Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel
Fort Wayne, Indiana
May 31, 1875
The Hon. Sol. D. Bayless died yesterday morning at 6 o'clock at his residence, corner of Wayne and Clinton streets, after a lingering illness. Mr. Bayless' health had been very delicate for many years, and but for an iron will and determination rarely equalled, he must have long since succumbed to the attack of the grim destroyer. During the last two years he has been almost constantly confined to his residence, and since his silver wedding on the 18th of last October, he had not left his room.
Mr. Bayless was born in Butler county, O., on Dec. 5, 1814, and had therefore attained his sixty-first year. The early years of his life he passed in Hamilton, Cincinnati, and Logan county, O., where he engaged in the drug business, and in 1840 moved to Troy, O., where he soon became so popular as to be chosen mayor. In 1849 Mr. Bayless removed to Fort Wayne where he has since resided. In a short time his genial manners, fine abilities and courteous demeanor won him a prominent and leading position among our foremost citizens, which he maintained so long as he continued in active life. He was admitted to the bar, and afterwards engaged largely in the real estate and insurance business and in mercantile pursuits, in company with his brother, Hon. Lott S. Bayless, now of Yanklon, Dakota. In early days he served as postmaster of this city, and was subsequently connected, editorially, with the Fort Wayne Times. The last public duties he performed were those of United States pension agent, which position he filled for eight years.
Mr. Bayless has been married three times. On January 17, 1837, when in his 23rd year, he was united to Miss Margaret K. Means, daughter of John Means, Esq., of Kentucky. His wife only survived the marriage eleven months, and Mr. Bayless mourned her loss until 1843, when at Troy, O., he again joined his fortunes with those of Miss Cordelia Culbertson, daughter of Col. H.W. Culbertson, of Troy, O. In less than two years, he was again called upon to follow the remains of a loving and devoted wife to the tomb. On the 18th of October, 1849, Mr. Bayless married Miss Frances L. Dillon, of Woodford county, Ky., and that ladt still survives him, after having been a faithful and affectionate wife for more than a quarter century. Mr. Bayless leaves a large family, consisting of five sons and two daughters, to cherish his memory.
Personally the deceased was one of the most frank, generous and hospitible of men and to these qualities he owed his extended personal popularity. He was if anything entirely too charitable and lavish for his means, and could not bear to see, distress or suffering without extending a helping hand. Although his early advantages were limited, his indominitable will, preseverance and energy coupled with a good degree of natural talent, more than atoned for the deficiency.
In religion Mr. Bayless was an Episcopalcan, having been confirmed in that faith by Bishop Mellwaine, in 1843, and subsequently connected with the Trinity and Good Shepherd churches, in this city, the latter of which he especially took a deep interest in and aided in various ways.
Mr. Bayless was fully conscious of his approaching end, and made all the preperations therefor with calmness and resignation. He requested, among other things, that Sir Knights A.H. Hamilton, Geo. Reiter and M.H. Brooks attend to carrying out his wishes; that a post mortem examination be conducted by Drs. Ayers, Gregg, Orvis and Gard; that his remains be kept one week prior to interment; that the Sir Knights take charge of the remains at the house and continue their services until the burial, and that the Rev. Walter Scott, formerly of the church of the Good Shepherd, preach a brief funeral discourse.
From a lengthy article in the Indiana Masonic Home Advocate, for May, 1869, we condense a few facts concerning Mr. Bayless' masonic career.
Mr. Bayless was a son of Samuel Bayless, who was made a mason in the year 1800, was a charter member of Washington Lodge, Hamilton county, O., and afterwards master of the same lodge for many years.
Mr. Bayless entered the ground floor of the Masonic temple in Franklin lodge No.14, at Troy, O., June 14, 1841, took the second degree June 15, and the third degree June 17. In December, 1842, he was elected senior deacon, shortly afterwards senior warden, and in December 1845, worshipful master. Mr. Bayless early entered upon the study of Masonry, and in short time aquired such a degree of knowledge that in 1847 he was giving instruction to classes in Ohio, and in 1850, when he left Ohio, according to the best of authority, he had instructed more lodges, conferred more degrees, and received greater commendation and more complimentary resolutions than any of his contemporaries.
Upon his removal here, he was admitted to Wayne lodge No. 25, the oldest lodge in the city, and was soon afterwards chosen worshipful master, which office he filled for several years. He has attended nearly every session of the grand lodge of Indiana since 1851, and almost every printed page of its proceedings hears his name. In January, 1848, he received the royal arch degrees at Lancaster, O., and at the same place, in the same month, he received the templar orders. The royal select master degrees were conferred upon him in Versailles, Ky., in the seminar of 1850, and the order of high priesthood at Indianapolis in 1852. He received the ancient and accepted Scottish rite to and including the thirty-second degree S.P.R.S. in this city in 1866.
Mr. Bayless was elected and served as grand master of the state two years 1857 and 1858, and declined a third election. He served two years as grand high priest of the grand chapter of Indiana- 1842 and 1843, and for the same times as puissant grand master of the grand council of royal and select masons of the state. In 1860, 1861, 1862 and 1863 he served as most eminent grand commander of the Knights Templars, and was chosen G.J. warden of the general grand encampment of the United States at their general grand triennial conclave in 1863.
In October, 1860, he was appointed by Most Eminent Past Grand Master Buck as representative of the grand lodge of Illinois, near that of Indiana. Besides serving in most all the intermediate positions between the subordinate bodies and the highest office known in the grand body of the different orders, such as grand lecturer in the three symbolic degrees in 1855, he was elected G.W.H.P. in 1856 and in 1859 C.S. grand captain general and grand generalissimo of the grand commandery in the first year of that grand body. Through his instrumentality a charter for a chapter in this city was obtained in 1851, and in 1865 he obtained a charter for a council of royal and select masters, and in 1858 a charter for Fort Wayne commandery. In 1858 and 1859 he edited the Indiana Free Mason, published in this city, and since that time has been connected with the editorial staff of the Mystic Star.
It is said that Mr. Bayless during his lifetime has conferred more degrees, and assisted in counceling more loadges, chapters and encampments than any other Mason in the state. One of the leading lodges in this city, the "Sol. D. Bayless No. 359" hears his name as a testimony to his Masonic labors.
In closing, we can not do better thru use of words of the Masonic periodical from which we have drawn the above facts: "His fame as a bright and distinguished Mason is almost world renowned; his name may be found in all the grand bodies in Europe and America; and in the ages to come masons will look back upon the printed proceedings of them and say that Mr. Bayless accomplished more for the craft in his short life than many Mason of his age and generation. Truly, he has been worthy of his reward."