Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nathan Bass: More Questions Than Answers (52 Ancestors #15)

I must confess. I really have a hard time writing about an ancestor I know so little about. It's not for lack of trying, but Nathan Bass is one tough nut! I much prefer to have enough information to paint a picture of a life, to answer a few questions, to lay down some facts. Such is not the case here. This story will have more questions than answers. But it is a starting point. And a place to publicly question a lot of the misinformation floating around on the internet.  For my own piece of mind at any rate.

Nathan Bass is my 4th great grandfather. From the research my grandmother, the Genealogy Queen, did on the man I know he was born in Virginia on November 4, 1775. His parents have been unproved to date although there are lots of theories out there on the public trees of the world wide web. I prefer to stick to the facts and the fact here is his parentage has not yet been proved.

Nathan moved to Green County, Kentucky sometime prior to 1796, where he married Ruhama Price on Christmas Day of that year. The couple had 11 children according to my grandmother's research. All born in Kentucky.

The 1800 Kentucky Tax Lists show a Nathan Bass in Green County.

Nathan is listed on the 1810 and 1820 Federal census residing in Barren County, Kentucky. There were two land grants issued to Nathan for parcels of land in Barren; 134 acres in 1806 and 100 acres in 1816. Nathan and Ruhama's first four children were married in Kentucky.

The 1830 and 1840 Federal census' record that Nathan and Ruhama had moved to Flat Rock,  Bartholomew County, Indiana, where five more of the couple's children were married between 1830 and 1845.  Nathan purchased two adjacent 80 acre parcels in Bartholomew Co through the U.S. General Land Office in 1821.

Nathan died September 7, 1849. He is buried in the Salem Predestinarian Baptist Church Cemetery in Walton, Boone Co, Kentucky according to Find A Grave. (His wife, interestingly, is buried in Flat Rock Baptist Cemetery in Flat Rock, Bartholomew Co, Indiana)

These are the facts, stark as they may be. For some reason it is being published on public family trees all around the web that Nathan's middle name is Woodford. Nowhere have I found this legitimately documented. The one and only place I have found an indication of a middle name is on the gravestone. It is inscribed "Nathan R. Bass".

Now for the questions:

  • Where did "Woodford" come from?
  • There are several theories as to Nathan's parents, mostly on the same trees that show him as Nathan Woodford. Again, these are all public trees with no legitimate source citations. Who are Nathan's parents?
  • I wonder whether Nathan's father was involved in the American Revolution. There are several Bass's from Virginia listed as Patriots with the DAR, but none indicate this particular Nathan as a son. Was his father involved in the Revolutionary War?
  • I also wonder if Nathan was perhaps involved in the War of 1812. I have found nothing to support this yet. Was he?
  • Why did Nathan move from Virginia to Kentucky? Why did Nathan move from Kentucky to Indiana? Why is Nathan buried in Kentucky, and not with his wife in Indiana?
More questions than answers ......

footnote: in researching all the places Nathan had lived and realizing that Kentucky was part of the Virginia Territory until 1792 my curiosity was piqued. There will be more to this story .....


  1. I ran across your post this morning. My husband is a 4th great grandson of Nathan Bass. I was given a copy of a Bass Genealogy compiled years ago by 2 of his great aunts. I have the same questions as you re: Nathan Bass.

  2. Glad to know I am not alone! Did your Bass Genealogy shed any light on anything? Thanks for leaving a note!

  3. I have the same questions. I had his middle initial as "R" as well. As for war experiences, I have drawn a blank as well. I have a copy of an old letter that puts his son Thomas Washington Bass in Missouri but perhaps that should be Indiana?! In it he describes plowing the land and increasing the number of oxen needed.
    There is a genealogy noted in the information I have for the Vliet-Knowlton family. I believe they were from Michigan, as well as a Jean Knowlton who died in Arkansas in the late 1980's??! I have some very poor quality copies of that genealogy. i wish my copies were better as it might answer some of our questions.
    I will continue searching.... Good luck to you.

  4. Thanks for the note. Any chance you could scan those copies and play with the contrast to see if you can get them more readable? I will continue to search as well ....

  5. The Mormon database tree identically matches another site (Bassett Family Foundation), taking our tree all the way back to Plymouth, England .... William Bass having left for Virginia likely in the 1630s-1640s. Nathan was my 5th Great Grandpa....