Monday, December 31, 2012

WATCH NIGHT - Louis Mitchell Bass

Louis Mitchell Bass
Patriarch of the Bass Family of Sevier County Arkansas

Known to be a strict disciplinarian and a devout family man, Louis Mitchell Bass was born a slave in Giles County, Tennessee. He was the son of Irving and Nancy, who were both slaves of Major John Bass of Elkton. 

Upon the death of Major Bass in 1860, some of the Bass estate was divided, and as debts were paid and gifts were made from the estate, the lives of the enslaved people were dramatically affected by this settlement. One of those affected was Mitchell. He was sent as a "gift" to one of the daughters of Major Bass, and sent to live in SW Arkansas, near the town of Horatio. 

Not much was known about his life while enslaved in Arkansas forever separated from his family. It has been said that he was often working with sheep and wool, and spinning yarn.

Louis Mitchell would remain in Arkansas, for most of  his life, although he would often receive news and treasure news about the family that remained in Tennessee. He would later keep in touch with one of the few remaining brothers who eventually left Tennessee and moved to Kansas. Two older brothers were in Texas, but Mitchell never saw them again.

Mitchell would marry twice in his lifetime, first to Susan Houston, and after she died he then married her sister Georgia Ann Houston.

Marriage of Lewis Mitchel Bass to Georgia Ann Houston, 1879

He would raise a very large family in Horatio Arkansas, even renting land to families nearby. Agriculture was how he made a living, and the family would remain in the same Arkansas community until the 1940s. In the late 1800s Mitchell Bass obtained some of his land as a homesteader. One of his sons, Irving also later acquired land and the family prospered for many years off of the combined parcels acquired land.

Part of Land Patent of Louis M. Bass

It is not known how Louis Mitchell Bass found his freedom, but in honor of the Emancipation Proclamation, and his freedom, I honor this ancestor! He is one who chose to survive and I honor him on this Watch Night!


Kristin said...


Anonymous said...

I believe Louis is my great grandfather. I've seen the picture of my Grandfather George Bass as a young boy standing by him. Thanks Angela, great info.

Alice Keesey Mecoy said...

What a wonderful and touching tribute. I love your Watch Night Series. Thank you so much for sharing

Chines Coleman said...

OMG what a tribute to the ancestors

Arnell Shinault Daniels said...

I love the way you have honored your ancestors. I was at the AAGHSC Conference in Chicago this past October and heard you speak. You are inspiring. Thank you for what you share.