Rhodes,  Emaline

Rhodes, Emaline

Female 1847 -

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    All

  • Name Rhodes, Emaline 
    Born 1 Nov 1847  NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Person ID P6395  MK's Family Tree
    Last Modified 4 Jun 2017 

    Father Rhodes, William M.,   b. 5 Feb 1822, Asheville, Buncombe County, GA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Feb 1908, Oakville, Lawrence County, AL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Parker, Margaret Ann,   d. ABT. 1866 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 18 Jan 1845  Burke County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1496  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Story related in July 1999 by Margaret Merrick of Jacksonville, Arkansas states that James had quite of bit of gold at the end of the Civil War and had told Emaline he was going out to bury it. Upon his return a group of men rode up to the house and came in. One of the riders remained outside in the shadows and did not enter the home. The story goes that Emaline was tied up, James was killed and the tongue of their negro was cut out. Emaline suspicioned that the unknown rider was a son of James by a previous marriage.

      Thomas Jefferson Rhodes (Emaline's brother) was Margaret's great grandfather and was the source of this information. After the death of Margaret's mother in 1933 when she was 5 years old and her sister Helen was 3, they were taken in at the home of Thomas Jefferson and his daughter, Lutie Rhodes Carlisle and raised there. Many evenings were spent by the fireplace as Tom told tales of his life as an ox-team teamster on the Tennessee River in Morgan County, Alabama, and of the days after he and his brother, James, came to Conway County, Arkansas by ox-drawn wagons in 1880.

      Another brother, Benaja Alexander Rhodes, went to Ellis County, Texas from Alabama in 1895, where his last daughter, Mable, was born September 23, 1902. Emaline likely named her son, James Alexander Basham after James Hogan and this brother. Mable's father had told the identical story about James' murder to his family according to Mable in July 1999 at her home in Waxahachie, Texas. Mable passed away January 7, 2000 at the age of 97 years, three months and 15 days.



      Lizzie Reed Penn, who wrote the Basham incident was born 26 January 1902 in Basham's Gap, Alabama, the daughter of Professor Stephen Walker Penn and the niece of Dr. Richard Penn. Therefore, she was the granddaughter of Will Penn who counted Harry's gold. Lizzie was a well educated woman with a Master's Degree. She taught school all her life and retired from Hartselle High School where she taught English and Public Speaking. She died 26 July 1994.


      The following account was taken from "Outlaws in North America" by Lizzie Reed Penn and appears to parallel the story Emaline told. We know that Emaline remarried 4 November 1868 and that the infant son, James A. Basham, was listed as a stepson on the 1870 Lawrence County, Alabama census in the household of Christopher Columbus and Emaline Gibson at age 4, and again in 1880 at age 14.


      July 22, 2001:

      Further research has clarified the "Basham's Gap" incident. Emaline's husband, James H. Basham, was the person hanged from the corn crib, and the individual referred to in Outlaws of North Alabama as "Jack", was Jonathan J. Basham, James' oldest son by his marriage to Luelsy/Lucilla. Jonathan was married to Ellen Preston Speaks. Their son was James William Ellen "Preston" Basham. This is the child reportedly taken in by Burrell Green Hardwick that reportedly lived in Roswell New Mexico on a stock ranch in 1945 at the age of 85, although considerable controversy exists as to the validity of this fact. Sue-Ellen Basham Davis of Citrus Heights, California, is his great granddaughter, and she has the date of his death as 9 September 1942 at age 83 in Roswell, New Mexico, although further evidence shows the residence at time of death to be El Paso, Texas.

      Updated information:

      James A. Basham mentioned above was located in Navarro County, Texas on the 1900 census with wife Nellie and two daughters, Mable and Beulah. He died of pneumonia in 1908. Photos of both daughters have been obtained and posted on this page. The individual that was placed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1949 at the age of 85 was James W. E. Basham, an entirely different person. Also the 1870 census showed no Basham child in the household of Burrell Green Hardwick. An effort is being made to correct these errors.



      In the early days of American history, when the white settlers began pushing the Indians further and further west, many schemes were developed to encourage colonization of the vast new territory opening up through western migration. The so-called "Bit-Law"of Thomas Jefferson's administration was one of these methods of bringing settlers down through the fertile Tennessee Valley region. A quarter, often referred to as "two-bits", was supposedly cut in half pieces equal to twelve and one-half cents, and land was offered for sale in the valley at "one-bit" per acre. Among the many names connected with these easy land sales were those of Jesse Garth, Daniel Gilchrist, and William E. Baker. These men bought land from the Bond Brothers Lumber Company, bought their stock with them, and began settlements along the Tennessee River, not far from the present site of Decatur. A horde of men, both good and bad, flooded the region. Down in the extreme southwestern corner of Morgan County, in northern Alabama, was begun a small settlement which had much colorful tradition of the early days of the Civil War period centered around its activities. About thirty miles southwest of Decatur, a little gap in the mountains led on down to Jasper, Alabama, some forty miles further southwest. To this mountain gap came many early settlers, who built homes and began farming, hunting and "settling up" the region. The settlement took its name from a family by the name of Basham, who built the last home in the edge of the mountain gap leading into the wilderness between the gap and Jasper. Jim Basham and his family were connected with a story of early pioneer lawlessness, and tragedy that is still told with vivid remembrance by some of the present inhabitants as an account handed down from father to son in the Gap.

