The ancestral history of Mr. Bailey is one of which he may well be proud, for he is descended from good old Revolutionary stock. His paternal grandfather, Elijah Bailey, won the title of captain in the Revoltitionary war, in which he served for seven years, loyally aiding in the struggle which gave birth to the nation. He participated in many important engagements and was present at the execution of Major Andre, the noted English spy to whom Benedict Arnold delivered the papers which were to betray his country. Elijah Bailey was a wheelwright by trade and erected the first mill at Ticonderoga Falls. Subsequently he built five other mills and was thus actively identified with the industrial interests of the community in which he made his home. He had three sons and five daughters. One of this number, Justice, was a wheelwright and lived to be about eighty-eight years of age. Elijah was a farmer and reached the age of seventy-seven years. The other son was Joshua Bailey, the father of our subject. All were reared in Essex county, New York. The daughters were Sophronia, Miranda, Betsy, Susan and Susie. All lived to advanced age, the youngest being seventy years old at the time of death. They were married and reared families of their own and are buried with their husbands in the old cemetery in Carroll county, Illinois.
Joshua Bailey was born in Vermont and learned the blacksmith's trade. When young he removed with his parents to Essex county, New York, where he spent his youth. In connection with blacksmithing he carried on farming and his life was a long, active and useful one, his death occurring at the advanced age of eighty-six years. He married Lydia Kenyon, a native of Cambridge, Washington county, New York, who died at the age of thirty-seven years. Her father, Davis Kenyon, was also for seven years a member of the colonial army in the war of the Revolution. He aided in capturing General Cornwallis and was on duty in many of the important battles which established the independence of the nation. The Kenyon family were of English descent and at an early day was founded in Rhode Island. To Joshua and Lydia (Kenyon) Bailey were born five children, four sons and a daughter, of whom Monroe is the eldest; the others are Ansel, and Elijah, who resides in Mount Carroll, Illinois; Ira L., in Everett, Washington, and Delany, who died at the age of three years. After the death of the first wife the father was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Electa Brown, a widow.
Monroe Bailey was born in Warren county, New York, March 24, 1818, and spent his boyhood days in that locality, living there until eighteen years of age. He pursued his education in the common schools and gained a fair knowledge of the English branches of learning, so that he was fitted for life's practical duties. He worked at farming, blacksmithing and teaming and was thus early trained to habits of industry and economy. At the age of nineteen he removed with his father to Yates county, New York. In the year 1838 he went to Illinois, locating in what was then Jo Daviess county, but is now Carroll county. He secured a farm from the government and made the first furrow upon that rich tract of wild prairie which he transformed into fertile fields.
Mr. Bailey was married on the 30th of August, 1848, to Miss Nancy Jane Melendy, who was born in Jeffersonville, Vermont, July 11, 1825. Her father, Josiah Newell Melendy, was a native of New Hampshire and a farmer and shoemaker by trade. He lived to be seventy years of age and at his death his community mourned the loss of one of its valued citizens. His father, Nathanael F. Melendy, was of English descent. Mrs. Bailey's mother, who bore the maiden name of Lucy Arbuckle, was born in Amherst, New Hampshire. Her father, John Arbuckle, who was of English lineage, was numbered among the soldiers of the Revolution. Mrs. Bailey was the eldest daughter and third child of the father's family and was reared in the county of her nativity. By her marriage she has become the mother of six children. The eldest, Oscar, is an invalid. Willis J., a very prominent citizen, is now a member (at large) of congress and was born in Carroll county, Illinois, in 1854. He was reared upon the home farm there and after acquiring his preliminary education in the common schools pursued his studies in the high school of Mount Carroll and in the Champaign University, of Illinois. Early taking a decided interest in political affairs, his ability for leadership made hm prominent in Republican circles and in 1894 he was elected to the legislature and in 1898 chosen to represent his state in congress. Ernest, the next son, is a farmer and stock and grain dealer at Baileyville; Marion is the wife of Dr. Charles M. Cafferty, who is engaged in the livery business in Baiheyville. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey also have an adopted daughter, a niece of Mr. Bailey, Hortense Kennedy, whom they made a member of their family when she was was only three weeks old. She is now the wife of C. B. Lennon, of Bowdle, South Dakota.
In Carroll county, Illinois, Mr. Bailey secured a tract of land of the government and developed an excellent farm, which he successfully cultivated until 1879, when he came to Nemaha cotinty, Kansas. Since that time he has resided upon his present farm in Marion township. His first home was a small cabin, 12x16 feet, and was situated on a frontier region. his nearest neighbor being a mile away. He now has a well-improved stock farm of six hundred and fifty acres. His highly cultivated fields and improved property indicate his practical and progressive spirit. The town of Baileyville was named in his honor, and this fact indicates that he is regarded as one of the leading and progressive residents of the community.
While in Carroll county, Illinois, in 1840, Mr. Bailey cast his first presidential vote for General Harrison, and committed to support the principles of the Whig party until its dissolution. He aided in the organization of the Republican party in that county and has, since that time, been earnest and untiring in his advocacy of the party principles and platform. He was very prominent in public affairs in Illinois, and superintendent of the first fairs held in the county and president of the Fair Association and aided in laying out many of the roads in the county. He has also been instrumental in building goods roads in Nemaha county and at all times is active in his support of all measures which he believe will prove a public benefit.