Volume 5, Number 5, Fall 1974
A letter to Mrs. Mildred C. Bass
Forsyth, Taney County, Missouri
January 3, 1849
I have with pleasure taken my pen in hand to inform you that I have missed the chills for several days hoping that I am now entirely clear and remain so. I was taken with the chills on Friday after I left home and had them several days though the weather was so cold, sleeting, snowing on us all the way from Hancocks here. I looked for nothing else. I have not been up to fathers yet. I expect to go up on Saturday next. Our relations are well. Father strained his ankle and has been laid up with it for several weeks. James Harris married Sabru Jackson shortly after he returned from the South. I have an excellent place to board. There are seven of us together; Hancock, Neveas, Hicks, Cole, Hawkins, Sanders and myself, all good moral men (Hancock was a senator from 21st District, the rest of the men were Representatives. Neaves from Greene County, Hicks from Ozark County, Cole from Morgan County, Hawkins from Camden County, and Sanders from Chariton County. Ed.). All of the members are complaining of colds and several are pretty sick. It is said that the cholera is in St. Louis and some of the members are very uneasy for fear it will get here and if it does, we will adjourn forthwith and return home. I am unable to say when the legislature will adjourn, but I do hope it will not be a long session. I am anxious to see you and the children. It would give me more pleasure to be with you and the children than all the luxury and splendor here by which I am surrounded. You will please write me as it will be more pleasure to me to see a line from your hands, than all the news I could receive from any other. You can write and seal your letter and have it backed by some person to me. My dear, do not fail to write to me often and I will do the same with you. Kiss the children for me , especially sweet John and give me all the news of the neighborhood. Do the best you can. My dar, I remain
Your affectionate Husband
Ozark County, Missouri March 20th A. D. 1849
I inclose to you a few lines on my return from Jefferson City which will inform you of the death of your husband. I can say to you that I was an eye witness to all his sickness. We both roomed and bedded together until he got too low to be troubled. I waited on him through all of his sickness which was 52 days with continued feauvor. His two brothers, George and Edward Bass, Pilee Dunkins wife, and Wade Jackson were there nearly through all his sickness. He died on the 11th of March the day before the Legislature broke. I got an Act passed the day we adjourned appropriating two hundred dollars to pay his funeral expenses and to erect a tomb over his grave. I also introduced a resolution, and got it passed, authorizing George P. Bass to draw his pay as member from the treasurery which was $282.oo. He is to settle off his bill both for boarding and Doctor fees and account you the remainder. His beast was at his brothers and I think George Bass was to take charge of his clothing and return all to you as soon as he could conveniently. If you wish any further information you will please rite to me.
Your friend and will wisher in haste,
E. E. Bass, Bill of Sale to T. Bass Milly
Know all men by these presents, that I, Eli E. Bass, of Boone County, Missouri for and in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars to me in fiand paid have this day granted, bargained and sold and do by these presents grant, bargain, and sell, and deliver to Theopolis Bass of Taney County and State aforesaid, a certain negro woman named Milly, age about twenty-eight years, and I do warrant said woman to be sound of health and a slave for life. I will defend the title of said woman free from and against the claim or claims of all other persons to him the said Theopolis Bass, his heirs or assigns. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of September, 1837.
Eli E. Bass
Scion of Pioneers Passes to Reward Grandson of First Greene County
Sheriff Dies from Paralysis at Reeds Spring
(From Stone County News-Oracle, Galena, Missouri; May 13, 1963).
John Shannon Bass, 88, whose forefathers made history in the Ozarks section of Missouri, passed quietly away at the family home in Reeds Spring on Saturday, May 2, after only a few days illness following a stroke of paralysis.
Uncle John was born in Taney County on May 26, 1847, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Theopolis Bass. His grandfather, John D. Shannon, was a pioneer of Greene County and served as the first sheriff of that county when it embraced territory now included in Stone and Taney Counties.
His father, Theopolis Bass, settled in Taney County in the early days and was the countys first Representative after it had been cut off from Greene County. When John Bass was 18 months old, his father, who was then serving as Representative, died in Jefferson City and was buried there. In those days it was long trip to Jefferson City and was next to impossible to return a body that far for burial.
In fact, it was so long ago that postage stamps were unknown and envelopes had not come into use. Letters were written and folded so that the flat was on the back, and they were sealed on the back with sealing wax or some similiar substance and the front left for the address. Instead of the postage stamp, in one corner as we find it today the amount of the posage paid was written in the upper right hand corner.
Old letters in Mr. Bass possesion, some almost a hundred years old, indicated that five cents had been deposited with the postmaster for their transmission through the mails. Mail was carried more often by horseback in those days than by railroad train. Mr. Bass father made the trip to Jefferson City to serve as Taney Countys representative on horseback, several days being required for the trip-and there were no visits home until the legislature adjouned. Those were days when lawmakers were lawmakers not politicans, who have to hurry home at intervals during thir term to fix up their political fences. After his fathers death in Jefferson City, Mr. Bass was sent by his mother to make his home with an Uncle, Edwin Bass, of Windsor, Mo. About eighteen years later he returned to his mothers home at Oto , now known as the Josh Maples farm, In the interim, Mrs. Bass had married a man by the name.
of Sam Nelson and had moved from Taney County to Oto in Stone County. So there were two sets of Children, Uncle John being the youngest of the first set. He had one brother and two sisters. The sisters were Mary and Nanni who are both deceased and the brother was James who enlisted in the Civil War and never returned and nothing was ever heard from him and it is presumed that he died in action.
Uncle John had two half-sisters, Mrs. J. Frank Seaman, long a resident of Galena, and Mrs. John McCullough of Marionville. His grandmother Shannon, who came from Greene County to spend her last days with her daughter at Oto was burned to death when her clothing caught fire while she was sitting by the fireplace.
On March 2, 1870 John Bass was united in marriage to Miss Clara Massey who survives him. Her father, James Massey, was a Captain in the War of 1812, and her step-father was Major Moore.
Mr. and Mrs. Bass were the parents of seven children as follows:Theopolis Bass of Tularo, Calif; W. C. Bass of Garber; Minnit Howard, Lewiston, Idaho; Mrs. Gertie Wade, Ozark; Mrs. Myttle Welch, Lowery City, Mo; John L. Bass, deceased. The couple has 24 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.
Mr. Bass had been a farmer and a stockman all his life, and was known as an honest, upright citizen.
Funeral services were conducted Sunday, May 3, at the home with Dr. Cohorn of Ozark officiating. Burial was at Ponce de Leon under direction of the Stults Undertaking Company of Reeds String.
One by one old timers pass away and are soon forgotten, but the history they made, the character they instilled into coming generations will live on forever. The world would be much better if we had more men like Uncle John Shannon Bass.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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