Jeff Harvey

I was contacted last week by Robert Bailey from Delaware regarding a book he is writing about his ancestor and pioneer Mercer County settler Richard Bailey. In the course of the conversation, he said he would send me a copy of the book when it was finished and I’ll either do a column on the book or a separate article on it. In the meantime, I’ll see what William Sanders II had to say about Richard Bailey in his book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV”, (McClain Publishing, 1994),.

Richard and Elizabeth Bailey came to the area of Beaver Pond Spring, located to the rear and south of the present Westgate Shopping Center, relatively late in life since their grown children John, Richard, Jr., James, Chloe, Eli, Micajah,,Reuben, Archibald, Sarah and Henry accompanied them. According to Judge David E. Johnston’s “New River History,” several of the sons were known for their size and strength and as great Indian scouts and fighters.

John Bailey married Nancy, the daughter of John Goolman Davidson, who jointly built the fortified block house to protect the families from Indian attack. Archibald was married to Elizabeth Lusk and Chloe was first married to David McComas, then after his death, Richard Lusk, at the gate of the Leatherwood Horse Farm

Sanders credits Patty Bailey Booth for much of the Bailey history including the birth order of the children .She also said it was unlikely that grave across from Whitethorn School was that of John Bailey, rather, more likely it was Samuel T. Calfee who is buried there. As for Richard, Sr., he was buried at the Beaver Pond Spring.

The Baileys owned what is now Bluefield, WV and extended their land interests northwestward into Wyoming County, making them among the largest landowners in what is now present-day Mercer County. The spread out and intermarried with the other pioneer families.

Sanders mentioned Ruby Boyd and former Bluefield Police Chief Arnold “Nub” Porterfield as being key researchers into Bluefield-area gravesites. The Porterfield book collection is now part of Concord University’s collection. I was present when they gave him an honorary doctorate.

I’ll pick up from there next time.

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