Orestus Gustavus Bailey (1845 - 1931)



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Orestus Gustavus Bailey Biography & Family History

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in Fort Ann, Washington County, New York United States


on in Stroud, Lincoln County, Oklahoma United States

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at Bloomington, Franklin County, Nebraska, in Bloomington, Franklin County, Nebraska United States


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Stroud, in Stroud, Lincoln County, Oklahoma United States

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Father: Lyman Bailey
Mother: Matilda (Crippen) Bailey

Spouse: Orilla Benjamin McMore
Children with Orilla: Grant Bailey and Myrtle M. Bailey

Wife: Jessica Cornelia (Bates) Bailey
Children with Jessica: Lila Lenora Bailey


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1845 - In the year that Orestus Gustavus Bailey was born, on December 29th, Texas was admitted as the 28th state. Formerly part of Mexico, then an independent Republic, Texas consisted mainly of American settlers - English speaking - in the north and former Mexican citizens - Spanish speaking - in the south and west when admitted to the Union.

1855 - At the age of merely 10 years old, Orestus was alive when on March 3rd, Congress appropriated $30,000 to create the U.S. Camel Corps. The idea was to use camels as pack animals in the Southwest and 34 camels were bought. But the Army wasn't enthusiastic about the idea and after the Civil War the Camel Corps was entirely abandoned.

1876 - He was 31 years old when in the Spring, Sioux chief Sitting Bull's encampment in the region of the Little Bighorn River was expanded by "vast numbers" from other tribes. This meeting of Native Americans became the last great gathering of native peoples on the Great Plains.

1924 - By the time he was 79 years old, on January 21st, Vladimir Lenin, a leader of the Russian Revolution and the first leader of the Soviet Union died. He had survived two assassination attempts but had subsequent physical problems, suffering 3 strokes. He was in such great pain, it is said that he asked Stalin to poison him. The circumstances of his death are still disputed. He did oppose Stalin as the next leader - nonetheless, Stalin won a power struggle and ruled as a Soviet dictator until his death in 1953.

1931 - In the year of Orestus Gustavus Bailey's passing, on May 1st, the Empire State Building opened in New York City. At 1,454 feet (including the roof and antenna), it was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center's North Tower was built in 1970. (It is now the 34th tallest.) Opening at the beginning of the Great Depression, most of the offices in the Empire State Building remained unoccupied for years and the observation deck was an equal source of revenue and kept the building profitable.

Orestus Gustavus Bailey Family Tree

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edit Orestus's Parents
Orestus Gustavus Bailey
edit Orestus Gustavus Bailey & Orilla Benjamin McMore
February 4, 1866 - November 23, 1892 (death)
Fort Ann, Washington County, New York, 12827
United States
Orestus Gustavus Bailey
Orestus Gustavus Bailey & Orilla Benjamin McMore
February 4, 1866 - November 23, 1892 (death)
Fort Ann, Washington County, New York, 12827
United States
edit Orestus Gustavus Bailey & Jessica Cornelia (Bates) Bailey
July 10, 1893 - November 6, 1931 (death)
Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, 66935
United States
Orestus Gustavus Bailey
Orestus Gustavus Bailey & Jessica Cornelia (Bates) Bailey
July 10, 1893 - November 6, 1931 (death)
Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, 66935
United States

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Orestus Gustavus Bailey, father to 3 children, passed away on November 6, 1931 in Stroud, Oklahoma at 86 years of age. There is no known cause of death for Orestus. He was buried in Bloomington, Franklin County, Nebraska, Bloomington, Nebraska. He was born in 1845 in Fort Ann, New York. He was born to Lyman Bailey and Matilda (Crippen) Bailey, and we currently have no other siblings in his family tree. Orestus married Orilla Benjamin McMore on February 4, 1866 in Fort Ann, New York and Orilla died on November 23, 1892 in Bloomington, Nebraska. They gave birth to Grant Bailey and Myrtle M. Bailey. He also married Jessica Bates on July 10, 1893 in Belleville, Kansas and Jessica died on November 6, 1931 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They gave birth to Lila Lenora Bailey.

