The Daileys of Marysville


The story of the Dailey family began in 1896 when John W. Dailey Sr. was born in West Virginia. He would later be known as Judge Dailey in Marysville, serving as the probate-juvenile judge in Union County from 1939 to 1956.
His journey was one that began when he lied about his age, since he was only 17, and enlisted in the Army just before World War I. People in West Virginia in 1913 we’re looking for a place where they could make money and have three meals a day. In fact, Dailey was planning to make it a military career. He had no aspirations at that time to be an attorney.
Eventually, he was sent to France where he was wounded as he came up out of a trench. He was shot by a German soldier, and bled so much that he passed out, later awakening in the hospital.
The middle finger on his right hand had been shot off and, unbelievably, they had reattached it. I find it amazing that it in the early 1900s that could be accomplished. Later, his grandson, Dan Dailey, reported he was discharged from the Army because he could no longer hold his rifle. In later years, he couldn’t even open a jar with that hand, having lost the motor skills.
So you don’t need two perfect hands to be an attorney and his next trip was to go to the University of Cincinnati on what at that time was an early version of the G.I. Bill. He also graduated from law school there.
By the 1920s, he had married Undine, and came to Marysville to practice law. His grandson, Dan, said that he was a really good investor and kept all his stock even after the market crash and the resulting Great Depression. He saved his money, lived frugally and by the mid 1950s was a millionaire.
Still you would never guess that because he and his wife lived modestly on W. 4th St. I remember meeting John and Undine at bar association functions when we first came to town in 1969. They were a very unassuming people.
The Daileys had three children Sara, John Jr. (Johnny) and his twin sister Jeanne, who are now all deceased. The twins were brilliant and became the stars of every academic center they entered. Both graduated from Marysville High School in 1949. Jeanne was the Valedictorian. They quickly went on to The Ohio State University, where their father bought them a house to live in while in college. Both graduated in1952 summa cum laude and continued on to law school. John and Jeanne graduated number two and number three, respectively, in their law school class from OSU in 1954, also being inducted into the Order of the Coif for high academic achievement.
Jeanne and John would eventually come to town to practice law with their dad in Marysville. But first Jeanne earned her masters in criminal law and Johnny went into the U.S. Army as part of the JAG (Judge Advocate General) corps. He was stationed in the Pentagon and also earned his masters in criminal law. He and Janet Clemans, from Milford Center, married and eventually they had four children, Jenny, Gigi, Johnny and Dan.
John Sr. had always believed the twins must not be separated. They should spend their lives together and work together. When John Jr. moved to Washington to work in the Pentagon, he and his wife, Janet, were happy to be on their own, away from family. But soon there was a surprise in store for them. His mother, Undine, and twin sister, Jeanne, had followed the couple to Washington and inserted themselves in the life of the newlyweds. Reportedly, it was a tough time for John and Janet and they decided they needed to get out of there.
John asked for a transfer to the Army Airborne unit in Kentucky, thinking that he would escape the family that way. But, shortly after they arrived in Kentucky at Fort Campbell, his mother and twin sister rented the apartment across the hall from them. Oh no, here they were again!
After his training in the 101st Army Airborne unit was over, he requested a transfer to an airborne unit in Japan. Now they were finally away from the family for some time. He was pretty sure his mother and twin sister wouldn’t follow them to Japan.
While in the service, Capt. John Dailey had a brief boxing career. He even had two Golden Gloves fights, but determined getting hit in the head wasn’t good for an attorney, so he quickly retired.
While in Japan, John and Janet had their third child, another Johnny (John W. Dailey III). The two older girls by this time had many Japanese friends and since the baby was going to be born in Japan they thought their baby was going to be Japanese. It was quite a big disappointment when it turned out to be a Caucasian, red-haired boy.
Next week is part two of the Daileys of Marysville in which Jeanne marries a convicted felon.
(Melanie Behrens –

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