From ‘Basses Choice’ to Sampson County

By Robert Lindsay Contributing columnist

April 23, 2014

This Bass family column is delving even deeper into the family tree. It is now into the trunk of the tree.

Here you will find the Bass family primarily in Virginia. The time period is the 1600-1700’s. They (all 56 Bass family members) arrive in Jamestown on the ship named ” Furtherance ” that sailed from London. They settled on a peninsula in the James River up from Jamestown, Virginia. It is here where Nathaniel Bass, c aptain of the aforementioned ship, establishes his plantation on a land grant made by the King of England. He names the plantation “Basses Choice. Here the Basses settled, working their crops, and living a good life on their plantation.

It was on March 22, 1622 that Indians raided the plantation killing all but two in the Bass family. The massacre was carried out on many other plantations along the Virginia coast as well. You see, Captain Nathaniel Bass had returned to England for supplies when the massacre occurred. The Indians did not kill Nathaniel’s 9-year-old son, John. He was captured and raised by the Nansemond tribe that massacred John’s family.

When Nathaniel returned from England, the Indians would not let Nathaniel have his son, John. Nathaniel later served in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, the equivalent of today’s state legislature.

John, at age 21, married Keziah, “daughter of Robin ye Elder of ye Nansemuns kingdom, a baptized Xtian in Holy Matrimonie accdg to ye canons of ye Church of England, ye 14th of August in the yeare of our Blessed Lord 1638.” They had seven children before John died in 1699. Some of the children moved down to Bertie, and other counties in northeastern North Carolina, and eventually into Wayne, Sampson, and surrounding counties.

After extensive research, it is my assumption that John was saved from the massacre because he was handsome and blonde with blue eyes. These features were not found in the Indian population, and they wanted someone with these features who would eventually marry an Indian lady that would have children with similar features. Many of you may recall the well known story of Pocahontas . She supposedly saved Captain John Smith’s life when she pleaded to her father not to behead him. A side note here. Pocahontas was baptized by Reverend Alexander Whitaker , an ancestor of my wife, Anna. Anna’s mother was a Whitaker from Nash County, NC. Much research has been gathered on this family, and can be found at the library in Rocky Mount. The baptism ceremony can be seen in a mural painting in the dome of our nations capital. Pocahontas married John Alden. She traveled to England and was received with a great welcome. Unfortunately she died at 22 years of age while in London. She was buried there . A marker honoring her life can be seen in the cemetery at St. Paul’s Church in London.

Fortunately, Elizabeth Tucker( Christian name), wife of John Bass, lived to have seven children with John. Many of these children had beautiful blue eyes , a trait still in the Bass family. This trait stands out in Steve Bass’s sister who works at Clinton pharmacy. It is very prevalent in other Bass families, too.

I took a big leap back in the family history and tree. The story was so interesting to me, and I wanted to make sure this part got to the paper before the Annual Bass reunion on April 27th. I will return to the Bass family members who came down to Sampson County in my next column.