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Orestus Gustavus Bailey was born Jul 20, 1845 in Fort Ann, Washington County, New York, and died Nov 6, 1931 in Stroud, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. Orestus Bailey was the 4th of five children of Lyman Bailey (1814-1875) and Matilda Crippen (1817-1899). The Bailey family (See Appendix A for the Bailey Family) settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts prior to 1635, immigrating from England. He attended public schools in Washington County until 16 years of age (1861). After school, he assisted his father Lyman with farming, and began to hear more and more news about a possible war between northern and southern states. In the spring of 1861, Orestus heard that the Confederate States of America had been formed with Jefferson Davis as president and eleven states had succeeded from the Union. Throughout the remainder of 1861 and early 1862, news of the war was not good. In late July 1861, the Union Army suffered their first bitter defeat at Bull Run, 25 miles southwest of Washington. As the Baileys entered 1862, Orestus began to talk more and more about joining the Union Army. His brother Lyman Randolph Bailey wanted to join but had a wife and family to take care of. Orestus had met a 14-year-old girl, Orilla McMore, at school, but knew they were both too young for marriage. By June 1862, Orestus heard the news about the horrific battle at Shiloh, resulting in the death of over 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.
In mid-summer1862, news reached Fort Ann that Col. Clarence Buell had received authority to raise a Regiment (169th Regiment) in New York’s 12th Senatorial District – a district which included most of Washington County. By mid-July 1862, it was known that soldiers of Company F of the 169th Regiment would be drawn from Fort Ann, Whitehall and Lisbon. Orestus made up his mind – he was joining the Union Army.

On August 23, 1862, having just turned 17, Orestus enlisted in the Union Army as a Private. Although the minimum New York age for enlistment in the Union Army was 18, Orestus lied about his age on his enlistment papers, giving his age as 18. On October 6, 1862 Company F, 169th Regiment Infantry “Troy Regiment”, New York Volunteers was officially organized under the command of Colonel Clarence Buell. Orestus G. Bailey, along with about 1000 other New York State volunteers, was officially a member of the 169th New York Volunteers. Following infantry training in the Albany area, where he had his photo taken at a photo store, the 169th Regiment left New York on October 9, 1862 for Washington. Orestus Bailey’s first military duty occurred when the 169th Regiment was attached to the Provisional Brigade, Abercrombie’s Division, in the Defenses of Washington. On April 9, 1863, during the Defense of Washington campaign, Orestus G. Bailey was promoted to Full Corporal. A little over a week later, on April 18, 1863, the 169th Regiment, was ordered to Suffolk, Virginia where it served with Foster’s Brigade, Corcoran’s Division in the Siege at Suffolk between April 20 and May 4, followed by the Edenton Road, Virginia Battle on April 24. The conflict resulted in 266 Union casualties with 41 battle deaths.

