• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


“Fond Memories of Union” by Joe Bailey, Jr.


Sgt. Joe W. Bailey, Jr. USMC

I have many fond memories of Union.  During the war, my father Joe Bailey, Sr., worked at the ship yard in New Port News and mother, Hazel O’Quinn Bailey (UHS Class of 1933), along with  my brother and I lived with my grandparents, Nick and Lena O’Quinn on their farm, on the Willow Bend road.  I went to the 3rd grade in Union.  Later on, I spent about 3 or 4 months in the 5th grade there also.  I remember Dottie Hedrick, Jimmy Walker and Garnett Bowyer being in my class.  I would have graduated in 1953,  if I had stayed in Union.

Their farmhouse was built in the 1840′s and located on the Willow Bend Road past Long’s farm,  less than a mile on the right.  The front entrance to the farmhouse had a long stairway to three bedrooms and bath on the second floor.  The door on the right of the entry led to a large ball room.  On the left was a parlor with a dining room to the rear and a kitchen further back.  A kitchen with a large fireplace was away from the main house.  Nick O’Quinn used it as a tool shed.  There was a large cistern between the main house and the old kitchen.   Out front was a mounting block for horses.


Home of Nick and Lena O'Quinn

Each summer for about 4 years, my brother and I would spend 3 or 4 weeks at our grandparents along with our cousins (Duncans).  We would work on the farm bringing in hay, hoeing corn, picking berries and whatever would keep us out of mischief.  We were rewarded with trips into Union to go to the “picture show”, pay our dime to get in and watch Don Winslow of the Navy serial or Lash LaRue or some other cowboy.  Grandpa would take us swimming down a Turkey Creek.

We never got into much trouble but should have.  There was an old abandoned one room school house on my grandparents property that someone was using for storage.  We got into the building and each of us took a stick of dynamite.  We didn’t know what to do with it, so we hid it under a fallen tree stump.

1946 - Ron, Joe, Ed, Nick, Denny and Jim (the Duncans and Baileys)

This photo shows six young lads posing at the O’Quinn farm in Union about 1946.  We worked, played, ate and enjoyed life on the farm for several weeks. Usually around the 4th of July, our parents came to take us back home.  But not before Grandpa went to Ronceverte to buy 5 gallons of vanilla ice cream packed in dry ice.  Ronceverte was also where Grandpa went to stock sales and dragged us along.  We went everywhere in the back of Grandpa’s 1941 Chevrolet pickup with high rails for hauling livestock.

My grandfather had a brother named Orville.  I think he was the town constable for a while.  His children went to UHS, I think they attended in the late 50′s.  Joe, Betty, Gladys, Hershall and Phyllis O’Quinn.  They are my second cousins.

My other grandparents were Frank and Pearl Bailey. The Bailey Farm was located in Sinks Grove where Frank, Mildred and Bernard Bailey grew up. They moved there from Bluefield and I think that is where my father graduated from high school. When visiting there I rode horses and hunted mostly.

Bailey Farmhouse

Frank and Pearl Bailey


Frank Bailey and my dad Joe Bailey at the Sinks Grove farm

front-Frank and Bernard Bailey, back-Joe and George Bailey

I remember one time going rabbit hunting with Grandpa Bailey and my father. I was about 9 years old and was given an old .22 Winchester pump rifle. We went down to the old limestone kiln on the farm and out jumped two rabbits.  I pulled the trigger – click – pumped in another shell – click.  They didn’t load the gun!  I guess they didn’t trust a 9 year old with a loaded weapon.

I have been back a couple of times.  The house in Sinks Grove is gone, but the house in Union looks about the same.  All the outbuildings are gone.

This  was such an idyllic time in my life in the setting of Monroe County and the memories are still with me.

Small world story.  I was in the steel industry and one transfer from Chicago to St. Louis in the late 70′s,  I met Dottie Hedrick Sealy at a bridge game.  We were friends for the 2 1/2 years we were in St Louis.  I have lived in about 9 different states, but have been in Texas for almost 20 years.   My wife, Marilyn, and I will celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary on September 3, 2015.  We have two children.

My mother Hazel O'Quinn Bailey (UHS Class of 1933) and my wife Marilyn Bailey

Joe Bailey

by:  Joe Bailey, Jr.

Attended Union High School