Fanny Looney and the Bailey Family

By Irene Griffey


From Cumberland Lore
The Leaf-ChronicleSeptember 2, 2008


 Little Fanny Looney left her home in Paris Tenn., at the age of 6 to make her permanent home with Elizabeth Looney and her new husband, Jesse W. Bailey, on the Red River in Montgomery County.

This 853-acre Revolutionary War bounty land grant stretched about three or four miles along the Red River. The location can best be described as along the river from Georgetown Road and the Clarksville Country Club to beyond Warfield Boulevard. Records indicate that Joshua Guest purchased the North Carolina warrant for this land from Charles O'Neal and obtained the grant from North Carolina.

Joshua Guest sold the land to Abraham Murry, but it appears the purchase price was not paid in full and the case was thrown in­to Circuit Court.
All the minute records and files of Montgomery County Circuit Court were destroyed when the court­house burned in 1898, so other details of the transac­tion cannot be obtained.  
From the existing records, it appears Stephen Woodson sued Joshua Guest and John Tyler and received a clear title from Montgomery County Cir­cuit Court in February 1830.
It cannot be determined, with any certainty however, just when Stephen Wood­son purchased and took possession of the land. There were buildings at that time but their description has not survived the ravages of time.
It also appears that Stephen and Mary Wood­son never lived in Mont­gomery County, but on Sept. 12, 1839, from Goochland County, Vir­ginia, deeded the land to their daughter Elizabeth Woodson Bailey and the children of a deceased daughter, Susanna Wood­son, and her husband, Richard Bridgewater. The Bridgewater children were: Amanda Blake, Louisa Williams, Stephen W. Bridgewater,  Chesley Bridgewater, Adeline Bridgewater, Richard Bridgewater and Mary Bridgewater.
The Bridgewater heirs sold their various shares, but heirs of Elizabeth Woodson Bailey and her husband Jesse Bailey, con­tinued to own and live on the property for many years.

Jesse and Elizabeth Woodson Bailey had seven children: Evalina, Indiana, John Stephen, Augustus, Elizabeth, Sarah and Jesse W. Bailey.

Jesse W. Bailey married Elizabeth Looney, daughter of Dr. Peter Looney of Paris, Tenn.

 When they came to the Bailey land to live in 1874, they brought with them little African-American Frances L. Looney, 6, of Paris.
From all indications, little Fanny Looney lived with the Baileys as a member of the family, an unusual situ­ation in the 1870-80s.
 Passed down in the Bailey family is a photo, a tin type, of a young teenage African-American girl dressed in fashionable clothes (with hat to match) like those any affluent family in the late 1870-80 would furnish their teenager daughter.
Additional information is obtained from a careful study of the census records.  The 1870 census shows daughter Bettie (the bride of Jesse W. Bailey) age 19, it the household of Dr. P Looney in Paris, Tenn.
It would appear that Bettie's mother had died, and she was acting as hostess of her father's home. Living on the farm were P. and F. Looney, African-Ameri­cans, evidently the parents of little Fanny Looney and who apparently had died, leaving Fanny an orphan. So, when Bettie married Jesse W. Bailey, there was no one left to care for little 4-year-old Fanny, and the newly married Bettie brought her with her to their new home on Red River.
When the family moved from the Bailey land on Red River to Madison Street in Clarksville. they took Fanny with them there and until her death, she consistently lived with the family.

When Bettie Looney Bai­ley died, she left two daugh­ters — Looney F. Bailey, who married William W. Maclaughlin, and (Miss) Jesse Bailey.

The Maclaughlins con­tinued to live on Madison Street and Frances L. "Mamie" Looney continued to live with them.
Their daughter, Jesse Bai­ley Maclaughlin, married Jack Walker Killebrew; they continued to live in the Madison Street house along with Mamie Looney.
Mamie Looney died March 3, 1939, and her obit­uary appeared on page one of the Clarksville Leaf- Chronicle as follows:
"Mamie Looney, Beloved Colored Mammy; Buried This Afternoon"

Frances Looney, 70-year  old Negro “Mammy,” known to her many white Friends as "Mamie Bailey," died at 1:40 o'clock Thursday afternoon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Maclaughlin in on Madison street, of pneumonia which developed Wednesday night after a ten day illness.

           Although "Mamie” had been almost blind for about five years and ill of diabetes she had never given up or been confined to her bed until the last ten days, and the past Sunday was the first time she had failed to attend church services for 25 years.

She was a member of the Poston Street Church of God.

            "Mamie" had been living in the family of Mrs. Maclaughlin and Miss Jesse Bailey for 63 years, at the age of 6 being given to their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Bailey, by her parents, Neal and Peter Looney.

They lived on the farm of Mrs. Bailey's father, Dr. Peter Looney, near Paris, Tenn., where Mamie was born April 14, 1869.

"Mamie's" parents and grandparents had been slaves of the Looney fami­ly and always continued to live with the family.

             Mamie resided with the Bailey family and continued to live with Mr. and Mrs. Maclaughlin and family, as nurse and compan­ion for the children and the neighbor children of Madison Street, by whom she was loved and respected."Mamie" was never married and was the last member of her family.

She was a consistent member and attended services at Madison Street Methodist Church until 25 years earlier when she joined the colored Church of God of which she was an active member even after she was almost blind and in ill health.

Funeral services were held at the Poston Street church at 2 o'clock this afternoon by the pastor, Rev. C. R. Hooten, followed by interment in the Bailey fam­ily cemetery, three miles off the old Nashville Pike, which is the family ceme­tery of Mrs. Maclaughlin and Miss Bailey, who now lives in Philadelphia. The choir of the church sang at the church and grave."

The Bailey Cemetery on Georgetown Road lies on land once a part of the Woodson-Bailey land. Her grave marker matches that of other members of the family. [This article was written from information furnished by Talley Bailey of Rhode Island, a descendant of this family, who can be reached for further details at]



Published with permission of Irene Griffey and Talley Bailey




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