Tristram B. Bailey was the ninth of eleven children born to Timothy Bailey and Henrietta Blood. Variations of his first name include Tristin, Tristum, Tristrum, and Tristam. It is thought that his middle initial may stand for Bartlett because a granduncle was named Tristram Bartlett Bailey, b.12 April 1754, d. 7 June 1761 (Bailey Genealogy: James John and Thomas… by Gertrude E. Bailey, 1899, pg. 17). He often was referred to as T.B. Bailey in newspaper accounts.
Tristram was born 30 May 1830 and died 10 December 1889, both events occurring in Andover, MA. His siblings were Timothy (b. 29 November 1812), James (b. 2 September 1814, d. 12 July 1842 “died in Oregon Territory”- gravestone inscription, West Parish Garden Cemetery, Andover, MA. It is not known if his actual remains are buried in MA or if the stone is only a memorial), Henrietta (b.5 October 1816), Ebenezer (b. 10 April 1819, d. 24 September 1847), Rebecca (b. 16 April 1821), Rufus R. (b. 9 August 1823, d. 10 July 1911), Rachel (b. 11 December 1825), Warren A. (b. 9 July 1828, d. 2 May 1909), Roxanna (b. 26 June 1833), and Henry H. (b. 21 January 1835).
Tristram descended from three known supporters of the Revolutionary War. His paternal grandfather, William Bailey (b.13 February 1747, d. 12 March 1836) was a private under Col. Bridge and Capt. Frubush in Massachusetts. Tristram’s maternal grandfather, Royal Blood (b. 8 October 1758, d. 24 May 1825) served as a private under Capt. Aaron Jewett, Capt. Joshua Lealand, and Capt. John Porter as well as being a Marine on the frigate “Deane”. Royal’s military service started in 1777 and ended after 1782. Lastly, Tristram’s great grandfather, Joseph Blood (b. 8 May 1709, d. 5 January 1794) was a surveyor for the colonies.
Pamelia Emma Frye was Tristram’s first wife. Pamelia had been previously married to Nathan Bailey (b.28 April 1816, d. 8 January 1854, marriage to Pamelia 6 April 1839) who was believed to be some type of cousin to Tristram. Pamelia was literally “the girl next door”. In the 1855 Massachusetts State census Pamelia was living with her in-laws, Nathan Bailey, Sr. and Cloe, next door to Tristram and his parents. Tristram and Pamelia married 1 January 1856 in Methuen, MA. Pamelia also descended from Revolutionary War supporters. Her paternal grandfather and great grandfather, James Frye and Col. James Frye as well as her maternal grandfather, Seth Emerson all served in the military on the colonial side of the war.
Tristram and Pamelia were living in Andover, MA in 1860 and Tristram was the Superintendant of a Poor House. Mary A. Townsend was their servant. Emma Frances Bailey was born to the couple 12 December 1860. Pamelia died 22 June 1861, a little over six months after giving birth to Emma. Eight months later Tristram married his servant, Mary Augusta Townsend, 18 February 1862.
Mary and Tristram went on to have three children: James Henry Bailey (b. 3 June 1864 Andover, MA; d. 30 September 1936 Portland, OR), Mary Pamelia Bailey (b. 19 July 1867 Andover, MA; d. 6 October 1901 Lawrence, MA), Eben Elijah Bailey (b. 6 June 1869 Andover, MA). Emma had known no other mother than Mary and she lists Mary as her mother on her marriage certificates (there were two). It appears that she and her half-siblings were close.
Tristram was living in Andover, MA in the Federal Census for the years 1850, 1860, and 1870. In addition, he appears in the Massachusetts State Census for the years 1855 and 1865. With the exception of the 1860 census where he was a Superintendent of a Poor House, Tristram was a farmer, as was his father, Timothy. Though Tristram registered for the Civil War draft 18 June 1860 in Andover, MA no evidence has been found that he served in the military.
