The Bailey's of Pennsylvania

The following transcribed letters were submitted by Virginia Lance of Carrollton, MO for inclusion at the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA web site in October 1997. The letters written by W. G. Bailey to Norwista Morrison 1897/1898. Both transcirptions are copyright 1990-1997 Virginia Lance.

Imperial, Pa.
October 1897

Miss Norwista Morrison:

You will find here an outline of the history of Alexander Bailey.  He was
your father's and my great-grandfather.  He was born on the highlands of
Scotland at the Bailey Castle about 14 miles north of Inverness.  Being an
ardent Presbyterian, he found it advisable to leave, not only for his own
safety, but to enjoy religious liberty.  He emigrated to Ireland and there
married Jane Brown.  They came to America in 1752 and settled in the
eastern part of Pennsylvania handy to Emmittsburg, Md.  Their family was:
Matthew, William, Ann, Mary, Jan, Alexander, James, and John.  (John was
grandfather).  The first two were born in Ireland.  Matthew was the first
one to come to the western part of Pennsylvania, now Robinson Township,
Washington County, in about 1782 and helped to fight the Indians.  His
father and mother and rest of the family came over about two years later.

1.      Matthew never married.

2.      William was taken by the Indians, but excaped.  He was married to Nancy
        Walker.  Their family-Alex., who married Betsy Gilkison; Margaret who
        married John Russel; Joseph who married Mary Ackelson; and Jane who married
        Duncan McGeehan.  (There are some of each of these families and descendants
        in this section and in Ohio).

3.      Ann married Gilbert McAdams and their family was David, William, James,
        Mary, Ann, Jane, John.  The descendants of this family are in this state
        and Ohio.

4.      Mary married David McAdams.  Their family-Alex., James, Jane.  Their
        Descendants in PA.

5.      Jane married Robert Boland.

6.      Alex married Ann Wilson.  No family

7.      James married Isabel Carlisle and moved to Ohio previous to 1820.  We
        have no trace of this family.

8.      Eighth and last was John—your father's grandfather, who married Margaret
        Gailey.  There were ten children. 

        a)      Jennie, the oldest, is 97 years old.  She was married to William
                Galbraith and they had one boy who is married.
        b)      Matthew married Ann Smiley-eight of a family, all married but one girl.
        c)      Nancy married George Morrison.
        d)      Alex.  and Margaret died young.
        e)      James married Elizabeth McKee.  I suppose you know the history of this
                family of which the writer is one.
        f)      Mary married Silas Ewing.  2 girls living-in Burgettstown, PA.
        g)      John married Margaret Stewart.  2 girls, Cora Lee and Harrietta Brown.
        h)      Ann & William -not married.

Yours truly,
(Signed) W. G. Bailey

Following story written by W. G. Bailey, Jan. 1898, to Norwista B. Morrison.


Introductory remarks

The capture and rescue of William Bailey and the killing of 5 men—2 Shearers, 2 McCandless' and 1 McNealy—while in the harvest field reaping wheat, was listened to often times by many of those who were born in the early part of the present century, but there are few of them now (1898) who are left to repeat these incidents of trials and narrow escapes from the Indians by the early settlers of that part of the County. I deem it expedient as a point in history of the early settlers, to here relate it, as nearly as possible after the elapse of a century, that those who come after the present generation may be reminded of those times, and be assured that they are not mere traditions.

The Story

While a party of six neighbors, consisting of William Bailey, 2 Shearers, 2 McCandless, and McNealy, in the summer of 1780 (it being not only the custom of those days but for protection against the Indians) were in the harvest field together reaping wheat, located on the Shearer farm, their attention was called from their labor by the howling of the dogs (which they did when the Indians were about) and being aware of the fact that the Indians had been in the neighborhood, they went and got their guns a short distance form them—it being the custom to keep the guns with them in the field. They went to the fence and some of them got up on it, when one of the party remarked they would be good shots for the Indians. At that moment four of them fell dead. The remaining two—William Bailey and McNealy—ran. Bailey ran down and McNealy ran up the ravine. The latter was overtaken and tomahawked after a fierce struggle, from the indications of where he was found. He had vowed many times he would not be taken by the red skins. He was killed a few hundred yards south of where the Midway and Clinton road crosses the old Scrubenvill & Pittsburg Pike, this point being a few rods west of the North-Star. William Bailey, being an expert runner, was not overtaken for a considerable distance. On his way he had to cross a wide ditch and when he jumped he lit on the other bank but it was undermined by the water and it gave away. When he looked around there was a large Indian a few paces away. He turned around and gave himself up. He was taken by the Indians and they said he would make a good Indian, being tall and straight and a good runner as they discovered before they captured him. The Indians encamped that night a short distance from where the big R. Creek empties into the Ohio River and there he saw them cleaning the scalps of those they had killed. Seeing only four scalps he concluded that McNealy had got away, but after the fight they had not taken it. He also saw them cutting out with their tomahawks pure lead out of a mine and running bullets. He afterward went back to hunt for the lead mine but could not find it. The whites, after finding out what had happened, gathered up and followed the Indians. On coming to the Ohio River they found the canoes but without disturbing them, crossed to the other side and laid in ambush for the Indians. When the Indians came and got their canoes and were about halfway across, one of the party of whites, who had boasted what he would do, started to run. This gave the alarm to the Indians and they turned their canoes down the river. The whites fired on them killing several of their number. The big Indian who was in the canoe with Bailey was killed. When he fell out he capsized the canoe, taking Bailey to the bottom. When he was taken down the second time he got his hands loose (which had been tied). He thought himself loose but found when he came up that he was tied around the neck to the canoe. He then started to swim with it. The whites, coming close to Bailey's head; but finding he was coming toward them, two of them swam in and one of them cut him loose. After getting to a sand bar one of them wanted Bailey to get on his back and he would take him to shore, but Bailey, being a splendid swimmer, insisted they let him rest awhile and then he could swim ashore. So after a bit he turned on his back and swam to shore, stating that it rested him. Thus ends an exciting incident, and one ever remembered by the old settlers of Robinson Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. These men who were killed were the first to be interred in what is now the Candor Church yard. Yours truly, (Signed) W. G. Bailey. Jan. 1898.
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