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Ransom Bailey


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/9/2011 at 17:13:14

RANSOM BAILEY. Perhaps there is no name more familiarly or more favorably known in Grundy County than the one above mentioned. This is notalone due to the fact that its owners have been residents of the county for years, but the name has been very intimately associated with the moral, social, intellectual and financial growth of the county. Ransom Bailey is a native Vermonter, born in 1828, and the son of Samuel and Dorothy (Newton) Bailey, both natives of Windsor County, Vt. The grandparents, Levi and Hannah (Bailey) Bailey, were natives of Massachusetts. Levi Bailey's father and one brother were killed in the battle of Bunker Hill, and two of his brothers were early settlers of New York. The grandfather was but fourteen years of age when his father was killed. He then started out for himself and went to Vermont, where he began making potash. This was the first that had been manufactured in the state. Later, he established the first blacksmith shop, then the first grist and saw mill, and afterward was in the first woolen mill, starch factory and linseed oil mill in Reading, Vt. He was handy at almost anything that he undertook, and during the latter part of his life was a stock drover, being the heaviest drover to the Brighton market. He passed his entire life in Windsor County. In politics he was a Whig and a prominent man in that section.

Samuel Bailey, father of our subject, was born January 14, 1794, and remained under the parental roof until twenty-one years of age, having charge of his father's books and business until the latter's death. He was married in that state to Miss Newton, daughter of Samuel Newton, who was of English descent. Nine children were born to this marriage, as follows: Orwell, George; Lovira, who married Fredrick Shedd, both of whom are now deceased; Ransom, our subject; Samuel; Sarah, wife of T. Pattee; Levi, deceased; Mary, deceased, wife of H. N. Bryant, and Charles, who was killed in the starch factory. Almost the entire life of Samuel Bailey was spent in his native state, but his death occurred in Iowa, February 14, 1891, while residing with our subject. He was almost one hundred years old. In politics he was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks. His first wife died in 1848, when forty-eight years of age, and his second marriage was with Mrs. A. Wheeler.

In his native state our subject passed his boyhood and youth, and in addition to a district school education he also attended select schools, thus receiving a good practical education. When twenty years of age he began working on a farm, receiving for his services $12 per month, and continued thus until twenty-four years of age, by which time he had accumulated $600. He then went west to Ogle County, Ill., with two of his brothers, and bought and entered land from the Government. With his brothers he engaged in stock-farming and began the factory for making wire-tooth horse rakes. He was also engaged in the grain business. About the close of the war he sold his interest in the factory. Previous to this time, about 1864, he had invested in land in Iowa, and bought sheep in this state.

In 1877 he came to Grundy County with his family and located two miles east of where he now lives. He is now the owner of twenty-four hundred and eighty-five acres of land, most of which is in Grundy County. As a farmer, Mr. Bailey has attained an enviable reputation, for in conducting his operations he has brought his good sense and practical views to bear, and as a result has accumulated a large share of the world's goods.

In January, 1867, Mr. Bailey was married to Miss Mary Dyer, a native of New York. She was born near Albany, and was the daughter of James and Mary (Engle) dyer, both natives of the Empire State and of prominent families there. To Mr. and Mrs. Bailey have been born three children. Jennie, born November 7, 1867, died March 16, 1876; James L. was born August 8, 1870, and Samuel O. was born December 27, 1872.

Both of Mr. Bailey's sons are attending an eastern college, and are bright, intelligent young men. Mr. Bailey has been a generous contributor to all benevolent institutions, and no man is more universally respected. Not only has he contributed money to build churches in his own county, but in other counties as well, and no worthy movement is allowed to fail for want of support on his part. In his political views our subject votes for the man, irrespective of party, and although often solicited to run for office by his numerous friends, he had not cared to do so, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business.

The father-in-law of our subject, James Dyer, was a son of Bradbury and Polly (Shephard) Dyer, both of whom were born near Warren, Mass. He was a very prominent man in his part of the state of New York, and for many years was a noted lawyer of Albany, that state. He became so celebrated that he was chosen Judge of the courts, which position he held for eight years, then being obliged to withdraw on account of his health. He held many other official positions, and died in 1876, when fifty-nine years of age, honored and esteemed by all. His wife is still living in New York State. When Mrs. Bailey was fourteen years of age, she went to make her home with an invalid aunt, who four years later took her to Chicago, Ill., and then to Ogle County, that state.

Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa


Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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