Bassett Family Association Database

Judge Benjamin Harrison (Hudson) Bassett

Male 1831 - 1893  (62 years)

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  • Name Benjamin Harrison (Hudson) Bassett 
    Prefix Judge 
    Born 24 Feb 1831  Coutreville (Centerville), Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    _UID 7D93973B6302D4498BB80A98DC6C78414ABA 
    Died Jul 1893  Austin, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Prairie Lea Cemetery, Brenham, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Each of William Henry Bassett's six surviving children inherited a one-sixth share.

      Written by Virginia Bassett Alleman, 1956
      One best that I know and understand of the Bassetts of my father's immediate family is that they came directly from England to the colony of Virginia; they came sometime after the execution of Charles I (1649); they were Cavaliers. Colonel William Bassett of Virginia was a close relation to my great-grandfather Bassett. I have no reason to believe that he was a brother, but possibly a nephew or first cousin. My great-grandfather Bassett (first name unknown to me) was born in Charles City County, Virginia. My grandfather, William Henry Bassett, was also born in Charles City County, Virginia. He was born October 24, 1796. He became an orphan before the age of five; both his parents having died in an epidemic. At that tender age he was adopted and reared by the mother of William Henry Harrison, who later became president of the United States. This relative of my grandfather's (exact relation unknown) was Elizabeth Bassett, wife of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence. She was the daughter of Colonel William Bassett of "Eltham" in Virginia. Then still in his teens my grandfather, William Henry Bassett, went to sea. Not many years later, I was told, he owned a coastwise ship that plied between Norfolk, Virginia and New York City.
      On January 22, 1822 he married Eleanor O'Neill of Baltimore, Maryland. Some family papers state that they were married in Washington, D.C.; other papers say Alexandria, D.C. At any rate, their first child (my father Joseph Carter Bassett) was born in Washington, D.C. on December 31, 1822. Their second child, William Henry Jr. came into this world in New York City. In the early 1830's my grandfather with his family and in his own ship came to Louisiana. He visited New Orleans; he also visited the coast of Cuba and Central America, then came up the Atchafalaya River to a small fishing village, now called Morton City, Louisiana. From there, he proceeded up the Teche River and came to Centerville, Louisiana, which at that time was a thriving village, or so I was told by my father who was a child of ten or older.
      My grandfather, William Henry Bassett, must have remained at Centerville quite a few years as two sons were born there, Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Jefferson. From Centerville my grandfather moved to Vermilionville, Louisiana. (The Lafayette, Louisiana of today.) A daughter was born at Vermilionville named Eleanor Ann. She died at the age of 8. From Vermilionville, William Henry Bassett went to Washington, Louisiana, and a son was born there. He also died while still young. Eleanor O'Neill who married my grandfather (William Henry Bassett) in 1822 was the daughter of O'Neill (first name unknown to me) and Eleanor O'Brien, who were both from Antrim, Ireland. They were married in Ireland and came to the United States and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Of this union there were two childen, a son named Bernard and my grandmother, Eleanor, who married William Henry Bassett. Bernard died without issue and was never married. He died while on an expedition to the West. Eleanor O'Neill Bassett died at Bayoudes Glaise in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, October 9, 1867. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. My grandfather, William Henry Bassett married a second time, a Caroline Toon of Memphis, Tennessee. A son, Lewis Bassett, was born to them. He became a doctor and settled in Texas. (Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Jefferson Bassett also settled in Texas.)

