Life Story of Elizabeth Young Bailey
Mother of Alice Bailey Stay, and first wife of George Brown Bailey
Elizabeth Young (Bailey) was the first-born child of Isaac Young and Anna Davis
(Young). She was born April 30th 1833 at Bristol England. She was the eldest
of six children, Elizabeth; Ann; Ellen; Caroline; Isaac and Aaron. She learned
to work early in life. He father was a tanner by trade and each morning he took
her to the home of two maiden ladies where she did such little jobs as dusting
the chairs, threading needles, running errands and wiping the tea things. She
used to tell of one time just after she had dried the tea dishes and one of the
sisters came into the room, observing her closely, she said, "Elizabeth, did you
dry the dishes with that soiled pinafore on?" "Yes ma'am, I did," was the reply.
"Then child you must don a clean one and wash them over." However they took an
interest in her education and helped her in many ways. Schooling was expensive
and she received little of it, excepting what she learned in Sabbath school and
the aid she received from these two ladies.
When she was about sixteen her mother and grandmother Davis persuaded her to go
and listen to some Mormon Elders speak. She became interested in their doctrine
and on Feb. 15th 1849 she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. She was baptized by Edward Brain and was confirmed by Elder
John Rolls. As they were walking to the place where the baptism was to take
place, they saw her father coming towards them, so Elder Brain lowered the
umbrella before their faces and they were able to walk by him with out notice.
However her father joined the Church later.
Isaac Young (her father) was expert in his trade as a tanner and because of the
need for this in Utah, he was advised to immigrate as early as possible, he went
to Liverpool and there put all of his luggage aboard the ship "Saluda" ready to
sail for America, but he was prompted to remove his luggage again and wait for
the next ship "Ellen Maria". He was later thankful for this prompting, because
this ship sank before it ever reached America. He sailed with the first company
that used the Perpetual Immigration Fund in 1852.
From the Mississippi he drove an ox team hitched to a Santa Fe Wagon. In the
wagon was the body of an Elder who was being taken home for burial. Abraham O.
Smoot was in charge of this company and they arrived in Salt Lake City September
the 3rd 1852 and immediately secured work in the tannery of Ira Ames.
Now that the father was in America, the rest of the family desired to go to
America more than ever, the women helped to earn the passage money by taking in
washing, but they did not neglect their local meetings, and it was at one of
these meetings that Elizabeth met George Brown Bailey, from Bath Somerset. He
was a graduate of the college at Bath and had apprenticed himself as a
cabinetmaker. He was born at Bath on Feb. 15th 1833 and was also a member of
the Mormon Church. When Elizabeth first saw him at church she spoke of him as
that "Great Long Deacon" because he was so thin and tall. Never the less, they
fell in love and were married very quietly by Elder John Alexander on Feb. 10th
1853. George had left his work in the middle of the day and with Elder
Alexander came to the home of Elizabeth where upon their arrival she dried her
hands of soapsuds and on entering the living room, they were made man and wife.
After tea, each of them went back to their work and none of their friends even
knew about the marriage until they were on their way to Zion.
Ten days after the marriage, they left Bristol and went to Liverpool where they
awaited the boat to sail to America for a month. The trip lasted six weeks but
they finally landed at New Orleans, and it took three more weeks to sail up the
Mississippi River to Keokuk Iowa. The worst part of the journey was yet ahead of
them. It took thirteen weeks to cross the plains with the Appleton Harmon
Company. The trip was especially hard for the bride as she walked most of the
way. She tried to bake bread with buffalo chips, she feared the Indians and was
terrified when there was a stream or river to be crossed. She never did
overcome this aversion to water. They arrived in Salt Lake City in October
In 1854 the Council House was built and many went there to be sealed for time
and eternity. Among them were Isaac Young and his wife Anna Davis Young, also
George Brown Bailey and his wife Elizabeth. Since the last couple named were
the youngest of the group, Brother Heber C. Kimball called them to be first,
consequently they were sealed for eternity before her parents were.
In the fall of that year, Sept. 1854, George and Elizabeth’s first child was
born, whom they named Joseph Hyrum. Shortly after this her father cut his
thumb while skinning a poisoned cow; blood poisoning set in and he died
September 26th 1854.
When Elizabeth’s father first arrived in the valley they drew a lot in the city
and built a home on it. (This was the way they acquired lots then). But some
time after his death, Bishop Raligh asked the widow (Anna Davis Young) to deed
the property over to him in exchange for another lot located else where in the
City. This she did, but the Bishop then refused to deed any land back to her,
he said that the lot was taken to pay for the Perpetual Immigration Fund, which
Isaac Young has used but never paid back. George Bailey objected to his mother
in law giving up this land so the matter was taken up with President Brigham
Young, who said, "Let him have it, Bro. Bailey, and the Lord will bless you ten
fold." A few days later, as he was going home from work, a man by the name of
John Ebbe asked him if he would like to get a ten acre farm out at Mill Creek.
