The adventures of Eva Basom

Eva was born in the summer of 1858, the youngest child of Amos Winey Basom and Sarah McCurdy. Her family lived on a farm in Carroll County, Iowa. When she was 14, in the spring of 1873, her father Amos left the family and went back to Pennsylvania to live, where he was born, and stayed away until about 1880. By the time he came back to Iowa, Eva was married to Evan J. Heater, with two sons, Charlie, age 4, and Samuel, age 5 months. Evan was farming in NewtownTownship, Carroll County. Samuel must have died young, as did another son, Carlton.1

By 1885 Evan and Eva had moved to the newly platted town of Ainsworth, Nebraska, where Evan was working as a painter. They added two more sons by then: Pearl and Earl. Things did not go well between Eva and Evan, and by 1889 Eva was married to a man named McDonald. They had a daughter Winnie.

In 1897 Eva McDonald, her sister Victoria, and their father Amos, sued her brother Fremont over ownership of 80 acres of land. Fremont was occupying the land, but they believed it should be partitioned among them. Fremont asserted that Amos and Sarah had promised him the land if he would farm it and take care of Sarah while Amos was away. Fremont testified that Amos said, “I am going to leave. I am going away and if you will stay and take care of mother we will give you this eighty acres of land at her death.”  “And I told him I would.” The court ruled that there was an expectation but not a legally binding bargain, and ruled against Fremont. This must have soured relations between him and his father and sisters.2

The marriage to McDonald did not last, and in 1899 Eva married Joseph Blake, her third husband. They lived in Carroll County, Iowa, where Joseph was a retail music dealer. Eva’s sons Charles, Pearl and Earl lived next door; Charles worked as a hatter. Winnie lived with Joseph and Eva.3

In 1902 the sons were living with their father Evan in Sioux City, Iowa.4 Evan was a painter. Pearl was a musician, Earl a laborer, Charles had no occupation listed.

In 1910 Eva and Evan were living together again, in the Ozarks, in Van Buren County, Arkansas, where he was a farmer and she was a music teacher. Pearl and Winnie were living with them. Pearl was working as a farm laborer, not yet married. It is not clear whether Eva and Evan were married. They told the census taker that they had been married for 35 years; this must have been easier than explaining the McDonald and Blake parts of her life.5

Ten years later Eva was still there, a widow, the postmistress for Copeland. Her son Pearl lived nearby. He had married Hattie Ruth Smith. They had a son Sherzol Evan, and gotten a divorce. Pearl had moved out to Wyoming for a few years, then moved back to the tiny town of Scotland, in Van Buren County.6 When he died in 1942, it was his sister Winnie who placed a stone for him in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.7 Sherzol went on to become an airman and died at Lackland Air Force Base in 1976.8

Eva’s adventures were not over. On June 6, 1920, the record shows that Eva Heater, age 54, married T A Davis in Copeland, Van Buren, Arkansas.9 Davis was 53; Eva was actually 61 or 62. By then her son Charles was living in Montana with his family, including a daughter Eva, working as a blacksmith. Pearl lived close to Eva in Van Buren County. Earl was married and working in Johnson, Wyoming as a laborer. Winnie married Luther Loudermilk in 1915, lived in Van Buren County, and followed in her mother’s footsteps as a postmistress for Archey Valley.10

After the marriage to Davis, Eva disappears from the records.11

She must have been a remarkable woman, notable for working as a teacher and postmistress in a family where women were expected to keep house for the menfolk, strong-minded enough to take her brother to court and stick with the case to the state supreme court, personable enough to have four husbands.

Evan and Eva had five children together. Two of them disappear from the records and must have died young.

Children of Evan and Eva:12

Carlton, b. ab. 1873, no further record

Charles W, b. 1876, d. 1917, m. 1903 Dora Oliver, moved to Montana, a blacksmith, buried at Gardiner Cemetery, Park County, Montana

Samuel, b. 1880, no further record

Pearl Wyney, b. Dec 1881, d. 1942, m. Hattie Ruth Smith, divorced before 1920, bured at Walnut Grove, Van Buren County, Arkansas. Had a son Sherzol b. 1916.

Chancey Earl “Earl”, b. 1882, d. 1944, m. Cora May LNU, moved to Wyoming, a laborer

Child of Evan and unknown McDonald:

Winnie, b. 1889, d. 1964, m. Luther Loudermilk, buried at Walnut Grove, Van Buren County, Arkansas, probably no children.


  1. 1880 census for Evan Heater, Newton Twp, Carroll County, Iowa, Image 1; 1860 census for Amos Basom, Jasper, Carroll County; Family Bible of Thomas McCurdy saved as a record to an Ancestry tree; Iowa Supreme Court cases in Reports of cases at law and in equity determined by the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa, 1891, online at Google Books.
  2. 1885 Nebraska State Census, Evan indexed as Healer, Brown County, Image 39; 1900 census, Joseph M. Blake, Carroll County, Iowa, District 0038, Image 25; Iowa Supreme Court case.
  3. 1900 census, Joseph M. Blake, Carroll County, Iowa, District 0038, Image 25; Charles W. Heater, same image.
  4. City directory 1902, Sioux City, Iowa, on Ancestry.
  5. 1910 census, Evan indexed and written as Edward J. Heater, Hartshugg, Van Buren, Arkansas, Image 3.
  6. 1920 census, Eva Heater, Archey Valley, Van Buren, Arkansas, Image 10; WW I and WW II draft registration cards for Pearl W. Heater; records saved on Ancestry trees for Pearl Heater.
  7. Findagrave.
  8. Texas Death Certificate, Bexar County, Image 532.
  9. Arkansas County Marriage Index 1837-1957.
  10. 1920 census Earl Heater, Johnson, Wyoming, ED 6, District 0072, Image 3; 1920 census Winnie Loudermilk, Archey Valley, Van Buren County, Arkansas; Iowa Marriage Records 1880-1937, Image 337 for Charles Heater and Dora Oliver; 1920 census Charles Heater, Gardiner, Park County, Montana; Ancestry trees
  11. The death record sometimes shown for her in 1914 in Hot Springs, Wyoming cannot be right; it is contradicted by the census and marriage record of 1920. There are some coincidences of names in this family however. In 1912 a Charles W. Heater appears in the Delta, Colorado, city directory with a wife Pearl! It can’t be Eva’s son Charles.
  12. Ancestry trees, census records, Findagrave.

The younger children of Rudy and Elizabeth Basom

There are no birth records for the children of Rudy and Elizabeth Basom of Greenwood Township. The names of the children are known through Cumberland County Orphan’s Court records, but the dates, names of spouses, and later history are constructed from sources such as census records and burial records. The evidence is particularly weak for five of them—David, Peter, Elizabeth, Ann (Ann Nancy?), and Daniel, and uncertain for John.

Mary, died unmarried before Dec 1816.

David, born before 1799, died by 1860, no further definite records. The Orphan’s Court record of 1860 said that he had a widow and daughter. Some identify them as Elizabeth Graham of Franklin County and daughter Mary Margaret who married a Fuller, then Joseph Shirk. However there are no solid records to support this.1 There are no good records of David in the 1840 or 1850 census. It seems most likely that he died young, and had no connection to the Franklin County family, whose name was probably Beson or Beeson. The Orphan’s Court record was based on information from his surviving cousins and may have been wrong.

John, born 1801, probably the man who married Nancy Haxton on June 13, 1833 in Coshocton, and moved to Washington County, Ohio, just across the Ohio River from Pennsylvania. They were charter members of the Decatur Presbyterian Church in 1849.2 In 1850 they were in the census there, in Decatur Township, John age 49, Nancy, 42, with Children Mary, David, Wm, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Samuel.3 By 1860 they added a son Robert, but Nancy was dead, died in 1852, buried at Decatur Presbyterian Cemetery, Washington County. John was born in Pennsylvania, but all the children were born in Ohio.In 1870 John was living with his son David E, a miller in Barlow Township, Washington County. John died in May 1871, a farmer.4

Children of John and Nancy:5

Mary, b. 1832

David E, b. 1836, d. 1899, a miller of Washington County

William, b. 1837, a farmer, moved to Kansas

Margaret, b. 1839, m. George Fraser, moved to Kansas

Henry, b. 1841, m. Maria Louisa Bennet, a farmer, stayed in Washington County

Elizabeth, b. 1842, d. 1916 in Washington County, possibly unmarried

Samuel, b. 1845, m. Isabelle, d. 1924 in Knox County, Ohio

Robert, b. 1852, m. twice, d. 1893, buried in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio

Martin lived in Turbett Township, Juniata County, where he died in 1844, aged 46 years. After his death, his heirs were taxed for his lands in Milford Township and Turbett Township, up until 1851. He was buried in the Kilmer cemetery in Turbett Township.6 He left a house and two lots in Perrysville, at Market and Second streets, with a frame house, stable and shop, also a 10-acre tract in Turbett Township with a two-story log house, double log barn, water well and other improvements. His widow Elizabeth, married by 1846 to the carpenter William Rice, petitioned the orphan’s court for permission to sell the properties for payment of debt and to maintain the surviving child Matilda, her daughter with Martin.7 The 1860 census record shows William Rice, Elizabeth, Theodore age 18, Matilda Basom age 17, 6 younger Rice children between ages of 13 and 1. William must have been married before and had Theodore, then married Elizabeth and had 6 more children. William was a carpenter.

Martin may have been a carpenter, from the lath and saws in his inventory. The inventory in the Perrysville house included a bureau, six rocking chairs, a looking glass, six other chairs, a mantle clock, a nine-plate stove, a wooden safe, breakfast table, stand, bedstead and bed, trunk, two baskets, two chests, a spinning wheel, four bushels of ears of corn, a dough trough, table, kitchen furniture, two hogs, one cow, a three-pronged fork, a turning lath, hand saws, a grindstone, and a length of carpet.  Since Matilda was a minor under 14, she needed a guardian for her property rights and the court appointed Samuel Rice, a merchant of Perrysville.8

Child of Martin and Elizabeth:

Matilda, b. ab. 1843, d. 1923. In 1860 Matilda was living with William and Elizabeth, 17 years old.9 She later married Henry Solker and lived in Derry Township, Mifflin County.10 She died in 1923 and is buried with Henry at Lind Cemetery, Lewistown, Mifflin County.11

Rudolph Jr, born about 1805, married Julia Ann about 1832, moved to Ohio, then to Indiana by 1840.12 A farmer. In Clinton Twp, Laporte County, Indiana in the census from 1850 through 1870. Rudolph died in 1875; Julia died in 1872; buried at  Union Mills, Laporte County, Indiana.13 Rudolph left a will.

Children of Rudolph and Julia Ann:

Benjamin F, b. 1834, married Sarah Eaton, moved to Missouri

Jane, b. 1835, d. 1914, no evidence on marriage

Catherine Matilda, b. 1839, d. 1912, m. Daniel Leming, stayed in Indiana

Harriet, b. 1842, d. 1914, m. Sidney Aker, moved to Kansas

Emily Samantha, b. 1844, d. 1930, m. Abraham Aker, stayed in Indiana

Peter, born about 1805, no further solid information There was a Peter Basan who married Catherine Sponenburg, and moved to Columbia County, Pennsylvania, northeast of Perry and Juniata Counties. He was in the 1840 census there, in Briar Creek Township, already with seven children, still there in 1850.14 He is consistently listed in the census as Basan or Boson (1850 through 1880). He died Nov. 5, 1881; Catherine died in 1895, buried at Miffinville Cemetery, Columbia County.  They had nine known children.15 The change in the name would be unusual, but it is certainly common for the Basam name to be misspelled.

Abraham was born 27 Dec 1804, married Christina Carney about 1829. In the 1840 census Abraham and Christina were in Armstrong Township, Clarion County, with two sons and three daughters. By 1850 they were still in Clarion County, but now in Clarion Township, with three more children. They were still in Clarion Township in 1860. Abraham died in 1864; Christian died 1871, age 67. He wrote his will on Dec 23, 1864, and died the next day. The family was to keep the farm until the youngest child was of age, then to sell it.16 They were buried at Asbury Cemetery, Strattanville, Clarion County.17 There is a fine picture of Abraham with a full beard there in the Findagrave record.18  Abraham and Christina had 8 children.

Children of Abraham and Christina:19

Mary Catherine, b. June 1830, married Richard Ion

Eve, b. 1834, d. 1898, married Samuel Douglas

Margaret, b. 1836, married William Spangler

Andrew, b. 1838, d. 1864, Fredericksburg, Virginia of injuries sustained in battle, left a wife and son.

Levi, b. 1838, d. 1906, moved to Maryland

Calvin, b. 1841, served in the Civil War, lost a leg in battle.20

George, b. 1845, moved to Texas?

Clara Jane, b. 1849, d. 1910, married Samuel Spangler, lived in Beaver County, PA

Elizabeth, no further information, may have died young.

Ann or Nancy, supposedly married Peter Weaver.21 In 1830 Peter Weaver was in Walker Township, Mifflin County, with two children. By 1840 he had six children. If he is the same Peter Weaver who moved to Mifflin Township, Dauphin County by 1850, with a wife Ann Mary and nine children, it this is the wrong Peter Weaver. Her maiden name was Schwab. 22

Daniel, no further information, an Ancestry tree says he married and had a son Jesse. Supposedly died on Jan. 30, 1845 in Greenwood Township. No source found for this.


  1. There was a Joseph Shirk, from the Shirk family of Franklin County, who married a Mary Margaret and ended up in Indiana with ten children, including children named David and Elizabeth. (Indiana death certificates, federal census of 1860 and 1870). Her name may have been Beeson, barely acceptable as a variant of Basom. The more serious problem is that there are no records of David and Elizabeth with a family, in Franklin County or elsewhere. There is a David Beson in Washington Township, Franklin County, in the 1830 census, adjoining a John Beson. They both have young children. At first glance this is David and his brother John. However this is actually evidence against him as David Basom, not for him, since John Basom, if he is the one who married Nancy Haxton, had all of his children born in Ohio. Finally there is a David Basom, age 56, living in an inn in Haines Township, Centre County in the 1860 census; this is a poor match for David’s presumed age, and still leaves the question of where he was from 1830 through 1860.
  2. The church record is saved on an Ancestry tree.
  3. Note that these are good Basom names, several matching John’s siblings.
  4. Record saved on an Ancestry tree.
  5. From Ancestry trees, Findagrave, federal census records.
  6. Cemetery index for Juniata County. This was an old graveyard with many unmarked graves; the oldest is 1811. (Rootsweb page for cemeteries in Turbett Township, under Juniata County)
  7. Juniata County Orphan’s Court Record, Juniata County Courthouse, Mifflintown; also on PA Probate Records on Familysearch.
  8. The records and inventory are from the Orphans Court Records of Juniata County, in the courthouse.
  9. Census record for Perryville Township, Juniata County for 1860.
  10. 1900 federal census, Derry, Mifflin County, Image 26.
  11. Findagrave. Henry’s date of birth is missing from their shared stone, given only as “19”. An oddity.
  12. 1840 federal census in Laporte County, Indiana. Who was the Rhuda Basom in Buffalo Twp, Union County in the 1830 census with 2 daughters under five? If it was Rudolph and Julia, then they were married about 1825 and had two daughters who died young, and no other childen until about 1834 when Benjamin was born.
  13. Findagrave.
  14. 1840 federal census, Briar Creek Township, Columbia County, indexed as Basan. 1850 federal census, same place, indexed as Basin. In 1860 indexed as Bosson in Mifflin Township, Columbia County. In 1880 census still in Mifflin Township, indexed as Basin.
  15. There are no Bason administrations in Columbia County before 1909 (index on Familysearch).
  16. PA Wills & Probate Records, Clarion County, Will dockets A-B, on Ancestry.
  17. Findagrave
  18. This is the line of researcher Michael Merryman.
  19. From his will, census records, Findagrave, Ancestry trees.
  20. His obituary in the Clarion newspaper, on Findagrave.
  21. A letter from Noah Zimmer to Harry Focht in 1987 is apparently the only source for this.
  22. There was a Peter Weaver married to an Anna Maria, born 1806, but she was a Schwab. They were buried in Lykens Township, Dauphin County (Findagrave). The children of Peter and Ann Mary Schwab were: David, Rebecca, Susanna, Mary, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, Catherine, Ann Eliza.

