Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bettie Bass Rogers wedding day

A woman who ended up a widow very young, and disappeared from my family before I was born, though she lived a lot longer than I originally was told.

My grandfather's mother was Elizabeth "Bettie" Bass Rogers.  She was born in Old Waverly, San Jacinto County, Texas around Feb or March 1860.  Her parents listed her as 5 months old on the 1860 census in Walker County, Texas.  The original document shows her father Richard Bass as 40, and his wife 35, but the transcriptionist mis-read his age as 20.  It does have a correction through it by pen on the original, so that's understandable.  The date of that census was July 31, 1860, so this youngest member of the family was probably born around Feb 28 in order to be 5 months old.  She was to have 10 siblings both older and younger.

Her father Col. Richard Bass fought in the Civil War, as a confederate soldier.
Richard Bass

Her early years in Walker County Texas on a farm (according to the 1860 census her father was a farmer) also had cousins as well as older siblings nearby.  Her household also had a teenage cousin living with them, Emily W. Traylor, 16. Sister Julia A. was 18, brother James M. was 16, and sister Nancy C. was 7.  All her older siblings were born in Louisanna, but Bettie was born in Texas.  Her mother, Mary A. Powell Bass, also had family nearby; the next family listed on the census are the Powells, with 69 year old James M as head of the family. Nancy J. Powell was 36, John T. Powell was 27, and James E. Powell was 4 months old, and there was also cousin Nancy E. Traylor, age 11 living with them.

I spent hours one night looking at the Traylor, Powell, Bass connection.  How did it happen that the Traylor girls were living with a Bass family and a Powell family?  Well, as most of you probably have already figured out, their mother had died, and they were raised by her cousins...one was Mary Powell Bass, and one was Nancy J. Powell.  Mary Powell Bass's mother was Nancy Jones Traylor Powell, so having a grandmother in common meant they were second cousins, I believe.
Mary Ann E. (Powell) Bass' headstone
Mary Ann Elizabeth Powell Bass headstone

But back to Bettie Bass.  In the 1870 census for Walker County, Texas, the county had grown from early settlement and the Civil War was over.  Much probably looked very different from the time of 1860, but all we have in a Census record are names and ages, and where people were born, and sometimes where their parents were born.  Thus the migrations of families can be traced.

Downtown Huntsville 1870s

By 1870 Richard Bass was a merchant rather than a farmer, now in the town of Huntsville, Texas.  Bettie now had 3 younger sisters, Ella, (9) Minnie (7) and Mary (5).   Her sister Sarah is 16.  Wait a minute, she had an older sister named Nancy C. who had been 7 in the previous census.  How could her name have changed that much?  There's no answer offered.  The oldest siblings are no longer at home, Julia A. and brother James M. Bass. Emily Traylor is now 26 and still living with them. I wonder if she had some kind of disability...a thought which just struck me, but since she hasn't married by then, maybe.

Downtown Huntsville in the 1870s

Bettie's marriage was quite an event, in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas, on Dec. 14, 1876, when she was 16, a Thursday evening with the marriage performed by Rev. D. S. Snodgrass, according to Ancestry.com.  She married a veteran of the Mexican War, William Sanford Rogers, age 26.  He had been wounded and survived the conflicts, but only lived another 3 years after their marriage.  William Sanford was known as W. Sam, according to his son, my grandfather. W. Sam Rogers had been born in Walker County, Texas, but in 1870 was living with his sister-in-law Lucy Gibbs Rogers, in Louisiana.

Women's Clothing 1870s, not Bettie Bass Rogers
And then he married Bettie in Willis Texas. Perhaps the railroad coming into Willis gave some incentive for the family to move to Willis, and their 2 children were born there.  My grandfather George Rogers was born Aug 28, 1877, and his sister Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers was born March 10, 1879.  Their father died May 29, 1879 and is buried in Huntsville, Texas.

Willis became a community when the Great Northern Railroad decided to run a track from Houston to Chicago, and the Willis brothers donated their land in 1870 to the railroad. Willis grew in population after the trains began to travel through the town. There were hotels, dry good stores, and many other successful businesses in the 1870s and 1880s. The tobacco industry played a vital role in Willis' growth and development during that time. Other cash crops of cotton, watermelons, and tomatoes were an important part of the economy through the years. The timber industry, which still plays a role in Willis' economic growth, has been its most stable economic engine for over one hundred years.  (Wikipedia)

The next census record of 1880 included the 19 year old widow, Bettie Rogers and her two children, living still in Willis, Texas, without any reported means of support.  She is listed as head of the household.

By 1900 Census the small family is living in Galveston, Texas, with Bettie now age: 46; a widowed head of household, address 1828 Church St, June 6, 1900 living with son, George Elmore Rogers and Annie Lou Gibbs Rogers.  (George would become my grandfather.)

A short aside to refer back to the huge hurricane of 1900, as described a bit in my blog here.  The family survived it, and I don't know any details about their lives during and after it.  Then in 1905 my grandfather got married.  His sister Annie Lou married in 1906.

So the next report about Bettie Rogers is a reference on my grandfather's WW I draft card in 1918, where he gives her as his nearest relative, (and not his wife of 12 years.)  Bettie is living at 22nd and L in Galveston, Texas.

Then the census of 1920 lists Bettie Rogers "Age: 58; Marital Status: Widowed;  Relation to Head of House: Mother-in-law," living with Annie Lou Wilson and her husband Patrick and Bettie's three grandchildren, still in Galveston.

On July 17, 1924, at age 64, Bettie Bass Rogers died, as was printed in the Galveston city directory of that year.  I don't know where her grave is.

My grandfather (born 1877) wrote in 1954, of having a guardian (a cousin) that had charge of himself and his sister.  I always assumed Bettie died close to the same time as her husband, after her daughter was born in 1879. Or perhaps the cousin, working in real estate, helped with some land disputes and decided this was the best way to settle the old Tennessee land inheritances.  My grandfather notes something to do with how his guardian had helped with something along those lines.  And I also think the cousin/guardian had the 2 Rogers children in their household in one census (I'll have to check on that).

Bettie Bass' date of marriage was Dec. 14, 1876  to William Sanford Rogers in Willis, TX.  So I will celebrate her life on this one certain date of joy that she experienced.  Her birthdate is garbled through various years on census reports, which might have been her own doing.  She could have been a bit bohemian, or had some kind of confusion about her own age, and I am sure it was difficult to raise 2 children on her own.  She didn't follow the tradition of going to live with relations, rather she moved with her young family to a new city, Galveston.

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