James William Bailey was born June 18, 1825, in Nashville, Tennessee. His parents moved to DeSoto County, Mississippi, where James attended school and became interested in farming. The family moved to Gonzales from Mississippi in the fall of 1851 and James engaged in farming and raising livestock. The Gonzales Inquirer describes him as being "prudent and skillful in the management of his affairs, and successful in accumulating a considerable estate." At the time of his death he owned approximately 4,000 acres near Big Hill. He became a member of the Gonzales Masonic Lodge and achieved the degree of Royal Arch Mason. On April 24, 1872, he married Nannie C. Green, born October, 1857, in Mississippi, the daughter of William and India Green, pioneer Texas colonist. James and Nannie had one child, Jane India Bailey, born September 20, 1878. Nannie must have been one tough lady because people in Gonzales still remember her sitting on the front porch, dressed in men's clothes, chewing tobacco and spitting over the porch railing. When Nannie died May 25,1936, India inherited the house and owned it until 1948.
The Baileys’ modest Queen Anne style home was completed in December, 1897. As was typical of that period, the house has cypress siding and longleaf pine interior woodwork. The foundation piers are made of brick manufactured in Gonzales. The front of the house has a softly curving wrap-around porch with a wooden deck, tapering columns and matching rails. On the southeast corner is a light tower with fish scale shingles. Four nine foot walk-through windows provide access to the wrap-around porch from the parlor, the front bedroom and the east bedroom. On the left of the entry hallway are the parlor and the study joined by nine foot pocket doors with original hardware. Two bedrooms and the parlor have original fireplaces with surrounds and mantels with beveled glass mirrors. Most windows have the original glass and hardware and the interior doors have transoms with functional transom rods. The ceilings throughout the house are twelve feet high.