Submitted by Rev. Brett Best
Visitors: Roger, Fern, Brett and James Best
Our objective was to discover any markers for our ancestors in the Best family.
The following are the stones we rediscovered in an area less than fifteen square feet.
- A monument whose upper portion had fallen off the base and was lying face down in the ground.
- The base of the monument read "BASS."
- The upper portion had some kind of picture on the exposed side, similar to a Greek-looking decoration on another stone in the cemetery.
- The upper portion was wedged between the bole of a tree and its base, making it impossible to raise and restore without better equipment than we had.
- With a bit of excavating, writing on the sides of the upper portion could be read.
ON THE WEST SIDE: (Block lettering) "MARTHA, WIFE OF ___OS BASS"
"___ 15 1834 - ___ 25 1910"
(Script lettering.) "GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN"
ON THE EAST SIDE: (Block lettering.) "JULIUS, SON OF T&M BASS"
"APRIL 4, 1858 - FEB. 3, 1883"
(Script lettering.) "LOST TO SIGHT, TO MEMORY DEAR
A LOVING ONE WE BURIED HERE."
- The wife/mother buried here is Martha (Best) Bass (Feb. 15, 1834 - Mar. 25, 1910). Martha was a member of the second generation, the daughter of William Pinckney Best Sr. and Permelia Jane (Thomas) Best.
- We don't know the first name of Martha's husband (perhaps it can be found on the front of the stone which is still facing the ground), but as it begins with "T" and ends with "OS," "Thomas" seems a good guess if "TOS" is an abbreviation.
- To the west of the BASS stone we found a small (granite?) marker bearing the initials "W.B." We assume this to be a plot marker for William Pinckney Best Sr. (the first generation, father of us all). The stone was about four inches wide, eighteen inches long and three inches thick. Would this have marked a family plot as is customary in modern cemeteries?
- A few feet west of the W.B. stone we found a headstone leaning up against a tree. It read:
"SON OF W. & J.N. BEST"
"FEB. 12, 187_"
"AGED 8 YEARS"
We take this to be the Marker for Erastus Best (Mar. 29, 1870 - Feb. 12, 1879). Erastus was third generation. the son of William Pinckney Best Jr. (Nov. 25, 1841 - Nov. 5, 1902) and Jane H. Walls (Oct. 28. 18-1-5-Dec. ?7. 1885) who were married on April 10, 1864, in Jefferson County. IL. Erastus was the second of the couple's four children. The headstone was approximately eight inches wide, twenty-four inches long and three inches thick.
Underneath the aforementioned inscription were some letters written in script, but they were illegible to us. A previous reading posted on this website says, "GOD GAVE. HE TOOK. HE DOETH ALL THINGS WELL."
4. A fragment of a stone uncovered a few feet southwest of the Bass monument contained a poem.
"A LITTLE TIME ON EARTH HE
TILL GOD FOR HIM AN ANGEL SENT
AND THEN ON TIME HE CLOSED HIS EYES
TO WAKE IN GLORY IN THE SKIES."
There was no name attached to this piece and we had difficulty matching it with other stone fragments we found nearby. It was written in the script letters that had proven more difficult to read, but this one was more legible as it had not been exposed to the elements quite as long as the immediately visible ones.
5. A footstone that said:
This was for William Pinckney Best Sr. (our common ancestor who lead us out of South Carolina). as that , was the year of his death.
6. Not five feet from those fragments we uncovered a headstone that read: "W.P. BEST"
"MARCH 28, 1875"
"66Y 2M 27D"
The stone has a circular top and is narrow, about eighteen inches wide, 36 inches long and four inches thick. Above the aforementioned inscriptions a relief of clasping hands within a circle has been carved. The lower left corner of the stone was broken off but we were able to recover it. Both pieces were stood up by leaning them against a tree. W.P. Best was born in 1808 in North Carolina.
7. A marker stone for "P.B."
We were unable to find a stone for William Pinckney Best Sr.'s wife, Permelia Jane (Thomas) Best. She was born in 1810 in South Carolina and died on August 22, 1877. Her stone may have been visible in 2006, the time at which a previous reading grave markers was done and reported on this site.
Also - no marker stone for B.B.
We hope one day to return to find Permelia Jane Best's stone and to raise Martha Bass' stone to find out the name of her husband and restore our ancestors' monuments. If you have genealogical information about the BEST / BASS family, please contact us by email or phone 618-392-7182.