Thursday, May 14, 2015

Myrtle Bailey and the Second Chinese Revolution

My great grand aunt Myrtle Bailey (1880-1970) lived through extremely interesting historical times in her life as a missionary to China in the first half of the 20th century. Although I’ve already written a post on her early in my first year of blogging, I thought I would share  how I found out about the exciting events in her life by doing a mini-series posting the newspaper articles I found and doing transcriptions of them so that they are easier to read. Conveniently, she lived through about one major historical event per decade, and so I will divide the miniseries into decades. This first post covers the mid-1920s, when Myrtle lived through a portion of the second Chinese revolution and was forced to evacuate from Fat Shan, China.

Climbing My Family Tree: 30 January 1924 The Morning Republican (Findlay Ohio) p. 2
30 January 1924 The Morning Republican (Findlay Ohio) p. 2
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Miss Myrtle Bailey who spent five years in China as a missionary will speak in the frame church in Gilboa, Thursday evening at 7:30 o’clock. She will return to China in the near future.

Climbing My Family Tree: 17 July 1925 The Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth Ohio) p. 2
17 July 1925 The Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth Ohio) p. 2
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Miss Myrtle Bailey, Findlay, missionary to China, has been caught in the revolution in that country and an appeal here yesterday was promptly answered when the Assemblies of God church cabled her $400 for her passage from Hong Kong to Findlay.

Climbing My Family Tree: 17 July 1925 The Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio) p.2
17 July 1925 The Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio) p.2
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Missionary, Life IN Peril as Result of War, Sends to Findlay for Funds – Sum is at Once Dispatched to Allow Her to Return to U.S.

Having fled to the city of Hong Kong, China, for safety in the war stricken Orient, Miss Myrtle Bailey, missionary of this city, cabled for financial aid to embark at once for the United States, and $400 was dispatched to her yesterday morning by the Assembly of God, 406 E. Sandusky Street.

Requests Funds

When the message calling for financial help was received here, a campaign was immediately launched to secure the $400 asked for by Miss Bailey. The amount of the money, however, was borrowed and wired to the Secretary of the Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, who, in turn, cabled it to Hong Kong. Miss Bailey will probably receive the money, it was said, probably today.

Work of securing the $400 to take care of the borrowed amount was begun yesterday under the direction of Mrs. Thomas K. Leonard, wife of Rev. Leonard, who is out of the city. Late in the afternoon, Mrs. Leonard reported $200 had been secured and predicted the goal of $400 would be reached today. Many ready responses were had.  

Ordered to Leave

All foreigners have been ordered to leave China, according to information received by Mrs. Leonard. Many of the missionaries have fled to larger cities for safety, Miss Bailey taking refuge in Hong Kong with several others.

Some of the missionaries, according to Mrs. Leonard, have received ill treatment, Chinese calling the “dogs” in their hurried flights.

Miss Bailey went to China about two years ago, according to Assemblies of God informants. Previously she had spent a period of nine years in the missionary field in China.

She is the daughter of E.C. Bailey, 519 Hull Ave.

Climbing My Family Tree: 12 September 1925 The Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), p.9
12 September 1925 The Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), p.9
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Miss Myrtle Bailey Arrives in Findlay From Orient – Relates Impressions

That China will eventually rid herself of the Bolshevistic tendencies now surfeited, was the opinion expressed yesterday by Miss Myrtle Bailey, 519 Hull Avenue, who has return to Findlay after having fled from her missionary station to escape the dangers of civil warfare.

Miss Bailey is a missionary of the Assemblies of God and has spent seven years in China. Her Headquarters were in Fat Shan, a community of between 800,000 and 1,000,000 persons not far from Canton. She hastily quit the city at the warning of a friend a short time before the American Consul ordered out all American citizens lest their lives be endangered by the warring factions.

For China Alone

"China for the Chinese” is the slogan that has been adopted by the scholars of that nation in an effort to forward the interests of the native residents. Antipathy towards Americans is not pronounced according to Miss Bailey. The chief opposition to the Chinese is to the English and the Japanese who have been boycotted in an attempt to advance the cause of Chinese supremacy.

For days before the American Consul ordered citizens of the United States to quit the city, Miss Bailey had been conscious of a sinister sentiment that pervaded the region.

