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American History
James Britton Bailey


North Carolina was the birthplace of James Britton Bailey 1n 1779. he was a descendant of Kenneth Bailey whose ancestor was Robert Bruce, once King of Scotland. Bailey sailed from New Orleans to Anahuac, Texas with his second wife, Nancy and six children. They settled on the Brazos River, then called the Brazos District, in 1821. Three years later Stephen F. Austin legalized Bailey's claim by admitting him as one of the Old Three Hundred Grantees.

Brit Bailey was a hardy rancher and farmer. He became a friend to the Indian and on many occasions was peacemaker for the settlers.

James Bailey, Brit's youngest son, drowned in a river as a child. Phelps Bailey, second son, was killed by unfriendly Indians. Smith Bailey, number three son, was killed in the Battle of the Alamo. Betsey, the oldest daughter, was captured by Indians but escaped, unharmed, in the darkness of the night. The youngest daughter, Mary "Pollie" married Joseph Henry Polley, another Old Three Hundred grantee.

Stephen F. Austen arranged a meeting of the settlers on the Brazos River, in Bailey's home. Here they took an oath of fidelity to the Constitution of 1824. It was at this meeting a group of militia was organized. At Austin's request, Bailey was appointed lieutenant. In 1829 the Governor Jose Maria Viesca bestowed on Bailey a commission as captain. In 1832 Bailey took part in the Battle of Velasco. Bailey also served in the War of 1812.

Britton Bailey was a straight shooting pioneer who endured many hardships. In stature he was a large man, feared and respected by the Indians and his neighbors. In December 1832 according to his request, he was buried standing up, facing west, with his rifle at his side, in the family graveyard on Bailey's Prarie.