Main Pioneer Menu  |   Profiles Index  |   Search Engine

Keathley Bailes
Pioneer Oregon and Washington Preacher
By Charles Dailey - 2000 -- Revision 1

Keathley Bailes at a Glance:
Born: Indiana in 1829
Married: Sarah Marshall in 1847
Ministry: Jackson, Missouri
Emigrated:To Oregon in 1861
Moved: To Washington in 1878
Ministries: Bethany, Marion Co., OR
Castle Rock, WA
Oretown, OR in 1898
Ellensburg, WA
Died: 1915
Buried: Ellensburg, WA

Keathley Bailes married Sarahanna Marshall in her home town of Green, Missouri. They lived there about a year until moving to Jackson, Missouri where most of their 13 children were born.

Mr. Bailes sometimes signed marriage certificates as a Justice of the Peace, so he may have held that office as well as preaching the gospel in the community. Some of the marriage certificates he signed as a minister of the gospel.
Keathley and Sarah Bailes
Keathley and Sarah Bailes
Courtesy of First Christian
of Ellensburg.

Historian Jerry Rushford says,

In the spring of 1861, just as the Civil War was beginning to threaten the fragile peace in the border state of Missouri, Keathley and Sarah Bailes and their children began the arduous trek across the plains on the Oregon Trail. They traveled by ox team with other families, and one account noted that the trip was "a slow, long and weary one." True to his calling, Keathley Bailes "preached every Sunday" to the circled wagon train during the six-month journey.
Christian on the Oregon Trail by Jerry Rushford.  Search for his book used.

Widowed grandma Elizabeth Bailes may have accompanied the family. Her husband Thomas had died the year before and was buried in Webster, Missouri. Elizabeth married pioneer Samuel S. Cox two years later in Marion County. One writer said that all 10 of her own children were Christians.

After arriving in Oregon in the fall of 1861, they faced a hard winter in Umatilla County, then pressed on to Marion County where Keathley began to preach for the Bethany Christian Church near Silverton. They were still living in Marion County at the time of the 1865 census. While Mr. Bailes was based at Bethany, his circuit riding included nearby churches like Rock Creek.

There is a link to the Bethany Church. A photo there shows where Mr. Bailes may have preached.

Mr. Bailes may have moved into Washington State and then back to Oregon over a period of years. Their two oldest daughters married and settled in Castle Rock, Washington. They are buried at Jackson and Whittle Cemeteries. This points to the family living there at one time and agrees with the history of the Christian Church in Castle Rock that says that Keathley Bailes was among their early preachers.

When Keathley Bailes attended a preacher's meeting in Castle Rock, Washington in 1876, he was still "from Oregon." As a circuit riding preacher, Mr. Bailes traveled by horseback to communities in Oregon and Washington carrying his books and hymnals in large, leather saddle bags.

A note in the Christian Messenger said that Keathly Bailes was making a permanent move to Washington State in 1878. However, Disciples historian Dr. Orval Peterson says,

In the early part of 1877, Keathly Bailes settled in Ellensburg. Mr. Bailes, the first Christian minister in Kittitas County, preached in homes and log schoolhouses. This marked the beginning of the Disciples of Christ in and around the Ellensburg community. The Bible school was first organized in 1882, with E.G. Grindrod as superintendent.
Washington-Northern Idaho Disciples by Orval D. Peterson. Search for his book used.
Link to chapter four of Mr. Peterson's work.
Mr. Bailes farmed in the Fairview district northeast of Ellensburg and also worked as a carpenter. He definitely had his admirers. G. W. Forgey wrote in the Christian Messenger of 1880 these words:
I have lived in this valley about eight years, and it was quite a while before we heard a Christian preacher, then Bro. Bailes came in to the valley, and he now preaches to us once a month when his health permits. He is the only preacher here of any note.
More about Keathley Bailes' work in Kittitas County can be gleaned from our Ellensburg listing.    Additional information about his preaching can be learned by entering "Bailes" in our Search Engine. It will return more than 11 listings.

In 1880, Keathley's mother and step-father, Elizabeth and Samuel Cox, moved to the Kittitas Valley so be near her children. She died three years later. Her obituary was submitted to the Christian Herald by Edward G. Grindrod. He wrote:

"Deceased leaves a husband and 10 children. . .All of her children and many grandchildren are Christians. She was the mother of Elder K. Bailes, a faithful preacher of ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.' She was a zealous Christian. . ."

Mr. Bailes must have moved to Eastern Oregon after leaving Kittitas County. This is based on an entry in the Christian Standard of 1889 and signed by William Huntington:

Castle Rock, Dec. 18. -- Elder K. Bales, of Eastern Oregon, commenced a meeting at this place the second Friday in November, and continued over two Lord's days.
The spelling of the original has been retained.
Mr. Bailes moved to Oretown, Oregon, on the coast, in 1898. He held services in the Oretown school starting in 1899.

They eventually settled at London, south of Cottage Grove, in Lane County. It was here that Mr. Bailes preached his last sermon in November of 1914.

The following article was written for the sixty-eighth anniversary of the marriage of Keathley and Sarahanna:

Ellensburg, Washington Feb. 2, 1915

"Grandma" and Grandpa" Bailes celebrated their marriage Sunday. In 1847 the couple were married in Missouri and 1861 crossed the plains with their ox team settling in the Kittitas valley a little later. Mr. Bailes established the first church in this valley, and was its pastor for some years.

They are the first of five living generations and have 100 living descendants: ten children, 48 grand-children, 40 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. Four of the children live in Ellensburg: Mrs. W. H. Rader, Mrs. F. C. Brown, Mrs. F. C. Barnhart and A. J. Bailes. The couple make their home in London, Ore. but they are spending their winter with their children here. Mrs. Bailes in 83 years of age and her husband in 87.
Plainsman-Review, Friday, Feb. 5, 1915

Keathley died later in 1915 after a period of declining health. Sarah was buried beside him three years later in Oddfellows Cemetery in Ellensburg.





Photos courtesy of Cheryl Rahn

Their son, Andrew Jackson Bailes (1859-1943) and his wife Sarah J. Bailes (1859-1937) are also buried in the same cemetery. Historian Orval Peterson lists A. Jackson Bailes among the early preachers at the Sumner, Washington church.

Link to chapter four of Mr. Peterson's work.  

Thomas Bailes  & Elizabeth (Betsy) King (1802-1883)
|      Keathley Bailes (1829-1915) & Sarahanna Marshall (1832-1918)
|      |      George Bailes (1848-)
|      |      Mary Ann Bailes(1849-1929) & Edward A. Pedigo(1845-1906)
|      |      |      Rebecca Pedigo & Lewis "Josh" Jackson(1868-1949)
|      |      James W. Bailes (1850-)
|      |      Martha "Matty" Bailes (1851-) & Robert D. Jackson 
|      |      |      Lenna Jackson 
|      |      |      Helen Jackson  & John (Or Joe) Cline 
|      |      Parthynia Or Katherine Bailes (1853-)
|      |      Alsie Emiline Bailes (1855-1930)
|      |      Keathley Bailes (1855-)
|      |      Elizabeth Jane Bailes (1856-)
|      |      Sarah Bailes (1857-)
|      |      Lydia Bailes (1858-)
|      |      Andrew Jackson Bailes (1859-)
|      |      Matilda Bailes (1859-)
|      |      Ellen Bailes (1861-)

Main Pioneer Menu  |   Profiles Index  |   Search Engine