THOMAS D. BAILEY, who carries on agricultural pursuits and is a descendant of one of the pioneer families, was born in Mississippi, October 30, 1857. His parents were Martin and Mary (Patton) Bailey, natives of Mississippi and Tennessee respectively. The paternal grandfather, William Bailey, was a native of Georgia and was of Irish descent. He became a leading farmer of his locality and traded extensively in stock. He removed to Mississippi when that was a frontier country and there made permanent settlement, assisting in the material development of the community and in the work of progress of the community and in the work of progress along many other lines. He died there upon the old family homestead. His children were: James, William, George, Martin, Griffin, Mrs. Mary Perry, and Mrs. Margery Wren.
Martin Bailey remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority, when he married and began farming for himself in Mississippi, devoting his energies to the tilling of the soil until 1861, when he enlisted in the Confederate service as a member of the Twenty-eighth Mississippi Cavalry, continuing with that regiment until wounded in 1864. He then received an honorable discharge and returned home. His command was first assigned to the Army of Mississippi and Tennessee and he participated in many skirmishes and important battles, including the campaign and siege of Vicksburg. He was in all of the engagements in which his regiment participated until 1864, when in a hot skirmish he sustained a bullet wound through his knee in making a charge on the enemy. The regiment had been dismounted at that time. His wound rendered him unfit for further field service and he received an honorable discharge, returning at once to his home. During the remainder of his life he suffered to a greater or less extent from the injury. While at the front his company was detailed to act as Home Guard on account of bushwhackers who infested the country and were robbing, stealing and killing. They saw some hard service in routing them, but managed to keep them in subjection.
Martin Bailey remained at his old home in Mississippi until after the close of the war, when he removed to another part of the state. A year later he made his way to the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory and then to Grayson county, Texas, where he spent three years. In 1872 he came to Montague county, settling three miles east of the present site of Saint Jo, where he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land. On this he took up his abode and made a start at farming and subsequently he added to his possessions until he owned twelve hundred acres extending east from Elm creek to the Blackwaxie lands. He first erected a temporary cabin but later hauled logs to a sawmill, had them converted into lumber and thus built a better house. He also made rails for fencing his property and in due course of time his farm was proving a profitable source of income. When he arrived in the county but little farming had been done, but he demonstrated the productiveness of the soil and raised good crops, carrying on general farming and also handling stock. The Indians had already largely been driven from the locality and he had no difficulty with them but he shared with others in many of the hardships and privations of pioneer life and contributed his full measure toward the improvement and up building of this section of the state. He was a stanch Democrat and while in Mississippi served for several terms as constable and for two years as justice of the peace. After taking up his abode in Texas he used his influence toward securing good men for office but never aspired to political preferment. He was a champion of right, truth and justice, and his position upon any question of importance was never an equivocal one. He remained upon the old homestead until his death, which occurred February 26, 1900, when he had reached a ripe old age. His first wife died in Mississippi when the children were small. She was a daughter of Washburn Patton, a pioneer settler of that state, who became a prominent farmer there. He divided his attention between his agricultural pursuits and his work as a local preacher of the Primitive Baptist church, and he died in Mississippi in 1876. His children were: Mary and Sarah, twins, the former the mother of our subject; Vina; and other whose names are forgotten.
Martin and Mary (Patton) Bailey became the parents of four children: Flora A., who died in childhood; Thomas D.; Martin W. O., a stock farmer of Montague county; and Sarah E., the wife of J. A. Huffman. The mother, Mrs. Bailey, died when the children were quite young, after which the father made various removals and finally established the family home in Montague county, Texas, believing that his children would have the best advantages in this locality. When in Grayson county he was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary A. Parsons, a widow and a daughter of George Atha, a farmer, who came to Texas but had not chosen a permanent location at the time of his death, which occurred in Montague county. His children were: Thomas; Floyd; Andrew; and Mary A., who became the wife of Martin Bailey.
