Simon Basom was born around 1823 in Juniata County, Pennsylvania. He was probably the son of Samuel and Barbara Basom. He moved to Mifflintown in January 1838 by his own account.1 He was too young to buy land, so he probably came as an apprentice. We know that he was a chairmaker, so possibly he was learning the trade.2 His brother Amos was also a carpenter; they may have come together.
By 1847 Simon owned land in Fermanagh Township. About the same year he married Lydia Howe. Her family lived in Milford Township, Juniata County, which is next to Mifflintown. By 1850 Simon and Lydia were living in Mifflintown.3 They already had two daughters, Martha and Hannah Jane (known as Jane and probably named for Lydia’s mother Hannah). Lydia died two years later, on July 24, 1852. She is buried at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown next to her father John Howe.4
On September 10, 1853 Simon petitioned for a guardian for his daughters Martha and Jane, since they were both under 14 and entitled to an interest in real estate from their late mother Lydia. He asked the court to appoint a suitable person and they chose John Howe, Lydia’s brother.
In October 1854, Simon married Susanna Boyd of Perry County.5 They were married in Newport, Perry County, by Rev. Franklin Gearhart, a Methodist minister. Years later, in applying for a widow’s pension, Susanna claimed that she was Simon’s only wife and that she had not been previously married. However the deposition also states that “Her maiden name was Susan Webb,” which suggests that she had been married to a Boyd.
In August 1862 Simon enlisted in the army for a nine-month term, in Company I, 126th Regiment.6 The regiment was mustered in a week later in Harrisburg. They moved south in late August, heading for Virginia. In the middle of September they marched toward Antietam but arrived after the battle was over.7 By December Simon was suffering from a lung disorder, probably tuberculosis. The commanding officer of his regiment, Amos Martin, later stated that Basom was stricken with hemorrhage of the lungs and severe diarrhea in the winter of 1862-63, which kept him in the hospital during the engagement at Fredericksburg in December 1862. Basom did not recover from his illness and was invalided out in January 1863 on a Surgeon’s Certificate. 8
Simon’s discharge removed him from high risk of death in battle. The regiment distinguished itself at the battle of Fredericksburg, in December 13, 1862, by “a furious charge upon the enemy behind the historic stone wall, where seventy-seven of its members were killed and wounded.”9
“Just before the battle of Fredericksburg on December the 11th 1862 we broke camp early in the morning when about a mile from camp Basom gave out. He asked the captain for a pass to fall back as he was not able to march and for some reason he refused to give him one. He then appealed to me and I went to the surgeon and got a pass for him and the regiment went some farther and lay all day in a swampy field and Basom then came up to us and in the evening we fell back to high ground and camped for the night and Basom lay with his feet to my head. It was a very cold night and heavy white frost in the morning and when he got up in the morning of 12th he took a spell of coughing and he coughed up great clots of blood.
On the 13th we crossed the river. The regiment went into the fight, but Co. I was detailed for hospital duty to attend to the wounded and sick. I was detailed and sent away from the company to prepare a church for a hospital and did not see Basom for several days. The Army crossed the river on Monday night and Tuesday Co. I was kept for further duty at the new hospital on the north side of the river. Several days afterwards I saw Basom. I thought he would die before he would go home. His discharge from his disability was in contemplation at this time. He done no duty after that to my knowledge and he was discharged for disability on the 13th day of January 1863. He was very much … and never gained much strength up till the time of his death.”
Another friend, George Goshen, wrote that he knew Basom for ten years before his enlistment and never heard him complain of lung disease. (To get a pension Simon needed to show that his illness was contracted while serving in the army.) That winter Goshen took Basom many times to the surgeon when he was coughing up blood. “He was never very stout after his return home. He done painting for me but was not very able to work. He was confined to the house a long time before he died.” Basom’s neighbors John North and Samuel Showers also testified as to his illness, adding that his hemorrhage was “very bad and dangerous”. Showers was Simon’s son-in-law, so he possibly had a vested interest in this matter.11
After his medical discharge Simon returned home to Mifflintown. Instead of carpentry, he now worked as a painter.12 In 1866 the county treasurer paid him for painting and papering at the county prison.13 In 1860 he and Susan had four children living with them (Hannah, Margaret, Mary and John), and one apprentice painter. Simon’s daughter Martha, from his first marriage, was living across the street.14 Simon and Susan lived on Third Street in Mifflintown.15 John Howe, Lydia’s brother, was living across the street.
In the 1870 census Simon was listed as 45 years old, a painter. He and Susannah had two daughters, Maggie, age 14, and Mary, age 13, and two apprentices living with them, James Farmer and J. H. Kugney.16 Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams did not introduce pre-mixed paint until about 1880. Before then a painter needed to mix his own paints out of linseed oil and pigments.