      Copy of letter from Joseph William Bassett to his daughter, Eleanor Bassett Waltz:
      New Orleans, Louisiana - September 5, 1935
      My dear Eleanor,
      I hasten to answer your request for data of your grandfather's life history. You say you wrote to the war department for certain information relating to his service in the Confederate Army.
      When I was born your grandfather was 52 years old, consequently when I had grown to an age where I began to take a lively interest in such matters as family history, he was so old and approaching his end that there was little time for him to communicate to me that which I afterwards so much wished to learn. What little I did learn, however, is about all that is available.
      Joseph Carter Bassett was born December 31, 1823 in Winchester, Virginia. He was the oldest son of William Henry Bassett and Eleanor O'Neill. There were four other children born of this union: Benjamin (Henry), Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Jr., and one girl, Virginia. Eleanor O'Neill, wife of William Henry Bassett, died and he remarried. The second wife was Caroline Toon of Memphis, Tennessee and of this marriage, one son, Lewis Bassett, was born. He later became Dr. Lewis Bassett and settled in Texas, where his children still live.
      Joseph Carter Bassett was given a first class college and university education. His two brothers, Benjamin (Harrison) and Thomas Jefferson, were graduates of Yale University and later were laywers in Brenham and Dallas, Texas. All of the boys received their pre-college education at St. Charles College, Jesuit school, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, which is now a seminary for Jesuit priests. Joseph Carter Bassett was absolutely the best posted and generally informed man I have ever known. His father, William Henry Bassett, was a sea-faring man, owner of sea-going vessels, and at the age of 23, his oldest son, Joseph Carter went to sea with him. Ill fortune came, during just such a hurricane as the one which recently harried the Florida Keys, and they were shipwrecked and lost everything. Father and son were saved by lashing themselves to a spar and being later picked up after days exposure. This tale I heard him tell many times.
      During their voyage in search of cargoes they had many times made the port of New Orleans and knew of the fertile land to be had in Louisiana for the entry fee. When they found themselves ruined financially they decided to move to Louisiana from Virginia and did so. In a few years they had reformed their lives.....
      Reconstruction days and the reign of the carpetbaggers followed. A long story and a gruesome one. Dark days for the whites that had survived the war. Father accepted an appointment as professor of history and mathematics at St. Charles College, Grand Coteau, Louisiana. In 1868 he met and married Eugenie Richard. She was only 23 years old, he was 44. Mother was a graduate of the convent of the Sacred Heart at Grand Coteau. Shortly after their marriage they moved to St. Martinville, Louisiana. There your grandfather was elected District Judge in which capacity he served for many years. To this union were born seven children: Amelia, Eleanor, Coralie, Eugenie, Virginia, William and Alice. Judge Carter Bassett died December 6, 1897 and was buried in the graveyard behind the Catholic Church, Grand Coteau, Louisiana. His wife survived him and died in 1906 and is buried in St. Martinville, Louisiana. in the Catholic graveyard there.
      Now, my dear, I regret that I am unable to give you more explicit and correct data. I sincerely trust this will serve your purpose.
      Lovingly, Dad
      Footnote from Aunt Pecey.
      William Henry Bassett, Sr. (father of Judge Carter Bassett) was born at Charles City County, Virginia in 1796. The date of his birth is verified by his death certificate at the Jesuit Seminary (or Parish Church), Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

      On the Bassett Building
      222 East Main Street in Brenham, Texas, can be found the following historical plaque.
      Texas Historical Commission
      Official Historical Medallion
      Bassett & Bassett Banking House
      Benjamin H. and Thomas J. Bassett opened their newly created bank and located their law offices in this building soon after its completion in 1873. Built with brick manufactured by the local Wild & Co. Brickyard, the Italianate structure housed the bank until it closed in 1884. An important Brenham landmark, the building features round arches and stucco hood moldings at door and window openings. The third story was added in the early 1900's.
      Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1985
      Entered in the National Register of Historic Places 1983.

      The Dallas Morning News
      June 24, 1893
      Major Bassett Will Accept
      The Senior Chair of the Law Department in the State University
      Major B. H. Bassett of Dallas, who has just been elected by the regents of the state university to the senior chair of the law department of that institution, which ex-Governor Roberts had filled, was seen last evening by a News reporter and asked if he would accept the position. He replied: “I have not yet been officially notified, but I shall accept.”
      “The position then will suit your plans better than your law practice?”
      “Yes, it will, though not because I am in the least tired of my law practice. The position will afford me a long coveted opportunity to write.”
      “You intend then to bring out some books on law?”
      “Yes; it is my intention to bring out a new work on Texas pleadings. However, I will bring out first a book on law forms.”
      Major Bassett is a lawyer of long and varied experience. Though he was located at Brenham nearly all of his life, he has practiced at nearly every leading bar in the state. Born in Louisiana in 1831, he came to Brenham, Texas, in 1854, and at once began the practice of law in partnership with his brother, Jefferson Bassett. Three years later he formed a partnership with General John Sales, which continued until the beginning of the civil war. At the close of the war the partnership was renewed and lasted until 1886, when General Sales moved to Abilene. Major Bassett then formed a partnership with E.B. Muse now county judge of Milam county, and Judge J. C. Muse, his present partner. In December, 1889, the partnership was dissolved and Major Bassett and Judge J.C. Muse came to Dallas, where in 1890 they formed a partnership with R.B. Seay, which was recently dissolved.
      While Major Bassett has acted as special judge in the supreme and district courts, he has never personally sought any positions in the line of his profession, but has kept closely to his practice, most of which has been in the civil law.
      During the winter Gov. Roberts addressed a communication to the regents which had the appearance of a resignation. It then became their duty to fill the vacancy.
      Major Bassett’s friends to the number of about 100 then presented his name to regents, among his indorsers being all the judges of the court of criminal appeals and a large majority of the judges of the courts of civil appeals, Judges R.R. Burke and Chas. Fred Tucker and all the Dallas bar; Hon. Seth Shepard, M.D. Herring of Waco, the Galveston bar, Judges T.S. Maxey and John G. Rector of the federal court, Gen. John Sales of Abilene, a number of the representatives to congress, a majority of the present legislature and scores of others from all over the state.
      It is understood that Governor Roberts will be retained in the law department as a lecturer on constitutional law and the theory of government.

