Sunday, April 16, 2017

Brick Wall Ancestor | #3 Ruhama (Price) or (Leonard) Bass

We all have them! Those stubborn ancestors that refuse to come out of hiding. No matter how much coaxing we do! Well, I think it's time to bring them out of the shadows - put their redacted story out there - another piece of the puzzle could be lurking just around the (cyber) corner, in someone's basement, or closet, or sitting in a box on a book shelf ...... You never, ever know where that loose chink will manifest, the one that allows you to push out one brick, then the next. Food for thought. So without further ado....

Brick Wall Ancestor #3 Ruhama (Price) or (Leonard) Bass

This one is maddening! Maddening! It's the kind of thing that makes you begin to question everything you know. Or think you know.

From my grandmother's notes I learn that Nathan Bass b. 4 Nov 1775 in VA d. 7 Sep 1849 (location not specified) married Ruhama Price  on December 25th 1796 in KY. Her notes say that Ruhama was born 30 Sep 1777 in New Jersey and died 21 Oct 1853 in Indiana.

No parents are given for either Nathan or Ruhama. No sources or citations are given either as to where the information was obtained back in 1950 when she typed up these notes. Of course the concept of citing your sources is fairly new, but still a notation would have been nice! OK, the Bass part is easy, Nathan didn't change his name when he got married. But Price? Where did that come from? How do we know that her name was Price? ('Cuz my grandma said so!?)


That is the starting point.

Ruhama 'Price' b. September 30th 1777 in New Jersey somehow ended up in Kentucky 19 years later and married Nathan Bass. I mean, it could happen. People moved around, many headed west. At 19 I would suspect she moved with her family however, and not by herself.

So, what have I found? Not a whole heck of a lot, I can tell you. (Hence the whole 'Brick Wall' thing)

I found two conflicting marriage documents on Ancestry. They are electronic 'transcriptions' of the actual records.

Nathan Bass marries Roema Leonard

Rewhamy Price marries James Reeves
Ancestry warns: "Finding the Original Marriage Record Unfortunately, Liahona Research did not indicate which sources were used in this process, nor did they provide citations for the origin of each entry. However, careful researchers who wish to examine the original source will find sufficient information to lead them to that source. Most early American marriages were recorded by the county (except in the northeastern states) and this collection provides the county for virtually every marriage. Original microfilms can be obtained from the Family History Library."


I can not find the corresponding records on FamilySearch, I've combed over the wiki, I must be missing something. I posted my query to the RAOGK facebook page, meanwhile busying myself with some wheel-spinning .....

Breaking a cardinal rule of mine I checked other people's online trees. 

Well, there's a laugh. Or a cry.

Some say her name is Ruhama Leonard Price (or Ruhama Price Leonard), other's have Nathan marrying Rowena Leonard AND Ruhama (or Ruhanna) Price. The people in the Price camp declare Stephen Price and Hannah Chandler her parents. I have no idea where that came from .... (Sources? What sources!? Oh, right, OPPT**!! Of course! That and 'Family Data' collections - those are my favorite ....)   **other people's public trees

No help. I knew it wouldn't be, but I looked anyway .....

OK. Next step. Check the census records.

Let's look at Green Co, KY. First census available in 1810.

Nathan(ial) Bass is listed in Barren Co (shares a border with Green) with 7 children under 10 years old, 3 boys and 4 girls.* And next door? William Leonard. Huh.

For grins I checked James Reeves. He's in Green Co. His neighbors? John Price and Horatio Chandler. Hmm.

