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George W. Bailey

Written by Judie Palmer, January 9, 2021

Updated information was found from the January 1873 articles in the San Francisco Examiner and the Contra Costa Gazette.

On Monday, January 20, 1873, George W. Bailey, his wife Nellie, and one of his two small children took a boat from Sacramento to San Francisco. He then disappeared.

George Whitfield Bailey was born in Missouri in 1833. As a practicing lawyer, he lived with his wife, Nellie, and their two children (Ellen Adele and George W.) in Martinez, CA. During his six or seven years in Martinez, he was associated with Judge Brown and later worked with Mr. L. B. Mizner in Benicia, CA. His 1870 Census data shows he had a personal wealth of $2,000 ($43,400 today), and land wealth of $1,000 ($21,700 today).

In 1873, George was in charge of some trust funds for Messrs. Mizner and Shirley, who wanted to cash out some of their investments. George told them the money had been invested in San Francisco and that he would need to go to the San Francisco bank to withdraw the money.

On Monday, January 20, 1873, George did exactly that bringing along his wife, Nellie, and his youngest child, George W. They took a Sacramento Boat to San Francisco and lodged at the Lick House. On Tuesday, George gave a weak excuse as to why he could not withdraw the money that day, but would on Wednesday. He was seen on Wednesday as being jovial and in sound mind.

However, George was never to be seen again. It was not until Saturday, January 25 that George’s body was found. A young woman named Amelia Waters was walking in the vicinity of the West End House on the old San Jose Road when she came upon his body sitting up against a quarried stone.

The coroner found him dead for several days as vermin had entered the right-temple head wound where he shot himself with his small derringer pistol. A small open pen knife was also found in his left hand.

Inquiries found that the money had never been deposited in any San Francisco bank, or elsewhere. It was determined that George had been using the money for his own personal use, but had planned to restore it. Being in a temporary moment of insanity, he committed suicide.

George’s headstone is a large obelisk monument with only a few words which reads “Our Papa, George W. Bailey, 1873”.

George’s wife, Nellie Ellen Barber Bailey Goodhall, married her second husband, Judge James E. Goodall in 1881 and died in Bodie, Mono county, California on June 22, 1882 at the age of 33 years. She is buried in the same Alhambra Cemetery where her headstone reads, “In Memory of Nellie Bailey Goodhall”. Since her headstone is broken, the author is not able to read the line after. However, her birth date, death date, and location of death is visible.

The original content of this post was taken from the previous website and updated for republishing in 2021.

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