Bailey Education Foundation
The camera caught a half century plus of pictures revealing interesting flashback hints of the ten-speed, never dull, ever crusading and ever progressing career of a farm boy come to town.
A Salute to Larkin Bailey Larkin Bailey was born July 3, 1898 near Niles, Michigan, In March, 1907, the Bailey family moved to Broken Arrow, Indian Territory via a railroad boxcar. Soon after arriving, Larkin’s father purchased the set of abstract records kept at what is now the Arkansas Valley State Bank. Three years later the Baileys moved to Tulsa and bought a second abstract company. World War I began, and following Central High School graduation, Larkin decided he wanted to join the U.S. Marines. A strapping lad, Larkin had no difficulty convincing the recruits that he was “at least 19 years old”, although he was actually under age. This same determination/dedication served him well as Corporal Bailey served and fought with distinction in France – particularly at Belleau Wood where the going was toughest.
Following WWI, Larkin began building his college diploma. First at Kendall College (now Tulsa University), then at Iowa State and finally at the University of California at Berkeley. His family sold their business and moved to California. After graduating in 1923, Larkin attended the University of Michigan and Yale University in search of a law degree. Larkin was able to take the California Bar Exam. He passed easily. An excellent athlete, Larkin lettered in college baseball (Pitcher) and football (left guard). Baseball was his forte. As a pitcher he had tryouts with both the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. He met and admired Ty Cobb and “shoeless” Joe Jackson and his famous Black Sox Scandal friends. Then it was back to Tulsa in July, 1928.
Larkin returned with his family to buy Tulsa Abstract, located then at the northwest corner of 6th Street and Boulder. Over the years, due to Larkin’s masterful leadership, Tulsa Abstract expanded into two offices and employs over 50 Tulsans. Although Larkin is now the retired owner he still keeps in touch. A man of many talents and interests, for instance, Larkin was also a well-known rancher and cattleman having owned a 2,500 acre Owasso ranch specializing in pure-bred Angus cattle (many of which were obtained from Armand Hammer’s herd). Today, the cattle herds are gone and a portion of his ranch is being developed into a golf course.
He was a charter member of the SPEBSQSA – Barber Shop Singing Organization. He promoted “informal” cock fights in Broken Arrow and hunted Iowa muskrats and sold them for 15 cents each. Since 1937, Larkin scouted for the St. Louis Browns, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Milwaukee Braves. Having celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1989, Larkin has over the year, enjoyed the strong loving support of his wife Elsie, daughter Florence Ann Caraway, countless business associates, friends and fellow Rotarians. For over 63 years, Larkin Bailey has touted Rotary’s ideals. His Rotary Club of Tulsa membership is the oldest and most revered. Because of Larkin’s generous contributions to Rotary Foundation, many Sunriser Rotarians have become Paul Harris Fellows (through a plan of matching funds). A Special T.E.A. DayOn July 3, 1984, the Board of Directors of the Tulsa Executives Association resolved that July 3rd of each year shall be known as “Larkin Bailey Day”.
Many outstanding achievements have been accomplished by this man for the benefit of the Association and its members as well as for the City of Tulsa, the State of Oklahoma and the entire nation.This great T.E.A. member missed being born a firecracker by ten minutes by rushing into the world just before midnight on July 3, 1898, against the wishes of his doctor and his father who wanted him to be born on the Fourth of July. Since that great day, Larkin has still been moving forward, making many outstanding accomplishments, not only for himself but for his family and many, many friends. After striving hard to get through college and earn a degree in law as well as sneaking his way in to the marines to help save the country, he then proved his ability as a great baseball player and also became one of the better cattle raisers of all times. Cattle raising is one of his most pleasure accomplishments in the business world along with his abstract business (which he took over from his father who was also a lawyer).Even though Larkin was striving to fulfill all his desires in business accomplishments, he took time to admire a beautiful and sweet school teacher by the name of Elsie Schlegel whom he married. They were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Florence Ann and a granddaughter, Gretchen Ann Caraway of whom they are most proud.Larkin, the entire membership of T.E.A. thinks you are the greatest and we all wish you many more happy and healthy birthdays.
