BAILEY, Rufus C.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, p 330
Rufus C. BAILEY, who for 32 years has served with honor and distinction as the county judge of Winnebago County, a public service unparalleled in the history of IL, was born in Auburn [Androscoggin County], ME, 28 Jul 1833. His parents were Moses and Anne (CHANDLER) BAILEY. The father was born in Minot [Androscoggin County], ME, and spent his entire life in that state, passing away when the Judge was about seven years of age, while his wife, who was a native of Yarmouth [Cumberland County], ME, also lived in the Pine Tree state until her death, which occurred about 1853.
Judge BAILEY attended successively the common schools of his native city and Auburn and Waterville Academies [Androscoggin and Kennebec County, ME, respectively], wherein he prepared for college. He then matriculated in Amherst College and completed the scientific course by graduation with the class of 1853. Immediately afterward he sought a home in the great and growing west, with firm faith in its future and a desire to utilize its business conditions so that his own career might be crowned with success. Taking up his abode in Rockford, he was then engaged in railroad engineering, in which he continued until 1857, being employed on the Kenosha & Rockford Railroad. Becoming imbued with the desire to attain something better, he entered upon the study of law in 1858 in the office of LATHROP & BROWN and after thorough and systematic preliminary reading was admitted to the bar on 18 Aug 1860. He immediately entered upon the practice of his profession as a member of the law firm of LATHROP & BAILEY, which had a continuous and successful existence of 12 years. In the meantime he was elected as a clerk and acted in that capacity for five years when associated with Mr. LATHROP in the practice of his profession. He was also city attorney for 1863, and in 1873 he received the republican nomination for the position of county judge, and by re-election has been continued in that office for 32 consecutive years, an official record unparalleled in length of service in the state. It would be tautological to enter into any series of statements showing him to be a man of marked capability or of a special fitness for office, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. His decisions are regarded as models of judicial soundness and he presides over his court with a dignity and impartiality that awakens respect for the law and for the office to which one must look for the protection of human rights, privileges and liberties.
On 05 Oct 1885 Judge BAILEY was married to Mrs. Emma L. FAULKNER, nee TRUFANT, who died 11 Apr 1905. Prominent in Masonry, he belongs to Rockford lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Winnebago chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Crusader commandery, No. 17, Knights Templar, the consistory, in which he attained the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite and the Mystic Shrine. He served for about six years as eminent commander of the commandery. He also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and is identified with the Christian Union. While on the bench he is dignified and reserved. Those who know him in his home life find him a most social and congenial companion and the circle of his friends is almost co-extensive with the circle of his acquaintance.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.