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

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Newsletter June 2004

Contents of this Newsletter:

(1) Welcome
(2) New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
(3) DNA project update
(4) Featured Bassett: Louis Dubois Bassett, founder of Bassetts Ice Cream of Philadelphia
(5) Featured Bassett: James E. Bassett Jr., author of 1962 novel Harm's Way.

Featured in our next issue : War journals, war diaries and soldiers.


Section 1 - Welcome

Distribution of this newsletter now goes to more than 400 Bassetts and Bassett descendants located in nine countries worldwide.

You can read an update on the Bassett y-chromosome DNA testing project in the Spring 2004 Issue of New England Ancestors. I will also be presenting my Bassett DNA project at the July meeting of the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. Activity has picked up again for the Bassett DNA testing project following publication of this article and four new Bassetts have joined our project. Look for these results to be published in the next issue of the newsletter.

For those Bassetts who expressed an interest in taking part in the DNA project but have not yet signed up, please contact me when you have a chance.


Section 2 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter

#60B. John Bassett, founder of Bassett, Texas (Mid 1880's) combined into family #57B William Bassett of Arkansas

The following family lines have been added since the last newsletter.

#60B. George Basset of Hatley, Stanstead, Quebec & Canaan, Vermont
#270B. Penuel Bassett of Connecticut & Rhode Island (b. 1796 in CT)
#271B. George C. Bassett of Waterbury, Connecticut (b. 1890 Connecticut)
#272B. Arnold Bassett of Dutchess County, New York (b. 1727)
#273B. Joseph Bassett of Leicester, England (b. 1903)
#274B. Bassetts of Pulaski, Virginia (before 1900)
#275B. David Basset of Boston (b. before 1670)
#276B. Burl Bassette of Elizabeth City County, Virginia


Section 3 - DNA project update.

For those new to the newsletter, the Bassett y-chromosome DNA project is being used to show relationships between the different Bassett families worldwide. Only one new result came in since the last newsletter so their will be no update this month.

Scholarship fund total as of 04/17/04 = $195.00

Donations of any amount will be put into this fund to 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:



Section 4 - Featured Bassett: Lewis Dubois Bassett, founder of Bassetts Ice Cream of Philadelphia

The immigrant ancestor of this family is William Bassett, son of Roger and Ann (Holland) Bassett, who arrived in New England in 1635 on the ship Abigail. He was baptized 30 May 1624 at St. Martin's Church, Dorking Surrey. He settled in Lynn Massachusetts and is known as the #4B William Bassett of Lynn in my Bassett family records.

Lewis Dubois Bassett descends from William Bassett as follows:

William Bassett (b. 1623) married Sarah Burt Elisha Bassett (b. 1649) married Elizabeth Collins Daniel Bassett (b. 1694) married Mary Lawrence Elijah Bassett (b. 1735) married Rhoda.
Zebedee Bassett (b. 1778) married (2) ???.
Zacheus Bassett (b. 1803) married Elizabeth Dickinson.
Lewis Dubois Bassett (b. 1828) married Caroline Titus.
Lewis Lafayette Bassett (b. 1873) married Louise Austie Snyder Lewis Layayette Bassett Jr. (b. 1904) married Mary Hipson Ferguson

Lewis Dubois Bassett

4B248.131. Lewis Dubois Bassett, son of Zacheus Bassett

Lewis Dubois Bassett, son of Zacheus and Elizabeth (Dickinson) Bassett, was born 7 Jan 1828 near Daretown, Salem County, New Jersey. He married Caroline Titus, daughter of Joseph and Rohda (Peterson) Titus, on
22 Nov 1854 in Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania. She was born 7 Sep 1830 in Salem County, New Jersey. She died 13 Feb 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lewis started making ice cream using mule and salt. He sold it at market in Philadelphia at 2nd and Arch while still living in Salem County, New Jersey. When the family moved to Philadelphia, he opened a store at 5th and Market selling sandwiches and ice cream. He then moved to the Reading Terminal Market in the late 1800's. This store is still run by Bassett descendants.

