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 Four - Sunday, September 19, 1999

Drummond Island, the gem of the Huron

By Jill Lowe Brumwell
For The Evening News

Drummond Island - Drummond Island received its name from Sir Gordon Drummond, Commander of the lake district during the period the British occupied Fort Collyer on the southwest part of the island.

It is located on the old French traders' northwest canoe rout, in Montreal via the Ottawa and French Rivers to Georgian Bay, and through the North Channel. The early coureurs du bois, black-robed missionaries, and Indian paddlers skirted the shore of Manitoulin, Cockburn and Drummond on their way to the fur-trading and mission posts in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Drummond and Cockburn were then known as part of the Grand Manitoulins.

Indeed, it is part of the rocky arm extending for hundreds of miles across the northern reaches of Georgian Bay, and known scientifically as the manitoulin archipelago.

The Indians knew Drummond as Potagannipy, the home of a powerful jossakeed (Medicine Man) and the Indians' wabena drums proclaimed that the forest tribes were under his influence.

The British fur traders called it High Island because of its high limestone cliffs. When the British were forced to abandon their fort on Mackinac Island and find a new location, High Island was the choice of the Southwest Fur Company. Bowing to the pressure of this powerful group, Colonel McDonall established his garrison at Collyer's Cove (Whitney Bay) in spite of the fact that the boundaries between the United States and the British had not been determined.

From 1815-1828, His Majesty's Red-coats paraded on the natural limestone parade-grounds and the British union Jack flew over Drummond Island, even though it was part of the United States and, since 1826, a part of the newly formed Chippewa County. Finally, they were obliged to leave.

The modern period began with the arrival of the first permanent white settlers, the Seaman family in the 1850's.

It is known that they arrived on Drummond skirting the island's south shore, and turned shoreward into Collyer's Cove (Whitney Bay) when dusk and heavy snow-storm overtook them. They secured their boat in the calm waters off old Fort Drummond, waters still partially laden with the stubborn ice of spring, and walked ashore.

From a cow tethered in his sailboat, Seaman produced mild for the young children, and brought it to shore.

It is likely they found shelter in one of His Majesty's buildings as the British had left only 25 yeas before.

The Baileys were late-comers compared to the Seaman family as they arrived, with their six children, 27 years after the Seamans.

The stone and lumbering business flourished and brought many more new settlers to Drummond Island.

By 1900, almost 500 people stayed and left descendants that still live on the island. Among the family names were Charles and Harry Anderson' Frederick Avery; George Warren Bailey; John Bulley; James Burns; George Boyer; Nancy Brock; Isaac Cadotte; James and Wilber Cloudman, J. Wells Church; Nelson Fisher; Arden Fairchild; Richard Gibbons' Victor Hill; Andrew Thomas; William, Tom, and John McAdam; David and James Melvin; John Ozomick; G.D.Strickland; John Shawan; D.M.; George and Sam Seaman; Robert and Edwin Shannon; Walter Stevenson and Claiman St.Germain.

Marshall William Bailey (1877-1913) was a toddler of three when he arrived on Drummond Island. When working in his father's lumber camp, he contracted tuberculosis. He was being primed to take over his mother's duties as accountant for the family enterprises and had gone to school in lower Michigan for this purpose. When his illness took over, a small house was build for him on the Bailey property. This sleeping house, located behind the big house in the southwest corner of the property, had many windows all screened with no glass. Nothing was spared to try to save him. He was sent to Arizona, hoping the climate might improve his health. All efforts failed and Marshall died when he was only 36. If he had lived, he probably would have married Lelia Seaman. Lelia, who took over the O'Mah'Me'Kong Lodge and the Seaman store upon her father's death, never married and died on Drummond Island in May 1952.