Friday, September 4, 2015

Fourth and (sort of) last installment of "A Missing Heir" on the Bassett family in NYGBR

My mother-in-law's paternal Bassett line has now got its due in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. The Record does problems, which is how this four-part series started off, with the puzzle of how apparent oldest daughter Elizabeth could be omitted from the list of legal heirs when her father died.

The Record also does documentation of families, which in the case of Lewis Bassett (1776-1871) and Dorcas Hoxie (1782-1832) amounted to twelve children and 67 grandchildren, plus assorted spouses. Each of the 79 has their own sentence or paragraphs in the genealogical summary, which is why the article had to appear in four installments. The nine children who had descendants were:

* Elizabeth (Bassett ) Porter (1798-1855) with 13 children,
* Peleg Hoxie Bassett (1800-1891) with 9,
* William Riley Bassett (1802-1889) with 10,
* Lucy (Bassett) Hoffman (1805-1882) with 10,
* Harriet (Bassett) Burdick (1807-1874) with 6,
* Nathan Lee Bassett (1808-1833) with 5,
* Samuel Clark Bassett (1811-1878) with 7,
* Sarah Emiline (Bassett) Utter (1817-1898) with 5, and
* Hannah (Bassett) Crandall (1822-1899) with 2.

As with many 19th-century families, the older children were far more prolific than the younger. Five of the nine stayed in New York; Elizabeth, Lucy, and Harriet died in Illinois, Nathan in Wisconsin.

Grandchildren or their spouses worked as farmer, miner, local official, attorney/soldier, clerk, box manufacturer, hoe manufacturer, dry goods merchant, machinist, blacksmith, teacher, lumber agent, insurance salesman, college professor, engineer, carpenter, tailor, cowboy, and auto mechanic. Many served in the Civil War, arguably the defining event for this generation.

Three women among the grandchildren lived on their own without marrying. One was a milliner, one ran a boardinghouse, and one may have become a Catholic nun -- if true, a most unusual career path from a long-time Baptist family.

The grandchildren's generation lasted 136 years, from the birth of Harry B. Porter, Elizabeth's child, in 1815 when James Madison was President, to the death of William Henry Bassett, Samuel's child, in 1951, when Harry Truman was President.

Most of the grandchildren's stories could occupy more than a paragraph or two. So if 45 pages and 583 reference notes sounds like a lot, these folks could easily fill a book, and maybe someday they will. (And strictly speaking we're not quite done, as the Porter family into which Elizabeth married has its documentation still to come.)

“A Missing Heir: Reconnecting Elizabeth (Bassett) Porter to Her Parents, Lewis and Dorcas (Hoxie) Bassett,” New York Genealogical and Biographical Record in four parts:

145 (July 2014): 165-84,
145 (October 2014): 281-91,
146 (April 2015): 117-23,
146 (July 2015): 198-208.


A H Zeller said...

I've no Bassets. and only a few New Yorkers, but it sounds worthy of a close read.

Harold Henderson said...

Thanks, Alan. "Close" in more ways than one: the type is small.