The Nansemond Indian Bass Family of Granville

The Bass family in Granville County is one of the larger, if not the largest Native American family in the county. It is a “core” lineage whose family members have intermarried with just about all other “core” families of the Native community in Granville. The Basses have a well documented tribal origin with the Nansemond tribe who are indigenous to the Nansemond River area of Virginia. Today known as the Nansemond Indian Nation, the tribal nation received federal acknowledgement in 2018. Due to the rapid movement out of the Nansemond homeland as a result of increased colonization, many Basses settled in the “frontier” of North Carolina. Their descendants today can found in a number of tribal communities such as: Haliwa-Saponi, Meherrin, Occaneechi-Saponi, and Lumbee.

Nansemond Tribal Origin

Untitled presentation (2)
Family Tree of the first generations of Basses. John Bass(e), a colonist, married Elizabeth, daughter of the chief of the Nansemond tribe. This blog post focuses on their grandsons Edward Bass and John Bass who moved to North Carolina. Note: this tree only names the children of William Bass and Catherine Lanier who had know offspring © Kianga Lucas

Much of the source material for this blog entry comes from the research of Bass descendant and genealogist Lars Adams. Lars has invested a lot of time in correcting past research mistakes. Nikki Bass is another Bass descendant and researcher who publishes her Bass related genealogy in a blog here. I also drew from Paul Heinegg’s research on the Bass family as well as from Albert Bell’s book, Bass Families of the South (1961). And finally it is important to point out that I author of this blog, Kianga Lucas, am also a Nansemond Bass descendant which is how I first came to research the family and is why I am dedicated to preserving our family history.

The Nansemond branch of the British Bass family begins with the marriage in 1638 of John Bass(e) an English colonist to Elizabeth, baptized daughter of the chief of the Nansemond tribe. Their marriage was recorded in the Bass family sermon book that has survived to the present. Albert Bell’s book contained an incorrect transcription of this marriage record that falsely states Elizabeth’s name was “Keziah Elizabeth Tucker” and that her father was “Robin the elder”. However as you can read from a copy of the original marriage entry, her name is simply “Elizabeth” and her father’s name is not mentioned at all. So if you are a Bass descendant or researcher, please check your family tree to make sure you have the correct information. Below is an image of the marriage:

Bass Family Bible transcription:
Bass Family Sermon Book transcription:
“John Basse married ye dafter of ye King of ye Nansemond Nation by name Elizabeth in Holy Baptizm and in Holy Matrimonie ye 14th day of August in ye yeare of Our Blessed Lord 1638 Dyed 1699 A.D.”

The Nansemond tribe is an Algonquian speaking tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy from the tidewater Virginia area that is today the modern city of Suffolk. As coastal people they were impacted very early on by European colonization. Here is a helpful map of the sub-tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy:

Map of the Powhatan Confederacy. The Nansemond Tribe is circled in red. Source: Helen Rountree
Map of the Powhatan Confederacy. The Nansemond Tribe is circled in red.
Source: Helen Rountree

John Bass/e and Elizabeth the Nansemond had several children including a son named William Bass (1654-1741) who appears to have the most well documented descendants. William Bass was married to a woman named Catherine Lanier and they made their home in what was then known as Lower Norfolk County, Virginia along the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River. William Bass Sr and Catherine Lanier had the following children:

  • Edward Bass b. 19 Oct 1672
  • John Bass b. 4 Dec 1673
  • Keziah Bass b. 30 Oct 1675
  • William Bass b. 28 Oct 1676
  • Joseph Bass b. 21 Dec 1678
  • Mary Bass b. 15 Jun 1681
  • Thomas Bass b. 13 Nov 1687

Four sons: Edward, John, William, and Thomas are known to have had children and living descendants today. Sons William Bass Jr (1676 – 1761) and Thomas Bass (1687-?) and their descendants primarily remained in the Norfolk, VA area with some descendants moving a very short distance across the state line into Camden County, NC and neighboring counties. These Basses commonly intermarried with other FPOC families such as: Hall, Perkins, Price, Archer, Newton, and Nickens.

On the other hand, sons Edward Bass (1672 – 1750) and John Bass (1673- 1732) relocated to North Carolina and their descendants I will document in the following sections. The descendants of both Edward Bass and John Bass are found in Granville.

William Bass Sr in 1726/1727 received a certificate from the Norfolk Co, VA court stating that:

An Inquest pertaining to possession and use of Cleared and Swamp lands in and adjoining ye Great Dismal by William Bass, Sr. and His kinsmen who claim Indian Privileges, Sheweth by the testimony of White Persons and sundry records of great age and known to be authentic, That said William Bass, Thomas Bass, and Joseph Bass and spinister daughter Mary Bass are persons of English and Nansemond Indian descent with no admixture of negro, Ethiopic, and that they and all others in kinship with them are freeborn subjects of his Majesty living in peace with his Majesty’s Government entitled to possess and bear arms as permitted by Treaties of Peace by and between Charles II of blessed memory and ye Indians of Virginia and the said William Bass, Sr. and als are in Rightful, and Lawful possession thereof and are not to be further Molested by any person or persons whatsoever under any pretended Authority under Penalties etc. etc., whilst ye said Bass and his kinsmen claim Indian privileges pursuant to the aforesaid Treaties of Peace.

17 day of March 1726/27

Solo. Wilson, Cl. Cur.

William Bass’ sons Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732) are not included in this certificate because they had already relocated to North Carolina several years prior. However it is important to note that this certificate extended to all of William Bass’ kin who were not specifically named in the certificate. This is a compelling detail because it demonstrates that William Bass had the foresight to ensure all of his relations had these same treaty rights. 

Later William Bass’ son William Bass Jr (1676-1761) received a similar certificate in 1742 that read:

William Bass, the Bearer, tall, swarthy, dark eyes, weight abt. 13 stone, scar on back of left hand, is of English & Indian descent with no admixture of negro blood, numbered as a Nansemun by his own Choosing. The sd. Bass dwells in this County and hath a good name for his industry and honesty.

Clearly the Bass family early on was attempting to document and secure their Nansemond Indian identity and treaty rights and in order to do this, it required them to distance themselves from any “negro admixture”.

Augustus Bass sitting on the far left with other members of his family in Norfolk County, VA (modern Chesapeake). Augustus Bass is a descendant of William Bass Jr (167 ), whose family remained in Virginia.
Augustus Bass sitting on the far left with other members of his family in Norfolk County, VA.
Augustus Bass is a descendant of William Bass Jr (1676-1761), whose family remained in Norfolk, Virginia.

William Bass Sr, wrote a will on 1 Oct 1740 which was proved on 17 Sep 1742 in Norfolk County. In the will, William gives his sons William, Edward and Thomas only one shilling each. He gave to his son Joseph Bass, his “waring cloaths” and left his land and anything else to his daughter Mary in the hopes that she salvage what is left. Clearly, William Bass was not in good financial standing at the time of his death. Son John Bass (1673-1732) is not named in the will because he predeceased his father. This is also true for William’s daughter Keziah Bass who died in 1704.

William Bass will
This is the original handwritten will of William Bass (1654-1741). Source: Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983; Norfolk; Original Wills, 1693; page 427.


