One interesting family on my family tree is the Bass family, or Basse, or a few other spellings of it. I'm choosing it because 1) John Basse came to Virginia about the time Jamestown was being settled and 2) he had a lot of males in the line going back a few more generations and 3) he married a Native American woman who I've talked about before. The descendant of all these people was my father's grandmother Elizabeth "Bette" Bass Rogers.
I've written about great grandmother, Elizabeth "Bettie" Bass Rogers before, but I'll cut and paste about her just to remind us of her life lived mostly as a widow. I can only imagine how hard it was for her, with two babies that had guardians from her husband's family. She moved from the countryside of Texas to the city life of Galveston...which was much like New Orleans as a port city for immigrants coming into Texas because Houston hadn't yet become a big port.
From my post on Saturday, December 14, 2013
My grandfather's mother was Elizabeth "Bettie" Bass Rogers. She was born in Old Waverly, San Jacinto County, Texas around Feb or March 1860 based upon her parents listing her as 5 months old on the 1860 census in Walker County, Texas. The original document shows her father Richard Bass as 40, and his wife 35, but the transcriptionist mis-read his age as 20. It does have a correction through it by pen on the original, so that's understandable. The date of that census was July 31, 1860, so this youngest member of the family was probably born around Feb 28 in order to be 5 months old. She was to have 10 siblings both older and younger.
Her father Col. Richard Bass lived through the Civil War, as a Home Guard Confederate soldier.
|Col. Richard Bass headstone|
Her early years in Walker County Texas on a farm (according to the 1860 census her father was a farmer) also had cousins as well as older siblings nearby. Her household also had a teenage cousin living with them, Emily W. Traylor, 16. Sister Julia A. was 18, brother James M. was 16, and sister Nancy C. was 7. All her older siblings were born in Louisana, but Bettie was born in Texas. Her mother, Mary A. Powell Bass, also had family nearby; the next family listed on the census are the Powells, with 69 year old James M. as head of the family. Nancy J. Powell was 36, John T. Powell was 27, and James E. Powell was 4 months old, and there was also cousin Nancy E. Traylor, age 11 living with them.
I spent hours one night looking at the Traylor, Powell, Bass connection. How did it happen that the Traylor girls were living with a Bass family and a Powell family? Well, as most of you probably have already figured out, their mother had died, and they were raised by her cousins...one was Mary Powell Bass, and one was Nancy J. Powell. Mary Powell Bass's mother was Nancy Jones Traylor Powell, so they had a grandmother in common..
|Mary Ann Elizabeth Powell Bass headstone|
But back to Bettie Bass. In the 1870 census for Walker County, Texas, the county had grown from early settlement and the Civil War was over. Much probably looked very different from the time of 1860, but all we have in a Census record are names and ages, and where people were born, and sometimes where their parents were born. Thus the migrations of families can be traced.
|Downtown Huntsville 1870s|
By 1870 Richard Bass was a merchant rather than a farmer, now in the town of Huntsville, Texas. Bettie now had 3 younger sisters, Ella, (9) Minnie (7) and Mary (5). Her sister Sarah is 16. Wait a minute, she had an older sister named Nancy C. who had been 7 in the previous census. How could her name have changed that much? There's no answer offered. The oldest siblings are no longer at home, Julia A. and brother James M. Bass. Emily Traylor is now 26 and still living with them. I wonder if she had some kind of disability...a thought which just struck me, but since she hasn't married by then, maybe.
|Downtown Huntsville in the 1870s|
|Women's Clothing 1870s, not Bettie Bass Rogers|
And then he married Bettie in Willis Texas. Perhaps the railroad coming into Willis gave some incentive for the family to move to Willis, and their 2 children were born there. My grandfather George Rogers was born Aug 28, 1877, and his sister Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers was born March 10, 1879. Their father died May 29, 1879 and is buried in Huntsville, Texas.
Willis became a community when the Great Northern Railroad decided to run a track from Houston to Chicago, and the Willis brothers donated their land in 1870 to the railroad. Willis grew in population after the trains began to travel through the town. There were hotels, dry good stores, and many other successful businesses in the 1870s and 1880s. The tobacco industry played a vital role in Willis' growth and development during that time. Other cash crops of cotton, watermelons, and tomatoes were an important part of the economy through the years. The timber industry, which still plays a role in Willis' economic growth, has been its most stable economic engine for over one hundred years. (Wikipedia)The next census record of 1880 included the 19 year old widow, Bettie Rogers and her two children, living still in Willis, Texas, without any reported means of support. She is listed as head of the household. (There's no 1890 census available.)
By 1900 Census the small family is living in Galveston, Texas, with Bettie now age: 46; a widowed head of household, address 1828 Church St; June 6, 1900 living with son, George Elmore Rogers (23) and daughter, Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers (21). (George would become my grandfather.)