      A notorious outlaw by the name of John A. Murrell, is reported to have organized an extensive network of horse and slave thieves from Kentucky, though Tennessee and on down through the North Alabama territory, finally ending in operations around Vicksburg, Mississippi, and even on to New Orleans. Murrell posed as a traveling preacher, holding revival meetings up and down the Valley. When the settlers flocked in to camp meetings to hear Murrell preach, he secretly looked over the crowds, spotted the finest horses and slaves, and instructed his men to steal and sell them. Gullible Negro slaves were often offered bribes of a part of their sale price if they would assist in the theft by running away to join the gang. A trade often offered to them was that they would be sold, stolen again, and resold until their bribes would amount to a sufficient sum to buy their own freedom. Usually three auction sales were promised them with a third of the sale price as a bribe to run away from each new master. Murrell's henchmen were settled about thirty miles apart and were supposed to operate a sort of loosely connected relay system of passing stolen Negroes, horses, and other property on down to certain auction centers, where a sale was at last considered safe from the law.

      (Note: A highly regarded historian has pointed out that the notorious outlaw John A. Murrell lived from 1804 to 1834, so it is doubtful that Jim Basham had a direct connection to him. But we don't know that his gang didn't survive their leader and continue stealing and murdering long after Murrell's death)

      Jim Basham was suspected by his neighbors to be a member of the John A. Murrell gang and a last important outpost in its operations between Decatur and Jasper. Several stories were circulated around the Gap about him before he at last met his tragic fate. One story concerned a young man who late one afternoon came riding up to Mr. Basham's place on a fine blaze-faced horse. He and his helper had with them twelve good horses. The two spent the night and the next morning went on their way to Mississippi. In a few weeks the young man returned alone riding the blaze-faced horse and again was seen by two neighbors, Mr. Alex Dutton and Mr. John Hunter, to stop over for another night with Basham. Later, neighbors, who watched anxiously, saw the fine horse but never the young man again.

      Another story, which ended with the tragic death of Basham, concerns an old negro slave. A white farmer, old Mr. Blevins, who lived two miles east of Basham, owned three big negroes, Harry, Dick and Zion. Harry was Mr. Blevin's foreman, and as such was allowed many privileges. He was allowed to make foot mats, shuck collars, and cotton baskets in his spare time; these he sold, often for fifty cents apiece. All the money old "Uncle Harry" made he carefully saved, for he held a life-long desire to buy his wife, "OId Aunt Ann", who belonged to Mr. George Simpson, who lived about a mile from the Basham's place west of the Gap. At last Harry's savings grew to eighteen hundred dollars in gold. Mr. Simpson refused to sell Aunt Ann, who was a valued servant and laundress. Harry concealed his money in the deep woods back of the Gap in a hollow stump until a forest fire frightened him into getting it out. He carried his money to Mr. Will Penn, a very near neighbor to the north of Mr. Simpson and requested Mr. Penn and his wife, Ariminta, to count his money and keep it for him until the following Sunday night. Mrs. Penn carefully counted the money, finding Harry accurate in his report of it. On the following Sunday night Old Harry again took his money deep into the woods to bury it somewhere in the mountain back of Basham's Gap. Finally Mr. Blevins died and Harry realized he would be sold at the next public auction. He went back to back to Mr. Will Penn, whom he trusted, and besought him to take the hidden gold and buy him for his servant. Mr. Penn did not believe in owning slaves and refused to buy Harry.

      The old Negro asked several other men to buy him to prevent Basham for doing so. No one dared to do so, although Harry told them he feared Basham would buy him, find his gold, and kill him just for the money. The day of the sale arrived, Basham bought Harry for fifty dollars, and suspicious neighbors took up their watch for the old Negro, but he was no longer seen in the Gap.

      One day, John Hunter, a close neighbor of the Simpsons, decided to hunt wild turkeys in the mountains and also to look for Harry. As he went through the mountains back of Basham's, he found Harry, dead. His body was mutilated - fingers gone, ears cut off, and tongue cut out. Neighbors always believed Basham had tortured Harry to learn where his money was hidden. John Hunter returned from his hunting trip to report his horrible discovery to his neighbors in the community. Since the community felt sure Basham was a member of the John A. Murrell gang and a desperate criminal, it was decided to execute him on the night of the discovery of Harry's body. Five men - "Bill Penn of the Mountains", Bill Looney, Perry Cummings, Sam Blackburn and Sam Swann - went that very night to the Basham home.

      They called old Jim out, warning his wife on fear of death, not to follow him from the house. These five men took Jim Basham and hanged him to a log projecting from the corner of his own corn crib. Feeling that his son was also connected with the crime, they returned for him, carried him into the woods to the spot where Harry's body lay and made him confess to the crime. This was during the latter days of the Civil War, and one of the five avengers wore a battered uniform and a hat with a hole in it, while Jack Basham wore a new hat. In his anger the soldier swapped hats with Basham, saying "That hat is good enough to you to go to Hell in!"

