Bassett Family Association Database

Erastus Wayne Connell


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  • Name Erastus Wayne Connell 
    Gender Male 
    _UID C9390323C0458D45940F96B0B9259A09694B 
    • History of The Edward Ulysses Bassett Family
      By Eva Bassett Connell

      My great-grandfather, Edward Ulysses Bassett, born May 12, 1821; we always thought came to America as a stowaway when 12 years old from England. It was in early 1979 when Eva Bassett Railsback (who has spent much time and energy tracing the family history) began corresponding with a lady whose name is Bassett (related to William - son of William, brother of Edward) from Ohio and we learned that Edward; his parents, William and Jane Pelham Bassett; brothers, William and Thomas; and sister Elizabeth, came over here from England in 1830. They lived in New York State for six months; then came to Townsend township, Huron County, Ohio. Then to Clarksfield, Ohio in 1832. They lived in various places until 1856 when the father, William, died in 1862 at the age of 66 years. Edward's mother, Jane Pelham Bassett, died in Michigan in 1879 at the age of 76 years.
      Children born to them Ohio were Lucy, George, Samuel, Henry, Maylam, and Ellen. A brother of William, Elias, also came to America in 1828, lived in Ohio, and died in Iowa years later.
      Edward went to Defiance County, Ohio, where he married Sarah Mortimore. She died when their first son, John, was born and he later married her sister, Elizabeth Betsy. To this union were born Thomas Malon, Nathan, Ellsworth, Sarah and Clara Jane.
      My grandfather, Thomas Malon (known as Malon) was born in Ohio, January 14, 1853. Sometime prior to 1879 this family migrated to Iowa where Malon met and married Viola Edwina Hayward in January, 1879. She was the eldest daughter of Richard and Sarah Shelby Hayward born in Missouri, February 9, 1861. Early in the summer of 1880 she moved with her husband to Red Willow County near McCook, Nebraska, where they lived for eight years. There Florence, Gertrude, Lawrence, and Walter were born. My father, Lawrence Edward, was born September 15, 1884, and at the age of four years in 1888 he came by covered wagon with his family to what is now northwestern McPherson County where they homesteaded. It is knows as the old Bassett Valley and is now owned by the Max Rothwell family. My great-grandfather, Edward, and several of the other brothers and two sisters came to the same area to settled. The half-brother, John, settled near the Dismal River. His wife's name was Elsie Springer. His children were Frank, Delbert, Nate, Robert, Clyde, Cora and Minnie. Minnie became Sam Musser's wife. John was previously married to Daily Fleming of Red Oak, Iowa, and they had a son, Bert. Nate was married to Sadie Sager and they had five daughers; Nona, who became Mrs. Herschel Moore; Blanche, who married Leo Miller; Eva, who married Henry Rallsback, the cousin who has done so much research and brought to light so much of our family history; Ruby and Rita were the last two girls of this family.
      Ed Bassett took a homestead in the valley south. He married Kate Gregg, a sister of Judd, Henry Bert and Floyd. They later moved to Stockville, Nebraska, and adopted three girls: Maude, who later married Frank Bassett; Ann, who married Bennie Godfrey, son of Asa and Clara; and Irene, a sister of Maude.
      Ellsworth went to Colorado before he was married so we have never known his family. Nate married Emily Mortimore and homesteaded in the east end of the Bassett Valley. Nate and Emily had a large family including Effie, Mary and Clara who all married Godfrey brothers; Stewart, John and Asa; also Anna who married never married; Ella, who married Virgil Shephard, and brothers, Arthur, Paul and Less. Clara Jane, one sister of Malon, married Mitt Hogg. They have all lived in the Paxton area. Another sister, Sarah, married Isaac Shephard.
      My great-grandfather and great-grandmother built a sod house, barn, and corrals about a half mile from their son, Malon, and lived and died there. They are buried in the cemetery at Eclipse Church on the Dismal River close by the Marvin Tucker ranch. Also my grandparents, Malon and Viola; my father, Lawrence Edward, who passed away February 18, 1947; and others of the family are curied there. It is said that where the old sod barn crumbled down years ago there was a five gallon pail of choice arrowheads gathered by all the various cousins in the valley buried under the ruins. What wouldn't the arrowhead collectors now days give to unearth such a treasure!
      The only memory I have of my great-grandmother was of her sitting in an old rocking chair, smoking a clay pipe.
      My grandfather, Malon, was a blacksmith so he set up a shop and it became a center for many miles around where people gathered to have their work done. They reared their family amid many hardships of the pioneer day.
      Emily, Betty, Nellie and another son, Robert, were born on their homestead. Robert died in infancy.