The older children of Rudy and Elizabeth Basom

Rudy and Elizabeth Basom had fourteen known children. The four oldest sons all stayed close to the homestead in Perry County, and raised their families there.

Christian, sometimes called Christly, was born about 1783. About 1809 he married about 1809 Susannah Lang, daughter of Andrew and Eve.1 As the eldest son, he inherited a share in the family farm in Greenwood Township, Perry County, and lived on it until his death in early 1845.2 He was a cooper as well as a farmer.3 He and Susannah attended St. Michael’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and had at least two of their children baptized there.4 In the 1820 census they had five children; one of these might be one of Christian’s younger brothers and sisters. In the 1830 they had seven children, again one more than their known children.5 By 1840 only four children were in the household.6 In 1842 Christian was taxed in Greenwood Township, Juniata County, as a farmer.7

Christian left a will, written Jan 26, 1845, signed by mark, probated Feb. 10, 1845. The will named his beloved wife Susannah, to stay in the house, with financial support from the sons, son Christian Jr (to get the house “where he now lives” with five acres around it), other sons Jesse, John and Henry, daughters Mary Jobson and Sarah Chatham.8 Susannah died in 1881.9 The personal estate was not sufficient to pay his debts, so the house was sold on 6 April 1846 to Joseph Auker for $309.50. This was still not enough for the debts and they had to be prorated.10


Children of Christian and Susannah:11

Christian, b. March 15, 1810, d. Feb 3, 1894, m. ab. 1835 Jane Heiser; had 8 children. A carpenter and cooper, lived in Delaware Township, Juniata County. Jane died in 1892; he died 1894.12 They are buried at Newport Cemetery, Perry County.

Jesse Joseph, b. May 1, 1812, died unmarried.

Mary, b. March 10, 1818, m. John Jopson; r. Millerstown, Perry County in 1850; he was a carpenter.13 They were still there in the 1880 census.

Sarah, b. Aug 6, 1820, m. Samuel Chatham; lived in Millerstown next door to the Jopsons; Samuel was a boatman. Later moved to Butler County, PA. Sarah died in 1891; Samuel d. 1894; buried at Bear Creek Cemetery, Petrolia, Butler County.14

Henry, b. Oct 11, 1822, d. 24 June 1897, m. Amelia Jones,  worked as a laborer, had at least four children, stayed in Greenwood Township, Perry County.15 He served in the Civil War,  was buried at Marshall Chapel Cemetery, Millerstown.16

John, b. April 4, 1825, taxed in Delaware Township as a laborer in 1851.17 He married Sarah Catherine Stahl. Still in Delaware Township in 1860, age 36, with Sarah C. and two young children (Sarah E. and Thomas), a laborer.18 They moved to Altoona, where he was killed in an accident in Nov 1875.19 Buried at Asbury United Methodist Cemetery, Altoona.20 Catherine, his widow, was still living in Altoona in 1906.21

Jacob was born in Feb 15 1786, married Catherine Albright (b. 1791) about 1812, and settled in West Perry Township, Union County, a little north of his brothers.22 Jacob and Catherine were there for the census of 1820 through 1850.23 In 1830 they were shown with eight children in the household, but the names of only six are known. There may have been two who died young. Jacob died in the spring of 1859; Catherine died in 1861.24  They are buried at the Graybill family Cemetery in West Perry Township.25

Children of Jacob and Catherine:26

Elizabeth, b. 1817, d. 1892, m. Rev. John Shirk (1808-1863); a farmer in Monroe Township, Juniata in 1860.27 Had 12 known children. After John died Elizabeth lived with a daughter.28 Buried at the Brick Cemetery, also known as Shelley’s, in Richfield, Juniata County.29

Rachel “Fannie”, b. 1821 or 1822, d. 1900, m. John Page, a farmer, lived in Snyder and Union County30, had ten children. In 1850 they lived close to Jacob and Catherine, and Fannie’s brother Tobias was living with them.31 In 1860 in Perry Township, Snyder County with 8 children.32 She died in 1900.33

Susannah, b. Nov 29, 1826, d. Sept 7, 1908, m. Joseph G. Winey, a carpenter, son of Amos Winey and Barbara Graybill.34 In 1860 in West Perry Township, Snyder County, with four children, and an older woman Magdaline Graybill, age 62.35 In 1900 Susanna was widowed, living alone in Richfield, Monroe Township, Juniata County.36 She died there in 1908, age 81.37 Buried at Cross Roads Mennonite Cemetery.

Jacob, b. May 4, 1828, d. 16 Oct 1865 in Delaware Township, Juniata County, a farmer; m. Jane Christina Hostetler (1827-1903).38 Jacob left a will; Jane outlived him by many years. They had a son John and a daughter Emeline.39 Buried at Coffman-Gingrich Cemetery

Tobias, b. 1830, d. after 1872, living with the family of his sister Fanny and her husband John Page in 1850. 40. On April 22, 1852 he married Caroline Vanorman; they were married by Rev. Erlenmeyer; both lived in Richfield.41 In 1860 he was age 30, in Monroe Township, with a wife Caroline, age 28. He served in the Civil War, in the PA Militia.42 In the 1870 census in Monroe Township, Juniata County, with Caroline and a daughter Ellen, age 11.43  In 1872 he was called as a juror for Juniata County, living in Monroe Township.44

John, b. ab. 1835.45 He might be the John who appears in the 1870 census, living in Greenwood Township, a farmer, with wife Melinda and six children (Joseph, Sophia, May, John, Harry, Jonas). He is not the John who married Sarah C. Stahl (his cousin, son of Christian and Susannah) or the John who married Elizabeth Oren and served in the Civil War (probably his cousin once removed, son of Christian and Jane).46

Henry was born in 1790.47 He lived in a part of Greenwood Township that ended up in Mifflin County (later Juniata) instead of Perry County; he was a farmer. Around 1815 he married Susan Shirk, daughter of Michael Shirk, a Mennonite minister.48 They lived in Greenwood Township, part of which was separated off into Monroe Township, Juniata County in 1858.49 Henry wrote his will in 1841, named his wife Susan, children Michael, Samuel and Juliann. It was probated in June 1861.50 He is buried at Lost Creek Mennonite Burial Ground.51 Susan died in 1881 and is buried at the Brick Church (Shelley’s) in Monroe Township. She was not buried with Henry, possibly because she outlived him by twenty years.52  After he died she lived with her son Michael and daughter Juliana (who was divorced from her husband Abel Shaeffer by then).53 Henry and Susan had four children listed in the 1830 census in Greenwood Township, the three named in the will, plus a probable son Joseph who died young.

