Bassett Family Association - , Modern Founder (originally founded in 1897)

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Splinters From The Tree August 2006

(1) Welcome
(2) Elizabeth Bassett, wife of William Bassett of Plymouth
(3) John David Bassett and the Bassett Furniture Company
(4) Thomas Bassett of Bassett's Creek, Alabama
(5) Updates on the Bassett Family Reunion, August 3-5, 2007 in Boston
(6) New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
(7) DNA project update

Thank you to following who made donations to the DNA project this month.

Jerry Bassett
Linda Kenney
Jeffrey T. Bassett
Duane Bessette
Barbara Basset

Section 1 - Welcome

This issue will feature two different branches of the #2B Thomas Bassett of Virginia family including members of the family that founded the Bassett Furniture Company and another line of the same family that settled in what is now Alabama.

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Section 2 - Featured Article: Elizabeth Bassett, wife of William Bassett

Very little is known about Elizabeth Bassett, wife of William Bassett who arrived on the Fortune in 1621 and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Her maiden name is not known for sure but is thought to be Tilden.

In an effort to find out more about Elizabeth, I have spent many hours (with the help of others) tracking down a female line descendant of hers. We have finally found a living female line descendant and she has agreed to particiate in DNA testing. She will be taking a mitochrondial DNA test (mtDNA) which is passed from mother to children each generation. Two people with the same mtDNA would share a common female ancestor somewhere back in time.

I am hoping the results of this test might match others that have already been tested and this might lead to more information on this Elizabeth Bassett. I have paid for this test myself. If you are a descendant of this William and Elizabeth Bassett, and would like to make a small contribution towards the cost of the test, please let me know.

Look for the results in a future newsletter.

Chart showing how mtDNA is passed from mother to children
Chart showing how mtDNA is passed from mother to children.

Section 3 - Featured Bassett: John David Bassett of Bassett Furniture

John David Bassett descends from #2B Thomas Bassett of Virginia as follows:

#2B Thomas Bassett of the Truelove (1635)
William Bassett
Thomas Bassett & wife Elinor
Thomas Bassett & wife Lydia Howle
Nathaniel Bassett & wife Mary
Burwell Bassett & wife Mary Hunter
Alexander Hunter Bassett & wife Mary Koger
John Henry Bassett and wife Nancy Jane Spencer
John David Bassett

A Bassett Furniture Throw Rug
A Bassett Furniture Throw Rug

History of Virginia, Volume VI (1924)
The American Historical Society, Chicago & New York