      The oldest daughter, Florence, married Edward Able. Gertrude and Emily married Henry and Floyd Gragg. Emily died of tuberculosis in the spring of 1930. The Henry Gragg family moved to Idaho. Nellie became Mrs. Glen Carter and they moved are now all near Salt Lake City, Utah. Betty married Jay Jefferson. They had no children and he passed away in 1961. Betty then moved to Utah to be near her only living sister, Nellie Carter. By this time all the others of her immdediate family had died. Betty died in Springville, Utah, in February, 1976.
      Walter married Rose Thayer of Hamburg, Iowa. She was a distant relative of Walter's mother and their romance was by correspondence only, meeting for the first time the day of their wedding. I would not recommend this approach to marriage by anyone. She passed away in 1942. He then married Cona Stoutz and he has since died on New Years, 1959.
      Walter and Lawrence and their father were partners in the ranching business for many years. Lawrence (known as Larry) spent nine years of his life working for the Milldale Land and Cattle Co. owned by Stewart and Haskell. Walter remained at home to help with the work and Larry would go home at busy times now and then to help out when needed. Early friends and neighbors mentioned by my father were the Tuckers, Quinns, Morrows, Reuters, Huffman, Haneys, O'Briens, and many others.
      When Larry was 24 years of age he married Leona Kathryn Coons on October 26, 1908. In Mullen, Nebraska. She is a refined, patient, kindly soul, the daughter of Montraville and Sarah Edwards Coons. My grandfather Coons born in Paris, Illinois on October 31, 1845; was a Civil War veteran who spent nine months in the Andersonville Prison and endured great hardships as a Union Soldier. He died at the age of 94 years in March 1940. He and my grandmother were married at Red Oak, Iowa, December 23, 1875. She died at the age of 76 in 1930.
      My mother was born April 28, 1885, in Watson, Missouri. A brother, Daniel, was married Lulu Parks in Missouri and later moved to Nebraska's sandhills. A sister, Mollie, became Mrs. George Phelps. After his death she married Mill Stemp of Rockport, Missouri, who died a few years later. Three other children were born; two sisters who died in one week from scarlet fever and one brother who died in infancy. The Coons family, my mother was 17 and her parents, came to Nebraska by covered wagon sometime around 1900.
      They homesteaded in Hooker County north of the Dismal River and when my mother became of age she took a homestead in South Hooker County at the head of the north branch of the Dismal River. Here she and my father set up housekeeping. They moved back and forth for a number of years unstil she could prove up on her homestead. My father's claim was about nine miles to the south, near the Bassett family. Since all were working together, they did this to help out during busier seasons.
      I was born, Mary Leona Eva, March 29, 1912, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Alliance, Nebraska, while they were still living on my mother's homestead. I was christened Mary by the Sisters of St. Joseph's Hospital. On July 19, 1915, a son, Leonard Lawrence, was born at home and Gordon Lee came along on May 20, 1922, born at Sutherland, Nebraska.
      My brothers and I grew up with the usualy number of childhood squabbles, also having fun together, working long hours through the years helping with whatever there was to do. My father was a great story-teller so I enjoyed sitting back in a corner listening for hours to the early day experiences told to visitors, hired men, trappers, and anyone who would listen to him. If the stories ebecame gory I would creep off to bed in terror, dreading the darkness of the cold bedroom. Once I dreamed that someone was under my bed trying to pull me under, and I looked under my bed every night for years always fearfully expecting to find someone there.
      My mother and father were warm hearted humanitarians, always lending a helping hand or sharing what we had with others. Our home was a place where everyone was welcome to come in and have a meal or spend the night with us. In those days of hard means of travel, it was a rare treat for relatives or travelers to stop and pass the time of day.
      My oldest brother, Leonard, married Inez Brown on May 31, 1939. They have three children; Larry Lee who married Theresa Kennedy and they have two children, Lawrence and Brenda; Georgia Lou who married Floyd (Rad) Lincoln and they have four children, Bonnie, Jim, Debbie and Kathy; Eileen was married to Norman Hollis on January 22, 1967. They have a daughter, Carolyn, and in 1976 they adopted a daughter, Mary Lee; Leonard's fourth child, infant daughter Arvelia, perished when fire destroyed their home in 1945. Leonard and Inez have now retired to Merriman, Nebraska, after working for the telephone company for a number of years, first in Tryon; then in Merriman, then Mission, South Dakota, and Mitaca, Minnesota in 1976. In later years Leonard has become quite accomplished in carpentry, building furniture as well as remodeling their home.