      Each of the men carried a gun. The soldier unloaded two of the guns. Young Basham was placed at a distance, and at a given signal all the men pulled the trigger, and no one knew which of the five men killed the criminal. Later history of the Basham family tells of how Jack Basham's wife and son lived with Mrs. Jim Basham until Mrs. Basham's death two years later, at which time Mr. B. G. Hardwick went and got the young widow and the little boy and carried them to his home. The mother lived only a short time and Mr. Hardwick reared the boy, who made a fine young man.

      In his later years he married and moved to Texas. At the present time (1949) he lives an old man about eighty-five years of age in Roswell, New Mexico, on a stock farm.

      (See NOTE at end of this account)

      Such was the history the history of the family for whom the community of Basham's Gap was named. The settlement grew and a cotton gin which was operated by four mules, with a negro to tramp cotton into the crude hand press, and a ginning capacity of three bales per day. Also there was located at the large spring nearby a saw mill and a grist mill. Mail was carried though from Decatur to Jasper by relays across the Sipsey River. At one time a railroad from Decatur to Jasper through Basham's Gap was well under way as a convenient route for a part of a projected Middle Tennessee and Alabama Railroad. The road was actually running as far as Jeff, Alabama, near Huntsville. It was a proud day for the community of Basham's Gap, when a large crowd gathered there to hear Mr Sam Blackwell, a silver-tongued orator of the Old South, descrive the great days ahead for the Gap, when the railroad could be completed though the Valley and up the Gap. The panic of 1893 ended the plans for the projected railroad. Rural mail routes were set up through Morgan County and ended the necessity for the government post office at the center. Gradually the older residents moved away to neighboring communities, and today Basham's Gap remains a small North Alabama farming settlement which nestles peacefully between Bugaboo Mountain and the Black Warrior National Forest. "Historical and Biographical Sketch of the Penn Family" U. S. Bureau of Research, provided by Ann Miller correspondence.

      NOTE: There are some questions surrounding this statement. Sue-Ellen Basham Davis has done extensive research on this family and states that the mother of James William Ellen Basham died in childbirth or shortly afterward 14 October 1858. Her name was Eleanor Preston Speaks Basham, and James was called "Preston". She also has his date of death as 9 September 1942 in Roswell, Chaves County, New Mexico although other records indicate his death in El Paso, Texas. However, the reference to Burrell Green Hardwick has some basis in fact. The following was found in the Probate file of the estate of James Hogan Basham in the Morgan County, Alabama archives in the old Tennessee Bank building in Decatur, Alabama in August 2000:

      The State of Alabama) Probate Court
      Morgan County ) March 8th 1873

      Present: Hon. Jonathan Ford, Judge

      This day came B. G. Hardwick, Guardian of J.E.P. Basham, and filed with the Judge of said court, his account and vouchers for Final Settlement thereof.

      It is therefore ordered by the Court, that the second Monday in April, 1873, be, and is hereby set as a day to hear and determine said settlement, and that notice be given by publication the three successive weeks in the Decatur News, a weekly newspaper published in Decatur, in said state, to all persons interested in said settlement, to be and appear before the Judge of said court, at the Court House of said county, at said time, and contest the same, if they think proper.

      Jonathan Ford, Judge P.C.
      March 15, '72 - 3w


      To the Hon. Jonathan Ford Judge of the Probate Court of Morgan County, Alabama

      You will please accept this as my resignation as Guardian of the person and estate of J.E.P. Basham, minor of Morgan County, Alabama.

      March 4th, 1873

      Signed: B. G. Hardwick



      Location: Ten miles Northwest of Cullman on Old 31 Highway, two miles North of West Point.

      Among the oldest records found is the minutes of the 1871 Church Conference, the name of the church was Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church of Christ and was recorded as being located in what was then part of Winston County. They were holding services in a man made Bush Arbor. Stalwart trees were cut to form the sides of the Bush Arbor, the roof was made from huge branches woven together to provide shelter from the hot summer sun and rain. Here the congregation met to worship God and observe the Sabbath.

      On September 18, 1871 a motion was proposed that the brethren see to the laying down a floor in the church and fixing a stand for preaching, and was carried unanimously. The first pastor to be found in these early records was Elder C. B. Wilhite. Another found in early records was Rev. J. A. Basham 1893-1897. Rev. Basham is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery having died July 14, 1899.

      The second church, a wood structure, was built in 1915 and the church membership had reached one hundred fifteen. This church building served the Ebenezer Community for 1915-1948, when it was replaced (May 10, 1948) by a red brick structure - over a full basement used for Sunday School rooms. At the time the church building was moved across the road to meet the demands of the ever growing cemetery. The church records show a membership roll of three hundred and sixty members.

      Emily (Emaline) is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.

      Marriage record obtained from Don Campbell at the Lawrence County Historical Commission 25 July 1999 lists James H. Basham to Emely Rhodes 18 December 1864 Book D Page 84 at residence of Edmund Dutton by David Day JP.

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