William Bass will abstract
Transcription of the will of William Bass dated 1 Oct 1740 and proved on 17 Sep 1742 in Norfolk Co, VA

Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732) in Norfolk, Virginia

Before moving to North Carolina, brother Edward Bass and John Bass spent the early part of their adulthood in Norfolk. On 17 Nov 1698, Edward Bass appeared in Norfolk court to admit that he owed 500 lbs of tobacco to Hugh Campbell. Hugh Campbell was a Scottish born merchant who was licensed to operate in the West Indies and who later settled in Norfolk. Campbell was also a merchant of human chattel when it was recorded on 8 Jun 1680 that he was paid for transporting an enslaved Indian woman of Bermuda into the Virginia colony. The following year on 16 Nov 1699, Edward Bass purchased 15 acres of land on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River, from John Fulcher. This is the same John Fulcher whose 1712 will freed the Anderson slaves. Within the next generation, the offspring of these freed slaves repeatedly intermarried with Edward Bass’ offspring. The Andersons moved with the Basses out of Norfolk and into Granville and became one of the core families of the community. My blog post on the Andersons can be found here. Thus, it appears there is a yet unknown direct relationship between Edward Bass and John Fulcher (perhaps Edward Bass’ wife was a relative of John Fulcher?). In June 1702, Edward Bass was back in Norfolk court to admit he owed 70 lbs of tobacco to Thomas Winfield from items he purchased at the estate sale of William Whitehurst. And on 15 Nov 1709, Edward Bass sued Henry Lawley for a 3 lb debt. Edward Bass was brought to the Norfolk court again on 20 July 1711 for retailing liquor without a license. The charges were subsequently dropped. On 16 Dec 1715, Edward Bass sued John Muns Jr for 20 lbs for unlawfully riding his mare. What these records show us is that Edward Bass was a land owner on Western Branch of the Elizabeth River, likely had a farm, and earned enough money to make large purchases. The records also demonstrate his knowledge of the laws and court system, as he was a plaintiff in few of the cases.

To date, records for his brother John Bass in Norfolk are not early as extent. On 15 October 1701 in Norfolk court, John Bass paid the costs for a suit brought against him by Thomas Hodges. This is the only record I know of for John Bass in Norfolk. Hopefully more records for uncovered for him, to better understand his life and his relationships in Norfolk before he settled in North Carolina.

Edward Bass and John Bass Move to North Carolina

From here our discussion shifts to documenting Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732) movement into North Carolina. Let’s first start with Edward Bass. The last known record of him in Norfolk was recorded in 1715. By 1720/1721, Edward Bass owned land in Horsepool Swamp in Chowan County (modern Gates County), North Carolina. In that land deed dated 30 January 1720/21, he is called “Edward Bass of Norfolk County, Virginia, Parish of Elizabeth”, so we know it is the same Edward Bass from Norfolk. Edward Bass did not remain on the Horsepool Swamp land for long, because on 26 March 1723 he purchased 200 acres of land along Urahaw Swamp in what was then Bertie County and what is today Northampton County, NC. On 28 March 1726, he sold his Horsepool Swamp land. Over the next couple of decades, Edward Bass purchased an additional 615 acres of land adjoining his Urahaw Swamp land in Northampton County, bringing his total land ownership to 815 acres.  On 25 July 1748, Edward Bass wrote his will which was proved in August 1750.  The will named Edward Bass’ children who all inherited shares of their father’s land, thus making it possible to trace out his descendants. The will also named Edward Bass’ widow as Lovewell. She was called “Love”, when she and husband Edward Bass sold their Horsepool Swamp land in 1726. There is no surviving marriage record for the couple, so Lovewell’s maiden name and origin in unknown. Edward Bass likely married her when he still resided in Norfolk, so she is perhaps from one of families who were neighbors to the Basses.

All of Edward Bass’ children moved from Northampton to Granville County beginning in 1758. Soon after settling in Granville, they sold their shares of land in Northampton that they inherited from their father. The Anderson family who was freed in 1712 in Norfolk, made the move with the Basses to Northampton County and then to Granville County where the families continued to frequently intermarry.  When Edward Bass’ children arrived in Granville, they became neighbors and intermarried with the already established and land owning Chavis, Harris, Pettiford, Hawley, Goins, Evans, and Mitchell families.


The offspring of Edward Bass’ brother John Bass (1673-1732) are also found in the Granville community, but they are not as numerous as Edward’s offspring. John Bass was first married to Love Harris. A record of their marriage still exists:

John Bass and Love Harris marriage recorded in Perquimans County, NC. “John BAS and Love HARRIS was Married ye 8th day of Janewary 1696 both of Nanse Mum County and Nanse Mum Parresh by Mager Samuel SWANN Esqr.”
John Bass and Love Harris marriage recorded in Perquimans County, NC.
“John BAS and Love HARRIS was Married ye 8th day of Janewary 1696 both of Nanse Mum County and Nanse Mum Parresh by Mager Samuel SWANN Esqr.”

As researcher Lars Adams points out, despite John Bass and Love Harris both being residents of Nansemond County, VA (formerly Upper Norfolk County) they married in North Carolina. John Bass who was Indian and Love Harris who was white were a couple during time period where Virginia passed strict laws forbidding interracial marriages. So they may have married in North Carolina where the laws were more lenient.

John Bass purchased land that adjoined his brother Edward Bass’ land in Horsepool Swamp in Chowan County (now Gates Co), NC in 1720/1721. This shows the two brothers a concerted effort by the brothers to remain close in North Carolina. And just like his brother Edward Bass, John Bass then moved to Urahaw Swamp in what was then Bertie County (now Northampton County) where he accumulated a total of 1,060 acres of land that adjoined his brother’s. John Bass died young in 1732. Fortunately he left a Bertie County will which divided his Urahaw Swamp land among his children.

It should be noted that John Bass’ will makes mention of his widow Mary, and in it, John leaves his plantation to her as gift for “bringing up my small children”. Since we have an earlier marriage record for John Bass to Love Harris, this would mean that Love died sometime earlier, and John Bass remarried Mary. The will seems to indicate that Mary helped raise the children that John Bass had with his previous wife. The will also confirms that Edward Bass and John Bass were siblings because in it, John Bass refers to his own land as being adjacent to his brother Edward Bass.

Some of John Bass’ children remained in Northampton County and neighboring/nearby counties including Bertie, Edgecombe, Nash and Halifax. These offspring typically intermarried with wealthy, slave owning, planter families, and from that point forward were documented as “white”. Subsequent generations moved to the deep South to expand their plantation economies. Other children moved to other parts of the state. For example, John Bass’ grandson Frederick Bass (b. 1750)  moved to Anson Co and some his descendants can be found among the Lumbee Tribe in Robeson Co.

Several of John Bass’ children did join Edward Bass’ children in their relocation to Granville Co. They were Sarah Bass b. 1704, William Bass b. 1712, Lovey Bass b. 1720 and Mary Bass b. 1722. Sarah Bass b. 1704 was the wife of Lewis Anderson (1713-1785), of the freed Anderson family of Norfolk Co, so that explains why she moved to Granville. Lovey Bass b. 1712 was not married but had a partner named George Anderson (1696-1771) who was also of the Anderson family. The wife of William Bass b. 1712  is unknown but I wonder if she was also an Anderson. Mary Bass b. 1722 married her first cousin Benjamin Bass (1722-1802) who was the son of Edward Bass (1672-1750). on 26 July 1784, Mary Bass sold the 100 acres of land along the Urahaw Swamp that she inherited from her father John Bass in 1732. Just like Edward Bass’ children, John Bass’ children who moved to Granville married into and became a part of the Native American community.

