This Week in Texas Music History: Mollie Bailey
This week in Texas Music History, we’ll recall a pioneering business woman who’s life was a three ring circus.
Mollie Bailey died in Houston on October 2, 1918. Born near Mobile, Alabama on November 2, 1844, Bailey was only 14 when she eloped with a coronet player from a circus band. The couple formed their own traveling act and performed throughout the South. It was around this time that Mollie’s husband Gus wrote the lyrics to the tune “The Old Grey Mare.”
By the 1870′s Mollie and Gus Bailey had settled in Texas where they ran a successful circus that was billed as “A Texas Show For Texas People.” As Gus’s health declined, Mollie took over management of the circus.
In addition to her many other accomplishments some believe that Mollie Bailey may have been the first to offer public screening of a motion picture in Texas, when her circus featured a short film clip of the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine.
Next time , we’ll look at a singer who grew up as a share cropper but went on to become the first Tejano artist ever to win a Grammy.