Jeff Harvey

Continuing with what William Sanders II had to say about Richard Bailey in his book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV”, (McClain Publishing, 1994), we focus on the detective work done by Ruby Boyd, a retired schoolteacher, and Arnold “Nub” Porterfield, a retired policeman, did in searching for Bailey family graves.

Boyd lived near the second location of St. Luke’s Hospital on U.S. Route 460, which was a short distance from Richard Baileys gravesite on the Leatherwood Farm. While they were doing site preparation work for the hospital, the excavators unearthed at least three graves which she believed had a connection with the Baileys, with one of the stones having the name “Festus Calfee”.

Both Boyd and Porterfield did extensive research on the John Davidson home which has been relocated to the Bluefield City Park and restored. The Davidson cabin was originally located in the Bluefield rail yard across from the present City Hall. A family cemetery was moved fro the railway area to the vicinity of a north-side schoolhouse up on the hillside of Stony Ridge, but neither person was able to find it.

A Bailey-Calfee cemetery was rediscovered on a ridge behind Augusta, Maryland and Frederick streets. It has 16 graves, with an adjacent slave cemetery have approximately 20 unmarked graves. Other Bluefield cemeteries have early Bailey family graves, including the Walnut Grove Cemetery and the Bailey-Morgan Cemetery beside the Cumberland Baptist Church.

Going further east along Cumberland Road, the farms of J. Earl Bailey, Jr. and Emmett Bailey descended down from Elijah “Lige” Bailey, son of Henry Bailey, grandson of Richard Bailey, Sr. Elijah’s sister Polly married two Bailey cousins which confused the record immensely.

Henry Bailey was the youngest son of Richard, Sr. and Ann Bailey. He married Elizabeth Peters of New River and they had sons John P. Bailey, Elijah, Col. James M. Bailey, Philip P. Bailey and Maj. William R. Bailey and daughters Nancy (married longtime Mercer County Charles W. Calfee); Elizabeth (married twice to William Ferguson then to Rev. Carroll Clark); Jane (married William Calfee) and Polly (who married James Bailey, then, after his death, married John Bailey).

Elijah Bailey served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Giles and Mercer counties, then later as a justice of the peace and as Mercer County Sheriff.

Other Bailey cemeteries are located on Browning Lambert Mountain in Rock and at the old intersection of Lake Shawnee and Wright Mountain Road. Richard Bailey ,Jr. is reportedly buried in an unmarked grave at the latter cemetery.

We’ll pick up from there next time.

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