Volume 5, Number 5, Fall 1974
(From Stone County News-Oracle June 23, 1943)
Hon. H. A. Smith and Hon. R. S. Tromly have each written interesting reports on the grave of Theopolis Bass who died in Jefferson City, March 11, 1849, while a member of the Legislature as Representative from Taney County.
During my first term in the legislature I became interested in the routine appropriation of state funds for the upkeep of certain graves in Jefferson City. Searching the records I discovered this was for state officials who had died before the time when the bodies could be taken home for burial. Among the list was Theopolis Bass, Representative from Taney County.
1938, I get further information and published it. Because of certain differences in the report of
Mr. Smith and Mr. Tromly this report of 1938 is reprinted with certain other facts related to Theopolis Bass.
Mr. McCullah gives a report on the land entry of Theopolis Bass.
With the assistance of Mr. Chas. H. Groom we were able to locate certain deeds by Theopolis and Mildred Bass, his wife.
The Taney County records have been twice destroyed by fire, but it happened that this deed of Theopolis Bass had been kept and was re-recorded after the last fire and it is found in Book 3 at page 80. (There is more than one book 3). This recording was made on November 8, 1886. Sampson Barker is noted as Special Recorder and Mr. Groom tells us this was by a specific law for cases where a courthouse had been destroyed.
This re-recorded deed showed it had originally been recorded in Book A at page 184 and 185, on April 8, 1848 by John W. Danforth, recorder. It had also been acknowledged by John W. Danforth, clerk, and the deed in its acknowledgement shows by the officer that Mildred Bass was separately examined apart from her husband and shows that she was signing the deed by her own free will without any compulsion. That was required by the law then.
This deed was made to Leve Casey, the consideration was $1,500.00 and the total acreage was 315.47 acres described as follows: SWfrl quarter both banks of White River Sec. 29, 125.44 acres; NWfrl quarter both sides of White River, section 30, 103.94 acres; section 32, 103.94 acres; (note by ed. J.R.M. "I cannot make the acreage listed and the total jibe, perhaps a mistake in proof reading, for I cannot imagine Mr. Freeland making a mistake in copying or printing either).
Mr. McCullahs report gives the cash land entry of Theopolis. It also shows on the records here.
This land is located on White River just a little way from Forsyth.
It was on both sides of the river and part of it became known and still is remembered as the Casey Homestead. The bottom land is now a part of the lake. It was very fertile.
Mr. Groom tells us that after the deed to Levi Casey that the name of Theopolis Bass does not again occur on the deed records of Taney County. That deed was made in April 1848, and was the year he was elected representative and it was less than a year before his death. It would be interesting to know whether ill health may have been a factor in his selling this land, for he was not quite forty years old.
Mr. Tromly said it was possible Theopolis Bass was a resident of what is now Stone County at the time of his death as part of what is now Stone County was then included in Taney County.
The Bass family has continued to live in the western part of Taney and the eastern part of Stone county, but what bearing that may have on the residence of Theopolis I do not know.
It will be noted by the letter of Theopolis Bass written to his wife under date of January 3, 1849, that he apparently had been suffering from chills at the time of leaving home.
(Below we are reprinting an article which was printed in the Taney County Republican March 10, 1938. We are indebted to W. A. McCullah for the information, W. E. F)
Theopolis Bass was the son of Lawerence Bass (born 1811) of Boone County, Missouri, who was one of the "Commissioners" to locate a "Seat of Justice" in that county. A town company was formed and called the "Smithton Company" which bought a tract of land, surveyed, and laid out the town of Columbia.
Theopolis had a brother, Eli, who lived near Ashland, Boone County, who was considered the wealthiest man in Boone and neighboring counties for a period of a great many years. He owned a large estate and was an extensive stock breeder, and had 45 slaves who were quartered in twelve cabins. He used his wealth and influence to good purpose and was very generous in his charities, but invited children of his neighbors and poor families to participate in his generosity. Eli Bass was a member of "The Committee of Three" to contract and superintend the erection of the main edifice of the State University, and was one of its first Board of Curators by an Act of General Assembly, February 11, 1839. His donation of $3,000.00 was the largest individual subscription made to this fund.
