Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family Lore Debunked?

Every family has stories -- some good, some bad and some that are truly tragic. One of our sad stories was about Aunt Joan, Uncle Arnold's wife.  According to Mom, she was born in British East Africa (now Kenya), the youngest of eight children and her father was a Christian missionary. When the family was in Africa, her father left her mother and the children for a much younger woman, perhaps a nurse at the mission hospital, and was never heard from again. Her mother, Lilly Mary, had to find a way to get the family back to the U.S. and provide and care for all the children. It was always described as a very hard life.  After Aunt Joan finished high school her older sister paid for Joan to join her in Washington, DC, and attend business school.

So what's true and what's not?

What is true is that Aunt Joan and Uncle Arnold were married on 26 Aug 1942 in Washington, DC. They had two children, lived in a house they built on Uncle Arnold's parent's farm in Brandywine, Maryland, and in their elder years, moved to New Oxford, Pennsylvania. Uncle Arnold died on Christmas Day in 2003 and Aunt Joan died in 2010.

Uncle Arnold and Aunt Joan on the day of their wedding

It's also true that her father was Christian missionary, the family did live in Kenya, and Aunt Joan was born there.

Rift Valley Kenya, at the time of Aunt Joan's birth it was British East Africa

"Our Schalin Family," by Lucille Fillenberg Effa was published in 2003. In the sketch about his family Uncle Arnold said his wife's parents were Lilly Mary Bradley and William Judson and the family returned to Torch, Ohio from Africa.  I scoured Census records for days looking for some evidence of the Judson family in Ohio but couldn't find a thing.  Then I wondered why was his last name Judson when the rest of the family's last name was Bailey? Did Aunt Joan's mother remarry a Bailey and he adopted all of the children? Or was William Judson really William Judson Bailey?

The adoption trail led nowhere but looking for William Judson Bailey turned up some very interesting documentation. Here's what I was able to discover. There was a man named William Judkins Bailey; he was born on 19 Dec 1880 in Barnsville, Warren Township, Belmont, Ohio. His father was James Bailey. His mother was likely Pebe (Pary or Perry) Bailey. He did marry a Lilly Mary Manson Bradley and had eight children.  The youngest was Joan Evelyn Bailey, which would be my Aunt Joan. William Bailey was a foreign missionary and served the Church of God's Board of Missionaries based in Anderson, Indiana. And his youngest daughter was born in Kijabe, British East Africa. Additional research about the missionary movement in Africa proved there was a Christian mission in Kijabe at the time. So far so good.

But then I discovered this...
  • The 1910 federal census indicates William and Lilly Mary Bailey had been married for about 6 years and were living in Pittsfield, Michigan. William's occupation was listed as farmer.
  • On 27 Aug 1917 William Bailey applied for a passport. On the application, he stated he, his wife and seven named children would be traveling to British East Africa. They planned to depart from Seattle on or about 15 Jan 1918. He also listed his occupation as student, which I assume means he was attending the Bible and Seminary Boarding School in Anderson, Indiana, which is now Anderson University.
  • On 12 Sep 1918 William Bailey completed a World War I registration card and listed his nearest relative as Lilly Manson Bailey.
  • On 28 Jun 1920 William Bailey applied for a passport. On the application, he stated he, his wife, five children he named and two infant children would be traveling to England, Switzerland, Egypt, France, Italy, Palestine, and British East Africa. They planned to depart on or about 31 Jul 1920. 
  • On 3 Sep 1920 William, Lilly and their seven children, ranging in age from 15 to 1, arrived in Southampton, England, aboard the Cunard Line's RMS Aquitania. The passenger manifest indicated they were headed to Nairobi, British East Africa.
  • On 18 Jun 1924 George Edgar Bailey, William and Lilly's eldest son departed Southampton, England, aboard the White Star Line's RMS Majestic, arriving in New York on 24 June. He planned to return to Anderson, Indiana.
  • On 4 May 1927 Paul Orrin and Homer Bradley Bailey, two of William and Lilly's sons, departed Southampton, England, aboard the White Star Line's RMS Majestic, arriving in New York on 10 May. They were headed to the Bible School in Anderson, Indiana.
  • On 23 Oct 1929 William Bailey, his wife, and their five youngest children, including Joan, departed Yokohama, Japan, aboard the Osaka Line's S/S Paris Maru; they arrived in Seattle on 6 Nov 1929 after a brief stop in Vancouver, Canada. The passenger list indicates Joan Bailey was born on 26 Oct 1921 in Kijabe, British East Africa.

Osaka Line's cargo ship, S/S Paris Maru
  • The 1930 federal census indicated William Bailey, his wife, and seven of their children, including Joan, were living in Troy, Ohio; Bailey's occupation was listed as foreign missionary. It also indicated that their son Homer attended and boarded at the Bible and Seminary Boarding School in Anderson, Indiana. Lilly Mary Bailey's father was also living with the family.
  • On 7 Jul 1934 William and Lilly Mary Bailey, departed Cherbourg, France on the Cunard Line's RMS Aquitania, arriving in New York on 13 Jul; they were heading to Torch, Ohio.
So is the family lore complete bunk? Maybe not but the timing and details of the story appear to be incorrect.
  • The 1940 federal census indicated Lilly Mary Bailey and her youngest daughter, Joan, were living together in Troy, Ohio. I have not been able to find William Bailey yet in the 1940 census. Mrs. Bailey indicated she was married.
  • In 1942 William Bailey completed a World War II registration card. He was living in Spring Hill, West Virginia, and his nearest relative was Mrs. W. J. Bailey, who also lived in Spring Hill. That Mrs. Bailey may or may not be Lilly Mary. William Bailey also appeared to have left missionary work and was a building contractor. At the time he registered he was not working and wrote, "lull because of priorities."
So I don't know whether William and Lilly Mary stayed together as a married couple or not.  Lilly Mary died in 1949 and is buried in Park Hill Cemetery in Marbury, Maryland.  Her daughter, Sylvia lived in Marbury according to the 1940 census. She and her husband are buried in the same cemetery as Lilly Mary. William died in 1955 in Fresno, California and I have not yet found any burial information.

Aunt Joan's mother's tombstone at Park Hill Cemetery in Marbury, Maryland

I did found this tidbit in a source citation on a professional genealogist's record for William Judkins Bailey from the "Journal of Maxwell Bailey," (December 1991; Clarksville, Ohio), owned by Leona Vlacancich.

"That log cabin was the home of Leonard Bailey, son of Joseph Michael Bailey, and grandfather of Gladys Root Daugherty. One of Leonard's brothers, the Bailey 'tree' will show was a William. He may be my Father's daddy. However, my Father's death certificate shows a James Bailey as his father. I'm sure this is incorrect. Goldie, Father's second wife supplied the information for the certificate and it's accuracy must be questioned."

So did William Bailey divorce Lily and marry Goldie? And was the Maxwell Bailey who wrote the journal one of his sons?

What do you think happened?

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