            John David Bassett is a loyal Virginian who has not found it necessary or expedient to wander from his "native heath" in finding opportunity for large and constructive achievement along industrial lines. In evidence of this stand the great manufacturing concerns which he has developed at Bassett, Henry County, a vital industrial town of model order and one that has its site on the old homestead farm which was the place of his birth. Here this man of initiative and administrative talent was born July 14, 1866, a son of John H. and Nancy J. (Spencer) Bassett, the former of whom was born near Preston, Henry County, and the latter in Patrick County, both families having early been founded in Virginia. John H. Bassett passed his entire life in this native county, save for the period of his loyal service as a soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war, and he was long numbered among the representative tobacco farmers of Henry County, the while he stood forth as a substantial and liberal citizen well worthy of the unqualified popular esteem that was his. He died in 1917, at the venerable age of eighty-three years, his wife having passed away in 1907, aged sixty-eight years, and having been his effective helpmeet, with exceptonal ability as a business woman. Three of their sons and a son-in-law were the principals in the organization of the Bassett Furniture Company, John D., of this review, having had major leadership in the forming and developing of this now large and important manufacturing corporation, and his associates in its organization having been his brothers, Charles C. and S.H., and his brother-in-law, Reed L. Stone, who is vice president of the company and who is individually mentioned on other pages of this work.
            There is a distinct element of romance in the career of John D. Bassett, who has proved a master of expedients and worked his way forward to the goal of large success. From a special edition of the Henry Bulletin, of Martinsville, issued December 15, 1922, are taken, with minor changes, the following interesting data:
            "John D. Bassett, of Bassett, Virginia, for whom the town was named, spent his boyhood days on the farm with his father, and he acquired a common school education, the financial resources of his father having been limited, so that college trianing for the son was necewwarily denied. He began early to assist in the work of the tobacco fields of the home farm, and learned how to grade as well as cultivate tobacco. His first work away from the home farm was that of pinhooking tobacco at Martinsville, the county seat. In 1890, at the time of railroad construction work in the locality, he opened a little general store at Bassett, his store building being the first structure erected in the new town, for which he obtained a postoffice, which was given his name, the postoffice being established in this store and his surname having been at that time adopted as the name of the town and postoffice. Making a success of the mercantile business, he branched out into the lumber business, and the exceptonal success which attended his activities in this connection had much to do with his gaining the foresight to see the natural advantages Henry County afforded for the manufacture of furniture. In 1902 he erected a furniture factory at Bassett, and thus founded the splendid business now conducted by the Bassett Furniture Company. His progressiveness was further shown in his establishing a bank, the same being now the First National Bank of Bassett. In 1921 Mr. Bassett organized the J.D. Bassett Manufacturing Company, which now has one of the largest individual furniture factories in the United States. Aside from being president of both of these corporations Mr. Bassett organized the Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company of Galax, Grayson County, and the United Furniture Company of Lexington, North Carolina, besides which he is a large stockholder i nthe American Furniture Company of Martinsville, these connections marking him as the largest furniture manufacturer in the South, if note the largest in the United States. Mr. Bassett is not only a large furniture manufacturer, but is also interested in many commercial enterprises in the South.
            "Mr. Bassett is a public spirited man, and ever stands ready to support any movement for the betterment of his town and community. He is, in fact, a self made, successful man of the best type. Stalwart in mind and body, broad of vision, he is a practical business man to whom the growth, under his directing hand, of large and pecuniarily profitable manufacturing enterprises is an absorbing interest and stimulating achievement, yet this does not restrict the breadth of his sympathies and his kindly and helpful interest in the work and lives of those around him, whether their attainments be large or small, or their part in the community life be prominent or obscure. To the native strength of his personality the doing of large things in business has added poise, while a modesty of bearing and quiet, kindly humor marks his intercourse with his fellow men in the course of the day's work or in the relaxation of a social hour. To those who have been given an opportunity of closer personal touch with the man and insight into his nature, it is plain that he finds far more satisfaction in the development of his community, in bringing out the latent better qualities of the young men around him, in building men as well as factories, and in community service, than in the continued accumulation of money, which to him is mainly the symbol of achievement."
            The foregoing local estimate has deep significance as defining the personality and the work of this man of large achievement, and it is not necessary in this brief sketch to outline the great part he has played in the development of some of the largest industrial enterprises in the South and also the upbuilding of a modern industrial town that is gradually gaining metropolitan status and the name of which perpetuates most effectively the honors which he has worthily won. Bassett is an industrial community of model homes, and better commendation than this cannot be given. The Bassett manufacturing plants, of which this subject of this review is the executive head, are of the best type and most modern mechanical equipment and facilities. The present capital and surplus of the Bassett Furniture Company are $1,150,000; the annual output of the factory aggregates a valuation in  excess of $1,000,000, and the annual payroll foots up approximately $2000,000. In the two treat manufacturing plants of the Bassett Furniture Company and the J.D. Bassett Manufacturing Company a total force of fully 500 employees is retained. Mr. Bassett is president of each of these corporations and also the First National Bank of Bassett. He is a republican in politics and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
            In 1893 Mr. Bassett wedded Miss Pocahontas Hundley, daughter of Capt. H.B. Hundley, she having been a successful and popular teacher in the rural schools prior to her marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Bassett have been born four children: William McKinley Bassett, the eldest of the children, was graduated from the Bassett High School and Blackstone Academy, and thereafter continued his studies in Richmond College and Randolph-Macon College, besides completing a course in the National Business College at Roanoke. When the nation entered the World war he enlisted for service in the United States army, and he was stationed in turn af Fort Thomas, Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; and Camp Lee, Virginia, where he won commission as lieutenant. He was not called overseas, but continued in service until the close of the war. He is now vice president of the J.D. Bassett Manufacturing Company. He has received in the Masonic fraternity the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, besides being a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. Blanche Estelle, the elder daughter, received the advantages of Blackstone Institute and Hollins College, and she is now the wife of T.G. Vaughan, secretary and treasurer of the Vaughan- Bassett Furniture Company at Galax. Anne Pocahontas attended the same educational institutions as did her sister, and she is now the wife of T.B. Stanley, a vice president of the Bassett Manufacturing Company. John D., Jr., attended Blackstone Academy, Washington and Lee University and the National Business College at Roanoke, and he is associated with the family manufacturing interests at Bassett. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity.

To read more about the history of Bassett Furniture Company, click on the link below.


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Section 4 - Featured Bassett: Thomas Bassett of Bassett's Creek, Alabama
                        Thomas Bassett of Alabama descends from #2B Thomas Bassett of Virginia as follows:

#2B Thomas Bassett of the Truelove (1635)
William Bassett
Thomas Bassett & wife Elinor
Thomas Bassett & wife Lydia Howle
Thomas Bassett & wife Lucy

The following is from the Alabama Department of History & Archives.

