Hachaliah Bailey

From the list of elephant persons Family: Bailey

Hachaliah Bailey
Hachaliah  Bailey
Hachaliah Bailey (1775-1845), Artist unknown, oil on canvas SHS75.8.1 The William & Nancy Bailey Collection
Personal details

Spouse(s) Mary Bailey

Country United States

Work locations
Title owner 1823
Location at Bailey & Finch in United States

Title owner 1817-1823
Location at Bailey, Brunn & Purdy in United States

Title owner 1808-1809
Location at Bailey, Brunn and Lent in United States

Title owner 1808
Location at Bailey Circus in United States

Relevant literature
Biography details

Hachaliah Bailey , circus owner in United States

Born 1774-07-31 in United States in United States , son of other James Bailey and other Anne Bailey .

Hachaliah Lyman Bailey (1774-1845) was born in Somers, Westchester, New York, USA on 31 Jul 1774 to James Bailey and Anna Brown.

Bailey moved to Northern Virginia in 1837 from Westchester County, New York, and, on December 19, 1837, bought the land at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike in Fairfax County, Virginia just outside Falls Church, Virginia, that land now known as Bailey\'s Crossroads.

Like his father, Hachaliah became a farmer where he farmed land and raised cattle. Hachaliah married Mary Purdy and they had five children. Hachaliah Bailey was also known for finding other ways to make an income. He became one of the directors of the Croton Turnpike Company, this eventually turned into a toll road through the middle of Somers where it became a major route. This route was used to transport cattle to the Hudson. Another way Hachaliah made a profit was by becoming a part-owner of a sloop which was used to transport farm animals.

Hachaliah and many locals frequented a bar called the Bull Head Tavern. This is where Hachaliah bought his elephant Old Bet for only $1,000. She had previously been on exhibit in Boston in 1804, but Bailey found her for sale four years later in a New York City cattle market. (An alternate version of the story relates that Bailey purchased Old Bet from a sea captain, possibly his brother, who had acquired the elephant for $20 in London prior to the War of 1812.)

Old Bet's name drew from Hachaliah's daughter Elizabeth whose nickname was Young Beth. Old Bet was the second elephant ever to be brought to the United States. Hachaliah brought the elephant to Hudson Valley in 1805 and then New York City in 1806. Old Bet was originally supposed to be used as a draft animal, however, it didn't take long for Hachaliah to realize the rising interest that Americans had for exotic animals.

Bailey originally planned to use Old Bet as a draught animal on his farm, but she attracted so much attention that he decided to found a travelling menagerie instead. He started out to show Old Bet with a wagon of hay, a horse to draw it, and an assistant.

Hachaliah then used this intrigue and began traveling at night so no one could get a glimpse of the animal and he would charge 25 cents per person to see Old Bet.

Hachaliah then decided to showcase Old Bet in a small circus. After Hachaliah's neighbors saw the booming success the exotic creature brought to Hachaliah, most of his neighbors started buying and showcasing exotic animals. Soon after Somers became known for its intriguing animals. By 1808 Hachaliah took on two partners Benjamin Lent and Andrew Brunn each paying $1200 for one/third of the interest on Old Bet.

Hachaliah also owned two more elephants after Old Bet was shot On July 24, 1816 on tour near Alfred, Maine, by a local farmer who was angry with the amount of money and attention that was being spent on an elephant.

Bailey memorialized her in 1825 with a statue and the Elephant Hotel in Somers, New York.

Hachaliah  Bailey

As a memorial to his elephants Hachaliah Bailey built the Elephant Hotel, on a piece of land he had purchased from Thomas Leggett in 1807 for $1250.

In 1837, Bailey sold the hotel and moved to Northern Virginia, bought the land surrounding the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike in Fairfax County, Virginia near Falls Church, Virginia, and gave Bailey's Crossroads his name.[1][7] The Crossroads then became the winter quarters for his circus.[7]

In 1845 Hachaliah returned to Somers for a visit and died from the kick of a horse while there.[4] He is buried in Somers' Ivandell Cemetery.[1][3][8]

Several of the next generation of Baileys performed in circuses. Hachaliah Bailey served as a role model to a young P.T. Barnum, who wrote of meeting him when Hachaliah visited Barnum's store in Bethel, Connecticut. In 1888, Barnum lent his name to a partnership with James Anthony Bailey, who had adopted the surname of Frederick Bailey, a nephew of Hachaliah's, to form the Barnum and Bailey Circus.


Total: 4 children

  1. Solomon Bailey.
  2. Lewis Bailey. Born: 1803. Dead: † 1870
  3. Joseph Todd Bailey. Born: 1807. Dead: † 1881
  4. James Purdy Bailey. Born: 1812. Dead: † 1853

Hachaliah Bailey s ancestral Ahnentafel:


Hachaliah Bailey
Born: 1774-07-31

James Bailey

Born: 1747-09-27

Paternal Grandfather:

Paternal Great-grandfather:
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Paternal Grandmother:

Paternal Great-grandfather::
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Annezz Brown

Born: 1753-04-17

Maternal Grandfather:
Hackaliah Brown

Born: 1727=08=27
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Hackaliah Brown
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Anna Kniffen
Maternal Grandmother:
Abigai Halstead

Born: 1734-08-20
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2023). owner Hachaliah Bailey in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 1 October 2023 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=522. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Stuart Thayer, USA
  • Page 9, Elefanten in Zoo und Circus, Dokumentation 2 Nordamerika, 1997, by European Elephant Group: Haufellner, Schilfarth, Schweiger

Search more with Google for Hachaliah Bailey The link will automatically include Hachaliah Bailey and open a new browser window.

Search more on the Internet Web for Hachaliah Bailey The link will automatically include Hachaliah Bailey and open a new browser window

Categories owner | circus | Bailey, Brunn & Purdy | Bailey family | Born 1774 | People from United States

About this documentThis document was created: . Updated: 2021-11-23 09:22:34 with valid HTML5 Valid CSS

Elephant Encyclopedia and database

Established 1995
Established 2006
Your ip:
Kulen Elephant Forest