This column is dedicated to the many readers who have called, emailed, and written commenting on my research and writings on the Bass family history. I have found so many Basses I never knew about, from North Carolina to California. Loads of them in Texas.
The Bass Reunion April 27th had about 50 people in attendance. Some there for the first time included 62-year-old Roy Joe Lee from New Mexico, his sister Jeanie from Flintville, Tenn., and Steve and Hilda Bass, from Clinton. Steve recently sold his pharmacy in Clinton and is enjoying farming again. His wife has a compelling story she will reveal in our book the “Basses of Plain View.” It concerns her and her parents escape from Cuba when Fidel Castro gained control of their country. Meredith Lee, the family journalist, will be writing the story from her home in Oxford.
Brett Lee from Wilmington, and his two lovely daughters were there, too. They have been once or twice. The family gathering was hosted by cousin Harold Bass, Wilkesboro, NC. His deceased brother, Pete’s wife Melva ,and her son Gary from Goldsboro were there. They very seldom miss the reunion. Harold’s mother Aunt Lola, age 103 was unable to be there this year. Maybe next year. She will be 104 in July. Several cousins visited her in Goldsboro the next day.
Roy Joe Lee spoke briefly about his recent 26 mile run in the Boston Marathon. He shared with us how extremely pleased and honored he felt in running in this historic event. After last years tragedies “Boston Strong” rings especially loud in his heart. His medal reflected the pride. He finished in the middle of his age 60-65 group. His next run will be in the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco. He has placed his home in New Mexico, near Los Alamos, on the market at a reduced price. He is moving to Texas where so many other Basses live. Those interested may contact me at 704-264-6513. I will see that he gets the message. You may contact him at 575-829-4154. Joe, as his family calls him, retired from the government in Los Alamos where he worked on the land rovers that were sent to the moon and Mars. He related to me the rovers on the moon were no longer transmitting data. The six on Mars are giving out lots of data. Joe followed his father Roy’s footsteps, joining the Navy. His time on a submarine enabled him to get his job working on land rovers. His father was aboard the USS Guam in the South Pacific and was recovering from hernia operation when the ship was hit by Japanese planes. He survived and was given an honorable discharge. He moved to Illinois and worked for the heavy equipment company Caterpillar. His brother James also joined the Navy not long after Roy. Both were on the same ship at one time. The Navy ended these assignments when all five Sutherland brothers were killed while serving on the same ship. The true to life movie ” Sutherland Brothers ” portrayed this tragedy well. James, younger than Roy, was a coxswain on the USS Houston and was recovering from an appendix operation when his ship was hit. He lost his life jacket, and was rescued by Coast Guardsman. Both men had children and grandchildren at the reunion. Both are buried at the Clinton Cemetery. James’ daughter Connie Lee Ludwig, born in Illinois, moved to Clinton many years ago and loves it. Her son Larry “Butch” loves Clinton also. Roy worked at a candy factory before joining the Navy and served in the Conservation Corp, better known as CC Camp. James worked as a fireman in Clinton prior to joining the Navy.
Monday morning we joined my brother Curtis and wife Peggie at Bojangles. Following a hearty breakfast we went to The Sampson Independent office to see editor Sherry Matthews. Peggie, the retired media specialist and librarian at Clinton High School, informed us that Sherry had been an excellent student while enrolled in Clinton High. From recent readings of the awards she has received while editor of the Sampson Independent this comes as no surprise.
Here we parted from my brother. Anna and I received the grand tour of the former Shields Bed and Breakfast Inn on Sampson Street. It has been purchased by a Houston, Texas couple, Susan and Dave Richerts . Dave was mowing the lawn, we stopped and we were invited in, and were taken aback by the beautiful furniture and furnishings. Each room was distinctively named along with appropriated furnishings that fit the name. The New Orleans room was delightful with its beautiful decorations. Others were just as enchanting and breathtaking.
Susan was out shopping for some additional items for a final touch. I will try and quote Dave in his relating to us one reason for buying this house in Clinton. He and Susan had been looking for a long time in the eastern part of the south. They came upon Clinton which they thought had a lot to offer, but was far from the interstate highways. They determine Clinton needed to be explored more and revealed to travelers and others what it had to offer — its history, handsome courthouse, lovely homes ,and subdivisions, the recreational opportunities, community college and many other exciting and enjoyable places through out the county. It’s nearest to the coast, the short distance to the state capital in Raleigh. The access to interstate roads to the mountains. So very much, but Clinton had not grown much in 50 years. They decided this was the place they wanted to call home. They learned their home has a sister home in Roseboro. The owner there never knew this. They invited them to their home in Clinton. Sampson County being the largest county in land square miles in the state demands a Texas couple with big ideas to help lead Sampson and its people to even greater opportunities. We welcome them with open arms.
I will end with wishing George Wilson, realtor, developer, former nursing home owner, success with his coming community of Sunset Village off Sunset Avenue behind Clinton Country Club. You will turn beside Jimmy Sinclair’s office building and the road will take you to where these homes for active adult seniors will be built. As many know, Jimmy has built some beautiful homes in Clinton. Will he build some here. You will want to ask George or Jimmy this question. I visited with George and his grandson at their downtown offices. They are very excited about this 29 home development . I’m sure there will be many that are not seniors who would love to buy and live here.