Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cowboy Legacy -- Saskatchewan homesteader

My granddad's brother Marcus Leroy Bailey was born March 23, 1888, in Liberty Township, Nebraska, and he died May 2, 1979, in Ramona, California.  In between he packed in one heck of an adventurous life.

He married Verna Bell Woolford on March 30, 1910 in Kalispell, Montana.  Together they raised ten children.  Three of them-- Nellie, Alma, and Ruth--shared with me their research on our family history.  That was over a decade ago.  I suspect those lovely ladies have all gone to the Great Divide by now.

Not too many years back, one of Marcus' granddaughters sent me a Seattle Times story about his family's life on the prairie of Saskatchewan, Canada, where he had farmed and raised cattle.  The article focuses on the harsh conditions those early pioneers had to endure.  It also describes the family's 800-mile horse-drawn covered wagon trek  returning from Saskatchewan to Bear Ridge in Idaho, so they could farm and live near Marcus' parents.  The photo below is Marcus with four of his draft horses taken in the 1920s in Saskatchewan.  These are probably the same horses that made that 800-mile trip in 1923.  Read the story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003888204_wagon17m.html

I remember meeting Marcus in Ramona, California, sometime in the 1960s when my granddad took me to his place for a visit.  I was instantly impressed by the decor of Marcus' home.  It was wall-to-wall cowboy decor.  He even had "Wagon Wheel" furniture, a product of the 1950's, with carved wood Western motifs.  Marcus and I bonded instantly, and after a little palaver, we got around to the inevitable game of horseshoes in the backyard.  I teamed up with Marcus, and together we gave granddad and dad a good trouncing.


  1. This is great! Thanks for the pix... Marcus Leroy Bailey is my great-grandfather!
    Becky S.

    1. Sure glad you liked it! He was a great guy. His daughter Nellie shared a wonderful family photo of Orange Bailey with me. For that I will always be grateful.