On July 4, 1863, the 169th Regiment was ordered to join the Department of the South forces, arriving at Folly Island, South Carolina on July 12th—one day later the siege of Fort Wagner, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina began. At dusk on July 18, General Quincy Gillmore launched an attack spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a black regiment commanded by Col. Robert Gould Shaw. The 54th advanced along the beach with fixed bayonets to storm the fort. The earlier bombardment had failed to destroy the sandbagged gun emplacements of the Fort and the assault column marched into a heavy artillery barrage and massed musketry. Fighting was fierce, but the Union Army was able to occupy a small portion of the fort and the 54th planted its colors atop the parapet. After lengthy hand-to-hand fighting, the Union troops were ordered to withdraw. Losses were heavy. Col Shaw had been killed and nearly 900 Union soldiers lay dead on the battlefield, most from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. The attack on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863 was immortalized in the 1989 movie “Glory”. Orestus Bailey would spend his 18th birthday, July 20, at the siege of Fort Wagner in South Carolina. For about the next six weeks, the 169th Regiment continued to participate in the siege of Forts Wagner and Gregg, Morris Island, S.C., and the bombardment of Fort Sumter and Charleston. Finally, on September 7, Forts Wagner and Gregg were captured.
Orestus Bailey’s 169th Regiment remained in the Charleston, South Carolina area until February 1864, carrying out Operations against Charleston and picket duty on Folly and Black Islands, South Carolina. While still in the Charleston area, Orestus G. Bailey was promoted to Full Sergeant on December 18, 1863. On February 20, 1864, the 169th Regiment was ordered to Jacksonville, Florida, remaining on duty there with the 1st Brigade, Vodges’ Division, District of Florida, until April 1864. The 169th Regiment was then ordered to join with the Army of James, about 30,000 strong, in their movement to Bermuda Hundred, near Petersburg, Virginia. The regiment disembarked there with Butler’s army and hard fighting at Bermuda Hundred between May 6th and 20th, 1864 resulted in about 6,000 Union casualties – about 1 out of 5 Union soldiers was a casualty. Orestus Bailey considered himself lucky that he was not injured or killed. The worst was yet to come.
By May 28, 1864, the 169th Regiment had moved to Cold Harbor, Virginia where preparations were underway for one of the most notable battles of the Civil War. In the overland campaign of 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant with the Army of the Potomac battled General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia for six weeks across central Virginia. At the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna and Totopotomoy Creek, General Lee repeatedly stalled, but failed to stop, General Grant’s southward progress toward Richmond. The next logical military objective for Grant was the crossroads styled by locals Old Cold Harbor. The battle began at 5 PM on June 1. For the next 3 days, almost 50,000 Union troops, including the 169th Regiment, engaged Confederate Forces at Cold Harbor. Another well-known unit at Cold Spring was the 1st Battalion Sharpshooters, New York with William C. Bates, the father of Orestus’ 2nd wife, amongst their numbers. It is entirely possible that Orestus Bailey and William Bates met on the battlefield thus explaining their settling in Bloomington, Nebraska some 20 years later.
From June 4 to June 12, both armies fortified their positions and settled into siege warfare. The days were filled with minor attacks, artillery duels and sniping. With the Union defeat at Cold Harbor, Grant changed his overall strategy and abandoned further direct moves against Richmond. On the night of June 12, Union forces withdrew and marched south towards the James River. During the two-week period along the Totopotomoy and at Cold Harbor, the Union Army lost 12,000 killed, wounded, missing and captured while the Confederates suffered almost 4,000 casualties. Orestus Bailey was one of the Union soldiers wounded at Cold Spring, Virginia. General Grant’s next target was Petersburg and the railroads that provided needed supplies to the Confederate army. Cold Harbor proved to be General Lee’s last major field victory and changed the course of the war from one of maneuver to one of entrenchment.
Between June 15 and 18th, 1864, General Grant’s Union Army, some 62,000 strong, carried out the initial assaults on Confederate Forces, which numbered about 42,000. At the end of the 3-day assault, Union forces had over 8,000 casualties. On June 18, Orestus Bailey was wounded in action, although not seriously. He considered himself most fortunate for surviving the Cold Harbor and Petersburg battles. Following Petersburg, the 169th Regiment was one of those selected for the expedition against Fort Fisher, North Carolina in December 1864. Fort Fisher protected Wilmington, the South’s last open seaport on the Atlantic coast. It was not until January 15, 1865 that the Confederate garrison surrendered, opening the way for a Union thrust against Wilmington. After the fall of Fort Fisher, the 169th Regiment accompanied the 10th Corps in its advance on Wilmington and was actively engaged in the Wilmington assault between February 12 and 22nd, 1865.
On the conclusion of the war, the 169th Regiment remained at a garrison at Raleigh, North Carolina. In the spring, 1865, Orestus Bailey came down with diphtheria and was taken to the hospital at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Orestus soon rejoined the 169th Regiment and on July 19, 1865, the 169th Regiment was mustered out of the Union Army. The next day, Orestus G. Bailey celebrated his 20th birthday, knowing that he was heading back to Fort Ann. At the end of the war the total strength of the 169th Regiment was 1,467, of whom 10 officers and 147 men were killed and mortally wounded; 3 officers and 125 men died of disease and other causes; total deaths numbered 285, while total casualties numbered 618. About 20 per cent of Orestus G. Bailey’s 169th Regiment would not be returning home to Washington County, New York.
Orestus knew it would take about 6 or 7 weeks to walk the 625 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina to Albany, New York where he would be mustered out of the service, but he would have a lot of company as there were numerous soldiers heading to Albany for their discharge. Finally, after about 50 days averaging about 12 miles per day, Orestus and his friends arrived at Albany and on September 8, 1865, 20-year old war veteran Orestus G. Bailey was mustered out of the Union Army. On his way home to Fort Ann Orestus thought about the many friends he had met during the war and whether he would ever see them again. He also reminisced about Orilla McMore and wondered if she was as now as when he left her 3 years ago.
Orestus arrived home by September 15, 1865 and had so much to tell his mother, father, and brother Lyman. Orestus soon found out that Orilla McMore, his sweetheart before the war, was living in the Fort Ann area and was as pretty as when he left. It wasn’t long before they announced their marriage intentions.

