Henry Bascom WILSON was the tenth child of Robert and Nancy (SCOTT) WILSON, and grandson of Isaac WILSON and his wife Anna —— of Sussex County, Delaware.
He was born in Decatur County, Indiana, 13 June 1824. I like to think of my ancestors as little babies. We all start there – as sweet little babies. But the only photo I have of him is this one from a group picture where he was an old man.
On 17 February 1843, at age eighteen, he and his seventeen-year-old sweetheart Amanda Melvina KING eloped on horseback to a destination two counties east and one state over. In Butler County, Ohio, they were married . Whether it was on one horse or two, against their parents’ wishes or with their blessings, planned or spur of the moment, I don’t know. But just the thought of it is touching to this romantic. I imagine they carried a shotgun and were wrapped in fur and blankets. It was February, of course. I think I would have waited until Spring, but when you’re young and in love, waiting is hard to do.
Henry Bascom WILSON was apparently named for Henry Bidleman BASCOM (1796-1850), an American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Wilson family was Methodist, so to name a son after a famous Methodist Circuit Rider pastor would not have been out of the ordinary. It was in 1823, the year before our Henry B. WILSON’s birth, that BASCOM became Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1824-1826.
Amanda Melvina KING was born on 16 January 1826 in Bracken County, Kentucky. God bless her, she birthed fourteen children, the first being born five days short of a year after the day of their marriage. She gave birth to her last child less than three years before her death at the ridiculously young age of 44, on 22 November 1870. The things we did to our women back then.
I do not yet know Amanda’s ancestry. I do not have evidence of her parents’ names. It is sad that she didn’t get to see her children grow up. It is sad that six of her children lost her while they were still under age. It is sad that one of her children died an infant, and another died at age 8. The pain and heartache she lived in her short 44 years – oh!
Amanda Melvina (KING) WILSON was originally buried at the cemetery in Willow Branch, Indiana, but her remains were later removed to Park Cemetery in Greenfield, Indiana, to be by her husband. I wish I had a photo of Henry and Amanda, or even Amanda. If one exists, I do not yet know of it. The family had the means, so they most certainly had the photos. But where? I do not know.
Henry and Amanda were pioneers of Hancock County, Indiana. They moved there from Decatur County, Indiana, in about 1848, about the same year as their son, my ancestor Isaac Andrew WILSON, was born. By the time of that move, they had four little ones all under the age of five. Can you imagine? And Amanda was probably pregnant. No. I cannot imagine. I am a spoiled child of the late 20th Century. I do not have the fortitude it would take to live such a life.
I can envision that they would have taken their possessions in probably a covered wagon on a relatively short trip from Decatur County up through Rush County, and then to Hancock County, where they settled in Green Township, near Eden. They ultimately had a large house on Highway 234.
After Amanda died, Henry married Nancy Caroline DUNN, age 31, on 20 October 1871. She had not yet been married. She was the daughter of William Abner DUNN and Francis Ann (HARVEY) DUNN. She outlived Henry by 8 months, dying 26 April 1914.
During Henry Bascom WILSON’s life, his family and friends began gathering in 1878 for annual celebrations at his home for his birthday. After the death of him and his wife, these celebrations continued, turning into “The Henry B. Wilson Family Reunion,” which continues to this day on the second Sunday in June. I loved attending those reunions as a child. Back in the 1970s, they were at Sugar Creek Park in Eden, Indiana. I remember the creek, with its dragonflies and water moccasins and crawdads. I remember the really, really, really old lady called “Aunt Margaret,” who was the wife of one of Henry and Nancy’s sons and who died in 1979. I remember the preparations for the 100th reunion in 1977, the commemorative mug that I have somewhere, and all of the good food that everyone would bring. There is nothing like an old-fashioned Indiana potluck carry-in.
Sadly, that park is now closed, but the reunions from my childhood remain in my memories. The latest reunions have occurred in Greenfield, just a wee bit south and the seat of Hancock County. I haven’t been to one in a while. In the days before electronic communication, once someone moved, they could get “lost” from year to year. I live only an hour from the Reunion location, but somehow I’ve gotten lost. I think I need to be found again.