By 1875 city directory entries for Lawrence, MA indicate Tristram moved his family to Lawrence and started a laundry at 4 Water Street. The 1880 Federal Census reveals that Mary A. (Townsend) Bailey believed she was a widow but she continued to run the laundry at 4 Water Street in Lawrence with her two girls, Emma Frances and Mary Pamelia. The youngest son, Eben, was living with Tristram’s brother, Rufus, in Andover, MA.
Tristram and James turn up in the 1880 census in the Upper Deer Lodge Valley of Montana Territory. Tristram is listed as a farmer. His immediate neighbor is W.R.H. Edwards who homesteaded property near Anaconda, MT. An article in the New Northwest paper (7 May 1880) states Tristram had been involved in a “difficulty over a ranche” during which he was assaulted by Harry Eccleson and received a broken nose. Mr. “Eccleson was fined $10 plus costs”.
Further investigation of newspaper accounts and land records suggests Tristram first arrived in Montana Territory prior to 1 May 1876 when he sold his 1/5th share in a mining claim Lot 63, Fairweather Gulch, Moose Creek mining district south of Butte, MT. The purchaser was Joseph V. Suprenant. The date that he and the other four men first filed on the claim has not yet been determined.
The Butte Miner reported on 29 May 1877 “T.B. Bailey, who left here several months ago for a visit to his home in Massachusetts, returned to Butte last week, accompanied by several persons from his neighborhood. Mr. Bailey expects to make this his home now and will send for his family shortly.” Tristram sold property in the city of Butte located at the south east corner of the Mercury Street and Montana Street intersection (lot 19, block 51) on 26 May 1877. James Talbott, a local banker, was the purchaser. The year, 1877, was the year the city was platted. It is not known when Tristram acquired the property.
On 11 July 1877 Tristram again filed with four other men on another mining claim near the one he sold. The partners were Joseph V. Suprenant, Benjamin F. McElroy, Patrick J. Hamilton, and Andrew J. Grubb. The claim was Lot 43, Fairweather Gulch, Moose Creek mining district, Deer Lodge Co. (later known as Silver Bow Co.). It is not known if Tristram did any actual mining work or if he was a silent partner but by 1880 it appears he returned to farming which was the work he knew best.
It is important to understand the historical context of Tristram’s time. General George Custer lost his life and regiment at the Little Big Horn 25 June 1876 and the Battle of the Big Hole occurred 9-10 August 1877 in an area east of the Bitterroot Mountains and south east of Missoula, MT. The newspapers of the time were filled with stories of Indian hostilities.
Tristram or at least James, his son, returned to Massachusetts sometime before August 1882. A local newspaper reported that the husband of James’s half-sister, Emma Frances, drowned during a swimming accident on the Merimack River. Silas D. Daland (b. 1855, d. 13 August 1882), Emma’s husband, was swimming in the river while Emma watched from a boat. He became disabled by a cramp, shouting for help. Emma’s brothers, Eben and James, are both named in the article as attempting to rescue Silas but without success. Silas and Emma had been married less than eight weeks.
Another newspaper article in the Boston Daily Advertiser 25 November 1886 describes an event placing Tristram in North Andover, MA during that year. “T.B. Bailey, a farmer of North Andover, while digging on his farm,…” discovered a skeleton likely from a man who went missing 20 years before. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
Tristram died 1 January 1889 in North Andover, MA of “congestion of the liver”. His obituary described him as “a well known and much liked citizen” who was “of far more than ordinary ability, and well posted” (Lawrence American, 7 January 1889). It is thought that “well posted” means well traveled. Tristram’s remains were buried in the West Parish Garden Cemetery, Andover, MA, near his first wife’s grave. Though Mary A. (Townsend) Bailey remarried (John Aiken Shirley) she was buried with Tristram upon her death (or at least her name is on his headstone).
