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Shelah Bailey was the eldest son of, Abraham Bailey, one of Bridgeport's first pioneers. Like his father , he wanted to operate a tavern in his home on South Benson. On
May 19, 1834 Shelah, along with James Milam, as his security, petitioned the Franklin County Court for a license to operate a tavern.
County records indicate Shelah Bailey married in
Mary Church. In the year following his marriage, he erected a log house,
which was located between the
South Benson road and Benson creek and north of the "Big Road" The new home was a story and a half with two stone chimneys, one on each side of the house. In 1834
anticipating his desire to become a leading innkeeper, Shelah remodeled his residence to met the needs of a prosperous tavern and inn.
the death of his father in 1835, Shelah attended an estate auction ordered
by John Mayhall, the executor of Abraham Bailey's will. He purchased
197 acres of his father's land, including its log house and barns. Rumors of the railroad coming to the Big Benson Valley, some miles to the north, brought much speculation
of big business to the area. The house that Shelah had built on the 60 area plot, once belonging to his father, was a perfect location and design for a roadside tavern. An
addition was built, a porch was added across the entire back of the house and the sign Bailey's Tavern was hung. Shelah was now open for business. He prospered well in
new business, becoming well known in Frankfort and Shelbyville. Travelers
made plans to stop at Bailey's, if not to stay the night, to have a good
before continuing on their journey.
Shelah Bailey died on August 4, 1847 and is buried in Bridgeport at the BAILEY GRAVEYARD located on Brown's lane.
Old Bridgeport, by Willard Rouse Jillson
Church and Family Graveyards of Franklin County, by KGS
Franklin County Marriage Bonds, 1815
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