Rebecca Ann Patillo Bass Adams, pioneer, daughter of Hamblin Bass and Elizabeth (Saunders) Harris Bass, was born on December 11, 1826, in Hancock County, Georgia. Hamblin Bass owned a plantation near the Oconee River. Rebecca attended Eatonton Female Seminary in Eatonton, Georgia. According to her correspondence at the time, she probably studied a variety of subjects including history, chemistry, geography, and Greek literature. She was also an accomplished pianist. On January 15, 1845, she married Robert Adams, the son of a planter who lived nearby. After the couple's first child was born in 1846, Robert left Rebecca and their son with her parents and went to Philadelphia to begin studying to become a physician; in 1848 he completed his education at South Carolina Medical College, Charleston. After living in Eatonton for about ten years, the Adams family decided to move to Texas to join Hamblin Bass, who had bought the famous Waldeck Plantation near the site of present East Columbia. Leaving behind a plantation, a medical practice, and a real estate business, in December 1859 the Adamses packed up their six children, fifty slaves, and seven hounds and started the long journey to Texas. They were delayed in Mobile, Alabama, when Rebecca had her seventh child. Hamblin Bass traveled by boat to Mobile, picked up the couple's two sons, the slaves, and the wagons, and took them overland to Texas. When Rebecca recovered, she and the other members of the family traveled by ship from Mobile to Galveston and then overland to Waldeck. She and her family lived there with Hamblin Bass for about a year until they bought the Huckaby Plantation, in Freestone County near Fairfield. In December 1860 they moved into their first log house. During the Civil War, Dr. Adams and his eldest son, Robert, served in the Confederate Army. The two men were stationed in various camps in Texas and were able to make frequent trips home. The task of running the plantation, however, fell to Rebecca, and she endured great hardship as she managed the extensive property, bore another child, cared for fifty slaves, and nursed the slaves as well as her children through many bouts with life-threatening illness, including smallpox. After the war ended, the Adams family moved to Houston. Rebecca became ill, and she and the children moved to Waldeck for a short time. Her health deteriorated rapidly, and the family moved back to Freestone County. On October 5, 1867, Rebecca died of tuberculosis. She was buried in Fairfield, Texas. She had borne eleven children. During her life she had saved hundreds of family letters, many of which were edited and published by her granddaughter, Gary Doyle Woods, in a book entitled The Hicks-Adams-Bass-Floyd-Patillo and Collateral Lines, Together with Family Letters, 1840-1868. This book is a valuable resource for information on plantation life in Texas. Rebecca Adams meticulously saved records of plantation parties, social programs, and inventories of goods. Her letters after her family arrived in Texas revealed the economics of the area as well as the daily happenings of life. They give insight into that era's expectations of husbands for their wives regarding motherhood. Robert Adams, for example, expected a large family, and in one letter to Rebecca after the birth of another child, her sister-in-law offered to "sympathize with and congratulate" her on the new birth. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jo Ella Powell Exley, ed., Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine: Voices of Frontier Women (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985). Freestone County Historical Commission, History of Freestone County, Texas (Fairfield, Texas, 1978). Elizabeth Silverthorne, Plantation Life in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980). Jo Ella Powell Exley
The Handbook of Texas Online
_____________________________________________ From Rebecca Adams, Fairfield, Texas, to Dr. Robert Adams At Home Monday Morning December 7th, 186 My Dear Husband, I received a long letter from you Saturday morning written from Waldeck. I know your visit there this time would have been pleasant if you had only been well enough to enjoy it. I was in hopes from what you wrote In your last letter about your good health that you would not be troubled with chills again. You can cure others, why not cure yourself. I hope you may succeed in breaking them up before you leave that part of the country. How fortunate that you are camped so near Pa's. / wish very much that you could remain there at least during the winter Months. How pleasant it would be if I and the children were there to enjoy your many visits to that place but I know it is best for us to remain at home and try to feel submissive to all privations caused by this cruel war. I think living at this place away from relations and friends has been a kind school for me. It has taught me to submit more willingly to Inconveniences and privations of all kinds. A lesson which you know I very much needed. I feel that I am entirely a changed being in that respect My daily prayer now is that you may be protected during this war and spared to return to your family. It is true I would like above all things to have you here at home with us, but I know it Is a duty you owe your country. I submit You complain of not receiving letters from home. I acknowledge that I have not written as often as I should, but at the time you mentioned I was in bed suffering with severe pain in my face and head. Julia wrote to you that week. This is my fifth letter, but I know your great anxiety to hear from home often. I will try and do better in the future. I regret very much not sending Jeff's letter to you by Pa. I hesitated some time about it but finally concluded that it would be best to keep it, hoping you would be at home sometime soon. I will enclose the letter tomorrow and send it by mail. For fear that it may never reach you; I have taken pains to copy it so if you don't get the original you can see the copy. Since I received your letter of the 17th, Nov. I have been looking for you home. Do you think I have done wrong? Perhaps I have, but I am not expecting you now. You say in your last letter if the State is invaded you will be the last man in Texas to ask a furlough to come home. You are right. I shall not say anything more about your coming home but will be the gladder to see you when you do come. I now Pa will dislike giving up Ms well arranged home to the Yankees. I hope he may not be compelled to leave It, but tell him if he Is obliged to come, we will receive him with open arms, and do all we can to make him comfortable. I frequently caution the negroes about saving the corn and not wasting it They have used about a half a crib of corn. I sold thirteen bushels of corn, two dollars and a half per bushel. I have sold nothing else since you left home. George hauled ninety-nine loads of corn, putting nine in the government pen. They had twenty sacks of fodder; used all of one sack. Jack is using a good deal of corn to fatten the hogs In the pen; he put them up last week. You said nothing about fattening the hogs on corn. Not knowing what you intended, I have waited this long expecting you would write. I walked down to see them a few days after he put them up, they are looking very well. I will have some killed the next change In weather. Jack has fifty-three in the pen, says he had three more to put in, leaving just seventy-five year and half old hogs for another year. I write you just as he tells me. Col. Moreland has bought a great many hogs expect to bacon them up for sale. He bought six pair of cards, will pay for them in bacon. I need some wool cards, but there is none in the country. The cotton cards that I have been using for wool are nearly ruined. The teeth are pulled nearly strait The negro women need yam sacks this winter. I have the wool but I don t want to ruin another pair of cotton cards. Mr. Caldwell has returned I hear, he has cards for sale with a good many other goods. Mrs. Garrett went in to see them, she says he has the highest price for everything, it is generally believed that he and Miss Sarah Moreland will marry soon. He brought a great many goods for that family. Amelia was here yesterday morning. It has been some time since Mary had done any weaving, she has a severe bone felon on her finger, but I think it now is getting well. Grayson cut it open twice. I have had Souvenia spinning for some time. Jane cooks in her place four days in the week, she spins faster than any of the others. George thinks he will get through sowing the grain tomorrow or the next day. Fed was badly hurt by one of the oxen. I thought one time it would kill him, but we nursed him well and he finally got over it. Old Black died last week. She was very poor, I think she died of old age. You say you will leave the employment of Mrs. Garrett entirely to me. I must say that I don't feel that I am a competent judge of such a matter, the proper education of our children is very important It is true I have been with her and ought to know what she is competent to teach. I think she is a good teacher for children beginning. The other children have learned but little, Julia almost nothing. But one thing I do know they have learned no wicked sayings. I think it has been of great service to David to be entirely with his sisters. Julia's great anxiety to go to college has kept her from teaming what she might have learned. I don t think Mrs. Garrett can teach her anything but Smith's Grammar Mrs. Garrett is a very plain not neat but I think a well meaning woman. She would like to remain here if she could go to town every Sunday. If I don t hear from you before she closes her school I shall employ her another term but I had rather you would decide what is best to be done. I have been very busy lately knitting you some gloves, the thread was spun of mule eared rabbit fur with a little wool. I think the gloves will be warm, pleasant feeling to the skin. David and Old Abe caught the rabbits. Are you wearing your old gloves, or have you bought new ones? Do you or Robert need anything in the way of clothing? You must let me know in time so I can have them ready. Jennie had another chill yesterday, her skin Is yellow, and I think her body Is swollen. She has been calling for you at night in her sleep. Little Fannie has not looked well since Pa was here. The children all send love to Papa and Buddie. Mrs. G. sends respect. Write as often as you can and I hope you will not be sent from that section of the country. Your wife with much love, R.A.
I think we will loose all our potatoes. I have had the hills taken down twice, but the top of the hills are smoking this morning like a chimney. Mrs. Harris, Mr. Huckaby's brother-in-law, died last week. Mr. Kendrick died the week before. Love to Pa, brother and wife. The negroes send howdy to Master and Master Bobbie.
Rebecca Ann Patilto Bass Adams spent her childhood in the home of her wealthy parents. After she married; however, her life was hard. She bore eleven children and lived on a plantation near Fairfield, Texas. Her husband, Dr. Robert Adams and eldest son, Robert Hamblin Adams, called Buddie or Bobbie, were serving in the Confederate Army, and she was left with the responsibility of caring for nine children, fifty slaves and an extensive plantation. The Hicks-Adams-Bass-Floyd-Patillo and Collateral Lines, Together with Family Letters, 1840-1868.