Tristram never moved his family to Montana but it appears that his son, James Henry, did return before 1885. James H. Bailey appears in the 1900 Federal Census living with his wife and children in Lewistown, MT. (It is important to note that James does NOT appear in Massachusetts records after 1882.) The James in the 1900 census was born in Massachusetts, as were his parents, and he was a plasterer. He was married to Mary Frances Butland. James appeared in the 1885 Butte school census with his first two children, Ernest (b. 1884, MT) and Ethel (b.1885 White Sulfur Springs, MT). He and Mary went on to have six more children: Augusta Valerie (b. 1887 Butte, MT), Myrtle L. (b. 1888, MT), Pansy (b. 1889, Anaconda, MT), James Archie (b. 1890, Oaksdale, WA), Leonard Leroy (b. 1893, Idaho), and Ralph (b. 1897, MT). Mary Frances died in 1901 and was buried in the Lewistown Cemetery.
James was gone from Lewistown by 1904. His youngest children were under the custody of the husband of James’s eldest daughter, Ethel, and another individual named Bailey who’s relationship to the family has not been determined. By 1910, James H. Bailey, a plasterer who was born in Massachusetts, appears in the Federal Census living in Post Falls, ID. He is married to Elizabeth Alice (Belles) Kibler, Wagstaff, Wright. They had a son named Melvin Lewis who was born 12 November 1905, Lewiston, ID. Melvin’s birth index entry gives the full name of both his parents.
No entry for James has been located for the 1920 Federal Census, though a 1917 city directory entry places a plaster with his name in Butte, MT. The 1930 Federal Census shows James H. Bailey, a plasterer, who was born in Massachusetts, living in Mt. Pleasant, OR outside of Portland. James had married a third time to Julia Etta (Parker) VanBlaricom. City directory entries indicate he lived in the Portland area until he died 30 September 1936. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Greenwood Hills Cemetery, Portland, OR. None of the three marriage records for James have been found. The early marriage records for Montana did not include the parents of the bride and groom and would be of little value confirming parentage. However, a photograph of James H. Bailey and Julia E. Bailey was discovered among the papers of James’s half- sister, Emma Frances, who lived in Lawrence, MA. The photograph had been taken by Sowell Studio, 113 1/2 Third Street, Portland, OR.
When and why Tristram and his son went to Montana is an interesting question. Tristram’s brother Timothy had a son named Charles Warren Bailey who was supposed to have been a soldier in Montana and later settled in Minnesota. Tristram’s brother, James, died in Oregon Territory when Tristram was only 12 years old. The lure of rich mining claims and free land probably had an influence. Perhaps he saw himself getting older and wanted an adventure before he died. It will likely never be known with certainty why he took such a huge risk, but contemplating his reasons projects the reader back in time to an exciting era of United States history. A time which will never be equaled.
(sources: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930 Federal Census records; 1855, 1865 Massachusetts State Census records; Bailey Genealogy: James John and Thomas, and their Descendants in Three Parts by Gertrude E. Bailey, 1899; birth, marriage & death records for Tristram’s grandparents, parents & siblings in Massachusetts; birth, marriage & death records for Pamelia and her parents, grandparents & great grandparents in Massachusetts; birth, marriage and death records for Tristram B. Bailey, Pamelia Frye, Mary A. Townsend and their children in Massachusetts; various birth, marriage & death records for James H. Bailey’s children in MT, ID & WA; school census records for Butte [Butte Public Archive] & Lewistown, MT; Lewistown Cemetery records; land records and deed from the Butte & Anaconda courthouses; newspaper articles from Boston & Lawrence, MA; newspaper articles from The Butte Miner and The New Northwest; City Directories for Lawrence, MA, Butte, MT & Portland, OR; Civil War draft registration for Andover, MA; family photograph of James & Julia Bailey)
[Story written and shared by Tristram’s descendant Barbara S – comments and connections will be forwarded back to her. Barbara and I are probably about 7th cousins through the Blood surname, which is an ancestor in my Hodges tree.]