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.

One thought on “The adventures of Eva Basom”

  1. Hello,
    What a wonderful accounting of Eva’s life. I found this article by chance. I am new to putting my family tree together and I have found that were a lot of family members in Hartsugg around this time frame. Many different families that were farming who married into each others families from the different households when they came of age. The names of the families were Jones, Standridge, Allen, Edwards, Cravins, Garland and Bruce.

    My great grandfather Edmond Jones must have known Eva and her daughter, as he was a mail carrier. In fact he was one of the original Pony Express Riders (so I am told). His mother had a farm in Hartsugg where she raised her children. Edmond bought a home in Wheeler and in 1920 was still listed as a mail carrier at that time. Please feel free to contact me with any additional information or questions. I would love to know more about the community of Hartsugg or any photos you may have. I have a few I can share as well.

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