The Fourth of July weekend of 2008 was filled with excitement and anticipation for the Bailey clan as they met in Tennessee for their family reunion. These Baileys are descendents of Ferry Bailey, son of Richard and Ann Bailey of Marshall County, Mississippi.
Mose Payne, AAGS member and descendent of Ferry Bailey, traveled to Memphis (Shelby County), Tennessee for the “Meet and Greet” held on Friday evening. It was a perfect time to meet new family members and reminisce with old ones. The highlight of the evening was watching the 4th of July fireworks explode over the mighty Mississippi River.
Saturday began with a drive to Michigan City (Benton County), Mississippi. Benton County was formed in 1872 when parts of Mississippi counties Tippah and Marshall merged. Mose and I were the first to arrive in Michigan City. We stopped at the post office to await the rest of the family. When they arrived, many were amazed to learn that the post office was the only establishment still operating in “downtown” Michigan City. Mose pointed out a building that used to be the bank as well as two other buildings that were once stores. Where a third store had stood, there was only an empty lot. A short walk from the post office and across some railroad tracks, Mose pointed out another structure rising above the bushes in the field behind us. The building was an old cotton gin, the perfect backdrop for our group picture.
We then drove from Michigan City back across the state line to Wilburn Cemetery, our ancestral burial grounds, in LaGrange (Fayette County), Tennessee. We spent a short time at the cemetery surveying the condition of the cemetery and recording names that were etched on the few headstones we were able to find. From there we drove to Grand Junction (Hardeman County), Tennessee to meet with other family members for an outdoor picnic. The picnic was complete with all the favorites: barbeque, corn on the cob, hotdogs, watermelon, ice cream, etc. After the serving table was ready, we all gathered around, held hands, and were led in a prayer of thanksgiving for being able to safely gather together. Of course it wouldn’t be a July picnic in west Tennessee without the heat and humidity; but we were all willing to endure it for the opportunity to fellowship with each other one more time. We ended the reunion with a family meeting to elect officers and lay the groundwork for the next reunion. All in all, it was a weekend of family fun and reflection.
Last updated: September 26, 2008