      My younger brother, Gordon Lee, married Alice Priest (a daughter of Wayne's sister, Loueiva). Kenneth and Sandra Sue (married August 22, 1971, to Randy Nasland) are their children. They owned and edited the Tryon Graphic, McPherson County's newspaper. He was elected sheriff of the county at the general election of 1967. Gordon died January 10, 1976, of heart failure. Sandra was divorced in 1972 and was married to Clifford Kirkpatrick of Scottsbluff in 1976. She became a dental assistant after her divorce and has held a good job with a dentist in Scottsbluff. Her children are Clancey Nasland and Dylan, a son born June 3, 1979.
      I went to high school in Mullen, Nebraska, graduating in the spring of 1930. I was planning to go to college to become a Home Economics teacher but the Great Depression caught up with us that fall and I had to give it up. Another good reason was that I had become acquainted with the fellow who was later to become my husband. That summer he came to work for my dad as range rider looking after the cattle. He stayed on for two years. Wayne Connell and I were married April 27, 1932. His parents lived nine miles north of Tryon. His father, Mike was born in Pennsylvania. Mike's family had come to the United States from Ireland before he was born. His mother and father both died when he was very young so he then came to Nebraska from Pennsylvania. After spending some time in Omaha he then came by covered wagon to a place north of what is now Tryon and took a homestead. He held the first tax receipt ever issued in McPherson County. He married Elizabeth Ellen Waits and there were eleven children born to them. The eldest, Willie, passed away when he was twenty years old. Wayne has four living brothers: Bernard, Dan, Malcolm and Lloyd. He has five sisters; Eva Smith, Louelva Hatch (married first to Hugh Priest), Myrtle Gragg, Martha gressley and Dorothy Haney. His father passed away August 18, 1950, and his mother is still living on the homestead at the age of 90 years. She is alert, active and very much interested in har large and growing family which now numbers somewhere around 80. She has since passed away at the age of 91 years, 11 months, 21 days on June, 1968.
      Wayne and I have raised four children, all of whom we are proud. We have worked hard and enjoy many of the good things of life. Our eldest daughter, Bonnie Lee, was born January 30, 1936 in North Platte in St. Mary Hospital. She went to high school in Tryon and after graduating taught two terms of rural school and attended summer school in Kearney State Teacher's College. She married Don Bullington on November 3, 1956. They now have two children, Teana Carmen born January 25, 1960 in North Platte; and Monte Wayne born November 11, 1962 in Mullen, Nebraska.
      Kathryn Joyce was born August 3, 1936, in North Platte. After graduating from McPherson County High School she worked as a receptionist for Drs. Kreymborg and Chick in North Platte for two years and four months. She married Jim Snyder on February 22, 1959. They have three children: Janelle Sue born March 28, 1960; Jill Ann born October 14, 1961; and Jacqueline Lee born on July 10, 1970.
      Jack Emory was born June 29, 1941, in North Platte on his Grandmother Connell's birthday. They have managed to celebrate almost every birthday together except while he was in the Army. Jack graduated from McPherson County High School in 1959. He went into the Army on June 21, 1964. He spent four months at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri, while going through Basic, and Cook and Bakery school. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, for the next nine months then was sent overseas to the Vietnam War Zone for the remainder of the time. He was Honorably Discharged March 21, 1966. He was at home awhile, then went into partnership with George and Rose Kahoe in the cattle business. He married Charlene Slerks on May 27, 1971. They have a son, Zane, born September 17, 1973. In 1979 they moved to the Hoban Brothers Ranch.
      William Gerald (Gary) was born May 8, 1954. He graduated from high school at Tryon in 1972. He graduated from Oklahoma State College in 1976 with a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture. He was married December 17, 1977 to Judy Hagan, a registered nurse and has entered into partnership with his father in the ranching business. Gary and Judy have two daughers, Tara Sue, born January 18, 1980 and Erin Maria, born May 12, 1882.
      We have lived on our place five miles southeast of Flats where we have spent all but the first year of our 46 years of married life. Our six grandchildren are a great joy to us. They and the eight grandchildren of Leonard's and the two of Gordon's are the sixth generation of our branch of the Bassett family since they came here among the first of the early settlers. Some are still living in the same general area.
      Some of the things I can remember them telling of the early days were the grasshopper and flea infestations. My Grandmother Bassett said there was nothing green left standing after the grasshopper invasion except a pumpkin vine in their yard that someone had covered with a screen. The grasshoppers came in a great dark could and ate everything in their path, then left as they came.
      They tell me the fleas nearly ate me up when I was a baby and to this day if there is a flea around it is sure to feast on me while some people seem not to be bothered with them at all. It seems that in the early days the sand hill fleas were sort of a plague.
