ra S. Bailey was born in Mt. Vernon, Texas in 1890. As a young man he learned the trade of interior decorating and was practicing it when World War I broke out. He enlisted in the United States Army at Corsicana, Texas, serving from July 1917 to April 1919. Two weeks before he left for overseas duty, he married Mattie Mathison in Corsicana.
Mattie Mathison, who became a schoolteacher, was born in Texas on May 7, 1893. Her parents, Claude and Ida Mathison, moved from Texas to Hope, Alaska in 1901 in search of gold. Not having any luck in Hope, the family moved to Seward in 1904, then back to Texas later that year. After about a year, they returned to Alaska, landing in Unga on the Aleutian Chain, where Claude worked in a coal mine. They returned to Seward, staying until 1911. Then, Ida took the family back to Texas and lived there for the next seven years.
When Ira Bailey sailed for France, Mattie’s mother took all of the Mathison family back to Seward. Mattie was pregnant at the time and the firstborn son, Ira S., Jr., was born in Seward in 1918. While serving in France, Ira rose to the rank of first sergeant in Battery B, 132nd Field Artillery. After World War I ended, Ira was discharged on April 10, 1919 and he immediately sailed for Seward, to rejoin the family.
Ira Bailey resumed his trade as a painter while in Seward and soon thereafter the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC) hired him as a painter and then as a timekeeper. From 1920 until 1921, he worked for the Alaska Railroad in Seward, and then moved to Anchorage in 1922. He was appointed assistant fire chief in Anchorage in 1931 and held the position until his death. Ira was active as a baseball player and also manager of the local team. He organized the first Boy Scout troop in Anchorage under the auspices of the American Legion.
Ira Bailey died on November 25, 1937, and his widow was left with their five sons, Ira S., Jr., Robert, Albert, William and Warren, and one daughter, Lucille. Mattie worked for the Alaska Railroad during the summers of 1938 and 1939 and also taught school in Hope, Ellamar and Eagle.
The eldest son, Ira S., Jr., better known as Stan, and his first wife, Addie, had one daughter, Barbara Jean. Stan’s second wife, Patricia, had five daughters from a previous marriage, and she and Stan had another daughter, Monica. Stan was a master mariner, and retired with 58 years’ experience on Alaska waters, as well as in Panama and Russia.
Robert Bailey and his first wife, Grace, had one daughter, Michelle, and one son, Ira. With his second wife, Allene, Robert had three daughters, Alandra, Keri, and Jody. Albert Bailey was married three times. He and his first wife, Joanne, had a daughter, Susan; with his second wife, LaVerne, he had a son, Scott; and with his third wife, Jean, he had a daughter, Allison and a stepson, Ernie.
William Bailey and his first wife, Marilyn, had one son, William, and one daughter, Carolyn. He had no children with his second wife, Maggie. Warren Bailey and his first wife, Jackie, had two sons, Jeff and Robert. With his second wife, Sandy, he had one son, James, and one daughter, Lorri. There were also two stepchildren, Steve and Jayne. Lucille Bailey Gardner had no children.
Ira S. Bailey, Sr. is buried in the American Legion Tract, Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. Mattie Bailey died on September 1, 1977 in Los Angeles, California. Ira S., Jr. died in 1993, and Warren died in 1989.
- Ira Bailey, born in 1890.
- Mattie Bailey, born in 1894.
- The Bailey children: back row, Robert, middle—Stan, Bill, Albert, front—Warren and Lucille, 1939.
- Mattie, the winner of the Alaska State Pillsbury Bake-off, 1961.
- Lucille (Bailey) and her husband, Berry Gardiner, 1998.