****Mary Bass (1757-1844) and her husband  Benjamin Richardson (1750-1809) are my 5th great-grandparents and are the main progenitors of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. Before Benjamin Richardson, Mary Bass was married to her first cousin Elijah Bass (1743-1781). It had been assumed by earlier researchers that Mary Bass (1757-1844) was the same Mary Bass who was the daughter of Thomas Bass and Thomasine Bunch of Bertie Co. Thomas Bass was a grandson of John Bass (1673-1732) and Love Harris. However I have extensively reviewed the records for Thomas Bass/Thomasine Bunch and their children and it is very clear that Mary Bass (1757-1844) was not their daughter. A closer examination of the records as well as DNA cousin matches, shows that Mary Bass (1757-1844) was the daughter of Benjamin Bass (1722-1802) and his wife Mary Bass (b. 1722). This means that Mary Bass (1757-1844) was the granddaughter of both Edward Bass (1672-1750) and his brother John Bass (1673-1732). ****

This map shows the movement of brothers Edward and John Bass from their Nansemond homeland in Virginia to North Carolina. All of Edward Bass' children and three of John Bass' children moved and settled in Granville County by the 1750s. © Kianga Lucas
This map shows the movement of brothers Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732) from their Nansemond homeland in Virginia to North Carolina. This map shows that the brothers moved together from Norfolk, to Horsepool Swamp, and then to Urahaw Swamp together. All of Edward Bass’ children and four of John Bass’ children moved and settled in Granville County by the 1750s.
© Kianga Lucas


A Closer Look at Urahaw Swamp and Neighboring Tribes

The fact that brothers Edward Bass and John Bass moved to North Carolina at the same time and bought adjoining land deserves further examination. The Urahaw Swamp land that was first purchased in 1722/1723 is of particular interest because Bartholomew Chavis (1685-1750) also owned land along Urahaw Swamp. Bartholomew was the father of original Granville County land owner William Chavis (1706-1778) whose large land tract provided the land base for the Native American community in Granville. The earliest records for Bartholomew are found in Henrico and Surry County, VA. By 1719/1720 he was living in North Carolina and started purchasing land along Urahaw Swamp just 2-3 years before the Bass brothers purchased land there.

Map of the southern portion of Northampton County, NC. I circled Urahaw Swamp which runs off of Potecasi Creek which I also circled. Potcesai Creek enters Northampton from the eastern border with Hertford. Urahaw Swamp breaks off from Potecasi and runs westward an ends on the northern side of the Roanake River along the Halifax County border. Source:
Map of the southern portion of Northampton County, NC. I circled Urahaw Swamp which runs off of Potecasi Creek which I also circled. Potecasi Creek enters Northampton from the eastern border with Hertford. Urahaw Swamp breaks off from Potecasi and runs westward and ends on the northern side of the Roanake River along the Halifax County border.

The Gibson family is another Native American family who are relevant to this discussion. The Gibsons were originally from Charles City County, Virginia where one of the earliest Gibson family members, Jane Gibson (the elder), was known as a free Indian woman. She is the female progenitor of the Evans family who settled in Granville. You can read my Evans/Gibson blog post here. The previously mentioned William Chavis (1706-1778)‘ wife was Frances Gibson. Her brother John Gibson who lived nearby, was a witness to a 1728 land purchase along Urahaw Swamp made by Edward Bass (1672-1750). This shows a direct earlier connection between the Basses and Gibsons. Two of John Gibson’s sons – George Gibson and Charles Gibson moved to Granville in 1750. This was the far southwestern part of the county that just two years later became Orange County. George and Charles Gibson did not stay in Orange County for along and moved around quite a bit with their descendants eventually leaving the state. William Chavis (1706-1778) also owned some land in Orange County and perhaps that is connected to George and Charles Gibson’s temporary residence there. Despite inheriting his father’s Northampton County land along the Roanake River in 1750, William Chavis (1706-1778) continued to live in Granville County. William even continued to have additional land transactions in Northampton County but Granville was his primary residence as indicated in tax records. So with William Chavis being the first from Urahaw Swamp to relocate to Granville, it appears the Bass/Anderson family followed him there several years later. Much more research is needed to learn why these families moved from Northampton to Granville.

I find it interesting that a Nottoway Indian named George Skipper b. 1685 was documented through land transactions, living along Urahaw Swamp in the 1720s (See Heinegg here). This is the exact same time that the Chavis, Gibson, Bass, and Anderson families lived along Urahaw Swamp. And when we take a look at the Moseley map of 1733, we see both the Meherrin and the Nansemond Indians living in close proximity to Urahaw Swamp in Northampton Co. The Nottoway and Meherrin are part of the same Iroquoian speaking confederacy. And some of the Nansemond lived with the Nottoway on the Nottoway reservation in Southampton Co, VA (across the state line from Northampton Co, NC). This was an area where a number of tribes took refuge with one another, and this historical context is important for understanding Urahaw Swamp and the cluster of mixed race Native American families who resided there.

Mosely Map 1733
Zoomed in portion of the Moseley Map of 1733. Urahaw Swamp is shown west of the Nansemond and Meherrin tribes which are circled. Source:


So why did some Nansemond Indians leave the Virginia homeland and settle into other tribal territory? According to scholar Helen Rountree, the Basses belonged to the so-called “Christianized-Nansemond”, and were never granted a reservation like other Virginia tribes (Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Gingaskin, etc). The “traditional” Nansemond did live on a reservation in Southampton County, VA with the Nottoway Tribe. By 1792 they sold off their remaining reservation land. A closer genealogical examination of the Nansemond/Nottoway families on the Nottoway reservation shows that some individuals (such as George Skipper mentioned above) did leave the reservation for nearby Native American communities. In other words, in the 1700’s there were both Christianized and Traditional Nansemond who were not tied down to the traditional Nansemond homeland along the Nansemond River.

Map showing the location of the
Map showing the location of the “Christianized Nansemond” that the Bass family belonged to.
Source: Helen Rountree

Without a bordered, recognized land base, it seems the Basses were pushed out of Virginia as a result of encroachment by European colonists. This brings to mind Edward Bass’ (1672-1750) 1715 court case against a European colonist John Muns Jr. for riding his mare. North Carolina at that time was still the “frontier” and that is where the Basses decided to make their home. The Basses were not the only Native American family from the Virginia tidewater area that made this journey. I suspect a number of Native American families in Granville that have tidewater Virginia roots, were Powhatan tribal peoples who were pushed out due to encroachment. Granville County was one of several locations in North Carolina, where these families rebuilt their communities.

The Nansemond Basses in Granville County

So to summarize: all of the children of Edward Bass (1672-1750) and four of the children of John Bass (1673-1732) relocated to Granville County. Edward Bass and John Bass were brothers, and the grandsons of John Bass(e) an English colonist and his Nansemond Indian wife Elizabeth. In Granville, these Bass descendants practiced endogamy and often married their own Bass cousins. As a result, most living Bass descendants from Granville have multiple Bass pedigrees.

The Bass family continued living and thriving in Granville County as can be seen from a variety of primary source records. The Basses are found in the very high numbers in the census records, marriage records, land deeds, estate records, military pension records, tax lists and more. In 1800, there were 14 Bass heads of households, in 1810: 10 heads of household, in 1820: 7 heads of household, in 1830: 6 heads of household, and in 1840: 6 heads of household. In the 1850 census where every household member was enumerated by name for the first time, there were approximately 24 Basses in Granville, and in 1860 there were approximately 25 Basses in Granville. By the 1940 census which is the last publicly available census, there were approximately 100 Basses in Granville. These head counts of course do not reflect female Basses whose surnames changed due to marriage and does not include Bass descendants whose surnames were no longer Bass.

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Family Tree showing the immediate family of Benjamin Bass (1722-1802), great-grandson of John Bass(e) and Elizabeth the Nansemond. Because neither a will or estate records have been located for Benjamin Bass, there are unanswered questions as to how many children he had. In addition, numerous children were bound out to Benjamin Bass. © Kianga Lucas
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Family Tree showing the immediate family of Edward Bass Jr (1728-1800), great-grandson of John Bass(e) and Elizabeth the Nansemond. Edward Bass left a will which named his children. In the Granville tax lists, he is consistently shown with his wife Tamer so I feel confident that she was the mother to all of his children. © Kianga Lucas

Two of Edward Bass’ sons: Benjamin Bass (b. 1722) and Edward Bass Jr (b. 1728) are primarily responsible for the large number of Basses in Granville as well as those Basses who continued to move West into Person, Orange, Caswell, Alamance, Chatham, and Guilford Counties.