On February 4, 1866 Orestus Gustavus Bailey and Orilla B. McMore were married in Fort Ann, New York. After their marriage, they lived with Orestus Bailey’s mother and father through at least 1870. About January 15, 1867, they had their first child, a boy they named Grant, named after General Ulysses S. Grant – the general Orestus so admired during the war. About April 5, 1870, Orestus and Orilla had a daughter, Myrtle, who died 5 weeks after birth. Orestus continued to help his father with farming, but he and Orilla talked more and more about moving west. While in the war, Orestus had heard that Congress had enacted Homestead Acts in several western states which would provide the sufficient acreage at little to no cost.
Following the birth of Frederick in February 1872 and Herbert in 1874, Orestus and Orilla decided it was time to leave New York. They thought it might be best to go north of Lakes Ontario and Erie through Canada and then head southwest. In the spring of 1876, Orestus, and Orilla loaded their Ox-pulled wagon with all their possessions and left Fort Ann with their three sons, Grant, Frederick and Herbert. Orestus knew from other pioneers migrating west that they could expect to average about 15-20 miles a day. Orestus and Orilla were not sure exactly where they wanted to go, but felt Nebraska might be best, as the U.S. Congress had enacted The Homestead Act of 1862 that provided for the transfer of 160 acres of unoccupied public land to each homesteader on payment of a nominal fee after five years of residence. As they headed into Canada, Orilla, knowing she was pregnant once again, told her husband that her delivery would be much sooner than she had expected. Being southeast of Montreal, Canada, they decided to remain there until after the baby was born. On August 21, 1876, Orestus and Orilla had a boy whom they named Augustus Randolph Bailey. Winter came early to Canada and Orestus and Orilla decided to wait until spring before traveling again.

By late April 1877, the snows had melted, and the weather was warming. It was time to move on. Orestus estimated that it would take four or five months to cover the nearly 1400 miles through Canada to Nebraska. That would give them enough time to reach Nebraska before winter set in. About May 1, they pulled camp and resumed their journey west. By about September 1877, they had reached Nebraska. They had heard about a small town near the Kansas border called Bloomington. Other settlers along the way had advised them to try to remain in Nebraska, as they were too many Indian attacks in Kansas. As soil was good for farming and the Burlington Railroad was planned for Bloomington in 1879, Orestus and Orilla decided to make their home in Bloomington. It was a growing town and offered them all the conveniences of a big city. On July 8, 1878, the first of our Bailey’s was born in Nebraska – Alice. O.G. Bailey - daughter of Orestus G. and Orilla B. McMore Bailey.

Bloomington, Nebraska

Bloomington thrived steadily and the coming of the Burlington Railroad in 1879 was followed by the incorporation of the community as a village. As Bloomington grew, so did the Bailey family. On June 10, 1880, Orilla gave birth to another daughter whom they named Lillian Matilda. Shortly after Lillian was born, Orestus filed for Homestead in Macon Township, Franklin County, Nebraska on August 7, 1880. Although farming was tedious in Nebraska, it was better than in New York and the winters were not as harsh. Over the next seven years, the Baileys had three more children, Sarah (Sadie) A; Elizabeth B; and Cora Jeanette - all born in Bloomington.

By1885, Orestus and Orilla were feeling at home in Bloomington. Bloomington was growing and his friend from the Civil War, William Bates, had just arrived in Bloomington from Irving, Kansas – a very small town near Blue Rapids As the 1880’s closed and they entered the 1890’s, Orestus became more and more involved in Bloomington affairs, becoming the Bloomington representative to the Nebraska State Legislature from 1887 through 1891 and was appointed Register of the Land Office in Nebraska by President Benjamin Harrison in 1890, followed by a reappointment by President Grover Cleveland in 1893.
In late 1892, Orilla McMore Bailey came down with a bad cold, which later turned, into pneumonia. For many days, Orilla lie in bed with a fever, hoping she would soon be back on her feet. However, that was not to happen. On November 23, 1892, Orilla, 44 years of age, succumbed to pneumonia. Orestus was distraught, as he had planned so many things for himself and Orilla. Her burial at Bloomington’s Maple Grove Cemetery was attended by many of his Bloomington friends, included William Bates and his family.

