The Baileys of Drummond Island

Drummond Island was settled by Daniel Murray Seaman and family in 1853. In 1880, George Warren Bailey and family came to Drummond and soon the two families were united and became part of the history of Drummond Island.

In 1999, Jill Lowe Brumwell (a Bailey descendent) wrote a series of articles about the Bailey family of Drummond Island and these were published in a local newspaper, The Evening News. An index to the entire series of eight articles is here.

The Bailey Story: Installment Three - Sunday, September 12, 1999

Drummond Island, An Untamed Wilderness

By Jill Lowe Brumwell
For The Evening News

Drummond Island - No one is certain how many years the Indians called Potaganipy - Drummond Island - home. To the French adventurers, who came to the Island in the 1600s, it was a strategic trading post and port for ships passing between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.

British soldiers arrived on Drummond Island in 1815 after losing Mackinac Island to the United States in the treaty following the War of 1812. Col. Robert McDonall established the fortress on Drummond Island in a vain attempt to maintain Britain's grip on the Indians' loyalty and the lucrative fur trade.

McDonall renamed the island in honor of Sir Gordon Drummond, then Lt. Gov. of Canada. They stubbornly held on to their fortress until 1828, six years after an international boundary commission awarded the island to the United States.

Several French-Indian families lived in the vicinity of the Drummond Island settlement. The Isaac Cadotte family home was in a clearing just east of the Seaman store (H&H).

The Seamans were the first white settlers to arrive on the island in 1853. Despite all this early activity, Drummond Island was still an untamed wilderness when the Baileys arrived with their six children in 1880. Eight more children were ultimately born to Cornelia Edgerton and G. Warren Bailey.

Their second child, Guy, who died at the age of 3, was born before the family arrived on Drummond. He is buried in Wisconsin. Minnie was 10 when she came to Drummond and died at the age of 16. Alton (Ben) married and moved to the state of Washington where he lived the rest of his life. Warren, child number four, was 5; Marshall 3, Jessie 2, and Blanche 1.

Warren Edmund Bailey (1875-1955) was born in Fish Creek, Wisc. on November 2, 1875. He was a tall 5-year-old when he set foot on Drummond Island. Warren married Myrtle Fairchild, a granddaughter of Daniel Murray Seaman, and formed an important link with the Seaman family. They had five sons and five daughters. Like many other families of that era, the family headed by Warren and Myrtle Fairchild Bailey was hit hard by tragedy.

Two of their sons, Charles Warren and Byron (Red), drowned. A third son, Theodore, lived only one year, and fourth son, Jewell, born a twin to Joy, died at the age of 8. Perhaps the most cruel blow of all, was the fate of Muriel Fern, their youngest child, who was burned to death in the Fairchild home.

Moreover, their grandson Edwin, the 11-month-old son of their oldest daughter, Nita, died in the same fire. Then, an accident in November of 1943 caused Warnie to be bedridden for the rest of his life.

Myrtle was barely 18 when their first child was born in the house, now owned by Betty and Perry Stone. A lovely, headstrong girl, with dark brows, long, lustrous brown hair, gray-blue eyes and a stylish figure; Myrt played the piano, sang like a lark, and took in all the local shin-digs.

They made a handsome pair, Warren stood over six feet in his sock feet, had a lean and athletic build, classic features and cleft chin. He had grown-up with the easy camaraderie of the lumber camp, marine men; capable of holding his own with the boisterous Bailey brood and was a man among men.

Warren made a living by running the family tug-boat, christened Juanita, after Warren and Myrtle's first child. Grandma Cornelia Bailey chiseled out the name boards the tug carried during its sea-going days, later they hung in the Bailey sawmill, and eventually one ended up as a family heirloom in the Gable home and the other at the Drummond Island Museum.

The family moved from house to house. For awhile, they lived upstairs in the Bailey town house (Bernice Holmes'), and in several lumbering camps. When they were married about eight years, Warnie built the family home, with some volunteer help, on the opposite corner from the Seaman store (H&H).

In their younger days, Myrtle and Warnie were the life of the party, thanks to Myrtle, with her talent at the piano, and Warren, with his jokes and sense of humor. However, after the accident that took place in 1943, Warnie was an invalid … reading omnivorously, smoking long black cigars, and thinking of the 1,001 adventures he had. He was a pleasure to visit and because of that, had many people in and out of the house to see him, until his death in 1955 at the age of 80.

The children of Warren Edmund and Lily Myrtle Fairchild Bailey were Juanita, Lillian Merle, Charles Warren, Loyle Byron (Red), Buster, Joy, Jewel Edgerton, Dorothy Elizabeth, Theodore and Muriel Fern.

Juanita Clare (Nita) married Jack Badsford and their children were Jacquline Joy, Mary Elizabeth (1921-1921), and Juanita Bailey Badsford. The second husband of Juanita was Ivan Pierce Gable. Their children were Ivan Meade, Edwin Roy (1932-1933) who died in the fire, and Daniel Howard. Lillian Merle Bailey married Howard Stark; their children were Howard Warren and Robert David. Charles Warren married Rowena Tripp Eldredge and their children were Warren Eldredge, Charles Byron, Hulbert Eugene, and Frank Avery Bailey. Charles Warren chose to live in the east, moving to Massachusetts as a young man and raising his family there. He drowned while lifting lobster traps. Loyle Byron (Red) Bailey married Katherine Ann Komulainen. No children resulted from this marriage. Red drowned in the waters off Drummond Island just before his 44th birthday. Buster Brown Bailey married Lillian Alice Satago. Their children were named Frank Gerald (Jerry) and Douglas Warren. Buster's second wife was Gloria LaPoint and their children were Nancy Lee and Byron Buster. The third wife of Buster was Edna Anna Lee-Payment. Joy Fairchild Bailey married Theodore Roosevelt (Ted) Tellefsen. Their children were Theodore Byron, Mary Jean, Joy Anne, John Warren, Thomas Arden, and Jewel Beth. Jewell Edgerton, a twin to Joy, died at the age of 8. Dorothy Elizabeth married Halley MacDonald and their children are Halley Jr., Shelby Joy, Catherine Myrtle, Molly Elizabeth, Muriel Fern, Michael Warren, and Cherry Lynn. Theodore Pershing Bailey died at the age of 1 from spinal meningitis. Muriel Fern Bailey died at the age of 11 in a fire at Nita's home.