1850 Federal Census of Upper Penn. Twp, Salem County, New Jersey (17 Sep 1850)
Lewis D. Bassett 23 M New Jersey Farmhand
Living with John and Ann Dickinson Family

1860 Federal Census of 8th Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6 Jul 1860)
Louis D. Bassett 32 M New Jersey Cheese Dealer
Caroline 29 F New Jersey
Annie 4 F Pennsylvania
Charlotte 2 F Pennsylvania
Emma 3/12 F Pennsylvania

1870 Federal Census of 10th Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (25 Jul 1870)
Lewis D. Bassett 43 M New Jersey Cheese Dealer(Ret)6000 1000
Caroline 40 F New Jersey Keeping House
Anna 14 F Pennsylvania Attending School
John D. 8 M Pennsylvania
Alice 3 F Pennsylvania

4B2481311. Anna Bassett - born 1 Jun 1856 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

4B2481312. Lula May (Charlotte) Bassett - born 18 Feb 1858 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

4B2481313. Emma Bassett - born May 1860 in Pennsylvania.

4B2481314. John Dickenson Bassett - born 9 Jun 1862 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died 1 Oct 1896.

4B2481315. Alice Bassett - born 1 Jul 1867 in Pennsylvania.

4B2481316. Jennie Bassett - born 13 Feb 1869, died 16 Feb 1869.

+ 4B2481317. Lewis Lafayette Bassett - born 13 Feb 1873, married Louisa Austie Snyder.

4B428.131.7. Lewis Lafayette Bassett, son of Lewis Dubois Bassett

Lewis Lafayette Bassett, son of Lewis Dubois and Caroline (Titus) Bassett, was born 13 Feb 1873 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died 22 Mar 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He married Louisa Austie Snyder, daughter of John Anthony and Emeline Carter (Kinard) Snyder, on 14 Aug 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born 11 Oct 1868 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She died 12 Sep 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He took engineering and crewed at the University of Pennsylvania.

4B42813171. Louise Austie Bassett - born 18 May 1902 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, married Charles William Brinker on 18 May 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born 12 Dec 1893 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Edwin Alexander and Eva Loucinda (Goerhring) Brinker.

+ 4B42813172. Lewis Lafayette Bassett Jr. - born 1904, died 8 Sep 1986, married Mary Hipson Ferguson. Mary died 5 Jun 2004, aged 94.

Obituaries, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1986
Lewis Lafayette Bassett, 80, leader of the family ice cream company

Lewis Lafayette Bassett, 80, the man who gave Bassett's ice cream pizazz, died Monday at his home in Gwynedd Valley.

President of L.D. Bassett Inc. from 1940 until 1974, he put the family owned company on a course that has brought it international recognition.

Once available only to Philadelphians in a handful of traditional flavors, Bassett's is now served at the White House and at diplomatic functions in the nation's capital. It is available throughout the country in a varied range of flavors.

The Bassett ice cream dynasty was founded in 1861 when Lewis Bassett's grandfather, Lewis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker schoolteacher, set up a mule-powered ice cream churn in the back yard of his Salem, N.J., farmhouse. Appropriately, his first flavor was tomato.

As years passed and younger Bassetts took over, the churn was replaced by two 40-gallon freezers and the business moved to the basement of the Reading Terminal. The ice cream made downstairs was served upstairs at Bassett's ice cream shop in the Reading Terminal Market.

Lewis Bassett, something of a Renaissance man in his interests, began making changes soon after he took over operation of the company. He was determined to pursue new ways to make Bassett's, the ice cream that bills itself as the "old-fashioned, extravagant ice cream".

Studying at Pennsylvania State University, he decided to reformulate the recipes developed by his father and grandfather and to do it with dramatic flair.

