John Bailhache

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John Bailhache, journalist



This article is drawn from a variety of on-line resources. The report of the Jersey wedding and the friendship of John Bailhache with Abraham Lincoln are contained, as part of a full history of John Bailhache, in an article in Issue 127 of the Channel Islands Family History Journal, written by Daniel Benest, a direct desendant of John Bailhache


John Bailhache, a pioneering journalist, was born in Jersey on 8 May 1787. After gaining the rudiments of an education in French, he acquired a knowledge of English and some proficiency in Greek and Latin in an academy near his home. He spent five years as a printer's apprentice.

Family

He was the son of teacher John Bailhache and Mary De La Perrelle.

He married Elizabeth, the daughter of the Rev Dr William Heath, of Virginia, whose ancestors were English, and Sarah Watson. She was a native Virginian of Revolutionary stock, a relative of the famous Lee family.

Emigration

He went to the United States in 1810 to visit relatives in Ohio, and being unable to return, on account of the blockade, settled first in Cambridge, Ohio, but, two years later he purchased a half interest in The Fredonian at Chillicothe (then the state capital), soon after becoming sole owner.

In 1815 he purchased The Scioto Gazette and consolidated the two papers under the name of The Scioto Gazette and Fredonian Chronicle. He remained until 1828, meantime engaging temporarily in banking, also serving one term in the Legislature (1820), and being elected Associate Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Ross County.

In 1828 he removed to Columbus, assuming charge of The Ohio State Journal, served one term as mayor of the city, and was State Printer. He sold The Journal in 1836.

When the seat of Government moved to Columbus, he disposed of the Gazette and established the Ohio State Journal, which he ran until he moved to Illinois in 1836. The following year he became part owner, and finally sole proprietor, of The Telegraph at Alton, Illinois, which he ran alone or in association with various partners until 1854, when he retired, giving his attention to the book and job branch of the business.

County representative

He served as representative for Madison County in the 13th general assembly (1842-44). As a man and a journalist, Judge Bailhache commanded the highest respect, and did much to elevate the standard of journalism in Illinois, The Telegraph, during the period of his connection with it, being one of the leading papers of the State.

Abraham Lincoln

It is not clear how they came to know each other, but it is believed that John Bailhache was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and the future American president may have lodged with him while travelling.

Jersey visit

He returned briefly to Jersey in 1853 to be a witness to the marriage of his niecve, Mary Ann Le Rossignol, to Jean Bauche at St Ouen's Parish Church. He would have travelled by stagecoach and railway to reach the Atlantic coast. He wrote the following of the wedding:

"I will now proceed to give you a short account of the wedding of cusin Mary ANn Le Rossignol and Mr Bauche, which took place a short time since, in order that you may see the difference between those celebrated in the United States and those solemnised à la Jersiaise. The service was to be performed at eleven in the morning in the old parish church. A little after ten the carriages ordered for the occasion rolled up the avenue of Grantez House - the residente of the bride's widowed mother - and took up their stations in the courtyard. A pair of white gloves was then given to each of the coachmen after which they amused themselves until everything was ready, in making large bouquets of flowers with which they adorned their horses, and before setting out, partook of the cake and wine which had been provided for them.
"The bride elegantly attired in silk, as is the fashion here, was handed into the last carriage by the gentleman she had chosen for her protector through life. She was attended by her bridesmaids, tastefully dressed in white. The bridegroom, Mr Bauche, then stepped into the first carriage accompanied by some friends; when the party proceeded toward the church about half a mile distant.
"Upon our arrival we found about one hundred persons already assembled there, in order to witness the wedding. The bridgroom accompanied by a married lady went in first; then the invited guests consisting of a number of young ladies and young gentlemen who walked two and two, each of the former having a beautiful bouquet in her hand, presenting a splendid sight. The bride was the last to enter.
"At the conclusion of the ceremony the party returned to the carriages in the same order, except that the bride and bridegroom now went ahead, the others following. The church windows had been purposely left open to afford those outside an opportunity to witness what passed within.
"We then proceeded to the residence of Mr Bauche being saluted as we passed along by the people hwo lined the road. Here a splendid banquet awaited the party to which ample justice was done.
"On the 10th of last month - it being Sunday - the newly married pair went to church for the first time after their marriage accompanied by the wedding guests, all in full dress. On the 12th, 13th and 14th, the bride and bridegroom, with the bridesmaids, remained in state to receive the congratulations of their numerous friends."

Death

Jean Bailhache died at Alton on 3 September 1857, as a result of injuries received the day before, when he was thrown from a carriage in which he was riding and thrown into a 40-foot ravine.

Sons

Major William Henry Bailhache

John Bailhache's son William Henry was born at Chillicothe, Ohio, on 14 August 1826, removed with his father to Alton, in 1836, was educated at Shurtleff college, and learned the printing trade in the office of The Telegraph, under the direction of his father, afterwards being associated with the business department. In 1855, in partnership with Edward L Baker, he became one of the proprietors and business managers of The State Journal at Springfield.

During the Civil War he received from President Lincoln the appointment of Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, serving to its close and receiving the brevet rank of Major. After the war he returned to journalism and was associated at different times with The State Journal and The Quincy Whig, as business manager of each, but retired in 1873; in 1881 he was appointed by President Arthur, Receiver of Public Moneys at Santa Fe, remaining four years. In 1899 he was a resident of San Diego, California, where he was engaged in newspaper work, and, under the administration of President McKinley, was been a Special Agent of the Treasury Department.

Preston Heath Bailhache

Preston Heath, another son, was born in Columbus Ohio, on 21 February 1835, served as a surgeon during the Civil War, later became a surgeon in the regular army and held positions in marine hospitals at Baltimore, Washington and New York, and visited Europe in the interest of sanitary and hospital service. In 1899 he occupied a prominent position at the headquarters of the United States Marine Hospital Service in Washington.

Arthur Lee Bailhache

Arthur Lee, a third son, was born at Alton on 12 April 1839; at the beginning of the Civil War he was employed in the State commissary service at Camp Yates and Cairo, became Adjutant of the 38th Illinois Volunteers, and died at Pilot Knob, Missouri on 9 January 1862, as the results of disease and exposure in the service.

Family tree

Sources

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