Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bazil Brooke Edmonston, Indiana Pioneer

Bazil Brooke Edmonston plays a major role in My Own Edmonstons and a Few Others, the family history published by Charles Ninian “Chuck” Edmonston in 1971.  A remarkable gentleman with a large family, and even larger heart, Bazil Edmonston's entertaining and abundant correspondence, so painstakingly gathered by Chuck Edmonston, gives considerable insight into the entire Edmonston family line.

Bazil Brooke Edmonston is my 5xgreat-grandfather.  He was born in Prince Georges county Maryland 14 May 1766 and died January 1841 (about age seventy-five). As a young man he migrated first to North Carolina (Rutherford, Burke and Buncombe counties) and then to Indiana where he first set up on the White River in Harbison township, and later settled closer to the future town of Jasper in Dubois county Indiana. Bazil Brooke Edmonston was married to Hannah Rose about 1785 in North Carolina.  The story of her ancestry will be addressed in a future blog post.  They were the parents of a number of interesting children, including my own 4xgreat-grandfather, William Edmonston who married Elizabeth Royce.   

Bazil Brooke Edmonston, his wife, and a number of his children made the move from North Carolina to Dubois county Indiana in 1818, the same year the county was formed.  They were among the early settlers of this area.  Here are a few snippets from a letter written by Bazil Brooke Edmonston in July 1819, concerning his settlement in Indiana:

Well Beloved Children:
. . . I have wrote to you before concerning my moving to the River on the 23 November and has cleared 8 acres (of) first rate land in the State and in corn and it grows among the first rate water. I have built a snug cabbin, waggon shed and stabel etc. I saw then I was not able to make two sets of buildings . . .  And I have 2 acres first rate wheat turning ripe . . .  There is a quarter joining me (which) I intend to enter at the first opportunity as it is suitable to this place and if either or both of you intends coming here you can't come too soon, for land is entrying very fast on the other side of the Patoka River where there was no settlement when Ninian was out. We have sent on a petition to the Board of Commissioners for a new township with forty-nine odd signers so you may know how fast our county (several words missing) . . .

The family correspondence gives an interesting picture of the life and times of Bazil Edmonston and his family.  It is unfortunate that the letters, found spread around the country by Chuck Edmonston, don't cover a larger period of time. Much of what Chuck Edmonston gives in his book is paraphrased and not quoted. We mostly have a picture of Hannah Rose Edmonston as a very sick woman and then Bazil Edmonston as a widower, concerned with all the affairs about him and especially the affairs of his children. When he reports Hannah's death, 6 March 1831, he also says he has been appointed postmaster for the new town of Jasper which was made the seat of Dubois county Indiana in place of Portersville. He was building a new house. Bazil Edmonston was one of the first judges of the county Probate Court and served until his death in January 1841.

In the 1990's my mother, Blanche Aubin Clarkson Hutchison, read Charles Edmonston's book, researched on the Edmonston family, and wrote several brief biographies of the major characters.  For more details on Bazil Brooke Edmonston, visit his page at Family Stories,


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Pam,

    I learned about your blog via Geneabloggers.
    Reading it, it struck me that the Van Lear name sounds very Dutch. Being Dutch myself, I was very much interested. I also have a blog with many genealogical subjects. One of my posts shows a survey of foreign genealogical blogs/sites showing Dutch origin surnames. The URL is The idea is to try and establish contacts between people who have an interest in the same surname. There are numerous cases in The Netherlands where people emigrated centuries ago without leaving a trace in Dutch archives. With my blog I try to bring Dutch and foreign (mainly US/CAN) genealogists together.
    Therefore, I like to have your permission to show your site in my a.m. blog.
    I look forward to your reaction!

    Kind regards,
    PS The Van Lear surname has possibly been "Americanized". I can imagine that in the Netherlands the spelling was Van Leer or Van Lier. You'll find many of these in Dutch archives.

    Peter Miebies
    patmiebies at gmail dot com

    1. Peter

      Thanks for your comment on the Van Lear surname. I suspect that you are right in giving the Van Lear name a Dutch origin. To this point, I have not researched on the Van Lear name prior to its arrival in America. My Van Lears were in Lancaster county Pennsylvania, before their move to Augusta county Virginia probably in the 1760's.

      For clarification:
      Jane Van Lear married Archibald Robinson 1814 in Montgomery county Virginia. She was the grandaughter of Jacob Van Lear of Lancaster county Pennsylvania.
      Preston McGrady Robinson (son of Jane Van Lear) married Sarah Nugent Edmonston 1847 in Washington county Missouri. She was the grandaughter of Bazil Brooke Edmonston, subject of this blog posting.
      More details can be found on these families at my genealogy database website, Family Stories,

      I made a visit to your blog and spent some time. I especially enjoyed your father's drawing of Rothenburg, Germany. I visited there a few years ago - delightful! Your posting on Dutch Ancestors (May 2012) is a great idea!! I would love to be included, and I thank you very much.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...