One man, two women. Hundreds of descendants. A huge mailing list for the reunion. (I know, because I was Secretary/Treasurer for a few years.) Romance, pioneering, and lots and lots of baby-making. That’s what my ancestors did. They cleared land and farmed it. They farmed a lot.
And did I say they made a lot of babies?
Here is a summation of the known children of Henry Bascom WILSON. I have confidence in this list, as it has been kept by the family since the days of the early gatherings, and perhaps earlier.
Children of Henry Bascom WILSON and Amanda Melvina (KING) WILSON:
- Nancy WILSON, born 12 February 1844 in Decatur county, Indiana; married David LOY.
- Lavicy WILSON, born 1 April 1845 in Decatur county, Indiana; married Joseph OSBON.
- James William WILSON, born 18 October 1846 in Decatur county, Indiana; married Martha Willis JOHNSON.
- Isaac Andrew WILSON, born 10 April 1848 in Decatur county, Indiana; married Barbara Ellen HAAS. [My ancestors.]
- Rachel Lucinda WILSON, born October 1849 in Hancock county, Indiana; married David H. BAITY.
- Sarah Ann WILSON, born 13 October 1851 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Jasper H. MOULDEN.
- Mary Emily WILSON, born 13 January 1853 in Hancock county, Indiana; married George Hatfield OWENS.
- Martha Eleanor WILSON, born 19 March 1854 in Near Eden, Hancock county, Indiana; married William Henry Harrison DUNN.
- Infant WILSON; born 18 March 1856 in Hancock county, Indiana; died 23 July 1856 in Hancock county, Indiana. The sex of this little baby is unknown. The cemetery office does not have the sex listed. The infant was originally buried at Willow Branch Cemetery but later moved to Park Cemetery in Greenfield, Indiana.
- Lucian Berry WILSON; born 12 September 1857 in Hancock county, Indiana; died October 1865 at age 8. It is possible he was older than this when he died.
- Celecia Olive “Olive” WILSON, born 6 December 1859 in Hancock county, Indiana; married William Savanah TUTOROW.
- Matilda Irene “Irene” WILSON, born 19 June 1862 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Elmer E. STONER.
- Elmer Grant WILSON, born 6 July 1865 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Clara J. JOHNSON; married Maggie STOUDER.
- Joseph Eddy WILSON, born 6 January 1867 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Ida Mae TREES; married Ella RUSSELL; married Hettie WILLIAMSON.
Known children of Henry Bascom WILSON and Nancy Caroline (DUNN) WILSON were as follows:
- Erminie Grace “Minnie” WILSON, born 15 September 1872 in Hancock county, Indiana; married James Franklin PIPER.
- John Thomas WILSON, married Grace HOPKINS; born 29 April 1875 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Margaret HAYS.
- Kate Darling WILSON, born 21 January 1877 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Walter Kepler BOYD.
- Henry Bascom WILSON, Jr., born 16 November 1881 in Hancock county, Indiana; married Mindwell CRAMPTON.
- Wilson Family Papers and Wilson Reunion Family Minutes, possession of the author.
- Henry Bidleman Bascom, Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Bidleman_Bascom, accessed 10 February 2014.
- “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZDZ-YWL : accessed 10 February 2014), Henry B. Wilson and Amanda M. King, 17 February 1843; citing Butler, Ohio, United States, reference v 2 p 144; FHL microfilm 355779.
- Henry B. Wilson Park, Greenfield, Indiana
- Henry Bascom Wilson Find-A-Grave Memorial
- Amanda Melvina (King) Wilson Find-A-Grave Memorial
- Nancy Caroline (Dunn) Wilson Find-A-Grave Memorial
- Full text of The Pioneer by Samuel Harden, 1885. On Archive.org. There is a biography of Henry B. Wilson on pages 273-275.
History of Hancock County, Indiana: From Its Earliest Settlement by the “pale Face,” in 1818, Down to 1882. John H. Binford. January 1, 1882. Google Books. Search for WILSON and you will find several entries for Henry B. Wilson and H.B. Wilson.
History of Hancock County, Indiana: Its People, Industries and Institutions, George J. Richman, January 1, 1916, Wm. Mitchell Printing Company, Publisher. Google Books. Search for WILSON and you will find quite a few entries for Henry B. Wilson and H.B. Wilson. In the biography of Horace E. Wilson in this volume, a little is written about Henry B. Wilson, too.