George answered in the affirmative. He had to work out a seventy dollar
assessment and was given three years in which to do it. He had taken President
Young’s advice and now felt that this was a fulfillment of the words of his
The family moved out on this land which was covered with sagebrush, oak brush
and willows, in fact the country was so wild that a deer ran close by the wagon
as they were driving along. In this wagon were all their worldly possessions
and it also served as their home and in it their eldest child learned to walk.
Later George made some chairs for a Mr. Boket and thru this he secured some
adobe with which to build a house and together they laid the walls. He hauled
three large logs to get across the top of the walls and secured some sheeting
lumber that he nailed to the logs with square wooden pegs. The cracks were
covered with slabs and this floorless, windowless hut became their home. This
home was never the less a big improvement over the wagon box. It was a two
roomed house with two fire placers, four holes that were covered with slabs or
sheets served as windows and a door that hung on leather hinges. It was built
The writer remembers that once when the fire had gone out and they had no tinder
(tinder was made by burning a rag) and this was kept in a sardine can along with
flint steel, that George loaded his gun with powder and a rag, and then fired the
gun, which made the rag ignite and a fire was soon burning.
During the winter, George’s mother, Ann Smith Bailey, his sister Elizabeth, his
brother Rueben and a nephew, William Lamborn came to the valley and lived with
them. These extra mouths to feed caused a food shortage in the Bailey home, and
food became a real problem that winter.
In the spring, the ten acres were planted to wheat and George went in to Salt
Lake to work. He was no farmer and never learned to be one. One Sunday, they
saw their wheat green and promising, but on the very next Sunday the ground was
absolutely barren, the grasshoppers had eaten it. Then they replanted it with corn
and squash and both crops matured.
Elizabeth and her younger sister gleaned wheat where they could, threshed and
cleaned it by hand and ground it in a coffee mill and then made it into bread or
One day a strange woman came to the Bailey home and asked Elizabeth is she would
trade her some squash that she had raised for a table big enough to serve four.
Since Elizabeth could well use another table, she agreed. The next day she
carried ten squash one at a time the length of the ten-acre field and waited for
the table. Soon the woman arrived with the table, she was amazed go see that
the table she had bargained for was made of rough lumber and measured about
eighteen inches square. How ever she kept her agreement and gave her the
squash, but after the woman left she sat down and cried.
At the time of the reformation, President Young told the people that they must
all repent of their sins and cleanse themselves of all their iniquities, or God
would punish them further, as they had already been punished by a shortage of
food. At this time, this same woman came back to Elizabeth and asked for her
forgiveness and said the reason that she had misrepresented the table was that
she needed food for her children and was afraid that if she told her the size of
the table that she would not be able to get the squash.
About this time, Grandmother Young (Elizabeth’s mother) who lived in the
nineteenth ward gleaned enough wheat to earn half a bushel. She and her two
children walked about ten miles to Bishop John Neff’s mill located in the mouth
of Mill Creek Canyon and had it ground into flour. Then they carried it down to
the Bailey home and made a cake with saleratus and buttermilk. They had a cup
of tea with it and felt that they had really enjoyed a treat. Elizabeth and her
sister walked part way back into town with her mother and figured that they had
walked about twenty-five miles that day.
Elizabeth’s husband George had plenty of work in Salt Lake City, but received
very little pay. He walked home twice a week, got up early the next morning,
walked back the seven miles and then worked ten hours that day. One evening he
failed to bring home a parcel as he had promised, because he had been unable to
collect any money. Elizabeth was so disappointed and felt so badly that he laid
off work the next day, got two bushels of corn from a man who was indebted to
him, carried the shelled corn into town and bought five yards of factory type of
un-bleached muslin but of a much poorer quality and three yards of bright yellow
calico to make baby clothes for the child who was born the next day. (This was
Ellen Maria, who’s married name was Humphrey)
The Bailey’s had suffered so much hardship that she was not too happy about
bringing another child into the world, they had subsisted mostly on roots from
the cat-tail plants that grew in the pond near by and greens that grew wild in
the fields. Their bread was made from bran that had been sifted so many times
that a loaf would not hold together in its baking. So naturally the baby girl
was a tiny sickly little ting during her childhood. However she lived to a ripe
old age in Salina Utah, and was loved and respected all her life for the good
she did to her fellow men.