The Bass lineage of the three brothers pictured below who were sons of William Bass b. 1831 and Sarah Evans is as follows:

William Bass; Cullen Bass; Prudence Bass; Edward Bass Jr; Edward Bass Sr; William Bass Sr; John Bass(e) the English colonist and Elizabeth daughter of the Nansemond chief.

Alonzo Bass (1859-1941). Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby
Alonzo Bass (1859-1941). Son of William Bass and Sarah Evans. 
Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby
William Brammer Bass (1874-1962) Source: Ancestry, User: Derika73
William Brammer Bass (1874-1962). Son of William Bass and Sarah Evans
Source: Ancestry, User: Derika73
Garland Bryant Bass (1879-1935). Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby
Garland Bryant Bass (1879-1935). Son of William Bass and Sarah Evans
Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby

Not only do these three Bass brothers descend from the Bass family, they are descendants of the Granville County Evans, Anderson, Day, and Mayo families. This particular branch of the Bass family moved around neighboring Granville, Person, and Orange counties.

Alonzo Bass’ grandson Joel Bass (1929-2012) was former chief of the Eno-Occaneechi Tribe (precursor to the state recognized Occaneechi-Saponi tribe). On Joel’s mother’s side he is descended from the Granville County Day, Stewart, Cousins and yes the Bass family again from the Edward Bass Sr line.

Joel Bass (1929-2012). Son of Buck Bass and Minnie Day. Source: Richard Haithcock
Joel Bass (1929-2012). Son of Buck Bass and Minnie Day and grandson of Alonzo Bass pictured above.
Source: Richard Haithcock
Joel Bass as a young man. Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby
Joel Bass as a young man.
Source: Ancestry, User: randymaultsby
Alford Pettiford born 1877 Resident of Fishing Creek, Granville County, NC. Son of James Pettiford and Frances Brandon. Source: Ancestry, Username: rdaye
Alford Pettiford born 1877
Resident of Fishing Creek, Granville County, NC.
His parents were James Pettiford and Frances Brandon.
Source: Rod Daye

Alford Pettiford is another Bass descendant and in fact has multiple Bass lines that trace back to both brothers Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732).  One of his Bass lineages is as follows:

Alford Pettiford; James Pettiford; William Pettiford; Dicey Bass; Nathan Bass; Lovey Bass; John Bass; William Bass; John Bass(e) the English colonist and Elizabeth daughter of the Nansemond chief.

Cappie Frances Anderson (1882-1947). Cappie was a resident of Fishing Creek, Granville County, North Carolina. Her parents were James Anderson and Emma Taborn. Source: Ancestry, Username: rdaye
Cappie Frances Anderson (1882-1947). Cappie was a resident of Fishing Creek, Granville County, North Carolina. Her parents were James Anderson and Emma Taborn.
Source: Rod Daye

Cappie Frances Anderson also has multiple Bass lineages going back to both brothers Edward Bass (1672-1750) and John Bass (1673-1732). One of her Bass lineages is as follows:

Cappie Anderson; James Anderson; Winnie Anderson; Henry Anderson; Rhody Anderson; Winnie Bass; Benjamin Bass; Edward Bass; William Bass; John Bass(e) the English colonist and Elizabeth daughter of the Nansemond chief.

Eliza Louisa Richardson and Emila Lucretia Richardson
On the right Eliza Louisa Richardson (1828-1909) and on the left her niece Emily Richardson (1840-1910/1920) of Halifax County, NC. Eliza Louisa Richardson was the daughter of Hardy Richardson and Dorcas Boone. This photo was submitted with the Richardson family’s rejected Dawes Cherokee applications in 1898. Source: The National Archives

Eliza Louisa Richardson (1828-1909) resided in Halifax County, NC and is a descendant of the Bass family in Granville. Her Bass pedigree is as follows:

Eliza Louisa Richardson; Hardy Richardson; Mary Bass; Benjamin Bass; Edward Bass; William Bass; John Bass(e) the English colonist and Elizabeth the daughter of the chief of the Nansemond.


83 thoughts on “The Nansemond Indian Bass Family of Granville

    1. I really appreciate this story because we just did our family tree and I too am a descendant to the bass family once they first arrived in Roanoke and integrated with the native Americans.


  1. I am trying to establish a relationship to Richard Basse (Bass), Sr., (1958-1722) son of John Basse (Bass) – (1616-1699)/Elizabeth Keziah Tucker Indian Princess (1620-1676). I am trying to establish that Richard Basse, Sr. was the father of Mary Basse(Bass) (1709 – Unknown) who was married to John Taylor, IV (1674-1722)
    Can you help?
    Thank you
    Karen Newman Goff


    1. Hi Karen. First please note that John Bass(e) the Englishman was married to Elizabeth, daughter of the Chief of the Nansemond tribe. Her name was NOT Elizabeth Keziah Tucker. Please refer to my discussion on this topic in my blog entry as well as Lars Adams’ research which I cited. I think you mistyped the birthdate for Richard Bass Sr. I have only researched John Bass(e) and Elizabeth’s son William Bass and his descendants, so I’m not much help here. You may want to reach out to Lars Adams as he may have CREDIBLE sources to help you trace the other children of John Bass(e) and Elizabeth. Best of luck!


      1. Hi Karen,
        If my lineage is:

        1 Breena Evans BASS

        Bryant Evans BASS (Father)
        b. 22 Apr 1928, Durham, NC
        William Council BASS II (Grandfather)
        b. 19 Dec 1889, Nash County, NC
        d. 6 Aug 1952, Durham, NC
        Lutora Bryant BASS (1893- )
        Marjorie Maine ROGERS (Grandmother)
        d. 25 Jun 1962, Durham, NC
        William Council BASS I (Great-Grandfather)
        b. 1850, Nash County, NC
        Harriett Lutorah BRYANT (Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1859, Mannings, Nash County, NC

        Embry (Embro) BASS (2nd Great-Grandfather)
        b. 1804, Nash County, NC
        m. 23 Mar 1833
        d. Oct 1855, Nash County, NC
        Isley BATCHELOR (2nd Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1815, Nash County, NC
        Augustine BASS Sr. (3rd Great-Grandfather)
        b. 1767, Nash County, NC
        m. 1788
        d. 1816, Nash County, NC
        Mildred (Lydia) BASS (3rd Great-Grandmother)
        b. Nash County, NC
        d. Feb 1845, Nash County, NC
        Isaac BASS (4th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 1736, Northhampton County, NC
        m. 25 Aug 1755, Northhampton County, NC
        d. 27 Dec 1800, Nash County, NC
        Mary Nancy BUNCH (4th Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1738, Chowan, NC
        d. 22 May 1811, Nash County, NC
        John BASS (5th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 20 Feb 1715, Chowan, NC
        m. Northhampton County, NC
        d. 11 Mar 1777, Northhampton County, NC
        Elizabeth WINBORN (5th Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1713, Bertie, NC
        d. Bef 1777
        John BASS (6th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 4 Dec 1673, Nansemond, VA
        m. 8 Jan 1696, Perquimans County, North Carolina
        d. 3 Feb 1731, Bertie, NC
        Love HARRIS (6th Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1677, Nansemond, VA
        d. 1732, Bertie County, North Carolina
        William BASS (7th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 29 Mar 1654, Jamestown, Isle of Wight, VA
        m. 6 Nov 1671, Norfolk, Virginia
        d. 13 Aug 1742, Norfolk, VA
        Catherine Elizabeth (Lanyere) LANIER (7th Great-Grandmother)
        b. Abt 1655, Nansemond, Virginia
        d. 17 Feb 1690, Norfolk County, Virginia
        John BASSE (8th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 7 Sep 1616, Middlesex, London, England
        m. 14 Aug 1638, Nansemond, VA
        d. 2 Apr 1699, Nansemond, VA
        Keziah Elizabeth TUCKER (8th Great-Grandmother)
        b. 1624, Nansemond, Virginia
        d. 4 Dec 1676, Nansemond, Virginia
        Nathaniel BASSE (9th Great-Grandfather)
        b. 29 Dec 1589, London, England
        m. 21 May 1613, England
        d. 3 Jul 1654, Cripplegate, London, England