The Bass Children include:
  • Elizabeth R.  b. 10/17/1797 (KY) d. 2/16/1862 (KY) m. Wm. Hind 3/20/1817 (KY)
  • Sally W.  b. 8/8/1799 (KY) d. 2/27/1819 (KY) m. John Hind 12/19/1817 (KY)
  • William Leonard b. 1/8/1802 (KY) d. 3/16/1885 (IA) m. Margaret Roberts 7/3/1824 (KY)
  • Josiah L. b. 11/10/1803 (KY) d. 3/28/1884 (IN) m. Elizabeth Robinson 3/13/1829 (KY)
  • Susan W. b. 11/16/1805 (KY) d. 5/22/1843 (IN) m. Nathaniel Owens 5/31/1827 (IN)
  • Charity C. b. 12/2/1807 (KY) d. 1/5/1836 (IN) m. Obidiah Simms 10/14/1828 (IN)
  • David G. b. 11/20/1809 (KY) d. 1/25/1877 (MI) m. Sally Jones 9/29/1831 (IN)
  • Jonathan I. b. 2/29/1812 (KY) d. 4/14/1874 (IN) m. (1) Emily Hall 11/23/1837 (IN) (2) Louisa Dritt (widow)
  • N. Woodford b. 6/18/1814 (KY) d. 10/18/1888 (KS) m. Mary Ann Sears 8/21/1842 (IL)
  • A. Jackson b. 2/1/1817 (KY) d. 10/18/1891 (KY) m. Nancy LNU 3/12/1843 (KY)
  • Thomas W. b. 7/29/1819 (KY) d. 2/18/1895 (IN) m. Mary Jane Crane 2/16/1845 (IN)
*this lists matches the 1810 census

Timeline for Ruhama Bass is as follows:

1777 - Birth. September 7th. New Jersey, somewhere. Maybe.
1796 - Marriage in Green Co, Kentucky. Well, Kentucky.
1800 - Residence in Green Co, KY as documented on tax lists and census substitutes
1810 - Residence in Barren Co, KY as documented on US Federal census
1820 - Residence in Barren Co, KY as documented on US Federal census
1830 - Residence in Bartholomew Co, IN as documented on US Federal census
1840 - Residence in Bartholomew Co, IN as documented on US Federal census
1849 - Husband Nathan Bass died. September 7th. Buried in Boone Co, KY at the Salem
           Predestinarian Baptist Church cemetery. Daughter Elizabeth is buried there
           as well.
1850 - Residence in Pleasant Co, IN (in household of son David) as documented on US
            Federal census. New Jersey birth confirmed.
1853 - Death. October 21st. Buried in Bartholomew Co, IN at the Flatrock Baptist
           cemetery. Two daughters (Susan and Charity) are buried there as well.

photo by Cris West - Find A Grave
Thanks to 21st century technology (internet!) I was able to find Ruhama's grave - pay no attention to the Find A Grave notation ... it's conjecture at this point. But the grave stone is real and the death date lines up with my grandmother's research. (note: I contacted the man who maintains the memorial and requested info on where he obtained her maiden name and the other 'bio' notes - he has not responded)

As I was finishing typing this up I got a reply to my facebook post.

Whoo boy! Guess I just didn't know where to look.

Wm and Sarrah Leonard give Roema permission to marry Nathaniel Bass

Marriage license issued to Nathan Bass and Roema Leonard 12/22/1796

Marriage intent between James Reeves and Rewhamy Prise

Marriage license issued to James Reeves and Rewhamy Prise 12/16/1796

Okey dokey. All righty then.

Now what?

Where exactly did that Price name come from? And how did Ruhama's name go from Roema to Ruhama? Did Roema Leonard Bass die and Nathan married Ruhama Price, perhaps a widow?

Oh the questions, the questions .....

One document does not a proof make, but it is a start ........

+++Just to throw more 'wood on the fire' - there is also a marriage bond for a Nancy Bass signed by her father Josiah on December 27th 1796........

.......... to be continued ..........

©2017 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved


  1. It's possible that the FindAGrave administrator for Ruhama's grave may have accepted recommended edits from another site user without corroborating the information. I've had that happen to my ancestors before. It's frustrating, as I'm sure you know, because once it's online there are people who take it as the gospel truth and spread it like wildfire. That makes it much more difficult to determine the truth. Good luck with your continued research!

  2. Thanks! I know, I can be somewhat of a dictator with the FAG memorials I manage - I always require the correction suggestions be backed up with proof - don't want to spread false info! Same goes for FamilySearch trees - I've had to untangle some messes there recently. Thanks for reading!