As stated before, this was one of the hardest years the Bailey family ever
experienced, often they did not have enough to eat, even of roots and greens and
one night they went to bed with out any supper at all, after praying that a way
might be opened up where by they might obtain food. Shortly afterwards they
heard some one at the door and on opening it they found a sack of flour lying on
the doorstep. Several days later a neighbor told them that he had gone to bed
but was pressed to get up and take the flour to the Bailey family as he felt
that they were in need of food.
The next year the crops were better, but the cloud of an invasion by an army of
the U.S.A. hung over the valley. Elizabeth took the canvas wagon cover and made
a shirt, cap and a pair of trousers for her husband to wear when he went out to
meet Johnston’s army with the state militia.
The Mormons had vowed that they would never again leave their homes and
possessions to invaders, so each group put straw around their homes, so that a
torch applied to it would quickly set fire to the whole city. Then each family
was to leave their homes and go south (down near Provo or Lehi) to a place
called the narrows near the point of the mountain out from Draper.
Before George left he put as much of their worldly goods into the wagon as they
could and put the remainder in a box to be buried if the army entered the valley
to take over and moved his family to the fish trap in the Jordan River Narrows.
Every ones nerves were on edge and the tension was high. Consequently when his
brother Ruben Bailey came in one day and cracked his whip, Elizabeth thought it
was a gun. The shock put her to bed and her life was despaired of. The
neighbors sent word to George and he walked the distance of 18 miles in less
than three hours.
The Johnston army did enter the valley, but it was in the terms of President
Young and other leaders and with them the problem of food was simplified
somewhat and clothing became more plentiful.
The family moved back to their homes in the spring. Soon after wards on April
13th 1859 a pair of twins were born to Elizabeth and George. They were so
small that they were regarded as a curiosity, and people came from all around to
see them. One day a Brother John Scott came and held them both in his left arm,
and in the name of Israel’s God, promised that they should live to be a father
and a mother in Zion. The boy was named George B. Bailey and at one month of
age weighed only four pounds, the girl was named Elizabeth Davis Bailey (married
name Humphrey, also, Ellen and Elizabeth married brothers) she weighed even less
than did her twin brother George. This promise which was pronounced upon them
was literally fulfilled, George grew to manhood and became the father of twelve
children and Elizabeth became the mother of seven and both of them lived to be
more than 75 years of age.
After settling back in their homes that spring, George planted four acres in
fruit trees, mostly peaches. This was a fortunate move because in later years
these peaches brought in many dollars, and in 1896 they cut and dried 1300
bushels of them and sold them at forty cents a pound to Mr. Teasdale.
Soon after the trees were planted George’s brother Rueben shot him self in the
leg and died in a few days. He and his mother had been living in Spanish Fork
at that time, so George left his ten acres of trees for a while and moved his
family there to help take care of his mother’s farm. Here they had more food to
eat but clothing was very hard to obtain.
Ellen Maria tells how she had no shoes to wear at all. Never the less, she was
sliding on the ice with the other children. She would slide a while and then
sit on her feet to warm them. Her father watched her for a period and then
turning with tears in his eyes said that he would make her some shoes out of his
boot tops, which he did. So she had shoes that year to wear.
That fall, when the grain was nearly ripe, the Indians drove their ponies into
the fields and dared the farmers to drive them out. The white men were far out
numbered to try to do so, but Brother O. K. Thurber persuaded them to take them
out, so blood was averted.
One day Elizabeth’s son Joseph took her and some neighbor women to Payson
Bottoms to gather saleratus, (an alkali that formed on the ground in some
localities). Ellen Maria was told to stay at home and to keep the door locked.
However her curiosity over came her prudence when some friendly Indians came and
she opened up the door and gave them all the bread there was in the house.
This same fall, Joseph was herding sheep on the bench with the two older boys
when they saw some Indian warriors approaching, they took hold of hands and ran
towards home, Joe was smaller than them and was in the center when an arrow was
shot over his head and between the heads of the other boys, after this Indian
trouble became constantly worse and finally they had to abandon the farm at
Spanish Fork and move back to Mill Creek. While they had been away, a
cloudburst in Mill Creek Canyon had carried rocks over the orchard and washed a
tunnel under the north room of the house. Consequently they tore down this room
and built two small rooms back of the south room, which had withstood the flood.
Elizabeth learned to spin wool and weave cloth to cloth her children. The men
scoured the sheep before they sheared them; this was done by taking them to a
stream and rubbing them with sand trying to clean the wool. But this was hard
work, so sometimes the sheep were sheared without it. Then little bits were
picked out of the wool by hand, washed in warm water and greased for carding.
