Not much is known about Captain Bailey. The man who would become a successful and well-traveled ship captain grew up as an orphan, with little known about his childhood. Before he spent much of his time sailing ship routes around the world and collecting relics from the ports he visited, William Eliot Bailey lived modestly on the coast of Maine.
Born on Booth Bay Harbor in the summer of 1855, Captain Bailey was always near the ocean and fascinated with the comings and goings from the port. As a young man he spent much of his time watching the ships that came into the harbor and it was on one of these days that he met Alpheus May, his future father-in-law who would open his world dramatically. Alpheus saw the potential in William and took him under his wing. After spending some time together, Alpheus saw that William had a real knack for sailing and survival on the open sea. It was through this friendship that William met Lizzie, Alpheus’ daughter, whom he fell in love with and eventually married.
At first, William mainly sailed short routes, but that all changed when Alpheus introduced him to Charles C. Rice. Charles was a wealthy businessman who approached William with a partnership - and thus Captain Bailey was born. With this partnership in place, William became the captain of a three masted cargo ship, appropriately named, The Charles C. Rice. This transformed the orphan from Maine with a modest sailing background into a global ship captain and transporter of luxury goods.
Captain Bailey and his ship circumnavigated the planet - going to ports in China, sailing around the Cape of South America and regularly delivering goods to San Francisco. Captain Bailey transported luxury textiles, spices and other goods for the wealthy across America. He spent long periods of time at sea, but it wasn’t always lonely. His wife, Lizzie, would accompany him on many of these voyages and the couple eventually had three children: Pacific (named for the ocean he sailed so often), Merton and Elsie. The kids were always excited when their father returned from a voyage because it would usually mean he brought gifts or “treasures” home for them. Hand painted fans, lacquered boxes decorated with pearls and exotic treats were some of the kids’ favorites. After a particularly long time away from his family, Captain Bailey thought he’d bring the kids a unique souvenir of sorts from a voyage to the Orient: a pet monkey of all things!
Captain Bailey may not have had a long life, but he had a full one. He spent his years sailing to exotic places, spending time with his family and spending time doing what he loved. He died in 1894, during a voyage on the Pacific ocean.
Captain Bailey’s legacy and sense of adventure has not been forgotten. The same ship routes that Captain Bailey once used to transport luxury goods is still used by his descendants today, this time, for bringing quality and fashionable Italian-made clothing to the style conscious throughout America. It is this same entrepreneurial spirit and excitement for adventure that Minieri & Company was born.
Written by Marissa Botti with George Mierisch - Copyright © 2019 Minieri & Company, LLC. - All Rights Reserved.
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