Sheriff Joseph Bayliss

Inger Sheil

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I'm looking for material on Joe Bayliss, Smith's off-sider who assisted him at the inquiry in securing and managing witnesses, beyond what is recorded in Wade's work on the American Inq.

Have just been sent some extraordinary material on this man and his interaction with one of the Titanic witnesses, and would appreciate any assistance with background on this 'crusty' (per Wade) sheriff. I'll be following my own avenues of inquiry on this chap, but if anyone has anything to hand it would be appreciated.
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Inger:

The website I've put below gives a sketch of Bayliss--nothing that isn't in Wade--but it does give a name you might contact: Russ Magnaghi, director of the Center for UP Studies at Northern Michigan University (I have no idea what UP is; I just did a search on Google and it came up). I dug up a phone number for Magnaghi at (906) 227-1225.

http://faculty.nmu.edu/upced/UPinfo/Titanic.htm

Other tidbits I found:

--A Joseph J. Bayliss shows up as a son in the household of Charles Bayliss in the 1880 census in Lapeer, Michigan; he was six at the time. There is a death record for Joseph Edward Bayliss, born 8 Jan 1875 in Pakan Hamn, Ontario, Canada; married 31 May 1900 to Estelle McLeod (born in Duluth, Minnesota; some of her geneology has been done back to 1704!), died sometime in 1959 and buried in Sault St. Marie. I suspect they got his name wrong in the 1880 census. If this is indeed him, he had two children--one still living, the other, Clifton McLeod Bayliss, born October 1902 and died 1970. Clifton married in about 1925 and had no children. Estelle preceded Joseph in death on 29 November 1957.

The preceding information comes from http://www.familysearch.org. The information was submitted to them by one Benjamin Owens Raines, whose address is 255 East Oak Lane, Farmington, UT, 84025. He is apparently a distant cousin of Estelle's.

--The Bayliss Public Library in Sault St. Marie was built in 1974-1975 with funds left by Joseph and Estelle Bayliss. See the library history page at http://www.uproc.lib.mi.us/bpl/history.html. I believe that his papers are deposited there, in the Steere Special Collection; evidently he wrote several local histories. I see from Google that there is a website just for that part of the library (http://www.baylisslib.org/steereroom.html), but I can't get the link to work. Maybe you'll have better luck.

--Below is the link to a website that has records from Chippewa County, Michigan: http://www.rootsweb.com/~michcgs/index.html. I didn't find anything here, but I wasn't looking very hard.

Hope this helps

James
 

Inger Sheil

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Many thanks for that information, James and for that clarification, Mark! I'll be following up those links you provided - you've been most helpful. The data I've just recieved suggests a rather different relationship between Bayliss and at least some of the witnesses than one might perhaps have expected.
 

James Smith

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Inger: One more website for you, if you haven't already found it: http://www.baylisslib.org/baylisspapers.html

Per the website on Bayliss:

"Joseph Bayliss, 1875-1959, came to Sault Ste. Marie with his family at an early age, settling here in 1878. He became well-acquainted with the region and its history and devoted a great deal of time to travel, research and writing in and about the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was an authority on the history of the region and compiled many facts, documents, records, etc. illustrating the early days here.

"Mr. Bayliss had a long and colorful life. He began his career in 1898 when he joined the Yukon gold rush as a prospector. In 1921 he entered the Federal Bureau of Investigation and served as an agent until 1928. He was at various times in his life a letter carrier, customs inspector, elected legislator, wholesale grain merchant, roadbuilding machine salesman, traveling auditor, confidential investigator, licensed steamboat pilot, sheriff and civic leader in Sault Ste. Marie.

"In addition to his other endeavors, Mr. Bayliss was a diligent researcher and writer. Together with his wife Estelle, he co-authored a number of articles and books pertaining to the history of the St. Mary's River region, among them Historic St. Joseph's Island and The River of Destiny. He also compiled lists of most of the public officials and businesses of Sault Ste. Marie and Chippewa County."
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The rest of the site details the Bayliss Library's collection of the Joseph Bayliss papers.

From the brief tidbits I've dug up, combined with some of Inger's hints, I have a feeling Joe Bayliss may have been a bit more . . . refined than he is generally given credit for in Titanic circles. Inger, I'll be interested in hearing the results of your research.

James
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Cheers James! I started following up your leads on this last week, and was finally able to get into that site after experiencing the same initial hiccups that you reported above. Am actively pursuing this, and hoping to trace some specific material. Even if this proves unavailable, what I've come across thus far is already quite startling.

Perhaps I could contact you off-line to discuss him further?
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Inger--

I'm not sure how much I can help you (I'm over 800 miles away from Michigan, and haven't done much with Bayliss except to reply to your posts), but if you'd like to contact me off-list I can be reached at jim_smith@byu.edu, or at (801) 361-7421. I'm leaving tomorrow for California to visit my parents, but will be back on 5 May.

James Smith
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Ta James - will drop you a line. You've already been a tremendous help. I've enlisted the assistance of a local historian who has had a good deal of constructive input as well, and am following up what I can from this side of the pond.