Newsletter November 2005
Section 1 - Welcome
With the release of the 1851 census of England and Wales on ancestry.com, I have been busy this month looking up census records for many different lines. I have connected up several lines to each other this month and will also have several connections in the newsletter next month. I have also connected up two lines to other lines using the results from our DNA testing project. The more people that we get to join the project, the more the results are helping us out.
Earlier this month, I attended the International Conference on Genetic Genealogy held at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C. It was very exciting to find out that my Bassett DNA project has the oldest lineage on record with a member that has participated in DNA testing. The Bassett family tested through the Bassetts of Blore and Hints goes back more than 900 years.
Section 2 - Featured Bassett: George Bassett of Ashover & Bassetts Allsorts
George Bassett descends from William Bassett of Ashover (#248B) as follows:
This article features a few items on George Bassett, founder of the confectionary company that bears his name and an article about his last surviving descendant, Elizabeth Bassett, who passed away last month at the age of 103.
The Bassetts of Sheffield
Mr. J. Johnson of the famous and popular "allsorts" confectionary factory in Sheffield has written a most interesting family-history of his forerunner who founded the business.
George Bassett, was born in Ashover, Derbyshire, and after his father died, he was put into apprenticeship to a confectioner, by a friend. Doing well and living by the standards taught by his family, he eventually, with William Lodge, founded the firm of Bassett & Lodge. George Bassett became quite famous in local politics and he was Mayor of Sheffield when General Ullyses S. Grant, his Presidency of the United States nearly over, came with his wife to visit Sheffield and stayed with the Bassetts in their house. The General was indeed at the Cutlers Hall, and later wrote a letter of thanks to the family.
George Bassett's two sons ran The Don Confectionery Company for a while until it went out of business and S.M. Johnson took over the holdings. George Bassett had a brother William who settled in Burton-on-Trent.
To read more about Bassett's Allsorts, click on the link below.
Here lies George Bassett. He was a manufacturer of a variety of liquorice sweets, but he never knew how famous he would become.
One day, in 1899, thirteen years after George's death, a traveling salesman accidentally dropped a tray of sweets. All the different kinds of sweets had been displayed neatly in their separate rows.
The sweet shop owner said he wished to buy the resulting mixture, and Bassetts' Liquorice Allsorts were born.
Derbyshire Times, 27 Oct 2005
Long-time residents in the village of Ashover believe Elizabeth Bassett – of Bassetts' confectionery firm fame – was a local legend, and they've been turning back pages of her life to keep her memory alive.
If you turn on TV's Heartbeat, or pick up books like the James Herriott series, you could be forgiven for thinking that the hills and dales of north Yorkshire are THE places that cultivate fascinating characters.
One of north Derbyshire's most picturesque rural villages, however, has just said a fond farewell to a woman whose 103-years' lifetime was so colourful she could have stepped straight out of a storybook.
Long-time residents in the village of Ashover believe Elizabeth Bassett
– of Bassetts' confectionery firm fame – was a local legend, and
they've been turning back pages of her life to keep her memory alive.
Something sweet was cooked up years ago in a cottage in Rattle – a
countryside village near Ashover.
Years later still, the liquorice was playing a part in the national success of one of his grand-daughter's prize-winning cows.
Elizabeth Bassett's cattle won championships at Royal Shows at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, and one of the ways she earned success was by feeding them on waste sweet products such as liquorice.
When Elizabeth died a few weeks ago, she was the last remaining direct descendant
of the Bassetts family.
Cllr Eddie Willmot, tenant farmer of Hill Top Farm, Ashover, on land Elizabeth used to own, said: "She told me that because her family were involved in making Liquorice Allsorts, she had the sweepings up – any waste liquorice that was unfit for putting into sweets – which she fed her cattle."
He believed the sweepings were from Bassetts' Sheffield factory and says nowadays it is possible to buy animal feed mixture with added waste sweet products.
But Elizabeth, he added: "was way before time" in realising the quality of energy that cattle could get from sugar.
Her family's connection with the Bassett confectionery firm is understood to have ended by her father's death many years ago, though their name has remained a part of the business title.
Factory closure - She was not affected directly at all by the closure earlier this year of the Chesterfield Trebor Bassett factory – which had stemmed from the sweet empire her family started.
Eddie added: "She was a very high profile lady in the farming world,
which is where her interests lay."
Janet Taylor, who was Elizabeth's housekeeper, and later her carer at Ashover, bought stocks of Liquorice Allsorts for Elizabeth when visiting her during the last few years of her life in residential homes near Matlock, and later, near Belper.
Janet said: "I'm sure she had boxes of them in her wardrobe at the homes, and she used to eat some, and also give them as gifts."
Elizabeth Bassett lived most of her life in Ashover and has ploughed indelible troughs there as a wily top farmer – and a lady.
Eddie Willmot, vice-chairman of Ashover Parish Council, of which Elizabeth used to be a member, said: "She was a lady. She always had an air of a bit of breeding.
"We always knew her as Miss Betty, and her younger sister, who died
about ten years ago, as Miss Kitty."
Elizabeth went on to become the oldest life member of the Royal Agricultural
Society, became president of Ashover Show and received national acclaim in
the Farmer and Stockbreeder, a national agricultural journal.
"I think her heart and soul were in farming. That's what she wanted to do," Eddie said. Her well-to-do beginnings in a family that helped the locals seemed to reinforce Elizabeth's own astuteness, like recycling waste sweets as animal feed.
Eddie said: "The interesting thing was that her father must have been a similar type of character, because when the Depression was on he employed local men to do various jobs for him that were probably not necessary. They dug a tennis court in Ashover. He was trying to provide local work to try and help them out through a difficult time."
