William B. Bailey

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William B. Bailey

In office

Born July 27, 1838
Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Died July 26, 1896
Lafayette, Louisiana
Resting place Saint John Cemetery in Lafayette
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Nellie "Nella" Queen Bailey (married 1866-1896, his death)
Children Five daughters
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholic

William B. Bailey (July 27, 1838 – July 26, 1896)[1] was a journalist and politician from his native Lafayette, Louisiana. In 1865, he co-founded  what is now the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and from 1884 to 1892, he was the mayor of Lafayette.

Bailey was the son of the Tennesseean William Bailey and the former Sarah Clark, a native of St. Landry Parish in South Louisiana. He served the duration of the American Civil War for the Confederate Army, having fought in the Seven Days Battles. at Harper's Ferry, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and The Wilderness. On September 9, 1863, he was captured by the Union Army and held prisoner until June 1864. He then returned to Confederate service served under General Robert E. Lee until the surrender at Appomattox Court House. He returned to Lafayette, then known as Vermilionville (but not in Vermilion Parish), on June 26, 1865, having walked the entire distance from Virginia.[2]

Prior to the war, he had been apprenticed as a printer. He co-founded the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, originally the Lafayette Weekly Advertiser, which published its first issue on September 22, 1865, five months after the close of the war. Bailey  was the sole proprietor and editor of the paper from 1868 to 1893. Like most former Confederates, he was a staunch Democrat who editorially opposed the United States Army for its support of Republican administrations at the state, pre-1877, and national levels.[2]

Bailey supported immigration and internal improvements at federal expense. He was a vocal critic of violence during the Reconstruction era. After his mayoral term, he was appointed on an interim basis by Governor Murphy J. Foster, Sr., to fill a vacancy as the clerk of the district court for Lafayette Parish.[2]

In 1866, he wed the former Nellie (also called Nella) Queen (1847-1917). The couple had five daughters; one, Clara, died in infancy after her birth in 1867. Another, Nellie Bailey Fournet (1875-1999), died before her 25th birthday. Three other daughters were Cornelia Bailey Roy (1868-1947), Louise Geralde (born 1872-date of death missing), and Elizabeth Bailey Mouton (1881-1922).[2][3] Bailey died on a Sunday morning of heart disease but had been in apparently sound health the day before when he had returned from a leisurely trip to Galveston on the Gulf Coast of Texas. He died the day before his 58th birthday. He is interred at the Roman Catholic Saint John Cemetery in Lafayette, along with his wife, who lived another twenty-one years after his passing, and four of their daughters.[3][4]


  1. Dates taken from gravestones at Saint John Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Bailey, William B.. Dictionary of Louisiana Biography by the Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 8, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 William B. Bailey. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2016.
  4. The Louisiana Historical Association cites these sources for its brief biography of Bailey:  William Henry Perrin, ed., Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical (1891; reprint ed., 1971); Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Louisiana (1892); Donald J. Hebert, Southwest Louisiana Records, Vols. VIII-XIX, and Lafayette Weekly Advertiser, with Bailey's obituary published August 1, 1896.