Bassetts Creek Named for Thomas Basset, a British Loyalist and native of Virginia. Migrated to Tombigbee area from near Augusta, Ga. circa 1772 to escape persecution by American patriots. Received in 1776, from King George III a grant of 750 acres on the west side of river Tombigbee, five miles east of this site, where he established his residence and plantation.

Bassett also received a Crown grant to lands at McIntosh Bluff. He was murdered by Indians circa 1780 on the east side of Tombigbee near the creek that bears his name. As a minor in Georgia, one of his guardians was General Lachlan McGillivray. Numerous Bassett descendants presently live in this area.

The following picture and text are reprinted from The Prologue Magazine written by Chris Naylor and published by the National Archives. Summer 2005, Vol. 37, No. 2

The public domain (public land) is land owned by the federal government that is subject to sale or transfer of ownership under laws passed by Congress. It includes western lands that the original states ceded to the United States as well as acquisitions from foreign governments. Congress was therefore initially responsible for many matters relating to the settlement of land in the public domain. The eight volumes of the Public Lands Class record thousands of diverse land claims and transactions regarding pubic domain, including military bounty lands, preemption rights, claims by refugees, agreements with Indian Nations, and the settlement of private land claims on public domain that the United States acquired from foreign governments.

To successfully claim land located within the public domain, one had to prove right to the land as recognized under public land laws. This meant that the claimant often had to produce evidence or at least explain the basis for the claim. One type of land claim, private land claims on public domain that the United States acquired from foreign governments, often offers researchers a unique opportunity to gain detailed information on the claimants and their families. The British, French, and Spanish governments granted a great deal of land within their American holdings to the inhabitants prior to the acquisition of the territories by the United States. After taking control of the land, the U.S. Government had to validate the titles originally granted by foreign authorities before the claimant could have legal possession of the land.

Although some claims offer little more than name of claimant and location of claim, others, such as Thomas Bassett's claims for two properties along the Tombigbee River in the Mississippi Territory (present-day Alabama), contain detailed information on the claimant and his family. In 1804 Bassett petitioned the "Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the act of Congress, passed the third day of March, 1803, for receiving and adjusting the claims to lands south of Tennessee and east of Pearl river" for rights to these two properties that his family had previously owned under British and Spanish grants. As with many land claims presented before boards of commissioners or other federal agencies, the board forwarded the records to Congress. To prove his case, Bassett submitted notarized depositions, translations of Spanish petitions and titles, surveys, and other documents, which supply information on his family dating back to 1780. This documentation accompanying these two claims builds an interesting portrait of the Bassett family.

In 1780 the Bassett family received from the British Government of West Florida grants for two properties. Indians killed Thomas Bassett, the father of the family, on or near his land in 1781. He was about 37 years old. His wife, Lucy, and two sons, Nathaniel and Thomas, survived. The region came under Spanish control in 1783 as a result of Spain's support for the United States during the American Revolution. In June 1787, the Spanish governor of the territory, Don Stephen Miro, signed and confirmed property and rights to Nathaniel Bassett, son of the late Thomas Bassett. Thomas Bassett, son of the late Thomas Bassett and Nathaniel's brother, was approximately 21 years old in 1787.

In 1788 the Bassett family went to New Orleans to manage business in the area. In their absence, the Bassett family allowed a William Powell to live on a section of their land. Lucy Bassett then suffered a series of accidents. The government seized her property, including the Bassetts' titles to their land, and placed the titles into the public deposit in New Orleans. A fire there in 1794 destroyed the original British and Spanish titles to the two properties.

On July 7, 1800, Nathaniel Bassett wrote to the Spanish government to confirm his title to the land, which had become part of the United States in 1798. By August 4, 1800, Spain had confirmed Nathaniel Bassett's petition. On March 19, 1804, Thomas Bassett, acting as administrator for his late brother, Nathaniel, petitioned the U.S. Government for the rights to his family's lands. The Board of Commissioners confirmed the land to Thomas Bassett, stating that each claim was "supported agreeably to the requirements of the law." Such detail and quantity of family information depicts the true value of the American State Papers to researchers interested in family and social history of the early American period.

A copy of the survey showing the location of land owned by Thomas Bassett
A copy of the survey showing the location of land owned by Thomas Bassett.