        Does this mean I am of Indian desent? Nansemond? Seems some
        questions if some Basse’s are or are not. Thanks for the reply
        Breena Bass


      2. Wow, this is so Amazing….My grandfather is a Bass….Those Basses are his ancestors..I have a book from a Bass family Reunion & all the people above are in there…Theyre my ancestors, My grandfathers name was Willie Lee Bass, lived in Granville & Person his whole life….Wow


    1. my great grandmothers sister , a woman by the name of pleasant davis was married to a man by the last name of Holling ( as its spelled in the census} and was widowed . i do not have that mans first name . but one of the descendants became a south carolina state senator… could this be the same hollings ? the children were robert and levenia holling. . pleasant davis and my great grandmother were both santee indians . from the banks of a river somewhere in south carolina that was sumter clarendon county sc in a 1910 census for Adam singleton ( born 1850) and rachel singleton ( nee davis born in 1865)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this very much , I hope you can help me , I am looking for my line in the Bass Family .Lila B. Bass whos father was Norman Bass and mother was Betty Turner. They lived in Gaston, Northampton Nc. Lila Bass married Ira Peters they were my great grandparents , she had a sister Rosa, brothers Waylan, Haywood, Elijah and that’s all I remember . pictures would be awesome then I can see what they looked like , the history would be awesome then I would know how they lived . I thank you so much for your time


  3. Thank you!! I descend from John Bass I and Love Harris Bass. This post answered a number of questions I had. My own fourth great grandmother Winifred Bass relocated from Granville to Muhlenberg, Kentucky in the early 19th century.

    Will be recommending your blog to others and posting a link to the “Bass Surname DNA Study” on Facebook (just use ‘search’ on FB to find us).


  4. I believe the common thread between Bass, Fulcher and Andersons is that they all come from or are connected to sea Captains and they all may had involvement with slavery.


    1. I forgot to mention that I am descended from both William’s sons Edward and John and from the Anderson freed in 1712.


  5. Hello, very helpful! I believe through research I am related to Cap. Nathaniel Bass and his son John Bass.
    I’m just double checking everything I have found to make sure.


  6. I am trying to research Needham Bass born in North Carolina 1790. There is another Needham that you have proven to have no connection to the Nansemond Tribe but I believe my Needham did. I would love to either prove or disprove this. Can you help?


    1. I should have included Uriah Bass was Needhams father they were from Cumberland County, NC. My mother was a Bass I have her line back to Uriah Bass born 1755 Cumberland County NC there I am stuck.


  7. Wondering if anyone can help me. Descendant of Delilah and Donades Anderson both of Norfolk county both of Native American descent based on oral tradition. I can find no parental records for either one and know that they have ties to North Carolina as well. I’m at a complete loss.


  8. Your info on Basses answers my doubts on the James and Willis Bass connection. I thought that I was a descendant of John 1616—William 1654—-William 1676—William 1733 and from there I had John 1760—James 1790—James 1818. Could I be wrong? I am a Bass born and bred and my family went from VA to NC to SC to TN if I am right. BUT thank you for your input on the Basses….the wrong info I had in my tree will be eliminated and hopefully I can somehow find the correct lineage for my Bass family.
    Louise Bass Demmons


  9. Looking for information/connection with Bass lineage into Alabama. My information is John Edward Bass Jr., son of Mary Love Harris & John Edward Bass Sr.Edward Bass Jr., (1700-1777) married Elizabeth Winborne (1706-1777), their son Isaac Bass (1736-1800) married Nancy Ann Bunch (1738-1811). Isaac & Nancy’s son Augustine Bass Sr., (1770-1816) married Lydia Lnu and they had a son Wilson Bennett Bass born circa 1785 in Nash County, NC. Bennett and his wife (unknown) moved to Georgia for a while then finally settled in the Carolina community of Covington County during the early 1800s. From there I know my family. Curious if you are familiar with any of this information or can you help me. Thanks!


    1. Hi Diana,

      I do see family trees on Ancestry with similar information but I have not verified it on my own. I’m not too familiar with this branch of the Bass family. From what I have read, this is the branch that seems to have identified as white, intermarried with whites, and became wealthy slave owners. Many of them did move to the deeper south where they could purchase more land and expand their plantations.
      Isaac Bass’ (1736-1800) brother Thomas Bass (1723-1766) was my 6th great-grandfather. Thomas Bass (1723-1766) married my 6th great-grandmother Thomasine Bunch who was the sister of Nancy Ann Bunch (they were daughters of Henry Bunch). Thomas Bass and Thomasine Bunch’s daughter Mary Bass (my 5th great-grandmother) is the main progenitor of the Bass family of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. Mary Bass first married Elijah Bass and second married Benjamin Richardson (my 5th great-grandfather).


    2. Hi Diana,

      Were you able to confirm this line? I find that Wilson Bennett Bass is where everything gets a little convoluted. If I can confirm that Wilson Bennett Bass is the son of Augustine, I believe that would solve solidify my Bass lineage. My family is from Covington County as well.


  10. Thank you for this wonderful information. I will continue to try and unravel by Bass line. The paper trail dies and I am uncertain if my ancestor was illegitimate or what.

    Samuel Bass was born about 1774 in Halifax, NC according to family, died about 1870 perhaps in Texas. He had two wives: Gemima and Mary Ann Stockton. He moved to Iredell NC (1820), Pickens AL (1840), and Itawamba, MS (1850). His family spread all over but mostly MS, TX, OK. His youngest son claimed he was Cherokee and tried to get money through the Dawes Act. He could not give any information about his Indian ancestry and was denied. I have always thought that Samuel was white and his first wife, Gemima may have been of Native or African American descent, her descendants were dark and one descendant was refused burial in the white cemetery for her ancestry. But perhaps Samuel was of mixed ancestry or both. Second wife, Mary Ann, was from a NJ Quaker line, appears to be white.

    Any information is appreciated!

    Descendants with loose dates: Mount Hilliard 1807-1883 MS, Rebecca Moises 1801-1875 IL, Mary A 1810-, Susan Weston 1811-1861 MS, John W 1819-1856 AL, William Hayward 1822-1865 AL, Thomas Coke 1823-1878 TN, Marquis Lafayette 1825-1874 MS, Green Franklin 1827-1910 MS, Julius A 1828-1858 MS, Christopher Columbus Kit 1830-1865 MS, James Martin 1832-1910 OK, Martha Jane 1836-1900 TX.


  11. Kianga,

    Do you have any information on William Bass of Caswell County, NC? His household was listed as FPOC in the 1830 census. His family lived next to Isaac and Pleasant Watkins. Also next door was Martha and Moses Bass, Lawrence Pettiford, Frederick Dyson, Mary Jones, a couple of Free colored Thompson households, Martha Richardson and Nancy Berry. I’ve also recently discovered two different Day family DNA matches. One has Basses in their paternal line and I’m trying to narrow down our connections back to NC or Va.


    Patrick Watkins


  12. Thank you for an excellent blog. You mention Mary Bass Richardson as granddaughter of John and Love Bass. Like you I have her parents as Thomas Bass and Thomasine Bunch. But evidently I have her father Thomas incorrect as I have his father as Edward, John’s brother. Could you share a little more? Who were the parents of the Thomas Bass who married Thomasine Bunch?

