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Arthena Bell Bassett Altum Scott
James B. Altum

Marion County, Illinois
Cooke County, Texas

Arthena Bell BASSETT, born 16 Oct 1857, Jackson County, Indiana, daughter of Harvey Foster and Sarah (CHILTON) BASSETT. Bell died in Cooke County, Texas.

Bell married 1st James B. ALTOM 27 Sep 1874, Patoka, Marion County, Illinois. Jim was born 8 Dec 1850, East Fork Township, Clinton County, Illinois, son of Spencer Stephen and Melvina (PARKS) ALTUM. Jim died 12 Dec 1902, Oakland, Indian Territory (now Marshall County, Oklahoma). Jim died of heart failure. James is buried at the Oakland Cemetery, Oakland , Marshall County Oklahoma

Bell married 2nd Alexander H. "Alex" SCOTT 9 Oct 1907, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma. Alex wasborn 8 Feb 1849, son of James M. and Sarah (CANE) SCOTT (James and Sarah are buried in Dye Cemetery, Cooke County, Texas). Alex died 9 Apr 1924. He is buried next to his 1st wife, Fances M. "Frannie" SCOTT in Red River Cemetery, Cooke County, Texas.

James' grandparents were James Bulger and Sarah "Sally" (NICHOLS) ALTOM. (Note: Most records in Clinton and Marion County have the name spelled ALTOM. When the family moved to Cooke County, Texas, the name ended up being spelled ALTUM.) James Bulger ALTOM served in the Black Hawk War, being musterd into service 28 May 1832 and was mustered out 17 Aug 1834. Sally was the daughter of Jesse and Lucy (MANN) NICHOLS. Jesse was a Revolutionary War Soldier.

Bell was reared on her father's farm in Foster Township, Mrion County, Illinois. She attended the country school there. During the Civil War, her father and her brother, Sid, fought for the Union. Fortunately, they both returned home safely after the war.

Bell was born in a log cabin, but by the time she married, her father had built a saltbox style home, where she lived very comfortably with nice furnishings.

Jim was eight years old when his parnts moved to Foster Township, Marion County, Illinois. The lived about 5 miles east of Patoka on the old stage coach route, the Salem-Vandalia Road. There he attended Chance School and grew to manhood.

After Bell and Jim were married, they lived in Patoka, Marion County, Illinois.

In 1876, the spring following the birth of their first child, they, along with his parents, his sister and brother-in-law (Mr. & Mrs. Fenton CALDWELL), set out for Texas.

On 1 Apr 1876, they arrived in Sherman, Grayson County, Texas. From there they took wagons to Stephens County, Texas.

In Aug 1876, they moved from Stephen's County to Cooke County, Texas. There they settled at Cross-timbers, which was later called the Dye Community, near Woodbine.

Jim and his brother, John "Jack" ALTOM, had a merchantile business in Woodbine. When the railroad went through Gainesville instead of Woodbine, the town declined as did their business.

In Aug 1877, Jim's brother-in-law, Fenton CALDWELL, died at the age of 35.

On 16 Jun 1880, the census shows J. B. (29) and A. B. (22) AULTUM living in Precinct 1, Cooke County, Texas. With them were their children Oliver age 4, born in Illinois; Chas. age 3, born in Illinois; and Lulah age 1, born in Texas. Jim was listed as a farmer.

On 17 Mar 1882, Jim's father, Spencer ALTOM, died at the age of 60.

On 7 Sep 1883, Jim's mother, Hannah ALTOM, died at the age of 67.

On 2 Oct 1883, Bell and Jim's precious little daughter, Lula May ALTUM, died. They were terribly grieved. (Note: This little girl's doll was in the possession of Agnes Altum ELKINS and then to her daughter Margaret Elkins PLUMLEE. A porcelain doll with a beautiful little dress. They kept it in a glass case for show.)

In Jan 1890, Jim's brother, John P. "Jack" ALTOM, died at the age of 44.

Following all of these deaths, they decided to move. They moved to the prairie, near the SCOTT family. There they remained for 7 years. They became very good friends of the SCOTT's. Jim farmed while they lived there.

In Jun 1897, they sold their farm and moved to Indian Territory, locating near Moore, Indian Territory (now Cleveland County, Oklahoma). They were still living there in Mar 1898.

At some point they moved to Oakland (now Marshall County, Oklahoma), as he was in the dairy business there with his son Harvey ALTUM.

On 4 Mar 1898, the Marion County Democrat has on their front page, "Scenes of His Childhood. While alone my mind runs back to my boy-hood days of 40 years ago, when in Old Marion County, for it was about that time I landed there. I lived there abour 19 years. My father, Spencer ALTOM, bought a farm 5 miles east of Patoka, on the road running to Salem. It was there that I lived and passed the happiest days of my life among relatives and friends, going to the Chance school house house to school; but where are now my school-mates of those days? There are but few left to tell the tale. Some sleep beneath the sod to await the final judgement; others have done as I have done, gone to remote places. It was in Marion Count that I took unto myself a wife. September 27th, 1874, I wedded Miss A. B. BASSETT, and in the spring of 1876, in company with my father, brother and brother-in-law, I departed for Texas, leaving behind many friends whom I have nto since seen. We landed in Sherman, Texas on the first day of April and there took wagons for the far west. We located in Stevens county and remained there till August. It being very dry there, we returned to Cook county and settled in Cross-timbers. In August, 1877, my brother-in-law, Fenton G. CALDWELL, died. March 17, 1882, my father departed this life, and on the 7th of September, 1883, my mother, Hannah ALTOM, crossed Jordan's river. January, 1892, my brother, John P. ALTOM, was called hence. And so half of the older ones have crossed the chlly watters of death. After the departure of these dear relatiaves, I sold my little farm in the timber and moved to the prairie and there lived 7 years, forming many new acquaintances and friends. In June, 1897, I sold my property there and moved to Indian Territory, where I now am. Here I find people who formerly lived in the various States of the Union; they are generally poor, and I have found this section the best in the land for such people. We have an abundance of grass, wood and water, and the soil very fertile and productive. It produces well, wheat, oats, corn, cotton, vegetables and melons. One can purchase land here on time payments. I don't meant that one can actually owne lnad here, but in the near future such will be the case. We have a gtood market; Moore isour nearest railrod pont; from it 48,000 bales of cotton will be shipped. It has a flouring mill, electric plant, 2 national banks; population about 4,000, good schools and churches. It had a commodious court house, but it was burned last fall. The jail is large and just now has 90 inmates; hence all are not obeyors of the law. I will be pleased tohear from any of my old Marion County friends. My postoffice address is, Hewitt, Indian Territory. James B. ALTOM."

On 12 Oct 1899, the Salem Republican says, "Mr. and Mrs. James ALTOM, formerly of Marion County, are now located at Woodward, Oklahoma."

In 1900, Jim and Bell took their sentimental journey back to their childhood home of Marion County, Illinois. There they were able to visit Jim's relataives in Patoka adn then to stay at Bell's childhood home with her brother Elmer, his wife, Maggie, thier first child, Gage, as well as her mother, Sarah. It must have been exciting for Bell to see her family again.There were photos taken of this visit. The family photograph includes Jim and Bell (BASSETT) ALTUM; Elmer and Maggie (McWHIRTER) BASSETT and thier son Gage; LaFayette and Illinoi (ARNOLD) BASSETT and their sons Harvey and Clyde; and of course the matriarch of the family, Sarah (CHILTON) BASSETT.

On 27 Jun 1900, the census shows James B. (49) and Arthena B. (42) ALTUM living in Township 5 South, Range 2 West, Chickasaw Nation County, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). With them was Bell's widowed mother Sarah BASSETT age 64. They lived next to Bell's brother and family, the Ancel Henry BASSETT's. Also living next to their son and family, the Oliver ALTUM's. Jim was listed as a farmer. They were renting their farm.

On 12 Dec 1902, Jim died of heart failure in Oakland, after being in poor health for some time. Bell remained in Oakland, living with her son, Harvey ALTUM, and his family. In the mean time, Mr. SCOTT's wife also died. When he found out that Jim had died, he called on Bell.

In 1907, Alex called on Bell and on his third calling, they were married in Harvey's home. Her grandchildren hated to see her leave. They lived her so. She was especially close to Agnes.

Bell took the carriage and Alex took a wagon. They loaded all of Bell's things and left for Texas. They moved to Sivells Bend, Cooke County, Texas, near the Red River. It was there that Bell reared Alex's last four sons, William Lee (26 Jan 1884 - 7 Apr 1917), Walter Henry, Lester and Arthur E. She worked very hard and did every thing for them as if htey were her own sons. The Scott boys grew up loving her very much. Their descendants recall hearing about how wonderful a person she was. Alex's oldest son was Leonard (6 Apr 1881 - 24 Sept 1933).

Alex's parents came from Lawerence, Tennessee, about 45 miles south of Nashville. The Scott family was originally from Scottland. They were sent as political prisoners to America in 1771. When the Civil War broke out, some of hte Scott family sold out and moved to Canada, where some of the family still lives today. The Scotts who remained in Tennessee became Confederate soldiers. They were large land owners and were slave owners. After the war they moved to Cooke County, Texas.

Politically, Jim ALTOM was a Republican, being f rom a family of norhter Republicans. Alex SCOTT was a Democrat. All of Bell's family were Republicans. Her sister-in-law, Illinoi (ARNOLD) BASSETT, was a cousin of President Abraham LINCOLN.

In religlious matters, Bell belonged to the Church of Christ. She was not reared in any denomination, the BASSETT's being from the old Pilgrim Church, and the only church services in the area were Methodist-Episcopal. Bell was reared with strong morals. She was a very good person and was loved by everyone who came into contact with her. Her children, brothers, friends and neighbors all loved her. She spread a little sunshine to everyone she met.

On 18 Apr 1910, the census shows A. Harry (60) and Bell (52) SCOTT living in Precinct 1, Cooke County, Texas. With them were Alex's sons Walter age 20; Lester age 17; and Arthur age 13. All the boys were born in Texas. Alex was born in Tennessee. Bell was said to have been born in Indiana. The census said that Bell had given birth to 3 children with only 1 living at time of census. Alex and Bell had been married for 2 years.

In 1913, Bell's niece died, she took her niece's youngest daughter, Amy HAFFORD, and reared her until she was able to attend school. Amy was the granddaughter of Algernon Sidney BASSETT. The photo at left is of Mr. SCOTT, Amy HAFFORD and Aunt Bell.

In 1918, Bell, who was ill at the time, went to see her son, Harvey, who was also very ill. She came home from the trip even more ill. About three days later she recieved the news that Harvey had died. She got out of bed and went outside and made a wreath for Harvey's funeral. She then went back inside to bed and died a few days later.

Even though Aunt Bell died years before I was born, I feel like I know her from stories of those who did know her. I have heard nothing but praise for her; how she cared for others, putting everyone before herself; how she cared for her home and her flowrs. She must have been a truly great lady.

Aunt Bell's Obituary in the Gainesville Newspaper, "MRS.BELLE SCOTT DIES IN MOSSVILLE COMMUNITY. Mrs. Belle SCOTT, aged 62, wife of A. H. SCOTT. residing near Mossville, this county, died at the family home Sunday afternoon. Mrs. SCOTT was a most excellent woman and highly esteemed, her family being one of the most prominent in the community. Funeral services were held this afternoon at 4 o'clock, under direction of Geo. J. CARROLL of this city. Mon. 2 Dec. 1918." I don't have the date of the newspaper clipping.

Red River Cemetery is located on private property in the north-central part of Cooke County. From Hwy 82, it is 7 1/2 miles north on FM 1201, then east 1/2 mile. The cemetery is about 400 yds. on the right.

Children of James B. and Arthena Bell (BASSETT) ALTOM/ALTUM:

1. Oliver Harvey ALTUM, born 20 Jul 1875, Patoka, Marion County, Illinois. (See #1 following)

2. Lula May ALTUM, born 26 Nov 1876, Dye Community , Cooke County, Texas. She died 2 Oct 1883. She was a sweet little girl and greatly mourned by her mother. She is buried in the Dye Cemetery next to her grandparents Spencer and Hannah ALTUM. The Dye Cemetery, is located southeast of Gainesville on CR 219.

3. Charles Alvie ALTUM, born 21 Feb 1877, Cooke County, Texas. (See #3 following)

Oliver Harvey ALTUM

The Elkins Sisters, daughters of Agnes (Altum) Elkins
Left to Right: Maurine, Margaret and Wanda
Taken in 1979 on the Sid Bassett Farm,

Charlie Alvie ALTUM

Charlie Alvie and Nannie Liza HARRELL ALTUM

I'm not finished with this site, so please check back later.


Links of Interest

Ancestry of Harvey Foster Bassett
This has the ancestry back to William Bassett of Plymouth, Massachusetts
Who came to America in 1621 on the ship Fortune.

The Harvey Foster Bassett Family
This is the father of Algernon Sidney Bassett.
Has information on the entire family.

My Grandmother Grace Bassett Conant
This is a memorial to my Grandmother
It also has the names of all her descendants

Bassett Family Association
Bassett Family Association Home Page
History & DNA


***United States Census Records (Note: I always spell the names and put the dates and all info exactly like it is recorded in the census, even when I know it is not correct.SF)
***United States Social Security Records.
***Military Records of the United States.
***Marriage Records of Illinois and Texas.
***Death Records of Illinois and Texas.
***Birth Records of Illinois and Texas.
***Land Records of Illinois and Texas.
***Cemetery Records and Grave Stones of Marion County, Illinois and Cooke County, Texas.
***Sandy Branch Cemetery. A list of all graves with dates and genelogical information is availible online. Also has photos of all graves. Located at:
***Obituaries from the Salem Times-Commoner, Salem, Illinois.
***Gleanings of the Kinmundy Express, Compiled by Dolores Ford Mobley.
***Obituaries and Articles from the Kinmundy Express, Kinmundy, Illinois.
***The Marion County Democrat newspaper, Salem, Marion County, Illinois.
***Obituaries and News Articles for the Gainesville Daily Register.
***Court House Records of Marion County, Illinois.
***Chickasaw Nation Marriages; Ardmore Courthouse (Oklahoma); Groom Index (1895-1907); Book K and Page 9.
***Family Bible of Harvey Foster Bassett Family.
***Correspondence with Agnes Comele Altum Elkins.
***Correspondence with Margaret Elkins Plumlee.
***Correspondence with Lena Dorthea Altum Lance.
***Correspondence with Karen Morgan Palmer.


Compiled by:
(Great-Grandnephew of James B. & Arthena Bell (Bassett) Altum)

Stephen P. H. Frakes
321 South Franklin Street
Salem, Illinois 62881-2120

12 March 2017

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