other hand, has a number of Mayflower ancestors (John, Elinor, and Francis Billington, John Howland, Francis Eaton, Henry Samson, Degory Priest), so of course there is a Thanksgiving connection there, too.

But this last Sunday, I was preparing my Sunday School lesson and hit on what I really wanted to talk about.  I am not the sort of genealogist who believes that my identity is defined or my future determined specifically by the lives of my ancestors or by my DNA.  But, I do know that important values are passed down from generation to generation.  I know that the experiences for good or for bad of one generation affect several to come.  And for the lessons and experience of those before me, I am thankful.

One of my favorite things is to teach adult Sunday School.  I am a guest speaker in a number of different classes at our church.  This past Sunday and this coming Sunday, I am visiting with one of my favorite groups.  This is a class where there may be members still in their seventies, but the vast majority are members of the Greatest Generation and are firmly in their mid- to late-eighties and nineties.  What could I possibly have to teach them?  But they are always gracious and welcome me and invite me back.

When I thought about it, I realized that I have a number of ancestors who were pastors and preachers.  But I also have a lot of members of my family who have taken the more informal route of teaching and leading adult Sunday School.  Mom is currently the president of her class.  My brother and his wife lead classes at their church.  My step-mother teaches Sunday School at her church as well as leading worship from time to time at the local county jail with my Dad.  (He helps; he isn’t a resident.)

And back through the generations, many of my ancestors shared their faith and their understanding by teaching Sunday School.  My maternal grandfather, Hudson Wren, led his Sunday School at the Wilson United Methodist Church in Wilson, Arkansas class for nearly 40 years.  I remember every Saturday evening, when we were at his house, he would retreat into his den, close the door, and work on his lesson.  We all knew not to disturb Papaw while he was working on his lesson because it was important to him.  Even though he saved his notes for years, not long before his death, he cleaned out his files and destroyed years of lessons.  I am thrilled to have some of the the ones that escaped.  I still refer to them for my own lessons.  Of course, they are often tied to the Adult Bible Study quarterlies from years and years ago and I don’t have those.  But I can still guess at the direction from the notes.  It’s fun to see his way of taking notes and writing and to hear his voice in them.

Hudson Wren’s Sunday School Lesson on Christian Maturity, 13 July 1975

We recently met my great-grandfather, Charles Council Bailey.  He also was called on to lead Sunday School from time to time.  I’ve got a few of the talks that he gave at different times, including one done for Sunday School.  I suspect that this is from the 1890s, though I don’t find a date on it.  That means it was probably when they lived in Milton or Stigler in the Indian Territory.  I have to say that I can identify with his comments as I lead classes full of folks who have all had long and full lives.  This is part of a talk he gave to and about the Sunday School and why it is important.

Charles Council Bailey talk on Sunday School

In this he says “… if I should attempt to offer a word of advice or define for older and better [men] the interest we should take in this work, that they will deal lightly with me when passing upon my presumption, and with careful hands winnow the chaff from the grain, if any grain there be in what I may offer.”  Sounds about right when standing in front of a group of folks who have seen far more of life than I have.

My maternal grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey Dickson, often led the devotions for the Women’s society in her church.  I have a few of these and love them, too.  She’s quick and to the point in what she has to say.  That’s the point of these devotions that open the meetings.  Here’s one of hers.  I don’t know the date, but it was from late in her life.

Hey! Do You Know Who You Are?

Matthew 12:50 – Whoever does what my Father in Heaven wants him to do is my brother, my sister, and my mother.

Kirk Douglas: “Once, while I was driving to Palm Springs, CA, I picked up a hitchhiking sailor.  He got into the car, took a look at me and said “Hey! Do you know who you are?”  That’s a very good question.  A question we all have to ask our selves.” (From The Ragman’s Son: An Autobiography)

We live in a day when it is fashionable to lament that we need to find out who we are.  This was never a problem to me.  As the youngest of a large family and almost the only girl, I knew I was Somebody’s Little Sister or I was Charlie & Viola’s little girl.  I’ve known people who resented this identification with their family members.  I never did.  I do not resent one of my brothers introducing me as his “baby Sister”.  The knowledge that I was an integral, indeed an important, part of this closely knit family was a security that many people have not known.

If a brother caught me misbehaving, he would draw me aside and tell me to stop it.  If I argued that the other kids were doing it, they would reply “Yes, but you now better.”

Our meals were an unhurried time of sharing.  We told our small triumphs or defeats, as the case may be.

It was in [Sunday School] that I learned “Jesus Loves Me”. Also God is the loving Father of us all.  This did not seem strange to me for I had not yet learned that not all fathers are loving.  Later in [Sunday School], Mrs Clark taught me that I was a part of the church family and that expanded to the Family of God.

As I grew up my family kept expanding.  There was school and later I went to college.  Then I married and we were another family unit within the larger family of mankind.  I was a wife. Then a mother.  many years later I became a grandmother.  Then I was a teacher.

I am many things.  I am still a wearer of many hats.  Most important, I am a child of God – a sister of Jesus and of all who are children of the Father.  This, I think is the foremost “who” that I am.

As some of you may know, I sang in one choir or another most of my life.  One of my favorite anthems is an old one that is an adaptation of the 23rd Psalm, My Shepherd Will Supply My Need and ends with “Not as a stranger or a guest but as a child at home.”

I do not always do all the things that the Father would have me to do and, like Paul, I sometimes do what He would not have me do.  With much prayer and effort, I strive to live so that I can say I am a true child of the Father.

Hey! Do you know who you are?

Susan Louise Bailey Dickson, “Hey! Do You Know Who You Are?”

So, back to Thankful.  I am so thankful that in my family, I can find examples of people that I have known and loved and that I can discover and admire who help me to see who I am. Not that they determine me, but that their influence and experience on and in each successive generation is undeniable – both for good and for bad.  I am thankful that by finding my family and reflecting on who they were and are, I am able to answer Grandmother’s question more each day.  Hey!  Do you know who you are?