BAILLET FAMILY HISTORY
Jane Baillet: Progressive Crusader And "Unusual Woman"
by Russel Mobley
By the time Jane Baillet died in 1918, she had become an intregal part of the small rural Tennessee town of Tullahoma.
Recognized for her activism in "progressive movements of all kinds," especially her pioneering work in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Equal Suffrage League, Jane was considered "an unusual woman" for the times and the area.
Jane "Jennie" spent the first three decades of her life in New York. Little is known about her time in Farmersville, New York. But following the Civil War, Jennie moved to Tullahoma with her parents, three sisters and a brother.
The Baillets were one of several Northern families who established a home in Tullahoma during the Reconstruction Era.
Tullahoma was a typical small railroad town of the nineteenth century. Founded in 1852 on the Nashville-Chattanooga rail line, the town was of significant strategic value during the war. It served as headquarters and the main supply depot for the Army of Tennessee in 1863. After the troops moved further east, Tullahoma was occupied by Northern soldiers and placed under military law.
If the locals harbored any resentment to the new arrivals in 1868, it must have dissipated over the next fifty years Jane spent in the town. Her obituary described Jane as a woman with a "business ability and sound judgment in all practical affairs." In addition she had "literary and artistic tastes, wide information, a remarkable memory and magnetic personality."
"Older residents of the town remember her many deeds of charity [and] her sympathy for those in distress."
Jane, who was 34 when the Baillet family built the home at 401 South Jackson Street in 1868, opened a millinery and dress-making store with her sisters, Emma and Affa Ann. The shop was considered "one of the important business houses of Tullahoma" for many years.
Apparently, even after they closed their shop, Jennie and Emma continued their trade from home. The 1910 census lists the two women as dressmakers.
Dying in 1918, Jennie failed to see the successful resolution of two of her hard-fought battles. Prohibition was ushered in with the 18th Amendment in 1920. And women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 by Tennessee.
Although their sister Frances married, the other three sisters never did. They continued to live at the residence on South Jackson Street until their deaths.
Affa was the last Baillet to live at the home, which now serves as the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center. She died in 1934.
Miss Emma A. Bailett (sic)
Year of death - 1925, date and name of publication unknown.
Tullahoma, Tenn., Jan. 1.—(Special)—Many people will be grieved to learn of the death of Miss Emma A. Bailett at her home here Thursday. Miss Bailett was 88 years of age on the day of her death and had been well and active until a few months ago, when she fell and suffered a broken hip, since when she has been declining in health and strength. She was an unusual woman in many ways and always took a great interest in the cause of temperance and in religious work and was one of the first members of the W.C.T.U. When it was organized in Tullahoma many years ago. Miss Bailett was one of the members of the J. & E.A. Bailett millinery store, which store, which was a well-known business house here for more than thirty years. She was held in sincere affection by a great many friends.
Deceased removed to this town with her parents about fifty-seven years ago, coming here from Pennsylvania. She is survived by but one immediate relative, a sister, Miss Affa Bailett of this place. Besides her sister she leaves one nephew, Harry Lupher of Chattanooga.
The funeral service will be held at the residence Sunday afternoon and the interment will take place in the old City cemetery, where her deceased relatives are buried.
Obituary: Miss Affa Ann Baillet
Year of death - 1934, date and name of publication unknown.
Miss Affa Baillett (sic) Claimed by Death
Another beautiful life was closed with the passing of Miss Affa Baillett, 84, which occurred Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock at her home on South Jackson street, bringing sorrow to a large number of devoted friends in this city.
Miss Baillet was born and reared at Limestone, N.Y., and had been a resident of Tullahoma for more than fifty years. Two sisters, Miss Emma and Miss Jennie Baillet, who were associated with her in the millinery business during their early residence in this city, preceded her to the beyond several years ago. Miss Baillet was a gifted artist, and had at her home a rare collection of antiques.
Miss Baillet had been confined to her bed for eight weeks. For the past week her niece, Mrs. Harry Lupher, of Chattanooga, was constantly at her bedside, and was with her when the end came.
Funeral services were held at the residence Wednesday afternoon at 3 o'clock, conducted by Rev. C.H. Maynard and Rev. C.M. Turner. Burial was in Oakwood cemetery.
Miss Baillet is survived by a nephew, H.M. Lupher of Chattanooga.