Johnson County —
It’s a common saying that Cleburne is built on tradition; it’s also common to see families that have been here for generations. For Mother’s Day, a family with five generation of daughters still living will be attending church and eating out at one of their favorite eateries in town.
The matriarch of the family, Jo Bailey, was born in 1925 and will soon mark her 89th birthday. The youngest addition to the family, Kinsley Martin, was born last year to Bailey’s great-granddaughter, Amanda Martin.
Bailey was born in Deleon, a small town that she said, “if you were to blink your eyes going through, you would miss the whole town.”
In 1940, Bailey married Emerson Vernus Bailey and had eight children, four boys and four girls. In 1965, she was living in Stephenville when she and her husband decided to move to Cleburne to work at the Colonial Manor Nursing Home. Bailey worked as a nurse at the nursing home.
“Some people from Glen Rose told us about the job so we came over here, looked at the place over, we liked it so we go back home got a big truck and piled all of our kids in it and here we come,” Bailey said. “When we got to Cleburne it was a sleetin’ and a snowin’. It was cold, no electricity, no gas, no nothing just a big house to go into ... I will never forget that house.”
Helen Bradford, Bailey’s daughter, was 17 years old when she and her family moved to Cleburne.
“When we moved here there was nothing but bare land between us and Joshua,” Bradford said. “The roller rink and the Market Square were the big things here. People gathered together and would just have a good time together.”
As far as the secret to their family’s longevity, Bailey said is faith and the willingness to give.