Jacob Bailey fonds

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Jacob Bailey fonds

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MG 1 vol. 91-104 (use microfilm reels)

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  • 1748-[183-], predominant 1753-1788 (Creation)
    Bailey, Jacob, 1731-1808

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Physical description

1.6 m of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Jacob Bailey was born 16 April 1731 at Rowley, Mass., the second child of David Bailey and Mary Hodgkins. He received his AB from Harvard in 1755, taught school for a few years, then returned to Harvard to obtain his AM. Bailey converted to the Church of England in 1759 and was ordained a clergyman in London on 16 March 1760. Upon his return to America, he was appointed to the parish at Pownalborough, Mass. In 1761 Bailey married Sally Weeks and they had six children. The American Revolution prompted Bailey and his family to move to Nova Scotia in June 1779. He was assigned to the parish of Cornwallis in October 1779 where he remained until his appointment as rector to the parish at Annapolis Royal in 1782. The latter parish covered the areas of Granville, Clements and Digby. Bailey was also known for his literary works. He wrote anti-rebel and religious satires, including America and Jack Ramble, the Methodist Preacher, along with several (incomplete) novels and plays. Bailey also wrote prose on theology, morality, and American history. He died at Annapolis Royal on 26 July 1808 at age 77.

Custodial history

Records, namely letters and diaries, were originally in the custody of a Miss Whitman of Annapolis who ordered and arranged the papers before giving them to the Nova Scotia Historical Society in 1904. They were then transferred by the society to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia sometime prior to 1931.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, 1753-1830, letter books, 1748-1802, and diaries, 1753-1783, kept by Rev. Bailey documenting his family life, ministerial activities in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, and experiences of a Loyalist refugee. Correspondence includes letters from family, acquaintances, and colleagues in the United States, England, and Nova Scotia, including several written by Rev. Joshua Weeks, Anglican minister at Marblehead, Mass. and later at Halifax. Records also document the personal experiences and views of the American Revolution and attitudes of Loyalists, difficulties surrounding an appointment to the Annapolis Royal Garrison chaplaincy by a non-resident, Joshua Weeks, and controversies over the election for Annapolis County in 1785 and appointment of a bishop in 1787. Fonds also contains Bailey's numerous unpublished and published writings, including manuscripts of Jack Ramble, a novel "The Flower of the Wilderness", "History of New England", "Contested Annapolis County Election", draft chapters of other novels (incomplete), several poems, and a lengthy description of his travels through Nova Scotia and its people, geography, agriculture, etc; sermons and notes on religion and history; school notebooks used by Bailey when he was teaching; a book of poems by Charles Bailey, ca. 1830s; and other miscellaneous items.

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Physical condition

Some letter books difficult to decipher due to style and size of handwriting and stains. Also several letters torn.

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Available on microfilm.

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Item list available.

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General note

Additional microfilmed records concerning Jacob Bailey, 1776-1788, were obtained in 1964 from the Samuel Peters collection at the U.S. Archives of the Church Historical Society. Formerly known as Rev. Jacob Bailey papers.

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