Theopolis Bass was the first County-Circuit Clerk and Recorder of Taney County, being appointed in 1837 by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs (elected 1836 from Jackson County). Coming from a family with means he was highly educated for one of that period, and was very industruious and had taken up the work of surveying. It was while surveying the "base line" with Nathaniel Boone (son of Daniel Boone) that he met, wooed and won Mildred Shannon, daughter of John David Shannon of White River Township.
Theopolis Bass (1811-1849) married Mildred Shannon (1823-1906) on November 5th, 1840 at Forsyth, by Thomas M. Johnson, Justice of the Peace. Four children were born to this union: Nancy Elizabeth who married Frank Berry (special body guard of General Price) who was killed in action at Wilson Creek; Mary Catherine who married Nathaniel Massey; John Shannon who married Clarinda Massey (a sister and brother marrying a sister and brother). After the death of Theopolis, his brother, Eli, came to Taney County and took two of the children back to Boone County to educate them; Mary going to Howard-Payne College while John entered the Academy at Ashland.
Theopolis Bass entered his land on White River on August 23, 1845 (Cash entry No. 7723) comprising about 132 acres of Government land for which he paid $1.25 an acre, but turned in Government vouchers for surveying services as payment. He owned the NW 1/4 on the East side of White River, which comprised the now Shepherd of the Hills Estates. John Shannon entered land on August29, 1845 on the SW 1/4 of the same section (32) comprising about 86 acres, which was later sold to Bass for $107.61, on January 2, 1846. Thos. Green sold a tract also to Bass on April 8, 1848. All of this land was sold to Levi Casey for $1500.00.
He lived on the south side of the White River near Forsyth and held court at the mouth of Bull Creek. He was the 6th representative from Taney County, to the 15th General Assembly at Jefferson City in 1848-49 and died while in office March 11, 1849. He was buried at Jefferson City by special Act of the Legislature and a tablet was erected to his memory. The following is taken from the proceedings of the session of 1848-49:
An Act to pay funeral expenses of Hon. Theopolis Bass" introduced and passed in the Senate March 12, 1849.
Mr. Mares introduced a Resolution in references to the death of Theo Bass which were read, rules suspended, and adopted.
Mr. Hicks introduced a Resolution authorizing George P. Bass (a brother) to draw the pay which is due Theo Bass, late member of Taney County, deceased. Adopted (House)
House adoped an Act to pay funeral expenses.
Senate adopted the following resolution relating to the death of Theopolis Bass and have also adopted House Resolutions on the same subject.
The House concurred in the Resolutions from the Senate in reference to the death of Theopolis Bass.
The inscription on the tablet in Cemetery reads:
"Sacred to the memory of Theopolis Bass, late Representative from Taney County, Missouri, who was born in Columbia, Murray County, Tennessee on the 2nd day of February, 1811, and died on the 11th of March 1849."(Erected by an Act of the General Assembly, The Missouri Statesman, published at Columbia, Missouri, says on March 16, 1848,) "Mr. Theopolis Bass, a member of the Legislature from Taney County, and who has been seriously ill during most of the Session, died on Saturday night last. Mr. Bass was a son of Mr. Lawerence Bass of this county."
In reading the proceedings of the latter part of this session, Theopolis Bass was absent for many days, unable to answer the roll call, but was reported from day to day as being sick and unable to attend the sessions. At that day and age, distances were great, roads were bad, travel was light, and news was carried slowly and largely from "mouth to mouth". Mrs. Bass, or, as she was known later, Grandma (Nelson) did not know anything of her husbands death, until weeks later a horseman came riding to her doorway, leading another horse and announced the death of Theopolis. The rider was supposedly one of his brothers from Boone County. The riderless horse was the one Theopolis rode to Jefferson City when he went to attend the Legislature. On its return it carried his saddle, saddle bags, clothing, guns etc.
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