Bailey's Prairie, Texas
|Bailey's Prairie, Texas|
Location of Bailey's Prairie, Texas
|• Total||7.7 sq mi (19.9 km2)|
|• Land||7.5 sq mi (19.4 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)|
|Elevation||30 ft (9 m)|
|• Density||92.4/sq mi (35.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1351418|
The village was established in 1818 by James Britton Bailey.
Bailey's Prairie is located at .(29.158084, -95.491051)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 7.7 square miles (20 km2), of which, 7.5 square miles (19 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (2.34%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 694 people, 237 households, and 201 families residing in the village. The population density was 92.4 people per square mile (35.7/km²). There were 244 housing units at an average density of 32.5 per square mile (12.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 80.84% White, 14.12% African American, 0.86% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.43% Pacific Islander, 2.02% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.09% of the population.
There were 237 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 77.6% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.8% were non-families. 13.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the village the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 33.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $73,125, and the median income for a family was $90,648. Males had a median income of $47,083 versus $29,609 for females. The per capita income for the village was $32,267. About 1.9% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Bailey's Prairie is zoned to schools in the Angleton Independent School District.
It is said that the highway that connects Angleton and West Columbia (and also runs through Bailey's Prairie) is haunted by the ghost of one James Briton Bailey - for whom the area was named. According to legend, the ghost, carrying a lantern, roams across the flat land of Brazoria County - at night, constantly searching for a jug of whiskey.
It appears as a bouncing, white ball of light floating about four to six feet off the ground occasionally making an appearance somewhere between West Columbia and Angleton. A large number of folks have seen the phenomenon known as "Bailey's Light."
According to The Handbook of Texas, James Briton Bailey was in Texas before Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists had arrived. He was born in North Carolina in 1779. Bailey was married at a young age and the couple had six children. After his first wife died, he married her sister and fathered five more children.
Bailey, known as "Brit," moved his family from North Carolina to Kentucky and apparently served in the legislature of that state. He was a very controversial figure and obtained a bad reputation. The story goes that he was prosecuted for forgery before he left the state.
After leaving Kentucky, Bailey turned up in Tennessee. He lived there for a number of years and later fought in the War of 1812. When the war was over, Bailey moved his family and six adult slaves to Texas. He settled on land that would later become part of Brazoria County. That specific area is known as Bailey's Prairie.
Bailey allegedly bought his land from the Spanish government. After Mexico won its independence from Spain however, the Mexican authorities refused to recognize his claim that the land belonged to him. Bailey would not give up his home even though Stephen F. Austin ordered him to leave the Austin colony.
Although Bailey and Austin apparently disliked one another, Austin finally recognized Bailey's squatter's claim to the land. He was given a league and a labor of ground on the east bank of the Brazos River. Brit Bailey was later commissioned as a captain in the local militia. At that time, Texans were loyal Mexican citizens and Bailey took the oath to defend the Mexican Constitution of 1824.
Bailey gained a reputation as being a troublemaker - he regularly engaged in brawls and evidently was a constant thorn in the side of Stephen Austin. Some were probably relieved when he finally died. Those who knew Brit Bailey may have thought that he died of just plain meanness, but history says that the tough old man succumbed to cholera on December 6, 1832.
In his will, Bailey demanded that he be buried standing straight up and facing the West. According to legend, he also wanted his rifle at his side and a jug of whiskey at his feet. The slaves who were digging the grave stole Bailey's jug of whiskey.
Nobody knows what causes the light to appear over Bailey's Prairie.
The vision of Bailey's Light has been prevalent in Brazoria County for years and the folks there are probably convinced the old Brit is never going to find that jug of whiskey and that's okay.
The light has been known to "chase" vehicles travelling on the highway late at night or in the early morning hours.
Other versions of this legend involve his wife not complying with the request that he be buried with liquor. At the burial ceremony, she retrieved the liquor from the casket and remarked that he had lived with alcohol and would not meet the Lord with it and tossed it away into the distant field. It is recorded that he is still searching for the liquor that she had discarded.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Bailey’s Prairie, Texas". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.