Jessica Cornelia Bates was born Dec 5, 1868 in Peekskill, Westchester Co, New York, and died Mar 3, 1947 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jessie was the daughter of William C. Bates, a Canadian emigrant, and Henrietta Nelson, a Mayflower Descendant (See Appendix B) from Putnam County, New York. Henrietta was a descendant of John Nelson of England and Herske (Hendrickje) Van Der Vliet of Holland. Both emigrated to New Amsterdam, New York (Now New York City) in the 1660s.
Jessica Bates married Orestus G. Bailey July 10, 1893 in Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, son of Lyman Bailey and Matilda Crippen. Jessie Bates left Peekskill, New York when she was only a few months old as her father and mother moved back to Buffalo, New York to live with her mother’s brother, Charles Nelson and his family. Later in 1869, Jessica, with her family, moved to Irving, Kansas, a very small town near Blue Rapids, Marshal County, Kansas and spent the better part of her teen years there. Jessie Bates, along with her four younger brothers who were born in Kansas, had a rough childhood, experiencing the wraths of nature from grasshopper invasions to deadly cyclones, droughts and dust storms. On May 29th and 30th, 1879, a series of Tornadoes struck Kansas, virtually destroying the entire town of Irving, Kansas including demolishing the Bates home. This series of tornadoes were the inspiration for L. Frank Baum to write “The Wizard of Oz” in 1900.
In November of 1885, the Bates Family decided to move out of Kansas, packed up and went north to Bloomington, Nebraska. After completing her schooling in Bloomington, Jessie was able to spend more time helping her parents maintain their farm. Jessie’s father, William Bates, had suffered injuries from the Civil War and thus was not able to do many of the tasks a farm requires.

Living in a small town like Bloomington, Nebraska enabled Jessie Bates tp apparently become friends with the Bailey Family as they undoubtedly saw one another on their shopping trips to Bloomington.
Orestus had a difficult time coping with the death of Orilla, but his friends helped him through those difficult times. Orestus spent considerable time with William Bates and his family and was finding himself attracted to their daughter – Jessica C. Bates. Although he was 23 years older than Jessica, their attraction to one another grew with each passing day. By June 1893, Orestus Bailey and Jessica Bates had decided to marry. It was not going to be easy as his children from Orilla were against his becoming involved with a much younger woman so soon after their mother’s death. People in Bloomington were already whispering behind their backs. To avoid interference from their families, they decided to go to Kansas – Orestus, age 47, and Jessica, age 23, marrying in Belleville, Kansas on July 10, 1893. Following their return to Bloomington, they quickly adjusted themselves to the stares and whispering which disappeared in time.
Much to their surprise, Jessie C. Bailey was soon pregnant. Her nearly 50-year old husband, Orestus, was amazed that he still had it in him. Finally, on October 21, 1894, Orestus and Jessica Bailey had a daughter – Lila Lenora Bailey, the only child Jessica would ever have. At the turn of the century, 1900, Orestus, Jessica and Lila Bailey still lived in Bloomington. Jessica’s youngest brother, Charles Edgar Bates, had married Matilda Wicklund in 1898 and had a son, William E. Bates, on July 20, 1899 and a daughter, Maria B. Bates, born about 1901. In the early 1900’s Charles and Matilda Bates and family lived in Logan Township – not far from Bloomington. Jessica’s brother Charles began to talk about leaving Nebraska and going to California with his family which they did sometime after 1902. By 1910, they were living in Fresno, California. In 1900, Orestus took a job as an Enumerator for the 1900 Census in Franklin County. It was enjoyable as it enabled him to see many friends he had not seen in several years.

Although Orestus Bailey loved Bloomington, he began to talk more and more about taking advantage of the Oklahoma land rush. Finally, in 1905, several years before Oklahoma achieved statehood, Orestus, Jessica and Lila Bailey set out for Oklahoma, winding up in Stroud, Oklahoma, a small town about 60 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. There he bought a house on West Seventh Street about a block from Stroud Elementary/High School.

Orestus and Jessica’s daughter, Lila Bailey attended Stroud High School, just across the street from their home, graduating from there in 1912.

Orestus remained in Stroud the rest of his life, dying there on November 6, 1931 at the age of 86. However, as his first love was Bloomington, Nebraska, his body was sent back to Nebraska where he was buried in Bloomington’s Maple Grove Cemetery next to his first wife Orilla. His wife Jessica remained in Stroud until the late 1930’s when she moved to Oklahoma City to live with her daughter Lila. Jessica Cornelia Bates Bailey passed away on 3 March 1947 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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