The result was a richer ice cream, one with more butterfat than most, one that is whipped more than most.
And the flavors. He plunged into it, experimenting with exotic fruits wherever and whenever he found them. He used kiwi fruit, guavas, manogs and papayas. In a return to the past, he also produced yellow tomato ice cream.

Then there was the Khrushchev experiment. When the Soviet premier came to the United States in 1960 for a visit marked by his shoe-pounding speech to the United Nations, the company was asked if it was possible to make borscht-flavored ice cream.

Twelve hours later, a sample was on its way to Washington, arriving there before the premier. History does not recount whether Khrushchev tasted the borscht ice cream, much less whether he liked it.

In the end, Mr. Bassett took the freezers out of the terminal basement and contracted with the Potts Ice Cream Co. at 20th and North Street in the Fairmount section for production of his 30 different flavors.

At the same time, L.D. Bassett Inc., spun off its Reading Market retail outlet - known in the trade as a "dip shop" - but saw to it that it was operated by a Bassett. The shop is now owned and operated by Roger Bassett, his grandson. It is not part of the ice cream-making company.

Well after Mr. Bassett decided that his company was on its way toward becoming what he wanted, he stepped down in favor of his daughter, Ann.

The new president of the company quickly found that she couldn't relax in the job. The former president was looking over her shoulder.

"My father was not an easy man to work for," she said. "He must have fired me 15 times and I quit the other 15 times. But we were very close."

"He made Philadelphia the ice cream capital of the world," Ann said with unabashed enthusiasm. He lived with a zest that he passed along to this children and his company, his daughter said, and carried his enthusiasm for life and living to the end. His interest in the organ was an example.

A former orchestra leader, he played the piano, drums, saxophone and trumpet. In his later years, he decided the organ was his instrument. He took lessons once a week. He played with the great volume that joy produces, Ann noted, and filled the house with reverberations. He continued his work on the organ until age and infirmities put an end to it.

Mr. Bassett was a graduate of the Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va., and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Bassett was also a pilot, a sailor, a house and boat designer, a photographer, a model train enthusiast, a collector of tropical fish - his wife put an end to that when 28 aquariums threatened to overwhelm all - and a fan of film.

Once, his unbounded enthusiasms got him into trouble, Ann recalled. It was the movies. It seems that he felt no room in the house was quite suitable for showing films. So, in the absence of his wife, he tore out the wall between living room and dining room, she said. His wife returned and, shortly, the wall was restored.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Mary Ferguson Bassett; a son, David; five grandchildren, and a sister.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Gwynedd. Burial will be in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.

1861 — Louis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker school teacher and farmer, begins making ice cream in his Salem, NJ backyard using a mule-turned churn.
1885 — L.D. begins selling his ice cream from a location at 5th & Market Streets in Philadelphia.
1893 — The Reading Terminal Market opens; Bassetts Ice Cream opens a retail store and moves production into the basement.
1906 — Lewis Lafayette continues operations after the death of his father.
1917 — L.L. dies; his wife, Louise Austin Bassett, assumes management until her son is ready to take over.
1925 — Lewis Lafayette, Jr., the third generation, takes over management of the ice cream store and production at the age of 21.
1935 — L.L., Jr. ships 10 quarts of ice cream, packed in dry ice, via freighter from New York through the Panama Canal to the American Embassy in Tokyo. The voyage takes several weeks but the ice cream arrives in perfect condition.
1959 — L.L., Jr. produces 50 tubs of borscht sherbet for Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
1961 — Bassetts celebrates its 100th Anniversary.
1973 — Production is moved to 20th & Fairmount Streets in Philadelphia.
1974 — Ann Bassett, great granddaughter of the founder and daughter of L.L., Jr., joins the company.
1975 — Bassetts begins the largest expansion in the company’s 114-year history.
1976 — Ann Bassett is named President after L.L., Jr. retires after 51 years.
1983 — Michael Strange, great-great grandson of the founder, enters the family business.
1986 — L.L., Jr. dies at the age of 82.
1989 — Michael is named President; Ann is CEO.
1996 — Bassetts introduces the Bassetts Ice Cream Sandwich.
2000 — Bassetts introduces website.
2001 — Bassetts celebrates 140 - year anniversary!

