A Story To A Stone
John H. Bailey
The old adage, ‘it’s nice to put a face to a name’, is in the same vein as ‘it’s nice to put a story to a headstone’. Reading about John Bailey’s untimely demise in Abby Maria Hemenwey’s 1871 history of Fairfax led us to Sanderson Corner Cemetery on a recent cold and cloudy Saturday.
In December, 1850, two men named Julius D. Scott and John H. Bailey, living in the same neighborhood, had a quarrel which resulted fatally to Bailey. The origin of the difficulty is not known, and is of little consequence; it had been festering a long time, and came to a head on this wise: It was a matter of convenience for Bailey to go through Scott's sugar-bush with an ox-team after poles for fence; so he went and got a load, and Scott forbade his crossing his premises again. Bailey swore he would, and defied Scott to hinder him. Accordingly he took his team and started for the woods, probably with a determination to go through or die in the attempt. Scott was aware of his movement and prepared to meet him, and undoubtedly determined to prevent it or die in the attempt. Thus it was the belligerents met; but as no eye, except that which never slumbers, witnessed the sanguinary conflict, no description can be given. Suffice it to say, Bailey was repulsed and driven from the field without materially injuring his antagonist, and survived only about four weeks. But the principal injury being in the head, he soon became delirious, so that little could be gathered from him in relation to what had taken place, except what his appearance indicated. After his decease, a post-mortem examination disclosed the fact that the skull was fractured, and a coagulum had formed upon the brain which was sufficient to produce death; but whether the contusion was caused by a blow received in mortal combat, or by a fall upon a rock, or upon the sled-beams upon which he might have been riding, we may never know for certainty. Scott was arrested by the civil authority on a charge of murder; but at the preliminary examination holden in Fletcher, that charge was abandoned and he was bound over for trial on a charge of manslaughter, and the testimony not being sufficient to convict for manslaughter, he was convicted of assault and battery, and fined $30.00. He has lived in town ever since, and has the reputation of being a quiet, law-abiding citizen.
We have not been able to locate Julius Scott.