Saturday, January 11, 2014

Surname Saturday: Beland/Balaw/Bailaw/Baylaw/Bailey of Peacham, Vermont

Disclaimer: As always, my genealogy is a work in progress. There is a lot of information I have yet to locate and possible discrepancies in information already found. While all of my information is sourced in my genealogy software, I am not going to take the time to type all that out here. If you would like a source citation for a particular event, please ask.

If you are related to this family, I want to hear from you!

I briefly mentioned the Beland/Balaw/Bailaw/Baylaw/Bailey family in my previous Surname Saturday post. I will go into a bit more detail about them here.

I will start by saying that this family could not figure out how their surname should be spelled. This is likely due to a few possibilities:

  1. They came to Vermont from Quebec (and France prior to that) where their name was spelled Beland. Once the family settled in Vermont, their name was spelled in the way that it was pronounced (Bailaw/Balaw).
  2. Illiteracy was high during the 1800s, and it was possible that they didn't know how to write (which seems even more likely considering English was likely not their first language). Record takers likely spelled their name the way it sounded since my ancestors probably couldn't tell them how to spell it.
  3. The Bailey spelling came from my great grand uncle, Fred Bailaw, who decided to move out west and go by the surname Bailey in an attempt to break away from the family he left behind in Vermont. I have my theory as to why he left (keep reading to find out).
My 3rd great grandparents, Toussaint Beland (Allsaints Balaw) (1795-1840) and Elisabeth "Isabelle" Marguerite Turcotte (1803-1865) left Quebec around 1854 and came to settle in Peacham, Caledonia, Vermont. They had 10 children, all of which were born in Quebec and came with them to Vermont. Their children were (surname spellings for each are how it is spelled on most records/graves):
  1. Simeon Balaw (1826-1890), Civil War veteran, married Mary King
  2. Margaret Balaw (1828-1910), married Robert Sanderson
  3. Alexander Bailaw (1830-1921), Civil War veteran
  4. Olive Beland (1832-1915), married Paul Provancha
  5. Joseph Bailaw (1835-1865), Civil War veteran, married Clara Whitehall
  6. William Bailaw (1837-?), Civil War veteran, married Elsina Huntington
  7. Edward Bailaw (1840-1924), Civil War veteran, married Mary King
  8. Anna Maria Bailaw (1841-1927), married Leonard Atkins
  9. Elizabeth P. Bailaw (1843-?), married Lorenzo K. Hooker
  10. Lucy Baylaw (1846-?), married _____ Leslie
Toussaint's 3rd great grandfather (my 8th great grandfather), Jean Baptiste Beland immigrated from France to Quebec before 1677, like due to Huguenot persecution in France. The line from Jean Baptiste to Toussaints is Jean Baptiste, Mathurin Jean Baptiste, Alexis, Antoine, Toussaint.

In 2009 I was afforded the privilege of speaking with Florence (Lafayette) Bridges, the great granddaughter of Simeon Balaw. She was about 91 years old when I met her, and she died a few months afterward. During our meeting, she told me some old family legends, gave me some old photos of some of my ancestors, and provided me with a wealth of information she had from her own genealogy research (most of which I have been able to verify).
Photos given to me from Florence Bridges
Photo 1: Mary M King
Photo 2: Fred Bailey
Photo 3: Fred Bailey with his wife, Merial and son, Hubert

One story Mrs. Bridges told me was of her great grandfather's, Simeon's, death. The story that has been
passed through the generations is that Simeon fell ill during war and was discharged. According to the genealogy file provided to me from Mrs. Bridges, "Upon returning home he [Simeon] knew he was to have just broth but the stew his wife Mary made smelled so good he ate some of the meat and he was taken sick and died." According to my own research, Simeon enlisted in the Civil War on 10 Feb 1862 died a little over a year later on 23 Feb 1863 in Peacham, Caledonia, Vermont. His cause of death (according to his death certificate) was chronic diarrhea. Did his cause of death have anything to do with Mary's stew? I don't know. Simeon is buried in Peacham Corners Cemetery in Peacham, Vermont.

Following his death, Simeon's wife, Mary, married his brother (my 2nd great grandfather), Edward Bailaw. They had one son together, Fred Bailaw (Bailey) (1867-1927). Mary died in 1881 and is buried in Eaton Cemetery in Marshfield, Washington, Vermont.

Following Mary's death, Edward was living with Elizabeth Aiken. While the two never married, they had a daughter (my great grandmother), Gertrude, together.

All five of the sons of Toussaint Beland (Allsaints Balaw) and Elisabeth "Isabelle" Marguerite Turcotte fought in the Civil War. Four of the five sons made it home (though Simeon just in time to die). Joseph, however, was wounded at the Battle of Fort Stedman in Petersburg, Virginia, on 25 Mar 1865, and died 10 days later on 10 Apr 1865. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (his gravestone has his name as Joseph Bailey).

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