Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 - Vol. 1

By Kenneth L. Holmes | Go to book overview

the West bank of the North Fork of the Yam Hill river, being the northerly corner of Frederick Pauls claim. Thence northerly along said north fork crossing the same at the mouth of a small creek two miles -- Thence westerly half a mile to a tree marked: Thence southerly two miles to a tree marked on David Pauls north line: Thence along said line to the place of beginning, which he holds by personal occupancy. Dated Oregon City, 4th June 1846.8

Notice that the wife is not even mentioned in this transaction by which the family settled on a donation claim a full square mile in extent as was allowed by the Oregon Provisional Government. In reality the husband would have been able only to obtain one-half a square mile without having Betsey as a wife.

Betsey Bayley lived ten years in Oregon. She died on her 31st wedding anniversary, February 14, 1855.9

As with all pioneer families, death was a near neighbor. A little more than a year later the following story appeared in the pioneer newspaper, the Oregon Statesman of Salem, in its issue of May 20, 1856:

SUICIDE. -- Tim Bailey, [a common misspelling] of Yamhill, a young man, and son of Daniel D. Bailey, of Chehalem, in that county, recently committed suicide by taking poison. We are told that five or six years ago he had about $6,000, and said he was going to live on that as long as it lasted, and when it was gone kill himself. He spent it, drinking pretty freely, and with the last bought the poison with which he put an end to his existence.10

One happy aspect of the Bayley story that got the attention of the public over many years was the longevity of the five sisters who came over the Oregon Trail in 1845. All lived long rich lives, and this was duly noted in the newspapers of the day. On June 3, 1899, and again on

____________________
10
Page 3, column 2.
8
Oregon State Arch., Provisional Land Records, Vol. 2, p. 44.
9
Wojcik, op. cit., p. 384.

-34-

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