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History of Elizabeth Young Bailey and George Brown Bailey

History of Elizabeth Young Bailey and George Brown Bailey

(your great-grandmother and father on Dad’s side)

This history was taken from several histories written by E.M. Humphrey;

The Journal of George B. Bailey; “History of the Bailey Family” by Alice

Bailey Stay; and an unsigned history


            Elizabeth Young was born in April, 1833, at Bristol, England .  She was oldest of 6 children, and her father was a tanner by trade.  Every morning when little she worked for two ladies—dusting, threading needles, running errands, and drying dishes.  The two ladies helped her learn things, since schooling was expensive and she received little of it.

            When she was 16, her mother and grandmother Davis persuaded her to go and listen to some Mormon Elders speak.  She believed their words and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February, 1849.  Later her father, Isaac Young, joined the church.

            Since they needed tanners in Utah, Isaac was asked to emigrate as soon as possible.  He was set to go on one ship, but was prompted by the Spirit not to.  He later learned the ship sank before it reached America.  He sailed on the “Ellen Maria” in 1852.  Isaac landed up the Mississippi River and drove an ox team hitched to a wagon in the Abraham O. Smoot company across the plains.  They arrived in Salt Lake City on Sept. 3, 1852, and he went right to work in a tannery.

            Isaac’s wife, Anna Davis Young, and family stayed in England and took in washing to earn money to emigrate.  Meanwhile, their daughter Elizabeth Young met George Brown Bailey, also a member, at a church meeting.  George was from Bath, England (born in Feb. 1833), and was a graduate of a college at Bath and had been a school teacher.  He was then an apprentice to a cabinetmaker.  Elizabeth called him the “Great Long Deacon” because he was thin and tall.  They fell in love and soon married in Feb., 1853.

            About a month later George, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s mother Anna Davis Young, and other family members sailed for America.  The trip lasted for 6 weeks.  They landed at New Orleans and sailed up the Mississippi River for 3 more weeks to Keokuk, Iowa.  There they joined the Appleton Harmon Company, and walked most of the way across the plains for the next 13 weeks.  Elizabeth learned to bake bread with buffalo chips, was afraid of the Indians, and terrified by the streams and rivers they had to cross.  The company reached Salt Lake City in October, 1853, where Isaac was reunited with his wife and family.  They were all sealed in the council house in 1854.  But in fall, Isaac got blood poisoning from a cut and died.

            George and Elizabeth were offered a 10-acre farm in Mill Creek, south of Salt Lake City, for $70, so he bought it and had three years to pay it off.  The land was covered with sage and oak brush and willows.  They lived in a covered wagon for about a year.  George finally got some adobe and they built a 2-room house, floorless, and 4 holes covered with sheets for windows.  They built the walls of adobe with 3 logs across the top, and sheeting lumber nailed to the logs with square wooden pegs.  It had 2 fireplaces and a door hung on leather hinges.  It was built in 1855.

            During the winter, George’s mother, Ann Smith Bailey, his sister Elizabeth, his brother Rueben, and a nephew came to the valley from England and lived with them.  These extra mouths to feed caused a food shortage in the Bailey home and food became a real problem that winter.  In the spring, they planted 10 acres of wheat, which came up green and promising, but was eaten back to the ground by a horde of grasshoppers.  They replanted with corn and squash and both crops matured.  Elizabeth and her younger sister gleaned wheat where they could, threshed and cleaned it by hand, ground it in a hand mill, and then made it into bread or mush. 

            Meanwhile, George went into Salt Lake City to work.  He had plenty of work but little pay.  He walked home twice a week, got up early the next morning, walked back the seven miles, and then worked 10 hours.  This was one of the hardest years Elizabeth and George had.  Often they did not have enough to eat and subsisted mostly on roots from the cattail plants that grew in a pond nearby, and greens that grew wild in the fields.  One night they went to bed without any supper at all, after praying that a way might be opened up whereby they might obtain food.  Shortly afterwards they heard someone at the door, and on opening it they found a sack of flour laying on the doorstep.  Several days later a neighbor told them that he had gone to bed but was impressed to get up and take the flour to the Bailey family as they were in need of food.

            The next year the crops were better, but fear of an invasion by the US army hung over the valley.  George joined the State Militia to help protect them from Johnston’s army that was coming.  The church members vowed they would never again leave their homes and possessions to invaders, so each group put straw around their homes, so that a torch applied to it would quickly set fire to the whole city.  Then each family was to leave their homes and go south to the Point of the Mountain near Draper.  George put as much as he could into the covered wagon, put the remainder in a box to be burned if the army tried to take their homes, and moved his family to the fishtrap in the Jordan River NarrowsJohnston’s army did enter the valley, but only passed through and settled west of Salt Lake City.  With the coming of the army, the problem of getting food was simplified somewhat and clothing became more plentiful.

            After moving back into their home that spring, George planted flour acres of fruit trees, mostly peaches.  This was a fortunate move, because in later years these peaches brought in many dollars, and in 1869 they cut and dried 1300 bushels of them and sold them at 40 cents a pound.

            Soon after the trees were planted, George’s brother Reuben accidentally shot himself in the leg and died a few days later.  He and his mother had been living in Spanish Fork, Utah, so George and family moved there to help take care of his mother’s farm.  Here they had more food to eat, but clothing was very hard to obtain, and George had to make shoes for one of his daughters out of his boot-tops.