      Then there was the great blizzard of March, 1913, which killed so many livestock for everyone. There were years of drought and hard times but they were rugged, hard working people who trusted in God and enjoyed the simple things of life. They freighted supplies by wagon from Whitman about thirty miles north, the closest point to the railroad. The mail came by buggy and team from Sutherland to the Lena Post Office located on the old Reuter Ranch (now owned by the Reynolds Macomber Sons) where there was also a general store for the settlers to get supplies. It took a day up and a day back with a change of horses at the Lilac Post Office about half way.
      My father tells of them walking four miles to school for short term each year as the boys were needed at home to get the work done. One of his teachers was Edna Winhurst who married Harry Pinkerton who was then foreman of the Whitewater Ranch and settled just north of that ranch. Her son, Riley, and his son, Harry Jr., and his family still live on their old home place.
      They enjoyed life with toboggan and skating parties, square dancing, baseball games, and family gatherings, with Sunday School on Sunday and church whenever a minister chanced to ride by. We used to have a Raleigh man who peddled his goods around the country every so often. He was very fond of my Aunt Betty so would manage to spend the night at their home whnever he was in the neighborhood. On Sundays he would preach in the little schoolhouse nearby. We called him Preacher-Peddler-Baker. Nothing ever came of the romance.
      At that time there were many people in the country since the Homestead Act gave people a chance to get a piece of land. They soon found out they could not make a living on Sandhill land, so they sold out to the bigger ranches and left. A little clump of trees planted by the courageous settlers on almost every section today gives mute evidence of their having lived on the otherwise treeless plains.
      The ranchers often took advantage of settlers, trading them out of their land for a grub stake and a team of horses, thus many ranches gradually grew larger and at the present this trend to larger ranches is still going on.
      The Depression Years caused a lot of land to go back into the hands of the insurance and loan companies so that it was bought up by many of the present day owners for taxes or maybe a dollar or two per acre.
      Since 1930 things have been gradually on the increase until land is now selling for up to $150 to $200 an acre where it is possible to put in pivot irrigation by the year 1978. This will be the ruination of the fine prarie grazing land and our underground water supply. This is being done by a generation of young people who have no idea of how to live without our modern conveniences. Could they build a fire in an old pot-bellied heating stove and keep warm by stoking it with cow chips, at least twenty-five loads of them gathered each fall from the range, and stacked to shed the winter snows? By spring the ash pile out over the back fence would replace or be nearly as large as the chip pile was in the fall. They washed the clothing on a board using homemade soap and later on used hand powered machines. They rode in buggies or lumber wagons over old sandy trails to visit neighbors or relatives. They mowed the hay with horse drawn mowers swept up by an old buckboard sweep. Refrigerators now replace the old ice houses filled each winter by a crew of men. The old timers shake their heads and wonder, knowing full well there is no way they can ever pay these prices and come out of it. Some of the older ranches are cautiously adding a little here and there but they can pretty well afford to do so. We now have our good roads and cars to take us miles from home in a few minutes. Times have surely changed in some ways much to the good but I wonder if people are as happy as they were in the olden days.
      This finishes my story of the Bassett family as well as I can remember things told to me.
      My mother passed away November 22, 1967, at North Platte, Nebraska, in the Linden Manor Nursing Home after suffering a stroke about two weeks earlier. She had suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken pelvis bone in January 1965 and had since then made her home in Bethesda and Linden Manor Nursing Homes where they were able to give her the care she needed.
      Wayne's mother died on June 6, 1968, after a six weeks' illness. She was cared for at the home by her children.
      This year 1984 updates, Joyce's oldest daughter, Janelle, after one year of college at Laramie, Wyoming, became the bride of Kim Blake of Laramie, where they moved to make their home in a new house built by Kim and his father. Janelle and Kim Blake have two sons, Arlis James born December 18, 1979 and Brandon Lee born February 26, 1963.
      Joyce's second daughter, Jill, graduated from high school in 1979 and married Duane McNutt. They have two daughters, Micki Marie born May 5, 1981 and Megan LaRae born February 26, 1983.
      Bonnie's daughter, Teana, graduated in 1980 from Torrington, Wyoming Junior College with a degree in music and education. Teana worked as a secretary in North Platte. Teana was killed in an auto accident September 20, 1981.
      Bonnie's son, Monte, was married to Elizabeth Kramer in November 1982.
      Written 1967 with updates by Eva Bassett Connell
    Person ID I172  87B Elias & William Bassett of Ohio
    Last Modified 24 Jul 2013 

    Father Mike Connell,   b. Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Elizabeth Ellen (Waits) Connell 
    Family ID F81  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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    Family ID F80  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart