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Articles About 1924 Olympic Gold Medalist
Champion Marksman, Henry Bailey
of Walterboro, South Carolina


1924 Olympics

The rapid fire pistol competition at the 1924 Olympics consisted of three series of six shots at six silhouettes in 10 seconds. It resulted in eight of the 55 competitors achieving perfect scores. The eight shot another round of six, this time in eight seconds. All eight shooters had perfect scores and another shoot-off was ordered. This time three were eliminated. 

After three more shoot-offs, two contestants remained - an American Marine, Henry Bailey, and Sweden's Wilhelm Carlberg. At this point they had both hit 48 targets in a row. A sixth shoot-off again saw them with perfect scores. Bailey shot first in the seventh round, but as the first target appeared his pistol malfunctioned and the cartridge stuck in the breech. 

Cooly, Bailey reloaded and in just a few seconds hit the remaining targets. Carlberg was either unnerved or gracious - he missed two of the six targets, and the gold medal went to Bailey. Carlberg had previously won three gold, three silver, and one bronze in the Olympic Games competition since 1906. 

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/olympics_1996/shooting.htm


Gunnary Sargeant Henry M. Bailey, USMC - Pistol Champion of America
He was awarded the "Custer Trophy" for winning the 
National Individual Pistol Match at Camp Perry, Ohio

Marine Markman’s Mother
Resident of Colleton County
Mrs. Mary Bailey Watches Over Medals of her
Son, Gunnery Sergeant Henry M. Bailey
Finest Sharpshooter in Corps

Walterboro, March 20 (AP) In the twilight of a life that began in the dark days of 1861 has come the realization of youthful ambitions for Mrs. Mary Bailey, mother of one of the United States marine corps (sic) finest marksmen.

Her ambitions, to many in this day of home owners and almost universal literacy, were small. She wanted a home of her own and she wanted to learn to write her name. At the age of 72, this grey-haired, kindly-faced woman who sent four sons to the World war (sic) has not only one home but several; and she can write not only her name, but letters to her sons.

One of these is Gunnery Sergeant Henry M. Bailey of the marine corps., (sic) whose feats with the pistol and rifle are recorded in marksmanship records the world over.The trophies he wins and the testimonials to his prowess, some of them written in foreign languages, are the proudest exhibits in Mrs. Bailey’s white frame house in this South Carolina Lowcountry (sic) town. She also owns other houses, acquired with the aid of her sons, to provide her an income from the rentals.

Sergeant Bailey holds the Olympiade diploma presented in Paris in 1924; the Nagle trophy, the Ellis trophy, the Frost Match trophy, the Jenks trophy and twice has been a member of the President’s Hundred. He has more than 100 medals and trophies won in slow and rapid fire pistol and rifle matches.

Mrs. Bailey’s battle against poverty was fought largely with the aid of her sons. Her battle against illiteracy was won on her own initiative with the aid of the South Carolina adult education program, she (sic) was 70 years old when she went to an opportunity school for adults and was taught to write. 

As a child of the Southern Reconstruction period, she had been denied the fundamentals of an education with the exception of a fair knowledge of reading and a little arithmetic. When her boys went overseas, she was unable to write to them and her sorrow at this experience caused her determination to learn to write.
“I took one night to worry and one night to rest,” she said in reference to the days when her boys were fighting in France. “History repeats itself. My grandfather sent all his sons to war and they came home without a scratch; I sent my boys and they came home unscarred.

“If I could have ordered my life, what would I have desired?” she mused in answer to a question.
She hesitated but an instant. “I would have taught the ignorant and helped the poor.” 



This file was contributed for use by the Colleton County SCGenWeb Project  by:

Ed Poplin

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