A short aside to refer back to the huge hurricane of 1900, as described a bit in my blog here. The family survived it, and I don't know any details about their lives during and right after it. Then in 1905 my grandfather got married. His sister Annie Lou married in 1906.
So the next report about Bettie Rogers is a reference on my grandfather's WW I draft card in 1918, where he gives her as his nearest relative, (and not his wife of 13 years.) Bettie is living at 22nd and L in Galveston, Texas.
Then the census of 1920 lists Bettie Rogers "Age: 58; Marital Status: Widowed; Relation to Head of House: Mother-in-law," living with daughter, Annie Lou Wilson and her husband Patrick and Bettie's three grandchildren, still in Galveston.
On July 17, 1924, at age 64, Bettie Bass Rogers died, as was printed in the Galveston city directory of that year. She was buried in Huntsville TX, according to her death certificate.
My grandfather (born 1877) wrote in 1954, of having a guardian (an aunt and uncle) that had charge of himself and his sister. I always assumed Bettie died close to the same time as her husband, after her daughter was born in 1879. But the guardian doesn't seem to have had the 2 Rogers children in his household in any available census.
Bettie Bass' date of marriage was Dec. 14, 1876 to William Sanford Rogers in Willis, TX, with Rev. D. S. Snodgrass officiating. Rev. Snodgrass had also married the J.E. Ross couple earlier in the year, on Jan 18, 1876, (who became the guardians of the Rogers children.)
Bettie's birthdate is garbled through various years on census reports, which might have been her own doing. She could have been a bit bohemian, or had some kind of confusion about her own age, and I am sure it was difficult to raise 2 children on her own. She didn't follow the tradition of going to live with relations, rather she moved with her young family to a new city, Galveston. There were limited ways a widow could support her family, (for instance, my widowed grandmother on my mother's side was a seamstress.) Another means was to take in boarders, but the census records don't give any indication of that. (A later census does show a male boarder in the household.)
from February 1, 2019:
I started looking at my great grandmother Elizabeth "Bettie"Bass Rogers' sisters and brothers. Since I discovered the youngest sister had been mistaken for a sister of other folks named Mary Mason (married to a Bass), I wanted to know about these pioneers of Texas, who were really my relatives.
|John Matilda Barton|
2) The next sibling to be born was James M. Bass Sr , who (on Ancestry) had no date or place of death...though many census reports included him with his family. But after doing a search to no avail, I looked a bit at the census reports of his wife, who (as often is the case) outlived him. This was the excitement of my day!
By the time I was done, I had his approximate death date from a pension request from his widow, for his service in the Confederacy.
James M. Bass Sr. - Birth 05 DEC 1842, Union Parish, Louisiana, Death sometime in 1907, Harris County, Texas. He married when he was 28, on Dec 5, 1870 in Walker County, TX to Laura A. Cunningham Bass, 1844–1924. They had 5 children, of whom at least 3 lived to adulthood, one of whom, Richard Clarence Bass, became a dentist. But the first child was born on Dec. 25, 1870, so I'd say this was a marriage just in time.
The 1880 census of Walker County lists Laura A. and probably J.M her husband, living with his father-in-law.
|An old plantation house, not one owned by my family as far as I know|
7) My great grandmother, Elizabeth "Bettie" BASS ROGERS Birth 12 FEB 1860, Old Waverly, San Jacinto, TX Death 17 JULY 1924, Galveston, Galveston, TX. I celebrated her birth HERE.
Again the 1870 census record of the family has names of children that don't compute with other records. (No Mattie, no Martha E.) Children are listed in age order...Sarah, 16; Elizabeth 10; Ella 9; Minni 7; Mary 5.
Martha E. "Mattie" Bass married James Durrah Cunningham Sr, (1852-1925) the younger brother of Laura Cunningham Bass who married our James Bass (see above number 2.) Mattie was listed in many census and city directory records (finally an Auntie who was documented! - well, second great Aunt.)
The 1880 Census of Walker County has her listed as a 16 year old boarder, but the household name is missing as it is on the previous sheet, but she is "at school." And her name is given as M. E. Bass. But not for long, because she married J.D. Cunningham in 1881, according to the later 1910 census data which gives information of "married 28 years." They had 3 children, all of whom lived to adulthood, and one lived until 1974.
10) Minnie Bass Zellner, - Birth 29 Feb1864 • Texas, Death
Minnie married when she was 20 (1885) to Frances Edward Alexander Zellner (known as Frank). They had 3 sons and a daughter, and lived on several farms through their lives. She lived until 1939, dying at 75. But it is notable that they also lived in Milam County TX where her older sister Julia Bass Barton lived.
11). As mentioned before, there was a Mary Bass listed in the 1870 census of Walker County TX. She was listed as 5 years old. So I've added her as a child of Richard and Mae Bass.