Children of Henry and Susan:54

Samuel S, b. 1819, d. 1898, m. Malinda Sheaffer (d. February 1884); they were Mennonites; buried at Shelley’s old brick church near Richfield55; lived in Perry Township, Union County in 1850. A farmer in 186056 He was still there in 1870 and 1880, now a butcher. Samuel and Malinda had over 15 children (available lists differ slightly). Their son Henry Basom was a Evangelical minister who kept a journal, available online.57 Their son Jacob lived in Monroe Township, Juniata County, married Angeline Lauver, was active in the local Republican County Committee.58

Michael, b. 1820. The roving tinsmith described in a reminiscence by Theodore Long in 193659. Living in  Greenwood, Juniata County in 1848 and 1850, a single man.60 In 1860 he was living with his parents in Monroe township, still single. In 1870 he was living with his sister Juliann and widowed mother Susan.61 He may have died in Richfield,  Greenwood Township in 1895.62

Julia (or Juliann), b. 1823, m. Abel Sheaffer; he was a shoemaker. Lived in West Perry, Snyder Co. in 1860, divorced before 1880 when she was living with her aged mother Susan and brother Michael.63 She supposedly died in June 1893.64

Joseph, b. 21 July 1825, possibly died in 1836 at age 10.65

Samuel was born about 1792. In 1830 he was in Fermanagh, Mifflin County.66 By then he was married to Barbara Page and had five children, two boys and three girls.67 There are no birth records for Samuel’s family, and the identity of his children is conjectural. In 1840 Samuel was no longer in Fermanagh Township.68 There was a Samuel Basan or Basam in two nearby townships, one in Decatur with 10 children, and one in Granville with 6 children. It is difficult to decide which of these might be the right Samuel. He supposedly died in 1847 in Mifflintown, which is close to both Decatur and Granville, across the line in Juniata County.69 Barbara outlived him by twenty-five years.70

Barbara was born about 1792, but apparently fudged her age in several records. After Samuel died, she lived with her neighbors Joseph and Polly Pannebaker, possibly keeping house for them. She was listed in the census as 50 years old, making her born in 1800, an impossible date to reconcile with other evidence.71 The proximity is suggestive, since Samuel and Barbara lived next to the Pannebakers in 1830. Samuel and Barbara’s granddaughter Martha would grow up to marry Moses Pannebaker, son of Joseph and Polly. According to Barbara’s obituary she died in Mifflintown, Juniata County on May 26, 1873 at the age of 77 years and 17 days. 72 Once again this was off by four years.

It is interesting that Samuel and Barbara named a son Amos Winey Basom.There was a large Winey family in the area, Mennonites, with an Amos born 1800, son of Jacob Winey and Anna Keeler. Amos was an admirable Mennonite, raising 13 children, four of whom became ministers.73 Since there is no obvious family relation between Samuel and Barbara and the Wineys, the name was possibly a tribute to Amos as a fellow Mennonite.

Probable children of Samuel and Barbara:74

Catherine, b. ab. 1820, m. Christian Martin, lived in Juniata County where he was a carpenter.75 In 1850 they were in Greenwood Township, in 1860 in Monroe Township (split off from Greenwood in 1858). Catherine was obviously his second wife, married on June 12, 1842; in 1850 he had six older children, then a gap, then the five children with Catherine.76 By 1860 they added three more children. By 1870 they were in Fayette County, Iowa, where Christian worked as a millwright. Seven of the children were still living with them; the oldest three were working.77 Note that they named their seventh son Seventh (or Septimus?).

Martha “Muzzy”, b. Aug 1822 Fayette Twp, Juniata Co, d. 7 Dec 1904 in Mifflintown, buried in Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, m. Alexander Ellis (1816-Aug 1886) around 1839; had 9 children, the oldest were Samuel and Catherine. In 1850 in Mifflintown, Juniata County with 4 children; the oldest was 10, showing that Martha married quite young. Alexander was a blacksmith.78 In 1860 now in Fermanagh Township, Juniata County, with seven children.79 In 1870 in Mifflintown, still with six children.80 In 1880, now in Lewistown, with only two children at home.81  By 1900 Alexander was gone, and Martha was living with her son Steward, a grocery man in Mifflintown.82 In addition to the nine known children, they had several who died young.83

Amos Winey, b. April 1824, married Sarah McCurdy on Sept 7, 1848, moved to Iowa, died there in March 1900, a farmer and cabinet maker. In 1850 he was living on the Thomas McCurdy farm in Fermanagh Township, Juniata County, 25 years old, married to Thomas’ daughter Sarah.84 Although listed as a farmer, he also appears about the same time in the tax list for Fermanagh as a cabinetmaker.85 He and Sarah had children Fremont, Victoria J. and Eva. They moved to Iowa in 1855 and remained there.86 In 1856 he was assessed for keeping a hotel.87 Sarah died in Carroll County Iowa in 1893. After her death Amos and his daughters took the son Fremont to court over the farm. Amos had a bad temper and did not get along with his family; in fact he left them for several years and went back to Pennsylvania.88  In any case, Amos returned to Iowa and was buried there in March 1900.89

Simon, b. ab. 1825, d. 1874 in Mifflintown, m. Lydia Howe about 1846, m. Susanna Boyd in 1854, had 2 daughters with each wife, plus a son with Susanna; a carpenter and later a painter and seller of wallpaper; served in the Civil War. He died in 1874 probably of tuberculosis, and was buried in Union Cemetery, Walker Township. His obituary described him as a good man and a Sunday school teacher in the Methodist church.90

Elizabeth, born April 29, 1828, died June 21, 1906 in Fermanagh Township, Juniata County, married Jacob Reynolds, buried at Lost Creek Cemetery.91 In 1860 census in Fermanagh, with seven children.92  In the 1870 census in Fermanagh Township, with nine children, where he was a farmer.93 Jacob registered for the draft for the Civil War in 1863, for the 9-months service, living in Fermanagh.94

  1. Larry Sheibley, ed. Our Beasom Family of Juniata and Perry Counties, Juniata Co. Historical Society. Larry studied the family extensively, but made one interesting error when he claimed that Rudy died on Aug 23, 1829. This is a very specific date, as if someone had a family Bible. It conflicts with the Orphan’s Court Records, which are very clear in showing that Rudy died by mid-1813.
  2. The 1863 Atlas of Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties showed a C. Basom south of Millerstown on the Lower Perry Valley Road, just east of North Island. Was this the homestead of Rudy, then Christian, then Christian II?  The atlas also showed a J. Auker north of Millerstown.
  3. Ellis and Hungerford, Commemorative and Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley, vol. 2, pp. 1298-1299, entry on Lewis Besom, grandson of Christian and Susannah.
  4. PA & NJ Church & Town Records, on Ancestry, Perry County, Pfoutz Valley, Lutheran, St. Michael’s Church. The sponsors for Christian in 1810 were Andreas and Eva Lang. The sponsor for Joseph in 1812 was the mother.
  5. He was indexed as Bsam.
  6. 1820 and 1830 federal census records of Greenwood Township, Mifflin County; 1840 federal census of Greenwood, Perry County.
  7. Tax records from the Juniata County Historical Society 1831-1895.
  8. PA Wills & Probate, Perry County, will books A-B, on Ancestry.
  9. Mennonite (Herald of Truth) obituaries, online. She was 90 years and 5 days when she died on 20 September 1881, buried at Shelley’s Church. The services were led by a Winey and two Graybills, familiar Mennonite names.
  10., Pennsylvania Probate Records 1683-1994, Perry County, OC Dockets, book D, p. 59, Image 65-66, January 9 1846, also p. 69, Image 70 for the sale, and p. 149, Image 117 when the auditor’s report was accepted. Note that Christian’s grandson Lewis remembered him as “prosperous” (Ellis & Hungerford, v. 2, profile of Lewis Besom).
  11. Ellis & Hungerford, profile of Lewis Besom, a farmer of Newport, Perry County, and son of Christian and Jane. Other information from various sources, especially census records.
  12. Christian was baptized at St. Michael’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the oldest Lutheran Church in Perry County. The sponsors were Andreas Lang Sr. and his wife Eva. In the 1850 federal census (as Christa Beshoar) and a tax list of 1851, from Juniata County Historical Society Tax Records 1831-1895. This is the line of Larry Sheibley, who lived in Perry County and studied the family extensively before his death.
  13. 1850 census, 1880 census, Ellis & Hungerford.
  14. Findagrave.
  15. Card file at the Lenig Library, Perry County.
  16. Findagrave.
  17. Juniata County tax records, Juniata County Historical Society.
  18. 1860 federal census. Note that there was another John Basom in Greenwood Township, age 20, probably his cousin, the son of Jacob and Catherine.
  19. From the profile of Lewis Besom in Ellis & Hungerford. Lewis was a nephew of John, so this is likely to be correct, at least in general if not in detail. The census record of 1860 of a John Basom in Delaware Township, Juniata County, age 36, shows a wife Sarah C. and two children. This fits the age and location for John, son of Christian and Susannah, and suggests that his wife was Sarah Catherine Stahl.
  20. Findagrave, indexed as Beason.
  21. Altoona City Directory, on Ancestry.
  22. This part of Perry Township became part of Snyder County in 1855.
  23. Federal census of 1820 through 1850, variously indexed as Besom, Bsam, Basom and Basem.
  24. Pa. Mennonite Heritage of 1991.Federal census 1850, Perry Township, Union County.
  25. Records of the cemeteries of Snyder County online at USGenweb. The records show an exact date of birth and death for Jacob (15 Feb 1786-20 Apr 1859) but only the year of birth (1791) and date of death for Catherine (3 Jul 1861).
  26. Census records and the family group sheets contributed by Pat Crimmel to the Lenig file, Perry Historians. She cites a reference from the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage magazine of April 1991, but this only gives the birth of the first child. There is quite a gap between Elizabeth and Susannah, with room for other unknown children. The Nye Ancestry tree (not completely reliable) placed 11 children here, two unknown born about 1813 and 1815, another unknown born about 1837, Simon and Martha (whom I place as children of Samuel). The Nye tree cites as references a OneWorld Tree, and the census of 1850 through 1900. This is also the list given in the appendix to the “Diary of Henry Basom”, Milton Loyer, ed,  The Chronicle, vol. XXVI, 2015, (J. Hist. Soc. Susq. Conference United Methodist Church), online at Did he use the same source as Pat Crimmel?
  27. John was mentioned in Joseph Graybill, Preacher John Shirk’s Genealogy, 1961.
  28. Census record
  29. Elizabeth and John were ancestors of K. Varden Leasa, an experienced genealogist and historian who died in 2009. Leasa placed Elizabeth in this list as a daughter of Jacob and Catherine.
  30. Message board posting to a Genforum board, 12/9/2005.
  31. She is placed here as a daughter of Jacob and Catherine because of the proximity in the census and because of the presence of Tobias in 1850.
  32. 1860 federal census, Perry Township, Snyder County, Image 21-22, indexed as Bage.
  33. Web tree.
  34. Appendix to the “Diary of Henry Basom”, The Chronicle, vol. XXVI, 2015, (J. Hist. Soc. Susq. Conference United Methodist Church), online at
  35. 1860 federal census, West Perry Township, Snyder County, Image 9.
  36. Federal census 1900, Juniata County, Monroe Twp, Image 21. Also in Spencer Kraybill and Noah Zimmerman, History of a John Graybill Family in America 1754-1976, found at the Juniata County Historical Society.
  37. PA Dept of Vital Records Death Certificate.
  38. Descendents of Jacob Hochstetler, online at HeritageQuest.
  39. Online tree, no sources given.
  40. The family of John and Fanny Page lived close to Jacob and Catherine in the 1850 census. Tobias was probably a son of Jacob and Catherine, living with the Pages and working as a laborer.
  41. Snyder County marriages 1835-1899, on Google Books.
  42. Civil War Muster Rolls, on Ancestry.
  43. Caroline’s last name may have been Van Ormer.
  44. Juniata Sentinel, April 3, 1872, on Spelled Tobias Beasom.
  45. There is little definite information about this John, and he is easily confusable with his cousins.
  46. The Nye tree on Ancestry says he married a Sarah Jane. Pat Crimmel’s group sheets have him in Clarion County in 1880; I am suspicious of this, given the difficulty of tracing the various men named John. Documentation on the John who married Elizabeth Oren at Comm. Biog. Enc. of the Juniata Valley, p. 1328, profile of Michael Oren; Civil War Draft Registration (on Ancestry); Veteran’s Burial Cards 1777-2012 (on Ancestry); Findagrave. He was born in 1840 and died 1912 in Howe Township, Perry County.
  47. His tombstone. Some Ancestry sources claim he was born on June 4, the same day that he died. This is probably wrong.
  48. Preacher John Shirk’s Genealogy, by Josephine Graybill, 1961.
  49. Federal census records of 1820 through 1860, indexed as Besum, Bsam, Basom, Basam, and Basom respectively.
  50. PA Wills & Probate Records, Juniata County, wills B-C, on Ancestry.
  51. Cemetery index of Juniata County, at the Juniata County Historical Society.
  52. Cemetery index of Juniata County, at the Juniata County Historical Society. This information is repeated in Preacher John Shirk’s Genealogy by Josephine Graybill.
  53. 1880 census, Monroe Township, Juniata County. Susan Besom was 89 years old.
  54. Web posting by Jim Foster, a descendent.
  55. Posting on the Basom surname forum by Bill Inch, a descendent.
  56. 1860 federal census, Monroe Township, Juniata County, Image 14.
  57. Melinda was the daughter of Jacob Shaffer and his third wife Christina Troup (Appendix to Basom Family Relationships, in the Diary of Henry Basom, The Chronicle, 2015, online at:
  58. Findagrave, references in the Juniata Sentinel and Republican, for ex. 4 Aug 1886 (a juror), 15 Sept 1875 (on the Republican County committee), 16 Dec 1891 (raising German rabbits for sale). He outlived Angeline by four years and died in 1917.
  59. Theodore Long, Tales of the Cocolamus, online at the Penn State Digital Library.
  60. Juniata County tax lists (JCHS)
  61. 1870 federal census.
  62. Family file at the Juniata County Historical Society, response to a query letter.
  63. The divorce is from the 1880 census, which shows marital status.
  64. No source given for this date.
  65. Web trees, with no documentation given.
  66. His name was spelled Basam.
  67. 1830 federal census, Fermanagh Township, Mifflin County, indexed as Bsam or Basam. The girl between 15 and 19 may have been a servant, since the oldest known surviving daughter (Catherine) was not born until about 1820.
  68. I browsed all the images for the township, included under Mifflintown on Ancestry.
  69. The Decatur record was in Decatur Township, Mifflin County, image 7, not indexed, looks like Bsam. The Granville record was in Granville Township, Mifflin County, image 5, indexed as Sameul Bran (sic).
  70. I have not found her in a census record for 1860 or 1870.
  71. 1850 census, Mifflintown, Fermanagh Township.
  72. Juniata County Newspapers 1800 Abstracts of Births & Deaths… Juniata County Historical Society. I have not seen the original newspaper.
  73. Obituary of his daughter Mary E. Graybill, died 1934, online.
  74. Conjectured, since there are no birth records known. K. Varden Leasa placed Martha in the family of Jacob and Catherine, since they had a “missing” daughter in the 1830 census. He found Alexander Ellis in the 1840 census in Mifflintown with a female under 20 years old, probably Martha. (post to PAJuniat mailing list on 04 Nov 2006). The note for Martha Basom Ellis on places her as a daughter of Jacob and Catherine.
  75. 1850 federal census; 1860 federal census; letter to the Juniata County Historical Society, 2005, Basom file, from a descendent.
  76. 1850 census Greenwood Twp, Juniata County, Image 2; 1860 census, Monroe Twp, Juniata County, Image 10. Marriage record, unknown church in Perry County, both of Juniata County.
  77.  1880 federal census, West Union Township, Fayette County, Iowa, Image 26.
  78. 1850 federal census, Mifflintown, Juniata County, Image 24
  79. 1860 federal census, Fermanagh, Juniata County, Image 23.
  80. 1870 federal census, Mifflintown, Juniata County, Image 18-19.
  81. 1880 federal census, Lewistown, Juniata County, Image 19.
  82. 1900 federal census, Mifflintown, Juniata County, Image 7-8.
  83. Jordan, History of the Juniata Valley and its people, vol. 2, 1913; Family group sheet at Juniata Count Historical Society.
  84. 1850 census, written and indexed as Besome.
  85. Juniata County tax records, 1848, 1850, 1851, Juniata County Historical Society.
  86. Query letter to the Juniata County Historical Society. He was in Iowa for the census of 1860 through 1880. In 1850 he and Sarah were living with her father Thomas in Fermanagh Township, Juniata County (indexed as Besome).
  87. IRS tax assessment 1856, Carrollton, Carroll County, on Ancestry.
  88. This led to a court case as the family fought over the land after Sarah’s death.The court case is online at:
  89. His obituary  in the Carroll Sentinel (saved on an Ancestry tree) called him A. Winey Basom, b. April 14, 1824, in Union County PA near Coller’s Mills. He became a Methodist, married Sarah L. McCurdy on Sept 7, 1848, moved to Carrollton in 1855, died March 5, 1900. The burial record is from Findagrave.
  90. Burial record from Cemetery database, Juniata County Historical Society; obituary from Juniata Sentinel & Republican, printed out by the Juniata Co. Historical Society. See the separate piece on Simon Basom for his very interesting Civil War experience.
  91. The PA death certificate for her shows the dates of birth and death and the names of her parents, as Samuel Basom and Barbara Page. This is one of the key pieces of evidence for the identity of Samuel’s wife. The informant for the death certificate was David Reynolds of Mifflintown.
  92. 1860 federal census, Fermanagh Township, Juniata County, Image 21.
  93. 1870 federal census, Fermanagh Township, Mifflin County, Image 11. The nine children were at home; the oldest worked for the railroad.
  94. US Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865, PA 14th, Image 479.

