ASA R. BAILEY, now deceased, was one of the best known and most highly respected citizens of the town of Nelson, where he was born, January 22, 1826. He was the son of Anson and Roxanna (Payne) Bailey, natives of New York State. David Bailey, father of Anson, came to Madison County from Connecticut early in the present century, and settled in the town of Nelson, taking up new land yet covered with the primeval forest. Here he erected a log cabin, and worked hard and persistently to provide for the wants of his large family, he and his wife being parents of ten children. Besides engaging in the labor of the farm, he was a shoemaker, and used to go from house to house, plying his trade, after the pioneer custom. He was married three times, and died at the age of eighty years in the western part of this State. In politics he was a Whig, and in religious faith followed the tenets of the Methodist church, of. which he was an ardent and active member.
The maternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Ruggles Payne, was also an early settler of the town of Nelson, and suffered all the hardships of pioneer life. While building his, first home in the wilderness, his dwelling was in the woods, his couch a hollowed log, and his roof the starry vault of heaven. From such primitive conditions he by honest, persevering toil evolved success, and died at the age of eighty years on his farm of three hundred acres, which he had brought to. the highest state. of cultivation.. He was twice married, the maiden name of his first wife being Susannah Daniels, and that of his second Betsy Farnham. He was a Republican in politics, and in religious belief a Universalist.
Anson Bailey, the father of Asa R., in his mature years was a prominent agriculturist of this town, although he began his working life modestly enough, laboring by the month for Mr. Ruggles Payne, at the same time, it is to be presumed, winning the affections of his employee's daughter, whose hand he at length received in marriage. For a few years after this event he followed the trade of fuller and clothier, and later bought a farm in the town of Nelson, upon which he resided for the remainder of his life. At the age of fifty-two he met with a sudden and appalling death by falling from the roof of a barn upon which he was working. He left a widow and three children, only one of whom is now living; namely, Mrs. F. M. Darrow, a resident of West Eaton, N.Y. The mother, Mrs. Roxanna (Payne) Bailey, died at the age of seventy years. The family were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Asa R. Bailey grew to manhood in the town of Nelson, receiving a good
common-school education. February 21, 1849, he married Miss Cemantha M. Farnham, who was born in the town of Nelson, November 28, 1829, a daughter of Calvin and Nancy (Donaldson) Farnham, her mother being of Scotch ancestry. Mrs. Bailey's paternal grandparents were Calvin and Martha (Kingsbury) Farnham, natives of New England, and pioneers of the town of Nelson. Her father, inheriting the home farm, being their only son, resided thereon until his death, at the age of forty-two. Five of his eight children are now living, as follows: Mrs. Maria Holt, residing in Morrisville, N.Y.; Clark A., who lives in Nelson; Mrs. Cemantha Bailey; John D., residing in Minnesota; and Caroline M. Lelland. Mrs. Nancy D. Farnham was born in Eastern New York, a daughter of Alexander and Clarissa (Stowell) Donaldson. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Holt, in Morrisville, at the advanced age of ninety-one years. After his marriage Mr. Bailey remained on the home farm for a time, and then purchased the farm upon which his widow now resides in the eastern part of the town of Nelson. Here he lived until his death, on February 15, 1891.
Mrs. Bailey now conducts the farm of one hundred and seventy acres, with the assistance of her son-in-law, Thomas H. Roberts, who resides with her. She has no children living, her only daughter, Helen M., who was married to Mr. Roberts, having died at the age of twenty-eight years. Mrs. Bailey is a worthy and intelligent lady, displaying great ability in the management of her affairs, and being much respected and admired by all who know her. She is a member of the Methodist church, as was her late husband, both proving in their lives the sincerity of their faith. Mr. Bailey was a stanch adherent of the Republican party, and held at different times various offices in the gift of his party. He was a man of the most upright character, faithful to. the public interests intrusted to his care, and true to all his personal obligations, being a true and loving husband, a kind father, and a firm and constant friend. At his death the town of Nelson lost a man who was in the highest sense representative of its best citizenship; and his portrait, which appears in connection with. this sketch, will be welcomed by all who knew him personally or by reputation.
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