JOHN E. BAILEY, WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP.
This highly successful farmer and stock breeder of Cass county, who is also one of its most extensive landholders (owning 1,120 acres of excellent land in Washington township) is far from the scenes and associations of his birth and in a land where outward appearance is far different from that in which he first saw the light of this world. Yet he left the latter at so early an age that he scarcely remembers it, and in the nature of the case cannot know much about it from experience. So that he may be alled practically a product of this section; for in this State he has lived since he was six years old, here he educated and married, and here he has mingled throughout his youth and manhood with the interests and activitiesof the people.
John E. Bailey was born in October 9, 1846, in Orleans county, Vt., and is a son of James P. and Mary A. (Hall) Bailey, of the same nativity as himself. The father was a farmer, and desiring to get the best possible returns for his labor, determinded at an early age to leave the thin soil of the Green Mountain region and seek a better opportunity in the rich and deep alluvial of the Mississippi Valley. Accordingly, in 1852 he gathered his household goods about him, and with teams started on the long and trying journey across the continent to Iowa. The family then consisted of the parents and eight children, and the trip to their new home consumed six weeks. On their arrival in this State they located in Louisa county, where the father entered a tract of Government land and bought another tract. This land he converted into a good farm and improved with first-class buildings, and on it he lived until a few years before his death, which occurred at Ainsworth in Washington county, March 10, 1890, at the age of eighty years. The mother died in Cass county September 25, 1909 at the age of eighty-seven. Five of their sons and two of their daughters are living, Mr. Bailey of this sketch, and one of his sisters, being the only ones resident in this county.
The father was a prominent officer in the State militia, holding the rank of Colonel. He was also influential in local politics, first as a Whig and afterward as a Republican, and from time to time was chosen to a number of different township and county offices. His father, James Bailey, passed his life in his native State of Vermont engaged in farming.
John E. Bailey grew to manhood in Louisa county, Iowa, and obtained his education in its public schools. He remained at home aiding his father on the farm until 1872, when he determinded to start out for himself. With this end in view he came to Cass county, making the trip from hisformer home with teams, and on his arrival here he bought 240 acres of prairie land in Washington township, which is a part of his present largelanded estate. He broke up his first purchase, settling himself and his newly married wife in a little frame dwelling fourteen by sixteen feet in dimensions, and both giving themselves diligently to the great task before them of making a comfortable home out of the wilderness. He has prospered in his undertaking from the beginning, and it was apparent at the start to those who observed his intelligence in method and persistency in industry, that, although the struggle might be hard and the progress slow at first, the issue could never be doubtful. In addition to general farming he has beenlargely occupied in feeding stock and breeding fine strains for the markets. He has kept adding to his first domain until he now owns 1,120 acres. He at one time owned 1,620 acres, but has given his two sons 160 each; he also has 480 acres in South Dakota. His land in Cass county is nearly all under cultivation and as good as any under the sun.
John E. Bailey was married in this State, in 1872, to Sally A. Hall, a native of Ohio. They had one child, their son John S., who is now a prosperous farmer in this county on a fine farm which he owns. His mother died in 1874, and in 1876 his father married as his second wife, Lottie A. Williamson, who was born in Louisa county, this State, and is the daughter of Thomas and Minerva (rtin) Williamson, who came to Iowa from Ohio in 1854. They lived for a number of years in Louisa county, then moved to Montrose and afterward to Kansas. The father served in the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry during the Civil War with the rank of first lieutenant. Ten children have been born in the Bailey household, six of whom are living: Frank resides in the West, and Charles, Roy, Ethel, Bert H. and Verdie at home.
Mr. Bailey has served in various township offices; also as a county supervisor, and as on the Board of County Commissioners at the time of building the new court house in 1880, and during succeeding years. He and his wife belong to the M.E. Church. A man with so large a landed interest in Cass county as that which Mr. Bailey holds could not but be earnestly attentive to its improvement and development. He has been connected in a leading way with every movement for the advancement of its industrial, agricultural and commercial life, and the expansion of its intellectual and moral forces. His enterprise has been a stimulus and an incitement to others, and his influence has been almost as potent as his material aid in every good cause. Both are always at the command of worth, and both are employed only in behalf of commendable undertakings. Whether advice or more substantial help be needed for an enterprise of approved merit, he is one of the first men to be approached and one of the readiest to respond.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 255-257.