As an enterprising businessman, Simon branched out into wallpaper. He ran a series of ads in the Juniata Sentinel and Republican starting around 1871. “Mr. Simon Basom has just received, at his residence on Cherry Street, a fine assortment of Wall Paper, which he will dispose of at very low prices. He intends to keep a stock constantly on hand.”17
In 1874 Simon died, probably of tuberculosis. He is buried at Union Cemetery, Walker Township, Juniata County.18 His obituary described him as a long-time member of the Methodist Church and a class leader there. His death came after a long illness. “He was a good man in whose faith there was no fault.”19
Simon left no will and the Orphans Court appointed Samuel Showers, Simon’s son-in-law, to administor the estate.20 Samuel reported that the personal estate was not sufficient to pay Simon’s debts, which amounted to over $1,000, typical of the time. Simon and Susan owned a house, which was sold at auction and raised $1400. This paid off the debts but left only $296.53 in the account to be distributed to the heirs.
Susan decided to move to Sandusky, Ohio, with her two daughters Maggie and Mary, and in 1880 she applied for a widow’s pension. She claimed that Simon became ill while serving in the Army, was discharged for medical reasons and died of his condition. The army ruled that his lung disease existed before his enlistment and refused to pay. In January 1884 the Juniata Sentinel and Republican reported that the widow of Simon Basom died at the home of her son-in-law William E. Fought, in Fremont, Ohio, aged 70.
Children of Simon and Lydia:
Hannah Jane, called “Jane”, b. May 11, 1845, d. Oct 1, 1911, m. Samuel H. Showers. He had three children with his first wife, Euphemia North; Jane and Samuel had more four children. Samuel died in 1904, and around 1907 Jane married again, probably to Joseph Postlethwait.21 She died on Oct. 1, 1911, in Altoona.22
Mary, b. ab. 1861, married, no further information.
Edith, b. Dec 14, 1862, d. 1925, m. Luther Fisher, a house painter, lived in 1910 in Dauphin County.
Lewis McClellan, b. 1864. d. 1948, lived in Altoona, worked as a painter for the railroad, m. Elma McCullough.
Victor, b. 10 Dec. 1875, d. 1943 in Pittsburgh, a linotype operator, married Helen Farraday. They lived in Altoona, Johnstown, then Pittsburgh.
Ethel, b. 1886, m. Fred Sunday, in 1920 in Burlington County, NJ where he was a carpenter for the railroad; in 1930 in Mercer County, where he still worked for the railroad. Apparently no children.
Martha Hamlin, b. 1849, d. 1910, m. in 1866 Moses Pannebaker, son of Joseph & Polly.27 Moses served in the Civil War (in the same regiment as Simon and Moses’ older brother Daniel). In 1870 Moses and Martha were living in Mifflintown.28 Moses was working for Simon as a painter. Martha died in 1910 and in 1912 Moses married Mary Ella Swilger.29 Moses died suddenly on Nov. 6, 1921.30 He is buried with Martha at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown.
Jesse May, b. May 1, 1868, d. 1953, m. 1891 Harry W. LaPorte, lived in Tyrone, Blair County, had children Ada, Ira Foster, Virgil, Richard, Harry, Karl.
Corbett Basom, b. Sept. 6, 1870, d. 1929, m. 1895 Annie Rollman, buried at Westminster, had children Mary Edna, Ralph, Geraldine.
Joseph Clinton, b. April 30, 1873, d. 1886, buried at Westminster.
Van Irvin, b. Nov. 7, 1877, d. Jan 1973, m. Gertrude Morgan (d. 1951), lived in Tyrone, a blacksmith, buried at Eastlawn, Tyrone, had children Boyd, Ruth, Helen.
Boyd Murray, b. Dec. 7, 1880, d. April 1950, no children, buried at Westminster.
Clarence Howe, b. Aug. 19, 1883, d. 1936, m. 1) 1910 Anna Swails, divorced in 1913, m. 2) in 1914 Daisy Kaufman in Floyd County, Indiana, living in Louisville, Kentucky at the time of the marriage, no children, buried at Westminster.32
Blanche Wright, b. Jan. 6, 1886, d. 1954 in Dauphin Co, lived with Jessie & Harry in Tyrone in 1900; On Oct. 9, 1911, she married Lewis M. Steele in Louisville, Kentucky.33 By 1920 she was back in Lewistown, working as a housekeeper, as Blanche Steele. Ada Long remembered Blanche as a spinster. Soon afterwards Blanche married Austin Freeman Wescott. He was a pilot who sailed the Panama Canal. Buried together at Westminster.
Alton Scholl, b. Oct. 22, 1888, d. October 1973 in Tyrone, m. Margaret Dry, children Richard, Robert, Alton, William.
Jane “Bessie”, b. June 22, 1893, m. FNU Hamer, died after 1953, possibly in Florida, no children.
Children of Simon and Susan:
Margaret, called “Mame” by the family, b. Sept 1857, married William E. Fought on Aug 25, 1881 in Sandusky, Ohio34. She was his second wife, he had a son with his first wife Sarah Richards. He was born in 1852 in Sandusky County, worked as a farmer and carpenter, died suddenly in 1920, left Margaret and four sons—Arthur (with his first wife), Clarence, Harry and Earl.35 Maggie died in 1930.
