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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 423-424 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

De Bas is a well-known French surname. The Anglo-Saxon form is Bass, Basse, Bassus, Bassite or Bassett. Other variations of the name are Bassano, Basselin, Bassantien and Bassinus. It is a popular tradition that the name came from the French word, bas, meaning in this connection, short of stature. Bassett is a name found on the roll of Battle Abbey, Thurstine de Bassett (the extra t was not added until the fifteenth century), grand Falconer of William the Conqueror, accompanied him from Normandy and from him are descended all the English Bassetts. Cornwall and Devonshire, England, have always been strongholds of the family and many of them have been owners of the rich Cornwall mines. Two distinguished members of the family were Sir Francis Bassett, vice-admiral under King Charles I.; another Sir Francis, in the reign of George III., was made Baron Bassett and Baron of Dunstanville. Under Henry I., Osmund Bassett was judge of all Britain, as was his great-grandson under Henry III. Allan Bassett's name appears in Magna Charta among those of the King's counsellors. Peter Bassett was biographer of Henry V. and his chamberlain. Fulk Bassett is remembered in the records of St. Paul's Cathedral on account of his gifts to that church. The Bass arms are: "Gules, a chevron, argent between three plates. Crest: a demi-lion, gules, resting his paw on an oval shield in cartouch, or, charged with a fleur-de-lis, azure."

The first of the name in America was William Bassett or Bassite, who came over in the "Fortune" in 1621. The tradition is that he intended joining the "Mayflower" pilgrims, but waited for his bride. He was an educated man and brought his box of books with him. He was freeman in 1633; for six years representative to the old colony court; helped to lay out Duxbury, and served in the Pequot war. A son, grandson and great-grandson were named William, a favorite name in the family. William Henry Harrison, former president of the United States, got his first name from the Bassett family, to which his mother belonged. Thomas F. Bayard, of Delaware, was a son of a Bassett, mother a granddaughter of Richard Bassett, governor of Delaware and member of the convention of 1787 which framed the Constitution of the United States and the first to cast a vote for the removal of the capitol from Philadelphia to Washington. Another William Bassett came to America at age nine in the ship "Abigail." John Bassett came from England to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1643. Robert Bassett was another emigrant, as was Joseph. Thomas Bassett came in 1634 in the ship "Christian," settling in Connecticut. Another very early settler was Samuel Bass, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630. His son John married Ruth, daughter of John and Priscilla (Mullins) AIden of the "Mayflower." The family have always taken prominent parts in the development of the nation. They helped to subdue both forests and Indians and were at the front during the revolution; one hundred and fifty of the name serving from the state of Massachusetts alone. Moses Bass sent six sons and Henry Bass was one of the famous "Boston Tea Party." The Bass family was connected by marriage with the Faneuils who gave to Boston "Faneuil Hall," called the "Cradle of Liberty." The Bassett arms are those of Thurstine de Bassett, "the falconer"; Argent, a chevron between three bugle horns, sable, crest: a stag's head cabossed: between the attires, a cross fltchee, all argent. Motto: Gwill angua na chywilydd. "Death before dishonor," the motto having probably been added by Welsh members of the family. The line in New York was first settled in Washington county by Captain John Bassett, a descendant of Cornelius Bassett, who probably came direct from England.

(I) Captain John Bassett was a ship master, captain of a sailing vessel which ran between England and the New England colonies of North America. It has been maintained and often stated by James Bassett that his father, Captain John Bassett, piloted the French fleet in 1780 into Newport, and thus Count de Rochambeau and his soldiers were guided by the hand of a Bassett to the land which their bravery did so much to free from British tyranny. About 1760 he married Annie Hilliman and had sons: James; John; Henry, the latter going west and settling in Michigan.

(II) James, son of Captain John and Annie (Hilliman) Bassett, was born in Greenwich, Washington county, New York, about 1785. He was engaged in the grocery business; a Quaker in religion; a Whig in politics; married, in town of Easton, Washington county, New York, 1806, Mary, daughter of John Worth (a first cousin of General William Jenkins Worth) and his wife, Jemima (Swayne) Worth. Children: Frederick M., Caroline Tefft, John W., Edwin A., Susan, Harriet, Anna M., Oscar M. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bassett are buried at Fort Miller.

(III) Oscar M., son of James and Mary (Worth) Bassett, was born in Fort Miller, Washington county, New York, April 12, 1827. He was engaged in the forwarding business in New York, afterward came to Fort Miller and became a wholesale dealer in potatoes. In religion a member of the Society of Friends, and in politics a Republican, serving as town auditor. He married, at Fort Miller, New York, May 14, 1855, Frances M. Mills, born July 13, 1831, at Fort Miller, daughter of Abram and Catherine (Scoville) Mills, and granddaughter of John and Elizabeth (Knowles) Mills. Children:

  1. F. Herbert, married Mary F. Burgess, and has a daughter Anna;
  2. Richard Oscar.

(IV) Richard Oscar, son of Oscar M. and Frances M. (Mills) Bassett, was born in the village of Fort Miller, town of Fort Edward, Washington county, New York, April 15, 1863. He was educated in the public schools of Fort Miller, Schuylerville high school, and private school of Rev. Samuel B. Bostwick. He is an attorney at law, admitted 1886 from attorney's office of Delaware & Hudson Company, where he remained for seven or eight years, since which time he has practiced his profession in the city of Albany, New York, where he is now (1911) in practice. He is a member of Blue Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and in politics a Republican. His church connection is Protestant Episcopal. He married, June 15, 1892, in Albany, Sara A., born in that city, 1872, daughter of Robert and Catherine (Race) Wands, of New Scotland, Albany county, New York, the former a policeman, a veteran of the civil war. His father, William Wands, and his six brothers settled in New Scotland, Albany county, New York; they were Scotch. Catherine (Race) Wands was a daughter of William and Antoinette (Corbett) Race. Children:

  1. Richard Oscar (2), born March 13, 1893, graduate of Albany high school, student.
  2. Catherine Worth, born August 23, 1900, student at public school.
  3. Lloyd Tefft, born 1902, deceased.
  4. Herbert, deceased.

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