Newsletter February 2004
Contents of this Newsletter:
(1) Welcome to over 100 new recipients of the newsletter
Section 1 - Welcome
I want to welcome everyone who is receiving their first issue of this Bassett family newsletter. In addition to documenting the results of our Bassett DNA study, I will provide updates on my Bassett family research and will include articles on Bassetts of note to share with others.
If you have material for a featured Bassett that you would like to share with the group, send me a note to let me know.
Look for an upcoming article in the Spring edition of the New England Ancestors Magazine detailing information regarding my Bassett DNA project.
Section 2 - Web site links
This is just a reminder that the new website can be found at:
A current spreadsheet of results can be found at:
Section 3 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
The following family lines were combined into other families based on DNA evidence and new research:
#123B Charles Warner Bassett combined into the #1A William Bassett of Plymouth
The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.
#121B. James Aquilla Bassett (b. 1867 South Carolina)
Section 4 - DNA project update.
Outstanding tests as of today are:
Kit #13826 #46B Isaac Bassett of Kentucky
This newest kit is from a Bassett living in England. I am very anxious to see the results of this test to see if it might match our #1A William Bassett of Plymouth family since he is reported to have come from Bethnal Green in London.
Section 5 - Featured Bassett: John Spencer Bassett, noted historian.
10B12. John Spencer Bassett, son of Richard Baxter Bassett
John Spencer Bassett, son of Richard Baxter and Mary Jane (Wilson) Bassett, was born 10 Sep 1867 in Tarboro, North Carolina. He died 27 Jan 1928. He was a noted historian. He married Jessie Lewellin on 19 Aug 1892. He entered Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1886 and graduated in 1888. In 1891, he enrolled at John Hopkins University and received his doctorate in 1894. He then returned to Trinity College as professor of history.
1910 Federal Census of 2nd ward, Northampton, Hampshire County, MA (21 Apr
1920 Federal Census of 3rd ward, Northampton, Hampshire County, MA (19 Jan
+ 10B121. Richard Bassett - born 21 Feb 1900 in Durham, North Carolina, died 6 Feb 1995.
+ 10B122. Margaret Bassett - born 1902 in Durham, North Carolina, died 1982.
History Teacher at Smith Since 1906 Was Widely Known as Educator and Author - Had Gone to Washington in Connection With Raising of Fund for American Historical Association.
Washington, Jan. 27. - (AP) - John Spencer Bassett of Northampton, Mass., widely known as an educator and writer, was killed here today by a street car. He had written extensively on historical subjects, those pertaining to southern affairs. He was born in Tarboro, N.C., Sept. 10, 1867.
Mr. Bassett was for many years a teacher of history at Trinity college, now Duke University, Durham, N.C. Since 1906 he had been professor of history at Smith college, Northampton.
Mr. Bassett was struck by the car as he was approaching the Cosmos club here. s he was not a fraequent visitor at the club, no one was able to identify him at the time. He was placed on a passing motor truck, and taken to a hospital, where he died.
The death of Prof. John Spencer Bassett in Washington, where he was killed by a street car today, is the second tragedy to cliam a member of the Smith college faculty in less than a month. On Dec. 29, Prof. Harry Norman Gardiner, for many years professor of psychology at the college, was killed by an automobile i nfront of John M. Greene hall.
Prof. Bassett had gone to Washington in connection with the raising of an endowment fund for the American Historical association, of which he was secretary. He had been active in this association, and was also a member of the Massachusetts Historical society and the Antiquarian society He gave two courses at Smith college, on "the political and social history of the United States in recent times," and "American participation in the world war and the problems arising out of it." He was absent on a sabbatical leave last year, which he spent in Europe sutdying and gathering material for new books.
Among his best known works were a life of Andrew Jackson, "A Short History of the United States" and "Our War with Germany." Prof. Bassett edited "The Southern Plantation Overseer as Revealed in His Letters,", and "The Correspondence of Andrew Jackson," among other like volumes. He leaves his widow and two chidren, Margaret, who graduated from Smith college in 1924 and is now in New York City, where she is engaged in literary work, and Richard,, who is an artist with a studio in New York. It is understood he is now in Florida.
Prof. Bassett was a keen student of historical affairs and while on his sabbatical leave last years, spent considerable time at Geneva observing the work of the League of Nations. A book on the league, based on this visit to Geneva, is to be published soon by Longman's, British publishers.
Prof. Bassett was deeply interested in the Northampton Historical society, and had served on its program committee. Only recently it was learned today, he came to the treasurer of the society with a check which he had received for speaking before a woman's club. He had taken the money under protest, but finally agreed to accept it, and turn it over to the Northampton Historical society. It was believed this afternoon that the check, which was deposited as the nucleus of an endowment fund for the socity, would be named the Bassett fund.
Prof. Bassett was a member of the First church parish and interested in its work. He lived at 58 Pomeroy Terrace, where he purchased the Gaylord property some years ago.
John Spencer Bassett was born in Tarboro, N.C., Sept. 10, 1867, son of Richard Baxter and Mary Wilson Bassett. He received. the degree of Bachelor of Arts from Trinity college in 1888 and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from John Hopkins university in 1894. He was married to Jessie Lewallin of Durham, N.C. in 1892. He was professor of history in Trinity college from 1893 to 1906, when he came to Smith college.
Prof. Bassett was the editor of the South Carolina Quarterly from 1902 to 1905, a lecturer at Yale in 1907 and 1908 and at New York university in 1909. He was a member of the American Historical association, the Massachusetts Historical soceity and the Antiquarian society. His writings included: Consitutional Beginnings of North Carolin, 1894; Salvery and Servitude in the Colony of North Carolina, 1896; The Regulators of North Carolina, 1896; Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, 1898; Slaver in the State of North Carolina, 1899; The Federalist System, 1905; The Plain Story of American History, 1915; The Middle Group of American Historians, 1917; The Lost Fruits of Waterloo, 1918; second edition, 1919. He edited the writings of Col. William Byrd, of Westover, in Virginia, Esq., 1901. He was a member of the Century club of New York.
Prof. Bassett had the rare and fortunate gift of deep learning combined with a most pleasant personality, so that while he was regarded as one of the most learned members of the Smith faculty, his courses were among the most popular. The wide range of his knowledge and the thoughtfulness of his opinions made him much in demand as a public speaker, and his distinquished appearance and keenness of mind made him a commanding figure at any gathering. His passing cannot fail of awakening the citizens of Northampton and the students and faculty at the college to a feeling of irreparable loss.
The North Carolina Historical Reviewm (Excerpt) Volume XXV
July, 1948 Number 3
Among the pioneers who sought to promote historical scholarship in the South as the nineteenth century faded into the twentieth was John Spencer Bassett. A native of North Carolina, he attended Trinity College, attained the doctorate at the John Hopkins University, and returned to his undergraduate alma mater as professor of history. His interests were varied and his ability was exceptional. A penchant for research and writing yielded monographs on North Carolina history, and as a corollary he assembled printed and manuscript records in the Trinity library. He inspired in his students a Jeffresonian passion "to follow truth wherever it may lead," even though it undermined southern tradition. Southern liberal in a generation dominated by conservative thinking, his provocative preachments stirred reactionaries to protestations. A dozen years at Trinity College brought local and then national recognition and an invitation to a northern professorship. Thereafter his interest in southern history waned.
Bassett's father and paternal grandfather were democratic Virginians, devout Methodists, successful carpenters and contractors, slaveholders on a small scale, and critics of slavery but not antislavery agitators. His grandparent, Richard Bassett, resident of Williamsburg, apprenticed his son Richard Baxter to a Richmond firm of contractors. After mastering the trade the younger Richard became a builder, first in Williamsburg, then in Norfolk, and finally at various places in North Carolina. In 1861 he joined the Edgecombe Guards, a company of the First North Carolina Regiment, but after the battle of Big Bethel he was assigned by the Secretary to the Commissary Department and manufactured army supplies until the close of the war. A turn at planting in the Reconstruction era provided temporary occupation, but after a few years he returned to his original vocation.
Meanwhile, in 1863, a second marriage united a southern family with New England stock. mary Jane Wilson was the daughter of a Mine millwright who had moved to North Carolina a generation earlier. The Bassett's second child, John Spencer, was born at Tarboro on September 10, 1867.
Early education at Richlands, Goldsboro, and the Jefferson Davis Military Academy at LaGrange prepared Bassett for Trinity College, then located in Randolph County. When he enrolled as a junior in 1886, Trinity was an ordinary backwoods institution with an antiquated curriculum, inadequate financial resources, and a temporary administration. The election of John F. Crowell, graduate of Yale University, to the presidency the year after Bassett entered resulted in liberalization of the course of study and introduction of the system of election. Bassett graduated in 1888, and after teaching for a couple of years in the Durham public schools, he returned to Trinity College as instructor in English and principal of the preparatory department.
It is not yet know whether this family line of John Spencer Bassett from Mathews County, Virginia is related to the other two Bassett lines from Mathews County that have been linked together via our DNA testing project.
Section 6 - Challenge for the month.
To further our knowledge about the Bassett family, I encourage everyone to contact at least one Bassett from your local phone book not presently known to you to find out what branch of the family they might belong to and to find out whether anyone in their family has done any Bassett family research. There are almost 400 Bassetts on my mailing list located in over 40 states in the United States and 7 countries worldwide now and this might find us several dozen new family contacts. Feel free to foward them my name and e-mail address if they might be interested in getting added to our mailing list or if they are willing to share their family information.
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