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BAILEY, Effingham Wagner
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
II, page 255, 1923.
BAILEY, EFFINGHAM WAGNER. Among the enterprising and progressive citizens of Fernandina who
while advancing their own interests and fortunes have also endeavored to contribute to their
community's welfare and betterment, few have given of themselves so whole-heartedly to the
work as EFFINGHAM WAGNER BAILEY, who up to January 1, 1923, was vice president of the steamship
and forwarding agents firm of McGriffin & Company, and was the builder of the handsome
Keystone Hotel. During a busy career he has experienced a number of the vicissitudes which
are apt to occur in the life of a man of action, but at all times has maintained his affection
for and faith in his adopted community.
Mr. BAILEY was born at Charleston, South Carolina, July 11, 1866, and is a son of WILLIAM
HENRY and EUGENIA (WAGNER) BAILEY, natives of the same city. Dr. WILLIAM HENRY BAILEY was
born June 13, 1835, and after attending private schools in his youth entered the Charleston
Medical College, later pursuing a course at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia,
and finally taking a post-graduate course which included attendance at noted institutions
of Heidelburg, Germany, and Paris, France. He returned to the United States not long before
the outbreak of the Civil war and became a surgeon in the Medical Corps of the Confederate
Army, with which he served until the close of the struggle. After the war he became
demonstrator of anatomy at Charleston Medical College, a position which he retained until
his death in 1881. He was a member of the various organizations of his profession, held
membership in the Knights of Pythias, and was a democrat in political faith. His religious
belief was that of the Episcopal Church. Mrs. BAILEY, who was born January 31, 1839, died
in 1884. There were four children in the family, all of whom are living, and EFFINGHAM W.
was the third in order of birth.
EFFINGHAM WAGNER BAILEY attended the public schools of Charleston, including the Bennett
High School of that city, and later pursued a course at Porter Military Academy. He was
not yet fifteen years of age when his father died, and his first employment was as a messenger
for a general store, his salary being $1.50 per week. From this position he became a
messenger for the Western Union Telegraph Company, and then was employed as junior clerk
in a cotton manufacturing office. In 1886 he came to Fernandina as chief clerk for the
Clyde Steamship Line, remaining in that capacity for about two years or until the company
withdrew its steamers from the port of Fernandina. His next post was that of bill clerk
for the old Florida and Railway Navigation Company, later the Florida Central and Peninsula
Railway, and then with the Seaboard Railway. In 1893 Mr. BAILEY engaged in the forwarding
and steamship business, under the firm name of McGriffin & Company, of which concern he was
vice president until January 1, 1923, at which time he sold out his interest in the business
to engage independently in the import and export trade and outfitting sailing vessels. For
some years past he has been the official inspector of the hard rock phosphate passing through
the port of Fernandina. In 1912, realizing Fernandina's need for a commodious and up-to-date
hostelry, Mr. BAILEY erected the Keystone Hotel, an establishment of thirty-four rooms,
up-to-date in every way, and the finest equipped in all Northern Florida. Mr. BAILEY's
boosting proclivities have been shown in numerous ways, never better than when on the back
of his hotel stationery he had printed a map of Fernandina and the surrounding territory,
showing the numerous advantages of the section. He has various civic connections, and in
politics is a democrat, while his fraternal affiliation is with Fernandina Lodge No. 795,
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On November 13, 1893, Mr. Bailey was united in marriage with Miss KATHERINE ALLEN McDONELL,
who was born at Fernandina, and they have four children: MARY LOUISE, the wife of HAROLD
A. STRUSS, with a son and a daughter; AUGUSTUS O.; EFFINGHAM WAGNER, Jr., who married
ZIPPORAH JONES; and RENE GODARD.
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© 2010 Fran Smith