How did the district get its name?
The district was named in behalf of Samuel Mead Bayles. Samuel was born in Adrian, Michigan, on August 10, 1840. After completing high school, he earned his college degree at Adrian College and then moved to St. Louis. Samuel taught school in 1858 in the “Sappington Settlement” (likely present-day Lindbergh School District). His brother, James, was also a teacher and in time moved to St. Louis as well. Both Samuel and James were popular and well known in the area because of their reported generosity.
Did Samuel Bayles have a family?
Samuel later married Miss Eleanor Jardwell Quinette on August 20, 1867. Together they had one son, Frank Q. Bayles (who later attended Washington University) and one daughter Mary E. Bayles. Samuel later married Miss Edith F. Stanley in 1895. They had one daughter, Ruth Stanley Bayles. Samuel attended the Presbyterian Church and was a Republican “both by inheritance and conviction.”
Did Samuel Bayles do anything in addition to teaching?
Samuel and his brother James A. Bayles went into business together and established the South St. Louis Nurseries (Bayles Nurseries at Carondelet). Samuel and James reportedly first introduced “strawberry boxes.” Samuel eventually became the sole owner of the company. He was known as a large importer and wholesale dealer of trees and shrubs. James Bayles later opened a new nursery business in Lee Summit, Missouri – The Western Missouri Nurseries.
What else did Samuel Bayles accomplish?
Samuel was quite the businessman. He partnered with William S. Baker, organized the Baker-Bayles Shoe Company, and eventually became its president. After three years with Baker-Bayles Shoe Company, his connections led him to start a similar business with August Mueller. Together they formed the Mueller-Bayles Shoe Company. Samuel was that company’s secretary, treasurer, and general manager.
So why did Samuel and James Bayles drop an “s” from their original surname?
Artifacts suggest that they changed their surname from “Bayless” to “Bayles” to distinguish themselves from their relatives. Despite Samuel’s preferred spelling of his last name, in 1910 our District’s official name became the Bayless Consolidated School District. A possible explanation for again adding an “s” to the name “Bayles” was to assist with pronunciation.
What became of Samuel?
He retired in 1894 from the nursery business. His health began to fade; so, he decided to travel. He visited California, toured Europe, Mexico and many of the southern states in hopes of improving his health. He died on July 1, 1896, in St. Louis. He was 56 years old.
How was Samuel Bayles remembered by the community who knew him?
He was known as a “large-hearted, generous, gentleman.” Samuel was always happiest when helping young men establish themselves in life. His obituary states, “He brightened the lives of all with whom he came in contact, and especially of the members of his family.”
Based upon our research, our ancestors who recommended naming the school district after Samuel Bayles definitely made a wise and fitting decision.