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 Nine - Sunday, November 21, 1999

Baileys Helped shape Drummond Island's destiny

By Jill Lowe Brumwell
For The Evening News

Drummond Island - The lumbering years in Michigan were 1848-1898. Lumber brought a number of families to Drummond Island. Many left when the forest became depleted, but the Baileys remained.

It was the Victorian era with all the social mores and strict straight-laced conventions, and the Baileys broke more than their share of these confining restrictions. George Warren Bailey set high standards for his children to live up to. The boys were expected to be able to know their way around a farm and the surrounding woods and waters and the sawmill - all parts of the widespread Bailey enterprises. The boys and the girls were given a wide latitude in choosing their vocations, making George Warren a very tolerant and modern man.

Cornelia Edgerton Bailey also was ahead of her times. Her boys, like the men in present time, were encouraged to do their share in the household.

The Baileys were all intelligent and well-read, even with the limited educational facilities available. Everyone seemed to have an intellectual curiosity that made them good conversationalists as well as colorful and imaginative story-tellers.

Frank Ivan Bailey (1894-1982) was the thirteenth Bailey child. George Warren and Cornelia now had eleven children, four boys and four girls; two had died at the ages of 3 and 16.

Frank grew into a tall, handsome man with an easy-going personality. He went to the local school, where he related many a mischievous prank. A few years later, the willowy Myrtle Hartson, arrived from DeTour to teach at the Miller School. Frank lost no opportunity in getting acquainted and the two were married in the big red-and-white Hartson house in DeTour.

Frank tried out city life in Detroit just before his marriage and decided things were greener back home. In 1918, he went to work at the coal dock at Spring Bay in DeTour, where he worked for 42 years, retiring in 1960 to live on Drummond Island. During those 42 years, Frank, Myrtle and their seven children lived in DeTour. Their children were Francis Lee, Helen, Robbins, Blaine Douglas, Edgerton William Warren (Billy Warren) and Cornelia.

Francis married Jane Margaret and their children are Douglas, Jane Ann, William Francis, Marie, Mary Jo and Irene.

Helen married Harold Robertson. Children from that marriage are Betty Lee, Mary Jo, Bonnie and Maxine.

Robbins Edgerton married Verna Anderson. Their children are Janice, Jeannie, Jolene Laura and Francis Vern (Buzz).

Blaine Douglas married Marylyn Elaine Gustafson. Their family includes Johnathan Lee, Benjamin Carl, Theodore Blaine, Robin Joy, Raechel Gay, Nancy Jean, Daniel Arnold, Rebecca Sue and Amanda Christina.

Edgerton Warren (Billy Warren) married Irene Alexander (Mickey) and their children are Kimberly, Kevin and William.

Cornelia married Arnold Bias and their children are Anne Francis Bias, Laura Lee and James.

Nina Margaret Bailey (1897-1983) was the fourteenth child born to George Warren and Cornelia Edgerton Bailey. She married Theil Seaman, making the third link between the Seamans and Baileys. Nina and Theil worked in the boarding house with her sister, Ethel. Before divorcing, Theil and Nina had one child, Theilia, who married John Roland and had no children. Nina later married Dan Randel. She will always be remembered at family gatherings because of her sense of humor that she possessed until her death at ate 86.

Nona Gladys Bailey (1899-1978) - was the fifteenth and final child of George Warren and Cornelia Edgerton Bailey.

By 1911, the Bailey family had resided on Drummond Island for 31 years. Ben and Jessie were living in Bellingham, Wash. with their families. Warren, with his wife Myrtle (Fairchild) and children, were living on Drummond Island. Their house was near the Seaman store, next door to the home owned by Cecil Anderson.

Blanche was married to Lauchlan McInnes. She and her family were living in the McInnes home almost across the road from the Georg Warren Baileys.

Alda was married to Lewis Cloudman and was living with her family, on a farm homesteaded by her husband's parents, on Drummond Island, near the Potagannissing River.

Blaine was married to Emma (Seaman). They had their first two children by 1911 and were living on the island in the house across from what is now the Town Hall.

Ethel was married to Andrew McInnes and living in the Bailey homestead.

Earle had recently married Mabel McAdam. They were living in the Newly-built McAdam home across from the Grange Hall, with their first-born and Mabel's father, William McAdam. Mabel's mother had died before the home was completed.

Clifford, 19; Frank, 17; Nina, 14; and Nona, 12, were all living at home as well as Marshall, 34, who was ill with tuberculosis. On Nov. 12, 1911, Cornelia Edgerton Bailey passed away from kidney trouble. She was 58 years old and everyone was in a state of shock.

Cornelia's portraits hang in the Drummond Island Museum along with her bear fur coat, and a wool suit - all tangible momentos of the woman who graced them and our island.

Modern times on the island have brought many changes such as roads cut into the wilderness to homesites; docks; grocery and hardware stores; marinas; and a good ferry service between the island and the mainland. Other additions include a limestone quarry established in 1942 (near the site of the old British post), several churches, an airport, library and health clinic.

The house where Nona was born and raised, is still standing. It graces the large yard just east of the post office. In Nona's day, there were coal rooms that opened off the central hall, with an open stairway leading to the second floor and to the bedrooms and music room. Downstairs, there was a bedroom, a sitting room and the kitchen.

Nona married Jessie Church, their children were Rosalie, Tesse, Althea, Jack, Keith, Bernince and J. Wells. Rosalie married Frank Sasso and their children are Frank Jr., Cherry and Mary Tess. Tesse married Francis Z. Byrne and they had one child, James. Althea married Horace Kranhke and they had no children. Jack married Suzanne Vokes and they had no children.