Mary, b. Feb. 7, 1857, married John Wesley Shirk (b. 1853), lived in Tyrone; he was a house carpenter.36 He died in June 1828; she died 1931; they are buried at Eastlawn Cemetery.37 They had a son Harry.
John W, b. ab. 1858, no further record, in the 1860 census, probably died young.
- His obituary from the Juniata County newspaper of Feb. 11, 1874. More precisely, it said, “Mr. Basom was a native of this county, and came to Mifflin on January 8, 1838.” ↩
- Juniata County tax lists. ↩
- 1850 federeal census, Mifflintown. The record said that they were both 24 years old. This was probably wrong, as census ages so often are. According to Lydia’s tombstone she was born in 1822 or 1823. (She died on July 24, 1852 “in her 29th year”.) ↩
- In a cemetery database for Juniata County, she is listed as “Bertha”, wife of Simon Basom. ↩
- They were married in Newport, Perry County, by Reverend Franklin Gearhart. A few years later he was the minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mifflintown. (Ellis & Hungerford, chapter 6, online) ↩
- He enlisted on August 7, 1862 in Mifflin County, gave his age as 39, was mustered in a week later in Harrisburg. ↩
- History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, 1886, p. 318. ↩
- His Civil War service file, and History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, vol. 1, 1886, p. 322 ↩
- Jordan, History of the Juniata Valley, 1913, p. 267. The regiment also suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863. ↩
- From Simon’s Civil War record. ↩
- Goshen was a plasterer in Milford Township, Juniata County (1850 census), a contemporary of Simon. ↩
- According to the witnesses in another Civil War pension case, on behalf of Simon’s son-in-law Moses Pannebaker, Simon was the “boss painter”. Perhaps Goshen owned the company and Basom was the crew chief. ↩
- Juniata Sentinel, Feb. 21, 1866. The treasurer paid Basom $75.99 for his work. ↩
- 1860 census record. ↩
- They lived in the second house north of Orange Street, on the west side of the street. Their house is shown on a map of Mifflintown in the 1863 Atlas of Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties. ↩
- 1870 census, Mifflintown, Juniata County, image 7. ↩
- Juniata Sentinel and Republican, various issues such as April 5, 1871, on newspapers.com. ↩
- Cemetery database, Juniata County Historical Society. ↩
- Obituary from the Juniata Sentinel & Republican, 11 Feb 1874. ↩
- He was married to Simon’s oldest daughter Hannah. In 1941 their daughter Ethel petitioned for a copy of her birth record and named her parents Samuel and Hannah.. Samuel was a carriage builder. A copy of the petition is in the Lenig file for the Basom family in the Lenig library. ↩
- There is a Jennie Postlethwaite, second wife of Joseph Postlethwait, in the 1910 census for Jefferson Township, Butler County, Image 25. He was 69, she was 64, married three years. He worked as a pumper, but was out of work for 24 weeks; she had five children, four living. This fits the known information for Jane. ↩
- PA State Death Certificate for her, as Jennie Postlethwait. Joseph Postlethwait was the informant. ↩
- From census records, Ancestry trees. ↩
- From census records, Ancestry trees, PA State death certificates on Ancestry. ↩
- 1900 census, Philadelphia, Ward 34, District 0888, Image 35. Frederick was 39, Nellie 29, born March 1871, married 9 years, 1 child, Clara, b. Sept 1892. ↩
- PA Death Certificate. ↩
- The Hamlin family is prominent in Juniata County, but there seems to be no relation. The best explanation for Martha’s middle name is that she was probably delivered by Dr. Philo Hamlin. He was a nephew of Ezra Doty, who took over his uncle’s practice in 1828 and worked until 1866, “beloved by the community.” Ref: Ellis and Hungerford. ↩
- 1870 federal census, Juniata County, Mifflintown, Image 3. Pannebaker was indexed as Munebalter! ↩
- In the 1920 census Moses was shown as age 76, with wife Ella age 63, no occupation and no children at home. ↩
- Death certificate of Moses Pannebaker: Died in Granville Township, Mifflin County on Nov. 6, 1921. Born 2/7/1842. Retired mechanic. Parents: Mary Magdealin Wertz and Joseph Pannebaker. Information from Mary E. Pannabaker. ↩
- Obituaries, Findagrave, Census records, Pannebaker family file at Juniata County Historical Society. ↩
- The marriage to Anna is from an Ancestry tree. The marriage to Daisy is from Indiana Marriages 1810-2001, Floyd County, Image 175, on Ancestry. He was living in Louisville, Kentucky. His sister Blanche was living in Louisville at about the same time. Perhaps they were living together. She was there in 1911 and he was there in 1914, not a short stay. ↩
- Her brother Clarence was living in Louisville at about the same time. Perhaps they were living together. What drew them to Louisville? ↩
- Ohio County Marriages 1774-1993, Sandusky, on Ancestry. ↩
- His obituary, Fremont Daily News, March 16, 1920, saved on an Ancestry tree. ↩
- 1910 federal census, Blair County, Tyrone Ward 1, district 0085, Image 12. ↩
- His PA State death certificate. ↩