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Edith Smith & Dorothy Smith

Edith Smith: Mother of Mary Augusta (Bailey) Polley.

Edith Smith was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee in the late 1700’s. She married James Britton (Brit)Bailey, and together they had 6 children (listed below). Edith died in 1815, likely during or resulting from childbirth.

Six children of James Britton Bailey and Edith Smith:

  1. Gaines born in 1805 in Tennessee, died in 1832 in Texas

  2. Elizabeth (Betsy) born in 1807 in Tennessee, died in 1847 in Texas

  3. Mary Augusta (Pollie) born in 1809 in Tennessee, died in 1888 in Texas

  4. Smith birth year unknown, died in 1833 in Texas.

  5. Phelps birth year unknown, died in 1824 in Texas.

  6. James birth year unknown, and death year unknown.


Dorothy Smith: Aunt/Step-Mother of Mary Augusta (Bailey) Polley.

Dorothy (Dot) Smith was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee in the late 1700’s. She was the sister of Edith Smith. She married James Britton (Brit) Bailey after the death of her sister. Together, Dot and Brit Bailey had three daughters (listed below).

In 1818, the Bailey family ventured to the frontier of Texas, then under the Spanish crown. Dot willingly left the comforts of her family and hometown with an infant in her arms as the family, along with their slaves (and their families), undertook the journey by wagon, boat, horseback, and undoubtedly much walking. She was said to have a cheerful disposition about the adventure.

By all accounts, Dot was very motherly to all of her sister’s children. She was very close to Mary Augusta (Pollie), and to Mammy Belle, their house slave, as the harsh realities of life on the frontier were much for a young mother to endure. Dot made the best of her new life in Texas and planted beautiful flower gardens around their home to bring some comforts of the life they left behind. Dot also sought to teach Pollie how to properly run the house and homestead, despite occasional protestations from the teenage girl.

It is said that Dot was afraid of encounters with the local Indians, and so Pollie acted as hostess whenever Brit Bailey hosted the local tribesmen. From the local native women, however, Dot learned how to run her household in the early days using only what the Texas Gulf Coast Region had to offer: how to use gourds, how to make dyes, how to make hats and baskets from reeds, and how to make medicines with teas and local herbs.

When Betsy and Pollie Bailey both were married on the same day, Dot used the fabric and lace from her own grand wedding dress, that she saved and brought on the journey from Tennessee, to fashion two dresses for the girls.

As more Anglo settlers came into the area, Dot and Brit were very involved in community life and hosted many events at their “Red House on Bennett’s Ridge.” Dot and her three daughters convinced Brit to build a house in the town of Brazoria, but the house was not completed before his death in 1832, and the property was sold shortly thereafter. Dot and the girls stayed in the plantation house for a number of years, and then Dot moved in with one of her girls toward the end of her life. She was always active until her death, the date of which, we are not certain.

Three children of James Britton Bailey and Dorothy (Dot) Smith:

  1. Nancy birth year unknown, and death year unknown.

  2. Sarah birth year unknown, and death year unknown.

  3. Margaret birth year unknown, and death year unknown.


If you find any information on this page to be incorrect, or if you have any verified information that you would like to share for this record, please contact the Polley Association, and reference this page. We would love to hear from you!

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