Thomas D. Bailey, whose name introduces this sketch, was born in Mississippi and accompanied his father on his various removals. He was reared to manhood and pioneer surroundings and assisted his father in the arduous task of improving and developing a farm and maintaining a home. He had much care of the stock and he remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. He then learned the blacksmith’s trade, which he followed for fourteen consecutive years, after which he began working at the tinner’s trade and as a gun repairer. He conducted a shop of his own for about six years, after which he engaged in general merchandising, continuing the business for five years, being all this time located at Saint Jo. He is a natural mechanic and can work well in wood, iron or in other ways. He has likewise done carpenter work but in more recent years has given his undivided attention to farming. He was married in 1885 and then settled upon the farm where he yet resides, it being a portion of his father’s old homestead. He bought the interests of the other heirs and now owns three hundred and forty-four acres of land all under fence. There is a good house and outbuildings upon the place, which is pleasantly located three miles southeast of Saint Jo. He has eighty acres of land planted to diversified crops and he raises some stock. His efforts have been attended with a gratifying measure of success.
In his political views Mr. Bailey is a stanch Democrat, doing all in his power to promote the growth and insure the success of his party. He has served as marshal of Saint Jo for two terms, also as justice of the peace for two terms, and he belongs to Saint Jo Lodge, A. F. & A. M. The various duties that have devolved upon him have been faithfully performed and he is ever true and loyal to a public trust.
Mr. Bailey was married in 1885 to Miss Margaret Phillips, whom was born in Franklin county, Illinois, April 11, 1865, a daughter of the Rev. J. H. and Margaret (Dey) Phillips, both natives of Meigs county, Tennessee, where they married. The paternal grandfather, Robert Phillips, likewise a native of Tennessee, removed to Missouri, where he became the owner of valuable property. He belonged to the Missionary Baptist church. In his family were nine children: John, of the Indian Territory; Robert, of California; George; William; James H.; Mrs. Elizabeth Moore; Mrs. Martha Boyd; Mrs. Julia Walker; and Mrs. Myra Hemphill.
James H. Phillips was reared and married in Tennessee and afterward removed to Illinois, settling in Franklin county, where he bought land and improved a farm, making his home thereon until 1871, when he sold out and with team and wagon came to Texas, settling first at Whitesboro. After eighteen months, however, he removed to Saint Jo, Montague county, in 1873, and fort two years conducted a hotel there. He then bought land and improved a farm. A minister of the Baptist church, he traveled through the state doing missionary work and was well received wherever he delivered his gospel message. However, there was a large rough element in the state at that time, as there always is in a pioneer district and often pistols had to be exhibited for protection. He was the first minister in many localities and he assisted largely in the moral development of western Texas, making many personal sacrifices for the good of the cause and the benefit of his fellowmen. In later years he sold his farm and engaged in general merchandising at Saint Jo for some time. There he retired from active business life and made his home at that place until his death in May, 1901. He was a stanch Democrat, was a social, genial companion, a kindly neighbor and a faithful Christian gentleman. He was also a worthy member of the Masonic fraternity. His wife yet survives him and resides at the homestead in Saint Jo. She, too, is a devoted member of the Baptist church. She was born in Surry county, North Carolina, September 4, 1827, a daughter of Moses and Mary (Masters) Dey, who were natives of North Carolina, where her father successfully carried on general farming, remaining there until his death in 1830. His widow afterward removed with her family to Tennessee and later to Illinois, where she died. In an early day Moses Dey was an officer in the militia of North Carolina and was also a preacher of the Missionary Baptist church. He had the following daughters: Betsey, the wife of J. Pierce; Nancy, the wife of William Pierce; Lena, who became Mrs. Ramsey; Katie, the wife of P. Pierce; Sally, who married T. McCollum; Margaret, the wife of J. H. Phillips; and Mary J., the wife of J. Moore. In the Masters family were nine sons and daughters: Nicholas, James, William, John, Betsy, Anna, Susie, Mary and Sarah. The brothers and sisters of Moses Dey were: Aaron, Elijah and Mrs. Peggy Thompson.
In the Phillips family, to which Mrs. Bailey belongs, there were twelve children: Mrs. Nancy Parr, who died at Whitesboro, Texas; James M., of Saint Jo; Robert, who is living in Illinois; Mrs. Mary Moss, of Saint Jo; Martha and Sarah, who died in childhood; William A. and George W., both of Saint Jo; Margaret, the wife of our subject; Ellen; Mrs. Leona A. Ross; and Mrs. Julia Wylie.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bailey have been born four children: Nora, born September 23, 1888; Walter, December 8, 1891; Martin, August 19, 1894; and Paul, November 11, 1897.
B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 650-652.