Rudy and Elizabeth Basom and their fourteen children

Rudy and Elizabeth Basom lived in Dauphin County and Perry County, and had fourteen children. They appear in a thirty-year span of records but we learn surprisingly little about them. The records do not show where they came from before they first appear in 1785, or when their children were born, or the last name of Elizabeth. Rudy and Elizabeth were almost certainly Mennonite, a group averse to keeping records. This makes it harder to piece together the marriages of their children and birth of the next generation; what makes it easier is that there was only one Basom family in Perry County in this time period.1

Basom is not a common name, and it is possible that all of the Basoms in central Pennsylvania were descended from Rudy. There are two early references to other men named Bessem in the same area, but there is no evidence to connect them to Rudy and no sign that they had families. Henry Bessem was taxed in Frederick Town (later in Dauphin County) in 1770.2 Frederick Town was an early name for Hummelstown, which is just north of Londonderry Township where Rudy would appear fifteen years later.3 Rudy did name a son Henry, but he had eleven sons, so this is hardly conclusive. The other early Bessem was Peter Beassem, who appeared in the 1781 Cumberland County militia roll, in Captain Philip Mathew’s company. Rudy was probably born about 1763, and Peter would be about the same age, so if he is related it would be as a brother.4

Rudy first appears in the records in 1785, when he was taxed in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County.5 Rudy paid taxes of 2s 6d, less than some of his neighbors. He was still there through 1787, when he was taxed for 5 shillings as an inmate (non-landholder), suggesting that he had sold his land. He does not appear in the 1790 census for Dauphin County.6 Perhaps he was living and working in someone else’s house, suggesting that he was poor.7 In 1794 he was in a list of freeholders in Lower Paxtang Township, Dauphin County, which included much of the southwestern corner of the county at the time.8 Finally in 1797 he bought a 150-acre farm from James Potter of Lewistown and moved his family about sixty miles north to Greenwood Township, Cumberland County (later Perry County).9 The farm lay in the hills above Millerstown, close to the rich farmland of the Pfoutz Valley. The valley was settled by many Germans, and even years later it remained predominately German.10 A letter written in 1791 described the rich farmland of these central Pennsylvania valleys.

“This is the best part of the country that I have Ever seen for industrius people of Every Trade. Carpenters and Masons 7s. 6d. per day, and Labrers 5s. per day, and everything is plentiful, the best of Wheat 4s. pir bushel, Rie [rye] 3s. this currency, Inden corn and buckwheat in proportion. Beef, Mutton and Bacon at 3d. per pound. This is a fearful Country for wild creatures, Such as Dears, Bars, Wolves and Panters, the Dears meet yousd for Beef or venison, and Bears meet Good Bacon. Fishes and Folls in Great plenty. This is a fine Country for Roots and Vegtales. I shall send you a smal account of them Coowcumbers, Water Mellens, Squashes and Pomp-cans, with a variety of Beanes, sich as you have none in England, with many others too tedis to Name. Al rises from the Ground With out much troble and comes to Great pirfection.”11

In 1798 Rudy was taxed on the “windowpane” tax in Cumberland County. He had a cabin 26 x 22 and a stable 18 x 14, both on a tract of 109 acres, 40 perches. He was taxed $248.12

In 1800 Rudy was farming in Greenwood Township, and had nine people in the household. He already had seven sons and a daughter. There was no adult woman listed in the household, raising the possibility that Elizabeth was a second wife. (More likely this was an omission by the census taker.) 13

Rudy had fourteen children, probably with Elizabeth, although there are no birth records for any of them. Their names are known from the Orphan’s Court records after Rudy and Elizabeth died. In the 1800 census record, one of the sons was over 16 (Christly), two were 10 to 16 (Jacob & another uncertain), and four were under 10 (Henry, Samuel, David, and possibly John).  The daughter under 10 was probably Mary. By 1810 most of the children were born and some of them were already married. There were only two sons and two daughters still at home.14 Some of them may have been living with other families.

Rudy and Elizabeth were probably Mennonites. There are no early records to show this, but at least three of their sons were buried in Mennonite Cemeteries, and several of their children married into known Mennonite families, such as Shirk. In addition the names of some of their sons—Henry, Michael, Jacob, and Christly—were popular among the Mennonite families such as the Aukers and Lauvers.15 The Mennonites built a meeting house in Greenwood Township, near Richfield.16 Rudy and Elizabeth probably worshipped there.