            There was lots of trouble with the Indians in Spanish Fork.  When the grain was almost ripe, the Indians drove their ponies into the fields to let them eat.  Fortunately one of the men persuaded the Indians to take them out, so bloodshed was averted.  One of George and Elizabeth’s sons was herding sheep when they saw some Indian warriors approaching.  He and the other boys ran for home, and an arrow was shot right over his head.  Finally the trouble became so bad that they had to abandon the farm at Spanish Fork and move back to Mill Creek.

            Elizabeth learned to spin wool and weave cloth to clothe her children.  The men scoured the sheep before they sheared them, usually.  This was done by taking them to a stream and rubbing them with sand, trying to clean thee wool.  Then they were sheared, the wool was washed in warm water, and greased for carding.  But to get grease for this was also a problem.  The lard was usually all used up, so they often used their table supply of butter on the wool.  It took one pound of butter to grease 10 pounds of wool.  Then it was taken to the carding machine, and two pounds out of pounds of wool was paid for carding.  Lye was made out of ashes, and this was used to make soap, along with the grease saved from scraps of usable fat.  Besides this work, Elizabeth helped out her neighbors when childbirth time approached, and estimated she helped bring more than 100 babies into the world.

            In 1868, George took a plural wife, Elsie Andrews.  The peach orchard began to bear the next year, so money was easier, and the family purchased their first stove.  About a year later, they caught a swarm of bees, and began an apiary that brought in thousands of dollars during later years.  Elizabeth, George, and the older boys worked with the bees and fruit, and Elsie took charge of the housework and the care of the small children.  Due to Elizabeth’s sweet and unselfish nature, everything was peace and harmony and the two women lived in the same house like a mother and daughter.

            After the bees and the peaches began to swell the bank account, George built a larger house and life became more comfortable.  But then, in 1878, diphtheria struck and 6 of Elizabeth’s children died from it and 2 of Elsie’s.  It was a terrible blow to them.

            In 1886, George was sent to the penitentiary in Salt Lake City for 6 months with most of the LDS men for having more than one wife.  While he was there, his two wives built a 2-roomed house for Elsie.  Nine years later, in November, 1895, George died, at the age of 62.

            Elizabeth was a worker in the Relief Society for 25 years, and a worker in the Temple for 6 years.  Elsie left George in 1892 and married another man, and Elizabeth cared for Elsie’s 6 children until George died three years later, when Elsie took them.  Israel, the next to youngest, refused to leave however, and Elizabeth raised him until he was grown.  Elizabeth was the mother of 12 children, 6 boys and 6 girls.  One girl died at birth, and 6 children (one married) died of diphtheria.  Elizabeth passed away October 18, 1918, 85 years old, and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, making the world better for having lived in it.

            George and Elizabeth’s youngest child was Alice Elmina Bailey (who is your Grandmother Stay, and Dad’s mother).

            (I don’t know for sure who wrote this history.  I think Nina compiled it from things that Alice Bailey Stay (Dad’s mother) wrote.  I have shortened and condensed it.  I thought we needed to know more about Dad’s ancestors)

            (Some things to add to the histories of George Brown and Elizabeth Young Bailey’s histories)

            After George, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s mother Anna Young, and other of Anna’s children came across the plains, Anna and children stayed in Salt Lake City when George and Elizabeth moved to Mill Creek.  When the army trouble came, Anna and her children went to the Point of the Mountain to be with George and Elizabeth.  Afterwards, Anna and her children stayed in Lehi and took in washing to support themselves.  Later she moved to Camp Floyd and washed for the soldiers there.  While there, she married one of the soldiers named Stagnell.

            When the Civil War started, Stagnell was transferred to Kansas.  Anna and her 2 children went along also.  Anna’s daughter married there and stayed in Kansas.  After the war, Anna and her son Aaron came back to Utah and bought 10 acres of land near her daughter Elizabeth Bailey’s home.

            George Brown Bailey loved flowers and had a beautiful garden.  Many people came to see and admire it, but never left without a large boquet of flowers.  George also grew many kinds of fruit trees and vines and kept many different kinds of fowl.  He had peacocks, turkeys, guinea hens, ducks, geese, and chickens.

            George was ward clerk for many years.  He was very musical and led the choir and congregation for many years.  He could sing all of the parts by ear and taught the members to sing in this way.

            More about Anna Davis Young, Elizabeth’s mother:  After Isaac died, Anna did what she could to support her children.  She moved to Lehi after the trouble with Johnson’s Army, and took in washing.  Later, she moved to Camp Floyd and washed for the soldiers there.  While there, she married one of the soldiers named Stagnell.

            When the Civil War started, Stagnell was transferred to Kansas.  Anna and her 2 children went along also.  Anna’s daughter married there and stayed in Kansas.  After the war, Anna and her son Aaron came back to Utah and bought 10 acres of land near her daughter Elizabeth Bailey’s home.

            George and Elizabeth’s youngest daughter was named Alice Bailey, who married Joseph Charles Stay.  Alice and Joseph’s youngest son was Jesse Eldred Stay.

Linked toGeorge Brown Bailey; Elizabeth Young

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