Captain Edward Bailey is president of the Champaign National Bank, an institution which has become noted as one of the most conservative in the United States and as a leader among the great banking institutions of Illinois. He was one of its founders.
He was born at Bloomfield, Edgar County, Illinois, September 8, 1843, a son of David and Hannah (Finley) Bailey, concerning whom mention is made on other pages. His early education was obtained in subscription schools at Bloomfield.
In the last part of 1854 or early in 1855 his parents moved to Monticello, Illinois, thence to Urbana, Illinois, and in the spring of 1856 to Champaign, where he attended the public schools. In 1858 and 1859 he was a student at Atkinson Academy, Atkinson, New Hampshire. In the fall of 1860 he entered Douglas University in Chicago. This was the nucleus of the old Chicago University, which still later was founded and chartered as the University of Chicago.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861 an independent military company was formed in this school. As a member of that company Edward Bailey learned the regulation drill and became very proficient therein. When Stephen A. Douglas died this company had the position of honor in the funeral procession and at the grave.
In 1862 he enlisted in Company K, Sixty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was elected first lieutenant by the company. After serving out that enlistment he returned home and at the request of his parents attended commercial school. He also clerked in a dry goods store owned by his father and W. B. Bailey. In 1864 Edward Bailey enlisted in his country’s service again, this time as a member of Company B, One Hundred Thirty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The company elected him captain, and in that capacity he served out the enlistment.
At the conclusion of his army service he clerked in a dry goods store in Champaign and later held a similar position at Ridgefarm, Vermilion County. Afterwards he was clerk for the firm of Richards & Brother in Champaign, in which business he had a small interest.
In 1868 he was married to Josephine S. Richards, who had come to Champaign with her parents from the State of Maine. To this union three children were born: Fred Sumner Bailey, who is vice president of the Champaign National Bank; Josephine Belle Bailey; and Ange Bailey.
In the fall of 1879 Mr. Bailey, Mr. W. S. Maxwell and Mr. James C. Miller organized the private banking company of Bailey, Maxwell & Miller. In 1882 they applied for authority to organize the Champaign National Bank, with capital stock of fifty thousand dollars. In this they were joined by six other stockholders, all of whom were present at the organization of the bank. A board of directors was elected and when the board organized Edward Bailey was elected president and has been president ever since, a period of thirty-five years, making him one of the senior bank presidents in the state.