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Bailey was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina on 12 September 1921.During the Great Depression Bailey's clothes were worn out, he went barefoot, had to walk to church, and he ate molasses and bread for breakfast. They had to drink a glass of buttermilk before they could get a glass of sweet milk.When Bailey was seven years old he was working on a farm plowing with a mule. By the time he was ten years old he was a full time farmer. He would pick his cotton then pick someone else's cotton. They would then take the cotton to the gin where they got 6 cents a pound. His family was sharecroppers and farmed for the man who owned the land they lived on. Bailey worked there until he was 16 years old when his father hired him out to a man named Jennings for 75 cents a day plus his dinner.When he was 16 years old his family got their first radio that was powered by a car battery.Bailey's family moved around North Carolina and South Carolina sharecropping schedules.Bailey left the farm to work as a carpenter's helper at a lumber company. He was promoted to carpenter. He built a hotel where he spent his honeymoon.Bailey quit working for the lumber yard and went to work at a cotton mill where he stayed for 1 year and 11months. On 1 December 1939 construction began on Camp Croft [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: near Spartanburg, South Carolina]. Bailey went to work at Camp Croft as a carpenter. He watched as troops moved into barracks as soon as they were finished.When Camp Croft was completed he went to Wilmington, North Carolina to build a shipyard on the Cape Fear River.Bailey then went to Columbia, South Carolina to Camp Jackson to build trusses for recreation facilities.At the time Bailey's father was working with him and his brother was hired on with them too and they formed a crew.The crew went to Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. At Camp Gordon they had to join a union, which they did. At Camp Gordon they built barracks.Bailey and crew then moved to Panama City, Florida to build Wainwright Shipyard. After completing the shipyard, Bailey went to a two week school to learn to be a ship-fitter. He worked in the shipyard with a female welder and built LSTs [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Landing Ship, Tank] and Liberty ships.After Bailey's third deferment came to an end he was informed that he couldn't get another. He and his wife returned to Lancaster.
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