The Bassetts were like gentry, said Janet Taylor. "They would be one of the first in the village to have a car. They had a chauffeur, they had nannies and a cook. "A lot of the village people worked about the farm, and the ladies either as maids, or in the kitchen."
Elizabeth went to boarding school, but she was one of the villagers, added Janet. And the lady the villagers called Miss Betty was also an extremely astute farmer. Eddie said: "She was farming in the Second World War. She was conscious of straightening bent nails – nothing was thrown away."
Though Elizabeth's death means the end of the Bassett direct family line, their name will live on in north Derbyshire. There are Bassett Rooms in Ashover church hall, named after Elizabeth.
Eddie Willmot said: "The modesty of the lady was that she said to me, 'Really, they shouldn't be named after me because they weren't built by my family'."
The Bassetts also built a Wesleyan Chapel, now demolished, in the area, Elizabeth's mother was a founder of the original Ashover WI and Elizabeth also gave as a gift the old Upper Town School, which is now run as a thriving social centre for the area by a working group.
Eddie said: "It's the end of an era. It was a very high profile family." He added that Elizabeth's death was a sad loss but that Miss Bassett would always say, "This happens, this is life. You don't live in the past, you move on."
Milestone: Elizabeth Bassett on her 100th birthday.
Section 3 - Featured Bassett: Lieut. Henry Bassett, Chicago Fire Department
Samuel Bassett and wife Mary Ann Goff of Ireland
Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, 20 Dec 1905 (Excerpt)
Lieut. Henry Bassett, chief advocate of the double platoon system in the Chicago fire department, was killed late yesterday afternoon while fighting a spectacular fire in a big factory building at North Wood and Division streets. He was crushed to death under a falling brick wall.
The lieutenant was in charge of truck company No. 40, and his efforts to demonstrate the advantages of the two platoon plan and the freshness of his men were largely responsible for his death. He was directing the members of his company with exceptional daring when the tumbling and crumbling bricks crushed him. Another fireman at his side almost suffered the same fate.
Girls Have Narrow Escape
In escaping from the doomed building, through clouds of smoke and flame, almost two score factory girls who had been working on an upper floor, narrowly escaped perishing. Four of them and several men employees were injured. Persistent rumors prevailed in the early evening that some of the factory operatives had lost their lives. But no bodies were discovered and the firemen at 2 a.m. believed all had escaped. There is a vague report, however, that one unknown factory employee had met his death.
The factory was that of the Charles W. Shonk company, which is engaged in making and painting signs at 629-635 North Wood Street. The six story building, which covered half a block of ground, was destroyed within two hours. The property loss was estimated at $60,000.
Bassett, Lieut. Henry, residence 1430 South Fortieth court, truck company No. 40; survived by a widow and five children.
Supporter of Platoon System
Lieut. Bassett was one of the best known members of the fire department, having been identified with numerous movements aiming toward the amelioration of conditions for the men. He had gained his greatest prominence through his fight for the double platoon system, and at the time of his tragic death, was chairman of the firemen's association, which has been agitating the scheme.
He joined the department on the day of the fatal cold storage building fire at the World's Fair grounds in 1893. He then became a member of engine company No. 1. Later he was transferred to truck 3, and in a malthouse fire on the north side some years ago was so badly burned that his life for a time was despaired of. His injuries disabled him for three years, when he joined engine No. 67 as a pipeman. Later he was transferred to South Chicago, and last August was again transferred.
Jan. 1, 1904 he was made a lieutenant, and when the double platoon experiment was instituted he was sent temporarily to engine No. 61, from which he went to his last and fatal fire.
Lieut. Bassett was 39 years old.
Section 4 - Featured Bassett: John E. Bassett of New Haven, Connecticut
John E. Bassett descends from #3B Thomas Bassett of Connecticut as follows:
Thomas Bassett (b. 1598) and wife Joanna Beardsley
Business New Haven
Small-Businessperson for 1784: John E. Bassett
John E. Bassett established a hardware store in New Haven in 1784. Dealers in manufacturers' supplies and general hardware, the business was located on Chapel Street. What made Bassett's store notable was not its product line - but the fact that the business continued uninterrupted until 1968. Over the years the company manufactured hardware, cutlery and ice skates, to name but a few items.
Bassett entered the hardware business as a clerk for E.B.M. Hughes, eventually taking over the latter's business. The store had begun as a small general store in 1784, owned by Titus Street. Street continued in business alone until 1792, when Hughes joined him as a partner. The War of 1812 made it difficult to collect outstanding receipts, and the company was dissolved and re-formed as a means of facilitating financial settlements. Bassett joined the business in 1855. He became known for his enterprise and integrity in the hardware trade.
An unusual giant pocketknife used in a Bassett promotional display and remembered by many old-time New Haveners can still be viewed on display at the New Haven Colony Historical Society.
Section 5 - Featured Bassett: Update on the Bassetts of Blore and Hints
Results for DNA test #43447 are back. This is a line of Bassetts that can trace their lineage back over 900 years in England. Early indications are that this family might possibly be the ancestor of the group of Bassetts from Cornwall as well. I have ordered several upgrades to tests in this group and hope to report more on these developments in a later newsletter.
Section 6 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
The following family lines have been combined/eliminated since the last newsletter.
50B. Peter Bassett of Clinton County, New York into the #14B French Canadian
The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.
112B. William Bassett of Maryland and Philadelphia (b. 1859 in Maryland)
Section 7 - DNA project update.
Donations of any amount can be made to the Bassett DNA project by clicking on the link below. Any funds donated will 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:
If you don't have Excel and can't open the spreadsheet above, you can now see the DNA test results at the following website.
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