William Riley Bass’s descendants lived in several states

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, May 14, 2016

The ancestors of William Riley and Frances Elizabeth (Colline) Bass were outlined in last week’s column.

Today, the first group of their children and grandchildren will be featured.

This family lived primarily in the Saratoga area of Texas and later moved to Utah, Louisiana and Arkansas.

William Riley and Frances Elizabeth, daughter of James Madison Collins and Catherine (Mathews), reared the following children: Mary Susannah, b. 1890, d. 1919, m. James H. Wilcox (1855-1939); Eliza Jane, b.&d. 1891; Allen Milford, b. 1893, d. 1944, m. Minie Horton Nordyke (1881-1930); John Riley, b. 1895, d. 1978, m. Viola Mae Shaw (1896-1968); Daniel Materson, b. 1897, d. 2000, m. (1) Ione Shafer (1893-1919) (2) Katherine Gladys Lee (1907-1985); Benjamin Edward, b. 1900, d. 1956, m. Hazel Mae Laughlin (1912-1945); Mary Etta, b. 1903, d. 1993, m. Joseph Doyle Harris (1886-1966); Etta Mary , b. 1903, d. 1986, m. Alexander Gilbert Ralston (1876-1935); Joseph Carson, b. 1905, d. 1925; Eva Elizabeth, b. 1907, d. 1999, m. Leonard Merrill Stevens (1907-1993); and Martha, b.&d. 1909.

The oldest child, Mary Susannah met with an untimely death.

When her mother was helping in the field, she was left to tend the younger children and the cooking.

Since this was done over an open fireplace, on one occasion while she was stirring a pot, her dress caught fire and she ran to her parents in the field who rolled her in the dirt to extinguish the fire.

She was badly burned over her lower body, and all they had to treat it with was crude oil.

She recovered to some degree, but was left with a painful open sore.

Then she died at 29 years of age of cancer and was the first burial in the La Sal Cemetery.

The next child, Eliza Jane only lived a short time.

Her birth was followed by the first son, Milford Allen Bass, who grew up working on the farm and helping in the family store. He experienced an unfortunate accident when he was about 17 years of age.

His brother, John, was teasing him with a small pistol a friend had given him claiming it was unloaded.

However, when John pretended to shoot him, the gun fired hitting Milford in the mouth and the bullet lodging over one ear.

The doctor was able to remove it, and fortunately Milford had an amazing recovery.

He returned to school and took exams to receive his graduation certificate.

He then worked odd jobs until he moved to Oil City, La., to work in oil fields.

While there he met Minie Horton Nordyke, who was operating a boarding house for the oil workers.

They were married and their first child, William Andrew, was born in 1921.

Four years later their daughter, Sarah Francis was born in 1925, but she died soon afterwards.

Milford died in 1944 at 51 years of age.

The next son, John Riley Bass, lived most of his youth in Saratoga of Hardin County, Texas.

In 1916 he was married to Viola Mae Shaw in Batson, Texas.

They had the following five children: Joyce Imogene, b. 1917; Dorothy, b.&d. 1919; Margaret, b.&d. 1920; twins, Glenn Donald “Son” or “Johnny,” b. 1922, d. 1970, and Gwendolyn “Sister,” b. 1922.

John worked mostly in the oil fields all over Texas and Louisiana and became highly regarded as an “oil digger,”

After retiring from this work he bought a farm near Brenham, Texas, in Washington County and moved there.

He did not like farming, but he developed a dairy and had others to operate it.

He had joined the LDS Church as early as 1904, and he also became a Mason, in which he was active for more than 50 years. At his death in 1978, he was buried in the Guedry Cemetery at Batson Prairie in Hardin County.

The next son, Daniel Materson Bass, was born in 1897 when the family was living on the farm near Saratoga. The family moved in 1904 to the Town of Saratoga and lived over the store, which his father operated. Daniel secured his first job when he was only nine years old riding his newly acquired bicycle to sell Grit and The Saturday Evening Post as well as delivering telegrams for the telephone company. A few years later he delivered groceries and then at 17 years of age he was hired to work for W.P. Vicks’s Machine Shop. He continued there until the family moved to Utah in 1916. His parents had become Mormans or members of the LDS Church and were shunned by many in their community. A Morman missionary told William Riley Bass that he could homestead 160 acres of land in Utah for very little money. The older son, Milford, helped the family finance the move, and upon arrival they stayed temporarily in a log cabin with church members assisting them with provisions during that stay. The family soon moved to La Sal to claim the quarter section of land and begin a new life.

Dan soon gained a job driving stage line cars for the railroad. Late in 1917 he met Ione Shafer, and they were soon married.

She was active in the church, and he was ordained an elder in 1918. He then took a job as a mechanic with the U.S. Indian Service Agency in Miton, Utah.

That Christmas the couple went to spend the holidays with Ione’s family, and most of the family fell victim to the flu epidemic. Ione, who was pregnant and fatally ill, soon died and was buried with her premature son in her arms. Dan returned to Miton and worked to pay off all his debts. He then worked odd jobs until he went with the family in Utah to visit Milford and family in El Dorado, Ark.

Enroute to Milford’s the family went by Mexia, Tex., to visit John Bass, a son, and later Dan, Ben and Joe found jobs there also. In 1923 Dan’s work took him to Lockport, La. Early in 1924 he met a young lady named Katherine Gladys Lee. After a brief courtship they were married that year in Lake Charles, La.

They moved around for a couple of years and then returned to Lockport.

His brother, Joe, drowned there in 1925 while swimming in a local river.

On the very next day, their first child, Katherine, was born, m. Kenneth L. Blume; Dan Jr., b. 1926, m. Dorothy Victoria Farris; Ray Leonard, b. 1928; and Kenneth Riley, b. 1938.

In 1926, Dan and John and their families made a trip to Utah to visit their parents, and two sisters, Evvie and children and Etta returned with them to Louisiana.

The additional children in this family will be presented in next week’s column.

The source for this writing was the book compiled by Nicholas Bruce Bass entitled Bass Family Record, which was completed in December 2015.

He reported that the genealogy of the William Riley Bass family was provided by Kris Crowther, a great-great granddaughter of William Riley Bass.

Appreciation is expressed to these two Bass descendants for sharing their research.

Anyone having corrections or questions regarding the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.