Newsletter August 2004
Contents of this Newsletter:
Section 1 - Welcome
I want to thank those who have kindly donated money towards the DNA project. I received more than $400 since the last newsletter from three different individuals to be used toward future DNA testing.
To follow up my article in the Spring 2004 issue of "The New Englang Ancestor" magazine, I have put together a 75 minute powerpoint display on the Bassett DNA project and presented it at the July 2004 meeting of the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. I have already been asked to make the presentation at several other future meetings of different groups in the Chicago area. All money I raise from speaking will be put back into the DNA project fund to be used to fund future DNA tests.
Section 2 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
The following family lines have been combined since the last newsletter.
#179B. John Bassett of St. Stephen in Brannel, Cornwall combined into #173B
Bassetts of St. Stephen in Brannel, Cornwall
The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.
277B. George Bassett of Leroy, Boone County, Illinois (b. 1820 England)
Section 3 - DNA project update.
For those new to the newsletter, the Bassett y-chromosome DNA project is being used to show relationships between the different Bassett family lines worldwide. Several new results have been posted at the website since the last newsletter.
We currently have 8 DNA kits that have been sent out to Bassetts around the world that have not yet been returned. If you are one of these eight, please complete your kit as soon as possible. We are all anxiously awaiting the results.
Scholarship fund total as of 08/15/04 = $248.00
Donations of any amount will be put into this fund to be used to fund select Bassett DNA tests that will further our project as a whole and benefit all Bassetts worldwide.
This is just a reminder that the DNA website can be found at:
A current spreadsheet of results can be found at:
Section 4 - Featured Bassett: The Bassetts of Blore
New research shows that the #112B Joseph Bassett of Nebraska family is descended from Sir William Bassett of Blore. The left hand column below shows the descent of Queen Elizabeth II of England from Sir William Bassett of Blore and in the right hand column is the descent of Joseph Bassett of Nebraska. By my count Joseph Bassett of Nebraska (born 1824 in Sutton Coldfield, England) is an 11th cousin three times removed of Queen Elizabeth II of England!
Many of the descendants of the Bassetts of Hints settled in and around Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham in Warwickshire, England. The two branches of Bassetts that settled in Tasmania, Australia could very well be descended from this line of the family. I am still looking for a volunteer from each of these families to take part in DNA testing.
I. Sir William Bassett of Blore, Grendon and Langley (d. 1498)
XIV. Nina Cecilia Cavendish Bentinck
St. Bartholomew's Church at Blore is possibly worth a visit if you are ever
in England. The effigies pictured below are of William Bassett and his wife
Judith and their first son-in-law, Henry Howard, first husband of Elizabeth
Bassett. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Judith Bassett. She married
(2) Sir William Cavendish, later the Duke of Newcastle. Their son, Henry Cavendish,
was the 2nd Duke of Newcastle..
Karolyn Wells Bassett was the daughter of Harmon Sheldon Bassett of Derby, Connecticut. She is descended from #1B John Bassett of Connecticut as follows:
John Bassett and wife Margery
Cameron, Mable Ward. Biographical Cyclopedia of American Women. Volumes I-II. New York, NY: Halvord Pub., Co., 1924-25.
BASSETT, KAROLYN WELLS, composer and singer, was born in Derby, Connecticut, August 2, 1892, the daughter of Harmon Sheldon and Charlotte Mortimer Bassett. Miss Bassett's father was born in Derby, Connecticut, in 1867. Her maternal grandfather, Payson Mortimer, came from England and settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1859. A great grandmother, Harriet Bassett, was a niece of Commodore Isaac Hull, of the "Old Ironsides" and a daughter of General William Hull.
Karolyn Wells Bassett is one of the youngest in the group of American women composers. She has already established herself as a writer of songs that are unusually melodious and show the true creative gift; they possess a spontaneity and quaint, joyous originality which is very appealing. Her first set of songs were included in the Schirmer catalogue several years ago and have appeared on the programs of many distinguished concert artists. A group, issued by Harold Flammer, notably Little Brown Baby, A Child's Night Song, and De Bogie Man, have met with great success because of their original charm and refinement, although perhaps The Icicle is best known. She has written a number of humorous songs for children and her negro melodies have the true lilt and swing. Miss Bassett has also a coloratura soprano voice of wide range and remarkable purity of tone. Her art is finished and her interpretation reveals depths of feeling and admirable intelligence.
Karolyn Wells Bassett began her career as a composer at the age of four.
It is told of her that she seated herself at the piano one day and, after
striking the keys with a tentative finger, suddenly burst into tears. To her
father, who rushed to see if she had pinched her finger, she sobbed out that
she wanted to play something she heard in her head. Her father listened while
she hummed the something and helped her work it out. At five, instead of drawing
animals in a picture book, the little Karolyn declared she preferred to make
pictures on the piano. Her mother asked her one day to make up a piece for
a friend calling. The composition must have had merit as the caller was flatteringly
skeptical and asked the child to make up a piece all on the black keys. She
was able to convince her first critic that her work was genuine. Many stories
are told of the little musician. At the age of five she played a Beethoven
Sonatina in public.
At one of her first performances at the piano, under the Faeltons of Boston, little Karolyn at the age of six years, while playing a Krauss Sonata, put in a wrong chord which necessitated transposing three pages to finish the piece. The child knew she was not right, but she also had the instinct to know she must not stop playing, so she continued in the strange key, much to the delight of Carl Faelton, who caught her up when she had finished it and explained to the audience what she had done.
When she was seven years old, the children in her school were thrilled to discover that she could "make-up" her own pieces on the piano and one day they begged her for a performance, with the result that she was discovered in the music room, telling them stories about runaway horses, wars, witches, and wild Indians, and illustrating them on the piano to a spellbound audience of youngsters, with eyes bulging from excitement.
The child spent so much of her time at the piano that her mother finally took all music away from her. But the "something she heard in her head" persisted, and at the age of twelve she was allowed to begin the study of harmony. At this time she was a pupil in the Berkeley Institute, Brooklyn, and as she grew older at Madame Veltin's School, New York City. During her residency in Boston, Miss Bassett studied piano with Carl Faelton and Mrs. Rheinhold Faelton. When in the Brooklyn School she studied piano with Constance Mills, a pupil of MacDowell's, with Leona Clarkson, who had been Carreño's assistant, and when in Berlin, with Vera Maurina of the Russian Trio. Her composition teachers were Constance Mills, New York, Theodore Holland, Berlin, and later, Bryceson Treharne, New York.
Miss Bassett tells an amusing incident of her early career in Berlin. When
a child of thirteen, she attracted attention in the Berlin musical circle
as a composer, and one of the critics, attending a concert where her violin
and piano composition was being performed, asked her if she had been composing
very long. "Oh yes," said the little Miss Bassett, "ever since
I was a baby, but this is the first really big thing I have ever written!"
It was when humming her own songs quite recently that she discovered that she had a voice, which she began to develop without publicity, training with Clara and Grace Carroll, New York City, with characteristic seriousness. Beginning so quietly, she has rapidly risen to notice as a concert singer, although she declares that she made her début before she really intended it. She is a most conscientious young woman, setting great aims for herself. She declares that it is harder to sing her own songs because she never thinks of working on them and one cannot accomplish anything without giving it full attention. That is a part of her creed, to do anything as well as it is in her to do it and never to accept failure.
Miss Bassett likes to pass on the lessons she had learned to help others who are struggling with their first efforts. She warns against promiscuous composing, the usual temptation to please.
"There was a time," she laughingly declares, "when, if any one said to me, 'Will you set these words to music for me?' that I would do so even when the words did not impress me. Now, I do not write except when something is clamoring to be put down. Sometimes I feel for weeks that a thing is coming before it actually takes concrete form." Miss Basserr believes that one of the advantages of studying in Europe is that it takes a girl from her friends, who keep her [p.221] from work, distract her and disturb the concentration that is so necessary to success.
Miss Bassett lives in the lovely old colonial home "The Elms" at
Briarcliff Manor, It is situated on a hill overlooking a broad sweep of valley.
This home is her inspiration. One feels a closeness to nature in all her work.
Miss Bassett's relaxations are her Arabian horse and her Airdale and they are often off together for hours at a time. She has a long grey car, too, and is a skilled chauffeur, being proud of the fact that she does all the driving on long motor trips. Miss Bassett loves outdoor life and, besides her riding, is quite an adept at tennis, swimming, snow-shoeing and skating. She says that she does not play golf because she is unable to take so much time from her work. Miss Bassett loves her garden and spends much time in it. She paints her own bird houses, also does a little portrait work but has given up most of the latter work since the voice developed.
Miss Bassett is expected to go far as a concert singer. She is likened to Patti in voice and spirit and charm, and is making a specialty of Patti programs, in costume. But she declares that no matter what else she does she will keep on writing songs. She wants her songs to do two things, paint pictures and make people happier. In her song Take Joy Home, she hopes the audience will really go home with joy in their hearts. Many celebrated singers are using Miss Bassett's songs.
Miss Bassett has appeared in Palm Beach concerts for two seasons and in concerts at St. Augustine; as soloist with choral art societies, in Westchester; concerts at Carnegie Hall and at the Strand Theatre; in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel; in the big Springfield auditorium; and is very popular over the radio.
In the list of songs she has composed are especially noted: The Icicle; Mister Mockin' Bird; Take Joy Home; Passion Flowers; De Bogie Man; Little Brown Baby; A Child's Night Song; Lullaby Prayer; Yellow Butterfly; Laddie; The Whipporwill; The Moon of Roses; My Mother; Optimism; Serenade; Called Away.
Miss Bassett belongs to the Author's League of America; League of American Pen Women; American Society Composers, Authors and Publishers; the Audubon Society; S. P. C. A.; and was at one time secretary of the Briarcliff Suffrage Club for two years.
Miss Bassett has been interested in suffrage work, belonging to the suffrage club of her town, and has enjoyed work in the garden clubs and been otherwise active in many ways. She is a member of the S. P. C. A. and the Audubon Society. But the growing demand of her concert work is eliminating most of her club activity.
Of the Bassett family, the earliest record is of an ancestor, Baset, with the Duke of Normandy on the Loire in 895. A Baset accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066. In England records of the family are kept to the present. On her mother's side, the Mortimers are descended from Norman stock also, Ralph de Mortimer accompanying William I, in 1066.
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