Monday, October 7, 2019

The Man Who Loved Cars


Colored Boys Are Charged With Larceny of Automobiles. (Special to Every Evening.)

SEAFORD. Feb. 7. As a result of an investigation being conducted by the authorities of lower Delaware and the adjoining counties of Maryland, a raid of the colored settlement of Delmar was made Sunday and Tuesday nights, resulting in a roundup of six young negroes, ranging in age from 16 to 19 years, who gave their names as Mayhew Bailey, Franklin Wallace, Kennard Holden, Solomon Shields, Kapir Williams and William West.

The raid occurred on the Maryland side of Delmar. Officers in the raiding party were: Miles Fitzgerald, sergeant of Pennsylvania Railroad police; Constable G. E. Hearn and State Trooper Haddaway of the Maryland State Police. The accused negroes are now held in the Wicomico jail at Salisbury, Md.

The investigation, which has been going on for several weeks by the Delaware and Maryland police, was brought about by the epidemic of stolen automobiles, which in nearly every instance were later found abandoned, and various other crimes. It is said Williams, Shields and West have admitted stealing automobile tires from parked cars, taking automobiles for joy rides and abandoning them. Holden, Wallace and Bailey are charged with stealing a car belonging to the Rev. Mr. Clarke, negro minister, of Delmar, taking cars for joy rides and leaving them abandoned.

The negroes operated in two gangs, and the officers have traced their movements thoroughly, and believe they stole cars to carry them to the scene of their robberies, and to provide means of a hasty getaway.

They will be given a hearing before Judge S. King White in the People's Court, Salisbury, Md., first, and turned over to the Delaware authorities after Maryland is through with them.
Above from the Wilmington Delaware News Journal Feb 7, 1929

Mayhew S. Bailey (1912-1980) was the son of Josiah “Joe” Bailey (1888- 1979) and Bessie M. Trader Bailey(1896-1971). His father “Joe” worked for the railroad in the Delmar round house as a repairman. 

Joe had married Bessie Trader, daughter of Steven and Alice Trader.  The Traders had a farm on the road between Pittsville and Melson Church.  Steven and Alice Trader had a number of daughters.  Joe however picked Bessie and married her when she was sixteen.  The Baileys lived on the west side of the tracks on the Maryland side of town.  They would have one son; Mayhew.  Besides taking care of the house, Bessie worked as a laundress.  Washing clothes must have been a difficult job with the Railroad steam engines being in Delmar covering the town in smoke and ash.

Mayhew would make the newspapers many times. In virtually all the reporting it involves a vehicle of some sort.  When he was a teenager his friends and him would steal cars, take them for a joy ride, and leave them some place.  He must have been an expensive burden to his parents with the number of fines and vehicle repairs they no doubt paid for.  As he became older the reports were usually speeding or an accident.  A number of them also included a 30 or 90 day jail time.   It would come as no surprise that he worked as truck driver and also as a chauffeur. 

About 1942 he married Bertha V. Waples and accepted her daughter Dorothy Juanita Waples (1932-2001) as his daughter.  Bertha was the daughter of George and Georgie Steward Waples.   He moved to the Wilmington area where jobs were plentiful due to the war.  Eventually he worked as a chauffeur for the John Wannamaker store in Wilmington.  He would retire from Wannamakers in 1977.   

Mayhew (who would go by the name Joe) would die in 1980. He is buried at Riverview cemetery.   His wife Bertha would die in 1971, she is buried at Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington. Their daughter Dorothy would die in 2001 and is buried in Gracelawn Memorial Park.

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