    BTW My 4g was Simon Bass who died 1825 Halifax NC. He left a will as did his son and grandson – all in Halifax, so I have a good paper trail forward to me. Simon married 1. Angelina Dupree in Greensville, Va 1803; 2. Margaret Pugh. The family has mostly stayed in Weldon Halifax area until today. I have no idea who Simon’s parents were.

    I have tested autosomal DNA at Anc. and 23 and no NA or any DNA other than European has shown for me on their tests. My g-grandmother was Nellie Bass (Keeter). Please keep Simon in mind as you continue your research.


    1. Hi Denise,

      Mary Bass’ parents were Thomas Bass and Thomasine Bunch. Thomas was the son of John Bass Jr. b. 1700. And he was the son of John Bass Sr b. 1673 and Love Harris.
      Mary Bass Richardson is the main female Bass progenitor of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe (she’s my 5th great grandmother).


  13. I have found this site very interesting. My cousin sent me the link. I am a Bass and I can take my families line back to the 1700’s and that is where the trail ends.
    I am 6 generations down from John B Bass(1829-1865) there are no known siblings for him. He married Elizabeth who was born in 1823. During the Civil war he died he was in the 27th NC infantry Co. k His father was Uriah Bass (1790-1981) and his wife was Julia Ann (1790-1853). They are from Wayne County, NC. Uriah’s father was Joshua Bass (1763-1829) He was married to Priscilla Turner (1764-1850) They had 4 children including Uriah, Ferabe, Rebecca (1788-1862) and Isaac Bass (1793-1828).
    I’m looking to see if there is any connection with this line and if any other Bass family members from the Wayne County area could provide me with anymore information.

    Sheila Bass Squier


  14. “I suspect a number of Native American families from North Carolina that have tidewater Virginia roots were Powhatan tribal people who were pushed out and ended up marrying into other tribal communities.”

    This is something I also suspect from researching genealogies of DNA matches along Saponi lines. On lines with oral history of Native American ancestry there are mixed surnames from 1600s VA whose ancestors are marrying into Siouan lines in 1700s VA/NC. I had no idea of this until doing DNA. From oral history and genealogy I knew our Siouan connections, but was surprised to see Rolfe’s and other names in cousins trees. We tested my mother’s MTDNA and a Rolfe and a Redfearn were among her twelve matches.

    There is a DNA discussion about these Bass lines on SaponiTown:

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great blog! I have traced my Bass roots back to William Basse and Mary Carkin (Basse), in England. Edward Bass and Elizabeth would be my “great-great-great-great-great” grandparents; I am descended from Jeremiah, Ephraim, John, Albert Gray Bass, then my grandfather Benjamin Hubert Bass.

    Are you aware of any Bass’s who fought in the Revolution or the Civil War?


  16. I want too personally thank you. You have included my great great aunt Cappie Frances Anderson on this blog. Her niece Hattie Jane Anderson (who is 89 years old) was surprised to see this article.


  17. Hello,
    does anyone know of Cynthia (Bass) Sills
    she married Washington Sills Prior to 1843
    three known children were mothered by Cynthia (Bass) Sills
    Berry Sills, born 1844
    Martha Sills, born 1847
    Cynthia Sills, born June 10th 1848
    In 1867 Wesley Whitaker married Cynthia Sills, the daughter of
    Washington Sills and Cynthia (Bass) Sills
    I ‘am the descendant of these
    any information will be greatly appreciated
    I “Thank You” in advance.


  18. John Bass Born London England 1616 Died 4-2-1699 Nortfolk VA. Wife Elizabeth Tucker Born 1618 Died 12-4-1676 Was my 10 Great Grand Parents. Glad to See This Info.


  19. Hello, can you help with the following:. I am descendant from Isaac and Nancy Bunch, Jethro, b. 1766 in NC. Jethro married Susannah in1782 Northampton Co, NC? Any info on Susannah would be extremely helpful. Who were their children? I am from their son, Jethro,Jr., B.1782 married Mary Kelly in 1802 Northampton Co, NC. Also, would you have any info on Jethro, Sr., (1766) other wife after Susannah (b. 1728-1750, D. 1800)?? Did he marry Mildred Sikes? Again, many thanks for any info you have to help clear up this mystery.


  20. I’m hoping someone can help me. I’m so confused on one part of my lineage. Since DNA on my Reeves lineage, there is some disagreement in certain/certain lines. I descend from George Reeve born 1730 Va and died 1738 Prince William Virginia. What we have found is that he married Jane Riddle. Jane Durham married another Reeves in Kentucky. They believe Netty White’s mother was Jane Riddle. Either way, it’s still my direct link.Let me add We have found no other marriage for Jane Durham. We have concluded that Jane is a child of Moses. My DNA connects to the Riddle and Crump families out of Virginia.I am also pulling ethnicity of Portuguese DNA. This would go in hand that the Reeves were mixed Native and Portuguese. Believe that information is found on the New River Site.
    Moses is the son of Edward Buss and Margaret Ridley/Riddle. The information of Margaret Ridley is found under this heading on Ancestry-Virginia, Marriages of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 1649-1800 for Edward Buss -Married Well and Often: Marriages of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 1649-1800

    Edward Buss and Margaret Redley c. 24 June 1713, Buss and Redley were convicted of “living in that notorious sin of fornication and cohabitating with each other. (WC OB1705-21:217).

    1. Margaret Redley, born say 1692, was presented by the churchwardens of Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, on 28 June 1710 for having a bastard child. She may have been identical to “Margrett a Servt. to Calleb Butler” who was presented by the churchwardens of Washington Parish on 28 May 1707 and 22 February 1710 for “fornication & haveing a Mulatto bastard.” On 24 June 1713 she and Edward Buss “a Mulatto” were presented by the grand jury for fornication and cohabiting together [Orders 1705-21, 58, 66, 136a, 140a, 143a, 145a, 155a, 217]. She was probably the mother of Moses.
    Moses, born say 1710, owned land in Orange County, North Carolina, adjoining George Gibson and Thomas Collins [Orange County Loose Papers, vol. V, no. 131; vol.VI, no. 579]. He and his wife Mary were “Mulatto” Orange County taxables in 1755 [N.C. Archives T&C 1, p.8]. He was called a poor debtor in February 1761 when William Chavis sued him in Orange County court [Haun, Orange County Court Minutes, I:459]. He was probably related to Moses Ridle, an “Indian” tithable in John Wilson’s Pittsylvania County tax list for 1767.

    Also in debtors was Reeves and Moses son William.
    There are conflicting accounts of William Goss and Reeves being hung or if William his son Moses and Reeves were hung by Cleveland. William Riddle and George Reeves were Tory’s.

    It has since been established that William Riddle lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, in the area that is present-day Grayson County, probably along Peach Bottom Creek in the Elk Creek District of the New River, from about 1772 until about 1780, at which time he apparently went to “Wolf’s Den” on Riddle’s Knob.

    In the Spring of 1781 Capt. William Riddle captured Col. Benjamin Cleveland, of Surry County, North Carolina, who was a particularly vigilant patriot.2

    Cleveland escaped, with the help of his brother Robert Cleveland and others, and shortly thereafter Riddle was caught and hanged by Cleveland, or possibly shot and mortally wounded by Benjamin Greer, according to other accounts.

    Cleveland and his associates said he was hanged at Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina, but others said he died at his own camp in present-day Watauga County, North Carolina at Riddle’s Knob (now Rittle’s Knob), west of the village of Todd.3
    It has since been established that William Riddle lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, in the area that is present-day Grayson County, probably along Peach Bottom Creek in the Elk Creek District of the New River, from about 1772 until about 1780, at which time he apparently went to “Wolf’s Den” on Riddle’s Knob.

    Lyman Draper wrote King’s Mountain and Its Heroes, using letters and pension statements concerning the American Revolution as his source material. These he had collected over a number of years.

