Biography of John R. Bailey, Sr.
North Central Ohio Biographies





John R. Bailey, Sr., was born on a farm southeast of Ashland on Nov. 5, 1801, and died at the home of his son, Thomas Wesley Bailey, of Savannah, on April 8, 1907, aged 86 years, five months and three days. His long life was a very active one up to within about ten days of his death. Mr. Bailey was the son of Abel and Acsah Bailey, who were among the early pioneers of Ashland County. He was one of eight children and the last of the family.

When three years of age John R. Bailey, Sr., came with his father's family to a farm one mile south of Savannah, which was purchased from the government by his father and grandfather, also John Bailey by name. Here he grew to manhood and after his marriage remained on the farm for several years. On Nov. 14, 1844, he was married to Mary Ann Wright. To them was born one son, Thomas Wesley. Mrs. Bailey died Sept. 15, 1852. On Nov. 22, 1853, Mr. Bailey was again married to Mrs. Hattie Thayer, from near Loudonville. To them were born a son and a daughter. The son lived about 18 years, the daughter dying in infancy. For more than 40 years Mr. and Mrs. Bailey lived happily together, their home being one of great hospitality where a hearty welcome was always accorded to visitors. The traveler knew that at Mr. Bailey's home he could always find rest and refreshment. Mrs. Bailey died Dec. 30, 1893, after which for a number of years Mr. Bailey's grandson, L. W. Bailey and wife, lived with him and kept house for him. For the last three years preceding his death he lived in the home of his son, Thomas Wesley, where he received the most tender and thoughtful care.

In 1867 or 1868 he left the farm and moved his family into Savannah, where he identified himself very closely with the interests of the village. He was always ready to aid in its growth and to rejoice in its prosperity. He was not a politician. The only public office he ever held was township treasurer. For a number of years he operated a general merchandise store in Savannah, and at one time owned much real estate in the village. For about 40 or 50 years he was an extensive buyer of wool and live stock and had a wide acquaintance over Ashland County. He was always interested in the cause of education, and took an active part in the founding of Savannah Academy. He was elected a member of the first board of trustees of the Academy and was continuously retained on the board for about 50 years. At his death he was still a member of the board and a liberal contributor to the financial support of the institution he helped to found. On Feb. 26, 1884, he was elected treasurer of the Academy to succeed Robert McKibben, who resigned because of failing health. This position of trust Mr. Bailey held continuously until Aug. 15, 1904, when on account of advancing age he resigned. At the time of his resignation the board recognized his work and his worth in suitable resolutions.

Mr. Bailey was a loyal member of the Savanaah Baptist Church, was one of its main supporters and always ready to lend a helping hand to its work and maintenance, but he was still liberal minded enough to be interested in the growth and progress of the other churches in the village.

Mr. Bailey was buried in Savannah Cemetery on April 11, 1907. At the time of his funeral all business in Savannah was suspended, schools and stores closed, and a large audience of friends and neighbors were present to pay their last respects to their citizen friend, the students of the Academy attending his funeral in a body, members of the Board of Trustees acting as pallbearers and honorary pallbearers.

Mr. Bailey was always a man of kind disposition and thoughtful of others. He never spoke unkindly of anyone. If he could not speak good of one he said nothing. Those who knew him best believed him to be a man who would not wilfully and knowingly do a wrong to anyone.

From:
History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931


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