Her coworker, Miss Mattie Ledbetter, whose home is in Alabama, had left Fat Shan because of broken health. On her way to Hong Kong she saw a fleet of gunboats loaded with soldiers formerly commanded by Dr. Sun Yat Sen who were on their way to attack the Yuananese troops that occupied Fat Shan and Canton.

Miss Ledbetter immediately dispatched word to Miss Bailey, informing her of the situation. Quickly assembling her belongings, she left posthaste for Hong Kong. Shortly afterward the edict for Americans to retire from the city was issued. So great was the necessity for speed that those washing their clothing packed the garments while they were still wet.

Decides To Return

At Hong Kong a council of all missionaries from the sector of the hostilities assembled. It was decided to attempt to return to their post before eight months. Some believed it would take longer and some doubted they would ever be able to return. Miss Bailey wired the local congregation for funds and later embarked for America on the Empress of Australia. She arrived in Findlay Sunday morning.

According to the Findlay woman, there are three types of Chinese in the nation of Celestials. One element is the ignorant class whom hold to the customs of the past. Another group is a class of substantial citizens of the commercial type who have tolerant views concerning foreigners. The third classification takes in students who as a rule are extremely radical and who have been fired by Bolshevistic ideas.

The southern part of China does not recognize the Peking government. Dr. Sen attained power in the south by arms. Later he was forced to hide from his enemies. He finally set up a Soviet government.

The city of Fat Shan, which is subsidiary to Canton, had organized a militia for protection. The Yuananese troops from a province by that name on the west managed to secure the arms of the Home Guard by stealth. Fat Shan capitulated without resistance.
Turn Towards Canton

In June the troops that had supported Dr. Sen before his death turned towards Canton determined to drive out the Yuananese. It was then that Miss Bailey left her station. There was practically no fighting in Fat Shan but in adjacent Canton the fighting was intense. Events of indescribable brutality took place according to the missionary. The Yuananese were defeated and withdrew from Canton and Fat Shan.

Agitation of a radical nature was in evidence when Miss Bailey entered China 7 years ago she said. The foreign quarters of Canton are on an island in the Canton River which is called Shameen. A huge patriotic parade was produced by the Chinese students of the city.

When the procession reached the bridge leading to the Shameen, a number of shots were fired into the groups of foreigners. The gunboats on the river and the machine guns on the island returned fire.

The shots that opened the fray are supposed to have been fired by Bolshevists. One Frenchman was killed. The affair served as fuel for increasing the hostilities it is said.

Handbills with a picture of a heart with a dagger thrust through it were used by the Chinese to notify the natives the boycott against the English was in effect in Hong Kong. The English issued a counter edict stating all natives who refused to work must leave the city. Thousands did.

Miss Bailey has an optimistic view of conditions in China and believes the time will come when she can continue her work there. She returned to Findlay on furlough about one and a half years ago.

Climbing My Family Tree: 26 March 1927 The Morning Republican (Findlay Ohio) p. 9
26 March 1927 The Morning Republican (Findlay Ohio) p. 9
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Local Missionaries In China In No Immediate Danger, Belief

Findlay persons, who have journeyed to the Orient in the hope of spreading the gospel message are apparently in no immediate danger, according to their friends and relatives who have been keeping close touch with the China situation.

Miss Georgia Weist, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Weist, who is a missionary from St. Paul’s evangelical church is not in the danger zone, it is believed, as she is stationed 900 miles from Nanking.

Cablegrams received by Mrs. E. H. Wurmser, head of the Bible and Missionary Training School are to the effect that the missionaries who have gone out from the local school to China are located in the coastal cities, either in Shanghai or Hong Kong.

Miss Josephine Cobb of the city, a graduate of the training school, is among the missionaries in China. Her sister, Miss Lenora Cobb, is on the faculty of the training school. Miss Myrtle Bailey, also Findlay and a graduate of the school, is reported safe in China.

Other graduates of the training school who are now missionaries in China are Mr. and Mrs. Ollaf Firm, Miss Catherine Clouse, Miss Jenny Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Williamson, and Mrs. Anna Bush.

[All newspaper articles found at]

Next Installment will cover the 1930s.


  1. What a dramatic saga! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and reading, Marian!

    What she experienced in the 1940s is even more dramatic but not as well documented -- that I've found, to date. I'll post that decade in two weeks. For a more full story (in overview), with historical context explained, click through to read the original post; I explained more of the backstory in the bio-post.


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