When Rudy died, before April 1813, he left eight children under the age of 14 and a total of fourteen children altogether.17  He did not leave a will, so the Orphans Court supervised the administration of the estate. Caleb North was appointed as administrator, and Caspar Auker was chosen as guardian for the eight younger children: John, Martin, Rudolph, Peter, Abraham, Elizabeth, Ann and Daniel.18 North reported that the goods in the estate available for distribution amounted to $168.42.19 On December 10, 1816, the current guardian George Hoffman reported that Elizabeth, Rudy’s widow, was also dead, along with their daughter Mary. Mary’s share of the estate was to descend to her surviving brothers and sisters. What happened to the minor children, eight of them under 21? They must have strained the households of the older brothers, who were beginning to have children of their own.

The main asset was the farm, 150 acres bounded by lands of Henry Limpart, David Pfouts, and Abraham Adams. Thirteen of the children were still alive: the eight younger ones, plus Christian, Jacob, Henry, Samuel and David.20 The court asked the sheriff to determine whether the farm could be divided or whether it must be sold. The following May the sheriff gave an appraisal, and the heirs were summoned to accept or refuse it. They did not appear, although they were called again four more times over several years and notices were printed in the Carlisle Herald and a Philadelphia newspaper. Finally in 1826 the court ordered the property to be sold.21

Normally an administrator would sell the property and divide the proceeds among the heirs, but apparently this did not happen. Instead Christian, the eldest son, continued to live on the home farm, although he did not own it outright, only a share. He may have been living on it and taking care of his parents before they died, as well as his younger brothers and sisters after Rudy and Elizabeth died. Since it was not sold and divided, his brothers and sisters had a right to their share. This might explain why the Orphan’s Court did not close the books on the estate settlement until 1860, long after Christian himself was dead.

In 1860 we have another list of the heirs, when there was another Orphan’s Court record. It named William Auker as an heir to the property, along with David and Martin Basom, both dead by then but with heirs, and John and Abraham Basom, both of unknown residence. Presumably Henry and Rudy Jr. were still alive, though neither is mentioned in the proceeding. As published in the Perry County Democrat of November 29, 1860, the officers of the court appealed for missing heirs to appear before the court to accept or reject the settlement of the estate of Rudolph Beasom. “And now to wit: October 29th, 1860, Inquistion confirmed and Rule on the heirs of the Real Estate mentioned in this Inquisition, to wit: —William Auker, David Beasom, who is now dead, and left a widow and a child, the residence of said widow and child is unknown, Martin Beasom, now dead, and left a widow and issue one child, a minor daughter, who resides in Perrysville, Juniata county, and has for her Guardian Edmund S. Doty, of Mifflintown, Juniata county, Pa., John Beasom and Abraham Beasom, the residence of neither of the last two named is known; William Auker, above named, being the owner of eight-twelfths, to appear at the next term…”22 Note that only four of the Basom heirs are still concerned with the property—David, Martin, John and Abraham—and David and Martin are apparently dead.23

The older children of Rudy and Elizabeth stayed in Pennsylvania, while the younger ones tended to scatter. In particular the four oldest sons stayed around Juniata County. There are no apparent records for three of the children and they may have died young—Elizabeth, Ann (unless she is identical with Nancy, and Daniel). Since no birth records have yet been found for any of the children, the dates of birth are not known, and several are estimated from cemetery or census records.24 Two consistent threads run through the records of the next two generations: they did not name children after parents or grandparents, and when there was a trade mentioned, other than farmer, it was usually carpenter.

Rudy and Elizabeth had at least 40 grandchildren, whom they never knew.25

Children of Rudy and Elizabeth: 26

Christian (Christly), b. ab. 1783, d. Jan. 30, 1845, m. ab. 1809 Susannah Lang (d. 1881), daughter of Andrew & Eva, lived in Greenwood Township, Perry County, a cooper and farmer. They had six children.27

Jacob, b. Feb. 15, 1786, d. 20 April 1859, m. ab. 1816 Catherine Albright, a farmer, buried at Graybill Cemetery, Richfield, Juniata County. Catherine was born 1791 and died July 3, 1861. They had six known children.28

Henry, b. 1790 or 1791, d. June 1861 age 70, m. ab. 1818 Susan Shirk (1791-1881), a farmer, buried at Lost Creek Mennonite Cemetery, Juniata County. They had four known children.

Samuel, married Barbara Page about 1811, d. about 1844 in Mifflintown. They had five known children.

Mary, died unmarried after 1812 and before December 1816

David, b. before April 1799, died before 1860. The Orphan’s Court record of 1860 said that he had a wife and child. However the wife (Elizabeth Graham) and child Mary Margaret sometimes listed for him probably belong to a different man, a David Beesom of Franklin County. There is not enough evidence to identify him here.29

John, b. about 1801, probably married Nancy Haxton and moved to Ohio, if this is the correct John Basom.30

Martin, b. after April 1799, d. 1844, r. Turbett Twp, m. Elizabeth LNU, had a daughter Matilda. Buried at Kilmer Church, Turbett Twp.31 After he died Elizabeth married William Rice.

Abraham, b. Dec. 1804, moved to Clarion County, Pennsylvania, a farmer, married about 1829 Christina Carney, had eight known children. He died on Dec. 24, 1864.

Rudolph Jr., b. ab. 1805, d. 1875, m. about 1833 Julia Ann LNU, a farmer, moved to LaPorte County, Indiana, where he died 21 Dec 1875. She d. 1872. They had five known children.

Peter, b. ab. 1805, no further solid information. The Peter of Columbia County, Pennsylvania, married to a woman named Catherine, with eight children, was consistently in the census as Basan or Basin, not Basam. 32

Elizabeth, no further information.

Ann (Ann Nancy?), b. ab. 1807, possibly married Peter Weaver, but not the Peter Weaver of Dauphin Township, Mifflin County.33

Daniel, probably alive in 1814, no further record. 34


  1. The family name appears in records with many alternate spellings: Basom, Basem, Beasom, Basam, Bezam, Besum, Besam, Basum, Basham, sometimes even Basan or Basin. It is probably distinct from other central Pennsylvania families like Bausum, Bashore/Basor and Beacham.
  2. Ellis & Hungerford, Commemorative and Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, on USGenWeb Archives. He was taxed as a landowner, not a freeman (an unmarried man).
  3.  There is no listing for a will for Henry Basom or Bessem in Lancaster County, PA Probate Records 1683-1994 on
  4.  (See footnote 14 for a discussion of Rudy’s birthdate.) This is probably the Peter Basom who is believed by some researchers to be a brother of Rudy, and a son of Peter Basom and Catherine Rebecca Potter. In the late 1800s a group of Basom descendents believed that they had some claim to land in New York City supposedly leased to the government “for a fort” by a Herman Potter about 1780, a lease that would expire in the 1880s. They attempted to find descendents of this Herman. The letters about this “Potter affair” ended up in a trunk in Washington state owned by Marcus S. Basom. (Post by Ezra Basom, Rootsweb message board for Basom, 25 July 2003) Another researcher, K. Varden Leasa, found a possible link in Rudy’s purchase of a farm in 1797 from James Potter. (Post, 24 July 2003, Rootsweb message board for Basom). But James Potter apparently sold land to many people, according to Ellis’ History of Mifflin County. Leasa speculated that the Basoms lived in the Tulpehocken German settlement in Lebanon and Berks Counties, moving there from the Palatine German communities of New York. (Post on Ancestry board for Bason, 24 July 2003). Larry Sheibley wrote about the family in a mss at the Lenig Library, listed Peter Basom and Catherine Rebecca Potter as possible parents for Rudy. Note that Marcus  Basom, K. Varden Leasa, Larry Sheibley, and Noah Zimmerman, all of whom worked on the Basom family, are all dead, as of 2017.