    The following quotes refer to events which took place in the Spring of 1781, when Cleveland was captured by Riddle:

    “Unfortunately for the Colonel [Benjamin Cleveland], Captain William Riddle, a noted Tory leader, son of the Loyalist Colonel James Riddle4 of Surry County, was approaching from the Virginia border with Captain Ross, a Whig captive, whom he had taken, together with his servant…”

    Several weeks later:

    “The three prisoners taken were Captain Riddle, and two of his noted associates named Reeves and Goss…

    The three notorious freebooters were accordingly executed, on the hill adjoining the village, on a stately oak, which is yet standing, and pointed out to strangers at Wilkesboro. Mrs. Riddle, who seems to have accompanied her husband on his wild and reckless marauds, was present, and witnessed his execution.”

    “Others of the Tory brigands also fell into the hands of Cleveland’s vigilant troupers. One of them was Bill Nichols, a noted and desperate leader, whose wife is said to have been a sister of Captain William Riddle…. Nichols was speedily executed.”

    The first record which appears to definitely be this William Riddle is the 1767 tax list, Tithables of Pittsylvania County, 1767 of persons residing in the newly formed Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He is listed as “William Ridle” and next to him on the list is “Moses Ridle (Indian).”

    As far as can be determined, Moses Ridle was the father of William Riddle and was of Scotch-Irish, Indian and Portuguese (Melungeon) ancestry.

    By tracking events in the life of William Riddle – who he associated with, where his children lived, and the families into which his children married, a clear pattern of on-going association within these extended families has been established.

    All evidence continues to point to and strengthens the conclusion that Moses Riddle and his wife Mary Collins Gibson ( this is how she is being listed. Not sure if previous marriage or if there is uncertainty to her maiden name.) were the parents of William Riddle.

    The next mention of William Riddle is found in the court records of Montgomery County, Virginia. He was involved in court cases concerning land in 1773, 1774, 1776 and 1779,9 and appears in 1773 on a Montgomery County, Virginia tax list in the area of Elk Creek along the New River.

    In 1774 William Riddle (Riddell) was a member of Capt. William Herbert’s militia company, and apparently fought in Lord Dunmore’s War at Point Pleasant on the Ohio together with Neal Roberts, William Roberts, James Wallen, Joseph Wallen, Thomas Wallen, James Wallin, William Ingram, John Cox, George Sizemore, Micajer Bunch, Doswell Rogers, Nathaniel Wilshire, Clement Lee, George Keith, David Cox, Elisha Collins, Lewis Collins, John Collins, John Collins Jr., John Cox, David Cox, Daniel Blevins, James Blevins and William Blevins.

    All of these individuals were closely associated with the Riddle family in records going back more than forty years, most recently to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, earlier to Orange County, North Carolina along the Flatt River (present-day Person County, North Carolina), and earlier still to York County, Virginia, to Louisa and Hancock counties in Virginia along the James River, to Amelia County, Virginia, to Essex County, Virginia as early as 1717, and possibly to the Pee Dee River basin in South Carolina in 1729-1730.

    In Montgomery County court records in 1774 William Riddle (Ridley) and Caijah Bunch are defendants against William Herbert, assignee of Hugh Smith.

    It is significant that in this record William’s surname is spelled “Ridley” rather than “Riddle”, and that he is closely associated with Micajer Bunch who was a leader among the Melungeon people.

    This connection ties William Riddle (Ridley/Ridle) to Moses Riddle (Ridley/Ridle), who was listed as “Indian” and “malato” (sic.) on tax lists, giving strong evidence to the theory that Moses was William Riddle’s father.

    A man named William Riddle was the second of four assignees to Jeremiah Clonch, who settled 400 acres in 1776 on the west side of Chestnut Creek, off the New River, in the southern part of Montgomery County (now Carroll County, Virginia, formed in 1842).

    There were four Ruddick men (sometimes mistaken for “Riddle” in old documents) who owned land on Chestnut Creek — William, William Jr., Solomon, and John, but they were definitely Quakers.

    These Quaker men were not associated with William Riddle in any records. Jeremiah Clonch, however, was loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War, and moved to new locations with members of the Riddle family. I suspect that this William Riddle is, in fact, our ancestor and that he may have obtained this assignment of land for his service in Lord Dunmore’s War.

    William Riddle (spelled “Ridel”) swore allegiance to the American cause in Montgomery County, Virginia in 1777 in Capt. Cox’s company. There was one other Riddle who signed this same list, namely, Jno. Riddle. A Revolutionary War Pension File, filed by John Riddle in 1833, states that he was born on the Flatt River in North Carolina in about 1750.

    Moses Riddle and his wife Mary were on the 1755 tax list in Orange County, North Carolina and were very likely John’s parents. John Riddle was, therefore, most likely William Riddle’s brother.

    William Riddle was taken to the Montgomery County Court several times as a Loyalist starting in 1779.

    Finally, in 1781 William Riddle kidnapped Col. Benjamin Cleveland, a patriot from Surry County, North Carolina.

    Cleveland escaped, and shortly thereafter Riddle was caught and hanged. The details of his death contain several contradictions in the letters and pension declarations found in the Draper Manuscripts.

    There are three separate accounts in A History of Watauga County, North Carolina with Sketches of Prominent Families and in Draper’s King’s Mountain And Its Heroes. One account in the actual Draper Manuscripts states there were five men besides William Riddle hanged with him and two other accounts state that Riddle and two sons were hanged together.

    Several accounts assert that three Tories were hanged together at Wilkesboro by Cleveland, and one account declares that the three hanged were William Riddle, Reeves, and Goss.

    Yet another account states that the tradition in the area of Riddle’s Knob is that, in fact, Riddle was shot in the thigh at the time of Cleveland’s rescue on Riddle’s Knob.

    His wife pled for him, and seeing that he was mortally wounded, they left him to die with her. In the Draper Manuscripts, 5DD110, W.W. Lenoir corrects his own earlier statement that Riddle and two sons were hanged. He says he now believes the truth of the matter is that Riddle and one son were hanged, together with a third man.

    I believe the name of this son was Moses Riddle, age about 15 years.

    In the court records of Montgomery County, Virginia in 1782, Hoppe Riddle – William Riddle’s wife, (spelled “Happy,” in other records ) sued for the return of her cow which had been taken illegally by Capt. William Love in 1780 as he pursued Tories.

    Also, her two sons, James and John, were bound out by the Montgomery County Court the same year. John was listed as seven years old, but research indicates that he was probably actually about nine years old at the time.

    Happy apparently saw her husband hanged, or tended him until he died after he was shot, and then was faced with widowhood and the care of seven small children.

    William Ingram or Ingraham was certainly acquainted with William Riddle and appears in Montgomery County court records being accused of Loyalist leanings.

    Riddle family tradition says that Happy Rogers/Roberts Riddle married William Ingram (Ingraham) probably in 1784, about the time of the inventory of William Riddle’s estate in Montgomery County court records.

    However, she died shortly thereafter in present-day Hawkins County, Tennessee, probably in the Kyles Ford area. William Ingraham’s Revolutionary War pension application, filed from Bledsoe County, Tennessee, states that he lived in the Hawkins County, Tennessee area for fifteen years. Apparently some of the children were raised by the family of James Roberts in Russell County, Virginia. Others were apparently raised by members of the Thomas Rogers family in the Kyles Ford area.

    Three James Roberts’ appear on Russell County, Virginia tax lists in the 1780’s, as well as Cornelius Roberts and William Roberts.

    Three of the surviving Riddle children married in Russell County, Virginia. Isaac Riddle married Anna Grizzle, daughter of William Grizzle; Joseph Riddle married Rhoda Monk, daughter of Shadrack Monk and Polly Roberts (she was a daughter of Cornelius Roberts); and Happy Riddle married Henry Fisher in 1799.

