Central Park - Confederate Monumant
13 February 1932: Obscured by the trees at the left was the 4-story 1898 Galveston County Courthouse, a survivor of the disastrous 1900 storm. The Confederate Statue placed there in 1911 greets an audience then in thrall to the “Lost Cause” mythology. The monument personifies the Jim Crow laws in effect at the time, demonstrating to the “colored” citizens who it was who had effectively triumphed in the Southern Insurrection. [See Confederate Monument for a fuller explanation of the political forces behind the installation of the monument.]
14 May 2005 (Saturday): The staid but respectable Galveston County Courthouse of 1898 was replaced in 1966 with this bland 5 story structure erected on the right of way of 21st Street, bringing it many feet closer to the Confederate Monument. The flowerbed surrounding the statue as found in the 1932 postcard has been replaced by a larger reflecting pool. This placed the dedication plaque too far away to read from the increased distance and necessitated a text-only plaque explaining the monument to be set on the periphery of the walkway at the rear.
23 March 2019 (Saturday): Much like the fashion mannequin across from the time traveler in the 1960 film, The Time Machine, the Confederate Monument has remained unchanged throughout the architectural and horticultural fashion changes of the last 100 years. The initial flowerbed is back, though much expanded and coarsened, and the explanatory plaque has been brought from the periphery to a spot under the feet of the resigned soldier, better to be read and understood by Galveston’s citizens and visitors to the town.
Postmarked: Indianapolis, Ind. Trans. CLK. R.M.S.; Feb 13, 1932
To: James & Jane Bailey
Feb 13 o
on the train well will soon be home again Sun. Noon we expect, hope everyone is well.
The dedication plaque on the pedestal of the statue was easily read when the monument was first installed. Inserting the reflecting pool pushed the viewer to an uncomfortable reading distance, so a second plaque was added next to the benches at the back. Filling the pool with vegetation allowed the text-only plaque to be brought back into the circle. Many contemporary viewers, including members of the normally aloof homeless population often leisurely encamped at the peaceful spot during weekends, are little impressed with Daughters of the Confederation myths. Despite a feeble movement to have this statue removed as a salve to the wounded sensibilities of the descendants of former slaves (and their sympathizers) the statue remains in place at this writing.
James (age 11) and Jane (age 8) Bailey of Pleasantville, Pennsylvania were the only children of James Martin Bailey and Nellie M. Hughes Bailey. James, Sr. was the proprietor of Bailey Brothers Oil Company, a petroleum producing firm in Northwest Pennsylvania. This oil-rich area was site of the 1859 Titusville strike by the first person to successfully drill for oil, Colonel Edwin Laurentine Drake (1819-1880). The area became a source of oil for many decades, and the Bailey Brothers were drawn away from their father’s occupation as farmers by the opportunity to work in the Venango County Oil Fields. William Bailey (1856-1944) had a family of 9 children in Clintonville, Venango County, including brothers James Martin (1884-1976), Doman (1890-1982), Willis Porter (1891-1909), Raymond Richard (1894-1940), and Roy Ellsworth (1897-1983).
It is likely that James, Sr. visited the Houston-Galveston area in connection with his oil company, and perhaps took a side trip to Galveston to see the famous beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Although petroleum as a business got its start in the Titusville oil fields, by the early 1930’s Houston had become the world’s center for oil extraction. Conventions and conferences drew oil men from across the country and world, and it is likely James, Sr. and his wife came here for one of these conferences, or to more informally meet with colleagues. If their visit had been for leisure, they would have more likely brought their children.
James, Jr. grew up to join his father in the oil business, and his sister Martha Jane married Earl Yingling. Yingling joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, and was honored decades later with the Legion of Honor by the French Government for his 35 bombing missions over areas held by the Axis Powers. His father Arthur Raymond Yingling was proprietor of Yingling Dairy in Titusville until it was sold in 1961, then Earl bought a camper shop and operated it as Yingling’s Camera Shop. The German surname “Yingling” derives from “jüngling” (youngster or young person), and there were many unrelated Pennsylvanian Germans with this surname. There seems to be no connection between the Venango County Yingling family and David Gottlieb Yuengling (1806-1877) who founded the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, PA.
Fairview Cemetery in Pleasantville holds the remains of many of the Bailey family: James Martin Bailey’s father William Martin Bailey (1856-1944) and mother Louisa Catherine Hovis Bailey (1856-1937), James, Sr. himself (1884-1976), his wife Nellie M. Hughes Bailey (1887-1974), James, Jr. (1920-2002), Martha Jane Bailey Yingling (1923-1974).