(December 13, 1819)

      To the Honorable, The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, In Congress, Assembled.
      The Petition of the undersigned Nathaniel Bassett (by William Russell his Agent) Respectfully Sheweth.
      That the said Nathaniel Bassett in the Year 1803, and for many Years before that time, resided in the district of Arkansas in the privince of Louisiana, then under the Spanish Government; That he has remained in the same tract of country up to the present time; And that in the said Year 1803; He applied to Casso. Y. Luengo then Spanish commandant at the post of Arkansas for a tract of six hundred and forty Arpens of land, which the said Casso. Y. Luengo then Spanish commandant at the Post of Arkansas Granted to Your Petitioner by a Grant in writing bearing date the 20th day of March in the said Year 1803; which said six hundred and forty arpens of land so Granted to Your Petitioner is situate on the bayou Glaize, And is the only tract of land ever owned or claimed by Your Petitioner in his own right in the said province of Louisiana.--Thay Your Petitioner caused a notice of his title and claim, (with his said Grant) to be recorded by, and in the office of the Recorder of land titles in Missouri Territory. And that the said claim of Your Petitioner has been Reported by the late Board of Commissioners of Missouri Territory to the Secretary of the United States Treasury un-confirmed: All of which appear by the report of said Board of Commissioners under date of July 16th 1811 - Page 137 of said report.
      Congress haveing reserved to themselves by law, the right and the power of makeing final decision on all claims not confirmed by said Board of Commissioners, or by the Recorder of land Titles: Your Petitioner had not suspected that his claim would remain as it has done, more than eight Years undecided by Congress, after being reported to the Secretary of Treasury According to Law - Which delay has been to Your Petitioner distressingly, and as he conceives unnecessarily & unjustly oppressive: And is the more alarming because the tract of country in which his land is situate, between the Saint Francis & Arkansas rivers, has been subdivided into Sections, reported fit for cultivation, And liable to be alloted away to satisfy Military bounties, before any final decision (as the laws of Congress have promised) has been made by Congress on the claim of Your Petitioner, whilst measures are progressing, for planting the Soldiers of the late Army upon his lands, bearing more the appearance of decideing his claim (and such claims) by force, or according to Power, than by the final legal adjudication of Congress as the laws have promised and Induced a belief.
      The aforesaid Grant of six hundred and forty Arpens of land, made and delivered to Your Petitioner, though not a complete Spanish Title, was such as that Government by makeing and delivering the Grant were bound to complete; and was intended to be reserved, and not ceded to the United States by the second Article of the Treaty by which the United States acquired Louisiana; and rightfully ought to be considered of equal merit with very many claims already confirmed by an act of Congress "For the final adjustment of land titles in the State of Louisiana and Territory of Missouri" passed April 12, 1814. Which amongst other things provides that every (Bonafide) Incomplete french or Spanish Grant, Concession, Warrant, or order of Survey, which was Granted for lands lying within the Territory of Missouri before the 10th day of March 1804; where claims have been filed with the proper Register or Recorder of land titles according to law; In every case when It Shall appear, that the concession, warrent or order of survey, under which the claim is made contains a Special Location, or had been actually Located or Surveyed within the Territory of Missouri before the 10th day of March 1804, & c-Such persons Shall be and they are hereby confirmed in their claims. No "One to claim a greater quantity of land, than the number of acres contained in One League Square.-
      By this section of law very many claims much larger in extent than that of your Petitioner have been confirmed, without any other differance of title, than that those confirmed contained on the face of the Grant a Special location, or had been surveyed by an Authorised Surveyor prior to the 10th of March 1804 - Neither of which circumstances under the Spanish Government would have affected the title in any material degree or in any other way, than that the claim located would exclude from the same ground any after location. - But a Grant containing a special location within itself, were always as easily obtained and thought no better than grants without such special location; mere words written on paper, without a single Artificial mark of line or boundary, is no more evidence that the grant itself is fair or Bona fide than if id did not contain those words, and such Grants lcoated by mere words in writeing, never were considered any better titles than Grants not so located, untill the aforesaid Act of Congress made them so, by createing a distinction never before known; - Actual survey in either case, being still necessary to precede the Patent.
      In most parts of Louisiana it was as conveniant (though a little more expensive) to make the location in the first instance, by an official survey of an Authorised Surveyor, as in any other way: Which in the settlements near the post of Arkansas, was so nearly impossible, that to procure an official survey by an Authorised Surveyor at the time of the Grant, would have actually cost your Petitioner more than the land was then worth: There being at that time, and untill the United States Acquired Louisiana no Authorised surveyor under the Spanish Government more convenient to Arkansas than the neighbourhood of New Orleans: And as the title under these circumstances, would never have been Annulled by the Spanish Government, for the want, or delay of survey: And not knowing or suspecting that such titles must pass the ordeal of criticism of another Nation, nor the pre-eminent advantage that would be given to claims located by words, or by survey, before a given day (then unknown)- There was at that time no inducement for Your Petitioner to have his claim located by a few additional words in the Grant: And still less inducement to make and expense equal to the value of the land to procure an official survey. For which reasons Your Petitioner contented himself, to Join with others who wished to locate their claims in the same neighbourhood, and to prevent their claims interfereing, in Good faith as neighbours, did employ a private surveyor to survey and mark a part of their lines and corners on trees, &c - Which was done in the aforesaid claim of your Petitioner in the Year 1803 - As the marks on the trees more incontestably prove, with less possibility of deceiving, than locations by words written on paper. But these facts may not appear in proof by the aforesaid report of the Board of Commissioners: It having been just about as conveniant and but little less expensive for claimants of lands in the neighbourhood of Arkansas, to Give evidence of the facts relative to their claims before a Board of Commissioners or Recorder of Land Titles At Saint Louis as it was to bring an Authorised Surveyor from New Orleans in 1803. Saint Louis ( distance of four or five hundred  miles from Arkansas) being the residence of the Board of Commissioners and Recorder of land titles, by neither of which tribunals was any depositions or evidence of titles admited, without the witnesses appeared there in person before them, which to Arkansas claimants ensured an expense but little short of the value of the land, and in some instances more than the change of the title would bring, from which considerations, Your Petitioner was obliged to content himself by sending his Title papers to be recorded and relying on them alone: Without encountering the expense of takeing witnesses personally to Saint Louis.
      The only reason known to Your Petitioner for his aforesaid claim yet remaining unconfirmed, Is because it had not been officially Surveyed by a duly Authorised Surveyor prior to the 10th of March 1804: Which Your Petitioner conceives for the reasons aforesaid ought not to bar the confirmation of his Title: It being as much intended to be reserved as private property by the second Article of the Treaty that ceded Louisiana to the United States, as grants containing within themselves a special location which are now recognized and confirmed by act of Congress. - It would seem both unreasonable and unjust to withhold a confirmation for want of performances not reasonable under the circumstances to be performed, more particularly injurious to the inhabitants of Arkansas than any Other part of the country, because it was further removed from the residence of any Authorised Surveyor under the Spanish Government; and so far removed from the residence of the Board of Commissioners or Recorder of land titles under the American Government as to operate nearly equal to a denial of common previlages in adduceing evidence in support of Arkansas claims. - Wherefor, and for the foregoing decision of Congress upon his claim and title, as it may seem to merit, according to Treaty, Law, right and Justice - measured in the same measure of liberality, Good faith and legal right, That Has been and ought to be extended to other claims of equal comparative merit. - The delay of a final decision untill now on the claim of Your Petitioner haveing been greatly to his loss, injury and inconveniance, And about sixteen years haveing already elapsed since the cession of Louisiana to the United States without being yet able to obtain any final decision thereon (which right of decision Congress have by law reserved to themselves) Your Petitioner indulges the hope, that his now asking for a final decision without further delay, will not be thought an unreasonable request.
      And your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray - December 13th 1819.

