The Seamans of Drummond Island

Drummond Island was seeded with Seamans by a grandson of Caleb Seaman in 1853. This island, located at the juncture of three of the Great Lakes, became home for a long line of descendants of Daniel Murray Seaman, an early adherent to the Mormon religion.

A hundred years later, John T. Nevill wrote a series of articles about the Seaman family of Drummond Island and these were published in a local newspaper, The Evening News. An index to the entire series of 17 articles from 1953 is here.

Installment Thirteen - Monday, August 10, 1953

The Seaman Story - No. 13

The Bailey Clan Figures Prominently In Drummond Island's Seaman Story

Drummond Settlement - Here on Drummond Island, when you stop to listen carefully, you may hear a ditty running something like this:

If you live on Drummond Island
And Seaman's not your name
You'll likely be a Bailey -
Or perhaps you'll find your dame
Was a Seaman or a Bailey -
Or her mother was the same
Or her grandma's grandma was along
When old Murray Seaman came.

Now you may be a Fairchild
A Gable, Church or Lowe
But don't let that mislead you
Because your wife is sure to know
That her dear old Aunt Matilda
Or her mother's Uncle Joe
Was a Seaman or a Bailey
In the days of long ago.

One doesn't have to spend much time on Drummond Island to know that what that verse lacks in poetic values, it makes up in solid truth.

Difficult indeed would be the task of anyone attempting to tell the story of the Seaman family without prominent mention of the Baileys, a pioneering family coming to this island nearly three-quarters of a century ago, and today, shoulder to shoulder with the Seamans, sharing numerical domination of Drummond's 183 square miles.

So solid is the family phalanx presented by these two pioneer families that the researcher is astonished to find the tie up between them is due, in the main, to only three marriages, one of which - that between Theil Seaman and Nina Bailey - produced only one daughter before it crashed on marital rocks.

9 Sons, 5 Daughters

The remaining two, however, (Emma Seaman with Blaine Bailey and Myrtle Fairchild with Warren E. Bailey) withstood the test of time and temperament and resulted n a total of nine sons and five daughters, all of whom became Baileys through Seaman, or Seaman descendant mothers.

Moreover, behind and intertwined with these more direct marital ties are a number of other marriages which have served to strengthen the tie-up, if nothing else. These would include, for example, the marriage of Nona Bailey to Jesse Church, whose brother, George, married Clarabelle Seaman, and the marriage of Fred Moser, a grandson of Lillie Seaman, who numbers many Baileys among his aunts, uncles, and cousins, with Audrey Seaman, a daughter of Floyd B. Seaman, and a great-granddaughter of his own grandmother's half-brother.

And so it goes on mammoth Drummond. Almost every permanent resident is related, if only distantly, to almost everyone else. Like many another combination of families throughout this world, these two island families may have an occasional difference privately. But let anyone outside the two families threaten and the guard goes up instantly.

Like the Seaman clan, the Baileys started with just one family and all the baileys on Drummond Island and DeTour, as well as many in the Sault, and elsewhere, originated therefrom.

New Englanders

Bo George Warren Bailey and his wife, Cornelia, were New Englanders, and in this too, they have something in common with the Seamans. (Don't forget that Samuel Seaman, father of Daniel Murray and grandfather of the Sam Seaman who came to Drummond Island with his father one hundred years ago was born in Vermont about 1784.

George Warren Bailey was as "down-east" as the Boston Commons. As a young man, he had worked in the shipyards around Boston, and when the Civil War broke out he joined the Union Army serving in some of the Tennessee campaigns. He held a strong interest in lumbering, so following the ware he migrated to Wisconsin, from which state he came to Drummond during the year 1880.

Bailey was a tall man, at least six feet weighing close to 190 pounds, and holding frame as rigid as a ramrod. His ways must have been rigid too, for there are old-timers on Drummond today who tell of seeing him walk through the woods complete with straw hat, necktie, and "Sunday" shoes while other men wore mackinaws, open-throated flannel shirts, and wouldn't think of going into the woods shod in anything less than Chippewa boots.

Boston Accent

When he spoke, he spoke with the characteristically broad vowels of old Boston, so no attire was needed to stamp him indisputably as a "down-easter".

And his wife was cut from the same cloth. Born Cornelia Edgerton, in the state of Connecticut in 1853, she was 27 when she and George Warren and their first six children came to Drummond in 1880. Mrs. Bailey was an accountant, so, in addition to her motherly duties, she kept the Bailey books, and served as business head of the Bailey enterprises.

Those enterprises, incidentally, must have kept her busy, because her husband, attracted by the scads of "government land" still available on Drummond Island at $1.25 an acre, had brought along two partners and operated under the name, Smith, Bailey & Miner.

The Smith of Smith, Bailey & Miner was Joe Smith, who had lumbered around Jacksonport, Wis., and later moved on to Raber to lumber in partnership with W.D. Hossack, older brother of Cedarville's Henry P. Hossack. He's the father of Fred Smith (now a resident of Pickford). Smith's brother-in-law, also named Smith - Dan Smith - operated the Huron House in DeTour, which had been built by John Murray as The Lakeview, and still later was to be known as Smith's Hotel.

Gustine Miner was a married man who brought his wife and two children to Drummond with him. However, neither Smith nor Miner remained on the island long enough to settle down. Ultimately, George Warren and Cornelia Bailey found themselves lumbering, fishing, and doing a bit of farming strictly on their own.

Six Children

The two Baileys and their six children - Minnie, 15, Alton, seven, Warren, five, Marshall, four, Jessie, three, and Blanch, one - had sailed out of Sturgeon Bay aboard the Goodrich Transit steamer, Oconto, pride of the Goodrich fleet, which had been built in Manitowoc only eight years earlier. The Oconto's engine had been removed from the Skylark, an even earlier Goodrich vessel, but it pushed the Oconto along at a good clip, and in no time at all the eight Baileys were deposited on a dock at Cheboygan, Mich.

There they boarded a second steamer and proceeded to the Sault, from where they embarked on a third vessel, sailed back down the St. Mary's and disembarked at the old quarry dock. Traveling to Drummond Island via established transportation lines wasn't easy in the old days and traveling from one part of the island to another wasn't easy either.

The Bailey family remained in the Settlement for three days, sheltered in a log house owned by Don Seaman, they George Warren was fortunate enough to hire Elias H. Jones, an up-and-coming DeTour sailorman and justice of the peace, to carry his family around to their destination - Warner's Cover on Drummond's south shore.

Swath Through Timber

Warner's Cove is the area in which Sam Chambers fished, and a fairly large inland lake just north of the cove is named for Chamber's son, Pat. The cove itself, located just west of the half-way point between DeTour Passage and False DeTour Passage, cuts deeply into Drummond's south shore, and points almost directly at Drummond Settlement on the north shore.

Today, a good road leads due south out of the Settlement and Warner's Cove, only six miles distant, can be reached by automobile in ten minutes or less. But in 1880 that road was little more than a swath through the timber extending only to the Channel Road, the leading west toward old Fort Drummond and DeTour Passage. The four miles lying between the Huron shore and the island's present "Four Corners" where Sune Bucht's tavern stands today may as well have been 400 files so formidable a barrier to travel did they represent. The Baileys, carried to Warner's Cove by DeTour's irrepressible "Ly" Jones were compelled to travel about 25 miles by water to reach a spot only six miles distant.

The three sons and three daughters brought to Drummond Island by George Warren and Cornelia Bailey 73 years ago, represented less than half of their ultimate family. Eight more children - four

[missing remainder of article]

John T. Nevill
Drummond Settlement
The Evening News
August 10, 1953