Here is a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson on measuring the success of such a great T.E.A. member:‘Larkin, you are a success and have lived well, laughed often and loved much. You have gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children. You have filled the niche and accomplished your task. You will have left this world better than you found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a reserved soul. You have never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it. You have looked for the best in others and gave the best you had.’Larkin, all the T.E.A. members are proud of you and your fine family, keep moving forward. – Clinton J. Bohannon, July 3, 1990.
The score was tied 1-1 early in 1923 when a lanky Tulsan went to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning.Larkin Bailey, the University of California baseball team’s pitcher, drove a long ball between two outfielders to knock in the winning run against the Olympic Club of San Francisco, which included several major league players as they awaited spring training. Today, Bailey, 82, is still hitting and pitching six days a week in the field of business where he is one of Tulsa’s best-known figures. But few things in business have given him the thrill of his 10-inning victory over the Olympic Club – in which he pitched the entire game. The 6’1” Tulsan with a shock of white hair is owner of Tulsa Abstract and Title Co., but is identified with several other businesses as well, including land, purebred Angus breeding, banking and an occasional fling at the stock market. Bailey’s life has been filled with vim, vigor and interesting experiences. Born in 1898 in Niles, Michigan, his family moved to Broken Arrow in 1907 and to Tulsa in 1910.Tulsa was a city of 18,500 then, so Bailey has seen most of the city’s growth. He graduated from old Tulsa high. In 1917, when the United States entered the war with Germany, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. As a member of the Sixth Marine Regiment, he was overseas for 14 months and saw action at Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, Soissons, San Mihiel and Champagne. A young lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, Clifton B Cates, later became commandant of the Marine Corps, “I knew him well” said Bailey.The Germans fired mustard gas on June 18, 1918 and all members of Bailey’s company were ordered hospitalized.“Six of us didn’t go to the hospital. We didn’t get enough of the gas.”Following the war, Bailey pursued his education from 1919-21 at Iowa State University and the following two years at University of California. He received a bachelor’s degrees from Cal in 1923.“I seriously considered a professional career in baseball, but I didn’t have a blazing fastball and knew I could never be a winner in the majors, so I gave it up and studied law,” he said.He has contented himself with being an avid fan and Tulsa area major league scout, first for the old St. Louis Browns in 1937; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1941045; and Milwaukee Brewers, 1954-55.He spent a year at each of three law schools – University of California, University of Michigan and Yale University.“I was admitted to practice law in California in 1927” he said. Meanwhile, his family had moved to California and his father, W. S. Bailey, attempted to retire but returned to Tulsa to enter business with Larkin.Father and son purchased Tulsa Abstract in 1927 and the elder Bailey retired in 1936.He had been in the abstract business in Broken Arrow and Tulsa, and had owned Title Guaranty and Trust, which he sold before moving to the West Coast. He merged 10 abstract firms to form Guaranty, Bailey said.Now there are four abstract firms in Tulsa and Tulsa Abstract is one of the largest.Larkin Bailey owns extensive land. His biggest tract is 2,000 acres adjoining the city of Owasso on the West.Banking investments are a large part of his securities portfolio. He owns 26 percent of the stock of Peoples State Bank, and lesser amounts in these banks; Western National, Union National, Utica National, Forth National, Brookside and Commercial, of Tulsa; First National of Jenks and Arkansas Valley of Broken Arrow.He is married to Elsie Schlegel, whose parents were Tulsa pioneers, and they have a daughter, Florence Ann Caraway, who is associated with her father in Tulsa Abstract.Bailey has a brother, W. S. Jr., who heads Tulsa Royalties Co.Larkin Bailey has been a Rotarian for 52 years and in 1956 was president of the Rotary Club of Tulsa. He is prominent in national affairs of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.A member of First Presbyterian Church, Larkin gives the Lord full credit for his healthy and successful life.“I haven’t been in the hospital since an appendectomy in 1927. Retire? I enjoy my work so much I come to the office on Saturdays.”