But to get grease for this was also a problem, the lard was usually all used up,
and so they often used their table supply of butter on the wool. It took one
pound of butter to grease ten pounds of wool. When this was done, it was taken
to the carding machine, and paid two pounds out of the five pounds of wool for
Lye was made out of ashes, and this was used to make soap. Grease for the soap
making was saved during the winter months from scraps of unusable fat.
Coloring wool was a quaint process. Black wool was colored with log weed and
copper, red was made from madder root, blue was made with indigo and chamber
lye, yellow with peach leaves and alum or rabbit brush blossoms and alum.
One spring Elizabeth hired her spinning done, she could not buy warp in town.
The girl could spin four skeins a day, each skein had ten knots in it and each
knot had forty threads two yards long in it, she was paid ten cents a skein for
filling and twelve and one half cents for warp.
During the time they lived at Spanish Fork another child had been born and later
three more were born in the old house. All the women of that time had all they
could do, but they often had to take time to help each other. Medical help was
out of the question and mid wives were scarce, so Elizabeth began by helping her
neighbors when childbirth time approached, she kept no record, but she estimated
that she had helped to bring more than a hundred babies into the world.
February 8th 1868 was a memorable day in the Bailey home because on this day
George took unto himself a plural wife. She was a Danish girl and only sixteen
years old, her birthday being the 13th of September 1852. Her name was Elsie
Maria Andrews. Ellen Maria writes that she was happy about this, because all
the men had more than one wife in their community, and she said further, they
had bigger houses and more dishes. (Showing what a Childs idea is of things
The peach orchard began to bear this next year, so from then on the financial
problems were not so difficult and Elizabeth and George purchased their first
stove. Prior to this time, they and cooked on the open fireplace.
About one year later the family all went out into the back yard to look at a
birds nest. There in a small tree near by was a swarm of bees. They all worked
together and caught them and they were the beginning of an apiary that brought
in thousands of dollars during later years. George was known as "Bailey the Bee
Elizabeth and George and the older boys spent their time working with the bees
and the fruit, while Elsie took charge of the housework and the care of the
small children. Everything was peace and harmony and the two women lived in
the same house like a mother and daughter. After the bees and the peaches
began to swell the bank account George built a larger house. Life became a little
bit more comfortable.
They were only nicely settled in their new home when the dreaded scourge of
diphtheria hit the community. It raged from the 26th of January until the 24th
of February and when it had spent its force, Elizabeth had buried three sons and
two daughter and Elsie had buried a son and a daughter, she had but one child
left. The following summer the eldest son Joseph, who was now married and
living in Salina, died of Diphtheria also, this was almost more than they could
stand. (See a letter from Joseph to his family urging them to leave the house
and come to Salina to get away from the disease, also see newspaper account
about the George Brown Bailey family written by the Health Department Head).
In 1886, George was sent to the penitentiary in Salt Lake City, with many more
men for unlawful cohabitation. While he was there his two wives built a
two-roomed house for Elsie, in which she lived until she later deserted her
husband and six children for another man. Elizabeth took care of these children
during the next three years. (See The Internment of George Brown Bailey, by
Gary E. Stay).
This little episode hastened or at least shortened the life of George and on the
4th of November 1895 he passed away. Elsie then took her children to live with
her, all except the youngest one who refused to leave, so he was cared for by
Elizabeth until he grew up and was married.
Elizabeth was a devout worker in the Relief Society; she held the position of
treasurer in the Mill Creek Ward R. S. and then when the ward was divided she
retained her position in the Wilford Ward R. S. making a total of more than
twenty-five years. She also was a worker in the temple for six years.
She lived to se another epidemic; in 1918 influenza was as bad or worse than the
diphtheria epidemic because it affected adults as well as children and the First
World War had just came to a close.
She had given up house keeping in 1912 and spent her time living with her
children, mostly her two daughters Ellen and Alice, there also was her married
When 82 years of age she learned to knit, and several pairs of socks were sent
to the fighting men over seas.
Shortly before her death she counted up her descendants and found that they
totaled 100, and she was happy to find that there was not a cripple or a
defective one among them. She was the mother of twelve children, six boys and
six girls, one girl died at birth and five children died of the diphtheria, also
the eldest son who died on the same after being grown and married and three
daughters and two sons survived her.
In 1918 she came to Salt Lake City from Salina, where she had been staying with
her daughter Ellen to attend October Conference, while there she contacted the
flue germ went back to Salina where she passed away, October 18th 1918. She was
buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery besides her loved ones who had gone before.
She died a true and faithful Latter Day Saint.