Wm Russell
Agent for Nathaniel Bassett

Washington County, Mississippi Territory
Resident who lived or owned property in Washington County, Mississippi Territory in 1805

Thomas Bassett, 1060 acres of first quality land located on the West side of Tombigbee River. Three cabins and 50 acres of improved land.

Thomas Bassett, 750 acres of land located on the West side of Tombigbee River, at the upper end of McIntosh Bluff with four cabins and 25 acres of cleared land.

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Section 5 - Featured Bassett: Bassett Family Reunion Updates 

The Bassett Family Reunion will take place the weekend of August 3-5, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts.

More details will follow in coming months.

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Section 6 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter

            The following family lines have been combined/eliminated since the last newsletter.

336B.   William Bassett of Fordham, Cambridge into the #62B William Bassett of Cambridge, England
352B.   Solomon Bissette family cominbed into the #14B Jean Besset family of Quebec
            The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.

113B.  Albert and Ruby Bassett of Boone County, Nebraska
336B.  John Bassett of Madison, New Haven County, Connecticut
352B.  Robert Bassett of Bay City, Michigan

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Section 7 - DNA project update.

Several new participants joined the DNA project, but no new results are back from the lab to report on this month

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 portion of the Bassett Family Association 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.


Jeffrey Bassett
520 Salceda Drive
Mundelein, IL 60060 USA
email address link in header above