National Grand President of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity - President of Tulsa Executive Club - Charter member and president – Greet T Club - President, Mr. and Mrs. Class, First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa - President, Tulsa Downtown Rotary Club - Chairman, Rotary Foundation one year - President, Tulsa Farm Club - President, Tulsa Angus Club - Deacon and trustee of First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa - Director, First National Bank of Owasso - Coach of Tulsa Abstract and Title Co Little League baseball team - Scout for three major league baseball clubs – St. Louis Brown, Milwaukee Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers - Work on Tulsa World newspaper as sports assistant - Member, Oklahoma Bar Association, California Bar Association - Director Tulsa Junior Chamber of Commerce - Member, Tulsa Country Club - Member, Tulsa Forum - Member, Tulsa Club - Member, Petroleum Club of Tulsa - Member, Delta Theta Phi law fraternity - Original member, SPEBSQSA, Barber Shop Singing Organization - Member, American Legion - Member of the Shiners - Rancher and livestock breeder - Member of Home Builders Association of greater Tulsa, Inc. - Member, Tulsa Real Estate Salesmen’s Association - World traveler
Mr. Larkin Bailey - He became a member of the Bailey clan at birth in Niles, Michigan in 1898. Farming was a way of life for the Bailey family. The Bailey’s and children moved to Lacon, Illinois and continued farming. The next stop was Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1906 where Mr. Bailey senior was a successful buckwheat farmer. The family farm home was three miles from town and with temperatures many times 20 below or so – and a 1 ½ mile walk to school for the young ones – the Bailey bunch decided to mark time until Spring, then head south. They landed in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Larkin, younger of two boys in the family, left his mark at every farming stop. He was following a Shetland pony on the farm near Lacon when he stumbled and fell. The pony, only a stride ahead, kicked up his heels – and a scar was implanted on the boy’s head. Injury wasnt bad and the incident was classified as fun.
This young man showed tendencies for sharp business acumen. On the farm in Iowa, one of the peskiest pests was the muskrat. Because they’d make off with grain and other valuables, the state put a bounty of 15 cents on each muskrat hide. There’s no bookkeeping record, but many a muskrat bit the dust and many a payment of 15 cents jangled in this sharp shooter’s pockets as he rid the countryside – around the Bailey stake out – of the muskrat scourge.This Wolverine’s yen for sports made an early appearance. Cock fighting was illegal in the territorial and early Oklahoma statehood days. Yet –Some Saturday afternoons, down at the coal bin near the railroad tracks off Main Street in Broken Arrow, there’d be a crowd of “kids” giving muffled whoops and cheer leading type arm gestures. Young Bailey was conducting a bantam rooster fight – just for the amusement of friends. Always, one “spectator” would be posted on the outside of the ring, to single if a town marshal or the constable should happen down the street. Promoting fun for the other guy emerged early as a Bailey trademark. He was born with a box office touch. After short years in Broken Arrow, the family moved to Tulsa. There were brief stretches of living in Coweta and the Bailey abstract company had a branch in Wagoner. High school in Tulsa, with football, basketball, bowling, baseball, dramatics and glee club warbling all woven about exam cramming and studying, was followed by 14 months overseas military service with the Marines in World War I. Then came college at Ames, Iowa, Michigan at Ann Arbor, some time at Yale and Harvard and a stretch at the University of California in Berkeley, with fudge-making a sideline and profitable hobby. A bar examination and then young Bailey ended his educational roaming, anchoring in Tulsa in the abstract business with his father. How he’s packed so many activities and achievements and diversified interests into a few short years, even though he’s blessed with huge, bristling chunks of vim and vigor, still is a happy mystery. Some of the milestones and the list is almost endless, include: