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James Bailey Polley

Child of Joseph Henry Polley and Mary Augusta (Bailey) Polley.

The second of the Polley children, and first-born son was born in January of 1829, just thirteen months after his older sister. James was born in Brazoria County just after his parents moved back to the area from the town of San Felipe de Austin. He was named for his maternal grandfather, the famous James Britton “Brit” Bailey, who lived on a tract of land adjacent to Bell’s Landing, where the Polleys made their home.

We do not know much about young James, other than his tragically young death on August 25, 1834 at the age of five. James was the only one of the Polley’s eleven children to die in childhood. The cause of his death is unknown; however, 1832-33 saw a great flood of the Brazos River, which the family lived along, and subsequent yellow fever epidemic, concurrent with a cholera outbreak. The river flooding also severely damaged crops, leaving vulnerable populations, like young children, under-nourished, and potentially weakened against the rampant diseases of the day.

James’ burial location is unknown. The two oldest cemeteries in the area, the Old Brazoria Cemetery (1827) and the Old Columbia Cemetery (1833) both have no record of young James Bailey Polley, so he may have been buried at home, or on the land at Bailey’s Prairie, his grandfather’s homestead.

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