    The younger Peter supposedly moved to Ontario County, New York, married Catherine Kessler or Keslier, and died there in 1813. He and Rudy lived and died at about the same time. Like Rudy, Peter apparently had children named Peter, Daniel, Samuel, Nancy, and John. This is all suggestive but there is no direct evidence to connect Rudy and Peter. (Findagrave; Ancestry trees; letter from Stanley Soules, on file in the Lenig Library, Perry County. He believed that Rudy and the younger Peter may have been brothers.)

  5. PA Tax and Exoneration 1768-1801, Dauphin County, on Ancestry. Dauphin County was separated from Lancaster County in 1785. Londonderry Township is the southern end of Dauphin, just north of Lancaster County. Rudy does not appear in the tax records of Londonderry Township for 1771, 1772, 1773 or 1782. There was a Rudy Peason taxed as a freeman in Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County in 1782, but the name is wrong. This could have been just before he was married. (Lancaster County tax lists at the Lancaster County Historical Society) The tax lists for 1785 through 1787 are reprinted in Kelker’s History of Dauphin County. In 1787 Rudy was listed as Beesun.
  6. I browsed all images for the county.
  7. By 1790 he would only have the first three of so of his children, a list that would eventually grow to fourteen. It would be interesting to know the economic tradeoffs between having lots of children to help around the farm versus the costs of feeding them.
  8. Egle’s Notes and Queries, vol. 2, pp. 336, 339, “An old time register”. Note that Lower Paxtang Township included Paxton, Susquehanna and Swatara townships.
  9. A geographical note: Greenwood Township was formed in 1767 in Cumberland County. The township was split in two in 1789 when Mifflin County was formed from Cumberland County.  In 1820, Perry County was formed from Cumberland Co. and included Cumberland’s part of Greenwood. In 1831, Juniata County was formed from Mifflin County and included Mifflin’s part of Greenwood Township. The two Greenwood Townships are adjacent on opposite sides of the Perry-Juniata county line.
  10. History of Perry County, 1873.
  11. Letter from Charles Hardy to friends in England, written in 1791, describing the land around his farm in Lewistown, quoted in Ellis, History of Mifflin County.
  12. 1798 US Direct Tax List, Cumberland, Greenwood Township, 3rd assessment district, 6th division, Image 270, on Ancestry.
  13. 1800 federal census, Greenwood Township, Cumberland County (indexed as Reedy Basor); 1800 Septennial census (indexed as Ruddy Besome). The Septennial census did not list numbers of people in the household.
  14. 1810 federal census, Greenwood Township. Rudy was indexed as Bezam. A man 45 or over and a women 45 or over are checked, showing that Rudy and Elizabeth were both born in 1765 or earlier. We assume she was not born too much earlier, since she was still having children about 1806. Most Ancestry trees say Rudy was born in 1755; this is possible but he would be quite a bit older than Elizabeth. The fact that he first appears in tax lists in 1785 suggests that he had just come of age then.
  15. Ellis & Hungerford, History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, 1886, chapter on Monroe Township. Other Mennonite families were Page or Barge, Shirk, Graybill, Winey, and Bergey.
  16. Ellis & Hungerford, chapter on Monroe Township.
  17. According to Larry Sheibley’s mss in the Basom file at the Lenig Library, Perry County, Rudy died on August 23, 1829, but this cannot be correct if the Orphan’s Court proceedings began in 1814. Where did this precise date come from? It suggests that someone saw a family Bible record, and possibly misquoted it, but this is not clear.
  18., Pennsylvania Probate Records 1683-1994, Cumberland County Orphan’s Court docket, book 5, p. 304 (image 369), court session April 5, 1813.
  19. Cumberland County Orphan’s Court docket, book 5, p. 392 (image 413), court session May 10, 1814. The job of the guardian was to safeguard the property rights of the children, not to take them into his household. Rudy’s estate seems small compared to some of the other estates in the court records of the time.
  20. Cumberland County Orphan’s Court docket, book 6, p. 282 (image 170), court session December 10, 1816.
  21. Cumberland County Orphan’s Court dockets, book 6, p. 405, 443; book 7, p. 48; book 8, p. 52, 74.
  22. Copy of a clipping, in the Basom family file, Lenig library, Perry County.
  23. Noah Zimmerman wrote in 1987 to Harry Focht about the family, a letter preserved in the Basom family file at Lenig Library, Perry County. He described a settlement with the heirs of Joseph Acker (including William Auker?), and listed twelve of the Basom heirs. The letter referred to the estate settlement as about 1843. However he included some facts that occurred after 1863, such as the marriage of Martin’s daughter Matilda. The inference is that Noah added some of his own research to the list. This is the only source for the marriage of David Basom and Nancy Basom. I have not seen any original Orphan’s Court record that includes their marriages.

    Zimmerman listed the Basom children as: Abraham; John, of Blaine Township in Perry County; Peter, of Nescopeck Township in Columbia County; Henry; Daniel; Christian; Rudolph, of East Buffalo Township in Union County; David, deceased with a widow and married daughter; Jacob; Samuel, deceased; Martin, deceased with a married daughter; and Nancy, married to Peter Weaver. Note that this list did not include Mary, Elizabeth, or Ann, and substituted Nancy. He mentioned heirs of some (David and Martin), but omitted others.

  24. In general the ones who stayed near Perry or Juniata County are better documented than the ones who left for other counties or states. The records are particularly weak (or non-existent) for David, Peter, Elizabeth, Ann Nancy, and Daniel.
  25. There are two Basoms unaccounted for, probably born 1820 to 1830, so very likely additional grandchildren. They may be placed in the families of Jacob or Samuel. Philip Basom was taxed in Tuscarora, Juniata County in 1850 as a laborer.  (Juniata County tax records at Juniata County Historical Society). Phrena Basom married  of Perry County married John Bertch in 1841. (Snyder County Marriages 1835-1899, on
  26. Compiled from multiple sources, especially the various Orphans Court records, census records and tombstones.
  27. Commemorative & Biographical Encyc. of the Juniata Valley, vol. 2, pp. 1298-1299. Some sources say that he was born in Richfield, present-day Juniata County. Is there any evidence for this? It would imply that Rudy lived there before settling near Millerstown.
  28. Records of the Graybill Cemetery on USGWArchives.
  29. The Orphan’s Court record was very late. Most of the first generation were dead by then. The information about David must have come from one of his cousins, who may have been mistaken.
  30. There was a John Basom born about 1800 and a Joseph Basom born 1805, both of whom ended up in Ohio “by way of Coshocton”. But who is the Joseph? The John in this record married Nancy Haxton in Ohio in June 1833. (ref: Letter to the Jun Co. Hist Society in 1997). There is a John Basom b. 1797, d. 1861, a farmer, buried in Old Sycamore Cemetery, Wyandot County, Ohio, with wife Sarah Ann, who does not fit well here.
  31. Juniata County Cemetery Index, Juniata County Historical Society, Mifflintown.
  32. According to the Noah Zimmerman letter of 1987 in the Basom file at the Lenig Library.
  33. The Peter Weaver of Dauphin Township was married to Ann Mary Schwab. The only source for her marriage is a letter from Noah Zimmerman; he may have been mistaken.
  34. Ancestry trees say he was born in 1795 and died in 1845, but the date of birth is contradicted by the Orphan’s Court record of 1813.