    These children very likely lived in either the James Roberts, Cornelious Roberts or William Roberts households. Ridlon also reported that Thomas Riddle was “brought up in the family of his uncle James Roberts.”

    John Riddle married Sara Johnson, daughter of Moses Johnson who lived on Newman Ridge in Hawkins County, Tennessee. James Riddle married Sarah Davis according to family records and settled in Cumberland County, Kentucky. William Riddle married Ellen Choat, who had Cherokee Indian ancestry. He purchased land from Thomas Rogers April 23, 1806, in Lee County, Virginia which he sold 9 Sept. 1807.

    William “Bill” Nichols was reported in the Draper Manuscripts to be a brother-in-law of William Riddle. He was apparently captured along with a man named Meeks and both were hanged because they killed a prominent patriot from Henry County, Virginia named Letcher. Nichols was the husband of Williams sister Sarah.

    In seeking to find William Riddle’s family history, the researcher has to deal with both conflicting stories and sketchy surviving records. King’s Mountain and Its Heroes state that the father of William Riddle was “the Loyalist Colonel James Riddle, of Surry County.”

    After researching in the Draper Manuscripts, as well as in Surry County, North Carolina land, military and court records, I did not find any man named James Riddle in Surry County, North Carolina in the 1700’s. Which goes back to him being Moses son after all. I believe the confusion in the James name comes from below. He was the son n law of Col. James Roberts.

    However, there was a noted Loyalist, Col. James Roberts, who is referred to a number of times in the Draper Manuscripts,44 and owned land in Surry County, North Carolina45 and in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.46 I believe Col. James Roberts was the person Draper meant to mention in his King’s Mountain and Its Heroes, and Col. James Roberts could well have been the father-in-law of William Riddle.

    Col. James Roberts lost his land by confiscation (1776, 1779, 1783, 1788 references). It appears that he most likely died in the Revolutionary War, as probate of his estate began in Surry County, North Carolina in 1785.

    Col. James Robert’s son, Capt. James Roberts,49 seems to have survived the war and was in Russell County, Virginia in the 1780’s

    I’m hoping someone can confirm some or all of this information and tell me or lead me to the right Tribal Nation for my family. The more I read, the more confused I become on which Tribal Nation they belonged too. I’ve read Powhatan, Nansemond, Saponi and Monacon.


  21. I am a Bass descendant. I welcome family to contact me!
    My line is as follows:

    Virginia Whitby (grandmother) > Ruth Whitby > Mattie Sue Malone > Thomas Malone > William Malone > James Malone > Sarah “Sallie” Bass > Thomas J Bass > Edward Bass > John Bass/Love Harris > William Bass > John Bass/Elizabeth Tucker (known incorrectly as Keziah).

    I’d love anyone to share any information they have, or to be connected with family.


  22. my great great grand parents are listed in a 1910 census for sumter clarendon county south carolina under the names of Adam And rachel singleton.. Rachel was born a davis in the 1910 census theyre both listed as nulatto . i have no doubts they were casualties in walter pleckers war against native americans in his reclassifying them as Mullatto . melungeon and so on. which i highly disagree with naturally. living next door to them is my grandmothers sister ” pleasant davis” who is indeed related to my ggm Rachel. pleasant is the widow of a man by the last name of holling. it is a known fact that all of the women on my grandmothers side wee of santee native ancestry from in and around south carolina… the problem is with Adam singleton. he was of another tribe altogether but mixed with about one quarter african american. im here because a friend who is a wiki treer sent me a link to this page and said i should take a look . she believes that somehow my singletons out of south carolina may be tied into info posted . adams parentage is unknown to me and so is rachels . sapho davis may have been her mother and i am not sure…. i really could use some help here . i know that adam couldnt have possibly been cherokee but was absolutely from a dif tribe.. i cannot access ancestry census record to post . if anyone would be willing to look it up to see the problem im having pls feel free. Adam was born in 1850 while rachel was born in 1865. in the view others on ppage tabe there are def ome gibsons living next door and if im not mistaken they too are listed as ” mulatto in the census


  23. Hello This has been very helpful in some ways, but in other ways its given me more questions. I have been doing the genealogy for my family, and I have this one major brick wall on my maternal side. I don’t see any of the surnames in your blog in my tree, but my DNA matches (quite a few are Bass, Lowery,Locklear & Chavis to name a few). Solice,Robinson,Anderson,Artis & Taylor are my family’s surnames.
    I would love to get to the bottom of this mystery… anyway thanks so much for the information.

    This is a thing that added to my match area…
    These are potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already in your family tree (Green/Vollin/Solice/Taylor Family Tree)

    Rev Patrick Perry Lowry


    Wiley Locklear


    David Carter

    (Born 1836)

    Nancy Evans



  24. I am also a descendent.

    Robin The Elder Tucker (1590 – 1676)
    13th great-grandfather
    Keziah Elizabeth Tucker (Basse) (1618 – 1676)
    Daughter of Robin The Elder Tucker
    William Basse Sr. (1654 – 1741)
    Son of Keziah Elizabeth Tucker (Basse)
    John Bass Sr (1673 – 1732)
    Son of William Basse Sr.
    John Basse Jr (1704 – 1777)
    Son of John Bass Sr
    Jacob Jefferson Bass (1717 – 1791)
    Son of John Basse Jr
    Winifred Orren Basse (Duke) (1755 – 1839)
    Daughter of Jacob Jefferson Bass
    Benjamin Franklin Dukes (1769 – 1850)
    Son of Winifred Orren Basse (Duke)
    Josiah Dukes Sr (1803 – 1883)
    Son of Benjamin Franklin Dukes
    John H. Dukes (1836 – 1871)
    Son of Josiah Dukes Sr
    Francis M. Dukes (1856 – 1889)
    Son of John H. Dukes
    James Harrison Dukes (1879 – 1962)
    Son of Francis M. Dukes
    Joseph Clinton Dukes (1911 – 1993)
    Son of James Harrison Dukes
    Bobby Joe Dukes (1937 – 2015)
    Son of Joseph Clinton Dukes
    Billy Joe Dukes (1961 – )
    Son of Bobby Joe Dukes
    Krisenda Yvonne Allen


  25. I am a descendant of the Pamunkey tribe. My father was a Stewart. His mother was a Page. My grandfather ‘s mother was a Dungee. We still have land in King William County, Va that has been past down to us for almost five generations.

    I loved the article. Now I know a little more history about my Father’s family. I can now trace backward and find my descendants.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is very intriguing to me. I am working on some DNA connections with somebody which is how I came to this website. Never in a million years did I think I had any blood in me that wasn’t extremely white. If you saw me, you’d agree.
    I am descended from Basses who were in Dobbs and Ashe counties in the 1700s which are 100-200 miles from the areas discussed here in this post, but I’m certainly not above the possibility that I’m somehow connected. Does the author/publisher have any knowledge of any connections between Basses of the two areas?


  27. DNA test results are in . After going over matches ever since they arrived I continue to fund myself with close ties to people descended of the bass family. The closest I can come is to my grandmother born 1790. Her name was leucetia Beverly born on the borders of ahoskie nc and old nansemond Virginia. Her daughter Delia Ann Beverly was also my grandmother. But born in ahoskie 1830. And lived til 1880 passing away at 50 yrs old. I have no knowledge of Who leucetias parents were. But now I’d like to find out my DNA shows 5 percent collectively. Although very low genetically. I believe on the scale of blood quantum it’s a much larger figure than that. ( somewhere abouts 20 percent if u divide 5 into a hundred is how I figured it ) my grandmother was probably more than half. Need some help here trying to figure out the bass Beverly connection. There are also Vanns and Enochs in my family. With my Vanns being from Scott’s hill. And my Enochs being from Pender county.


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