Here is a link to their website.



Section 5 - Featured Bassett: James E. Bassett Jr., author of 1962 novel Harm's Way.

The immigrant ancestor of this family is John Bassett of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He is known as the #8B John Bassett of Hunterdon County, NJ in my records. This family line is from Wales.

James E. Bassett Jr. descends from John Bassett as follows:

John Bassett
Amos Bassett (b. 1760) married Susan Stout Jeremiah Vardaman Bassett (b. 1805) married Tryphena Wellesly Birch Thomas Erskine Bassett (b. 1834) married Nina Hirsch James E. Bassett (b. 1869) married Lucille R.
James E. Bassett Jr. (b. 1912) married Wilma.

James E. Bassett Jr. was the author of the book Harm's Way, a look at Naval action in the Pacific during World War II. In addition to being a bestseller, the book was made into a movie, "In Harm's Way", produced and directed by Otto Preminger and starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Jill Haworth, Burgess Meredith, Patrick O'Neal, Carroll O'Connor, Slim Pickens, James Mitchum, George Kennedy, Larry Hagman and Henry Fonda.

8BA444.1. James E. Bassett Jr., son of James E. Bassett

James E. Bassett Jr., son of James E. and Lucille R. Bassett, was born in 1912 in Glendale, California. He died in September 1978 in Malibu, California. He married Wilma.

Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1978
Retired Associate Editor of Times, James Bassett, Dies
By Richard West, Times Staff Writer

James Bassett, retired associate editor of The Times and author of the World War II novel "Harm's Way," died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday at his Malibu home. He would have been 66 on Oct. 18. Bassett was found dead in bed by his wife of 43 years, Wilma, when she went to waken him at 10 a.m. He had suffered a major heart attack in 1969 and had complained of minor chest pains a month ago.

Bassett retired last October after serving 43 years on the staffs of The Times and its old sister publication, The Mirror. Born in Glendale, he was 2 when he moved with his parents to Mamaroneck, N.Y., where he was raised. In 1934 he graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Maine, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
After college, he returned to Los Angeles and joined the Times as a reporter. He later served the paper as aviation writer, political analyst and direct of the editorial pages until he was named associate editor in 1971.
At The Mirror, he held the posts of political editor, feature editor and city editor.

He entered the Navy as lieutenant junior grade in February, 1941, and went on to become public realtions officer for Fleet Adm. William F. (Bull) Halsey. He later retired from the service as a captain, USNR. He held the Bronze Star with combat V. Bassett drew on his wartime experiences for his novel "Harm's Way," which became a bestseller after its publication in 1962 and was made into a motion picture starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda. Times Book Critic Robert Kirsch called "Harm's Way" a novel that "belongs on the select shelf of the best fiction to come out of World War II."

After Bassett's novel "Commander Prince, USN" was published in 1971, Kirsch wrote of Bassett: "Few writers have achieved so complete an evocation of Navy life and the realities of battle." Another of Bassett's novels was "The Sky Suspended," published in 1968.

Mrs. Bassett said her husband was working on two books at the time of his death - one an autobiography and the other a volume on great sea admirals he had observed in the Pacific in World War II.

Bassett took leaves from The Times to serve in Richard Nixon's vice presidential and presidential campaigns of 1952, 1956 and 1960. He was public relations director for the Republican National Committee in 1954.

Besides his wife, Bassett leaves a daughter, Cynthia Anne of Portola Valley. Mrs. Bassett said funeral services would be private, with Pierce Bros. Santa Monica Mortuary in charge of arrangements.


Jeffrey Bassett
520 Salceda Drive
Mundelein, IL 60060 USA
bassettgenealogy@hotmail.com (home)