      The Dallas Morning News
      June 28, 1893
      Major B.H. Bassett
      Senior Professor of Law In the Texas University
      Honorable B.H. Bassett, who has recently been chosen one of the law professors of the University of Texas, has been a citizen of Texas for nearly forty years. He was born in the parish of St. Mary, Louisiana, on the 24th of February, 1831, and is now in his sixty-third year. He was educated at the Jesuit college at Grand Coteau and took the law course at Yale, from which he graduated in 1853. In February, 1854, he came to Texas and settled at Brenham, Washington county, in the practice of law. In 1857 he formed a partnership with Honorable John Sales, which continued, except for the period of the war, for nearly thirty years. In 1886 he associated with him Messrs. J.C. and E.B. Muse under the firm name of Bassett, Muse & Muse and in 1889, he and his present partner, J.C. Muse removed to Dallas, where they at once entered into a large and active practice. Judge Bassett has never sought or held office, except brief terms of service as special supreme and district judge, and a two years’ term as one of the commissioners to codify the laws of Texas, which resulted in the adoption of the revised statues of Texas. His greatest distinction has been achieved in the quiet walks of his profession. In connection with General John Sales he has written a work on Texas pleading and practice and other books in use among the legal profession of the state. It is understood that he has several other works on Texas law in a state of fowardness which will be given to the profession in due time. Upon the organization of state troops by Governor Lubbock in 1862, Judge Bassett was assigned to duty on the governor’s staff as one of his aids, and assisted in the work of organization from which he was afterward relieved at his own request, to take position on the staff of General J.P. Major in the Texas-Mississippi department with whom he served until the close of the war with rank of major. Judge Bassett is still in the full vigor of manhood and health, and in the language of his associates of the Dallas bar, “he brings to the discharge of the duties of his position, a broad and varied experience, a matured judgment, and untiring industry, the modesty and piety of a christian gentleman and a lofty sense of the honor and dignity of his profession.” Mr. J. C. Muse says of him: “It may be well said that the appointment of Judge Bassett to a law professorship in the university is in every way fit to be made, and that it is matter of congratulation to the state at large as well as to the university and the young men who are to enjoy its privileges.”

      The Dallas Morning News
      July 17, 1893
      Major Bassett’s Condition
      Dr. Swearingen Telegraphed That His Life Is Almost Despaired Of
      It had been hoped that Major Bassett of Dallas, who was recently elected to the law chair in the state university, was fast recovering from his broken arm, but the following dispatch received yesterday by Dr. E.L. Thomson indicates that his recovery is almost despaired of:
      Austin, Texas, July 16. - Dr. E.L. Thomson, Dallas: Major Bassett is much worse. We almost despair of his recovery. Please notify his family. R.M. Swearingen.
      Dr. Thompson states that in addition to his broken arm Major Bassett is suffering from pneumonia.

      The Dallas Morning News
      July 17, 1893
      Death Claimed Him
      Death of Professor B. H. Bassett from the Effect of Complications
      Austin, Texas, July 16. - Honorable B. H. Bassett, recently elected a law professor of the state university, died here this evening from the effect of heart disease aggravated by an attack of pneumonia and nervous prostration resulting from breaking his arm by falling down the hotel steps in this city. He leaves two young lady daughters, who were with him during his sickness. His remains will be taken to his old home in Brenham.

      The Dallas Morning News
      July 18, 1893
      Major B.H. Bassett
      His Remains Consigned to Mother Earth at Brenham
      Brenham, Washington County, Texas, July 17 - The remains of Major B.H. Bassett were brought here on the east bound Central train this afternoon, where they were met at the depot and carried to St. Peter’s Episcopal church. Funeral services were held at the church at 6 p.m. and all that was mortal of one of the most learned lawyers in Texas was consigned to mother earth.

      Austin Colony Pioneers
      By Worth S. Ray
      Benjamin H. Bassett
      Judge Benjamin H. Bassett, of Brenham, Washington County was a member of the law firm of Sayles & Bassett. He married Mary Burnet, who was born in 1839 and died November 10, 1881. He and his wife are buried in Prairie Lea Cemetery at Brenham.

      1850 Federal Census of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
      William H. Bassett - 54 - M - Virginia - Farmer 15000
      Elleansa - 52 - F - Maryland
      Joseph B.C. - 27 - M - Louisiana
      Benjamin H. - 19 - M - Louisiana
      Thomas J. - 17 - M - Louisiana

      1860 Federal Census of Brenham, Washington County, Texas (1 Jun 1860)
      Jefferson Bassett - 27 - M - Louisiana - Lawyer
      Ben H. - 29 - M - Louisiana - Lawyer
      (Both living in a hotel)

      1870 Federal Census of Washington County, Texas
      Benjamin Bassett - 39 - M - Virginia - Lawyer and Banker
      Mary B. - 30 - F - Virginia
      Elinora - 8 - F - Texas
      Travis - 7 - M - Texas
      Lucy - 3 - F - Texas
      Hope - 1 - F - Texas

      1880 Federal Census of Brenham, Washington County, Texas (29 Jun 1880)
      Benjamin Bassett - 44 - M - LA-VA-NY - Head - Lawyer
      Mary B. - 40 - F - VA-VA-VA - Wife - Keeping House
      Elinore - 19 - F - TX-LA-VA - Daughter
      Louis - 15 - M - TX-LA-VA - Son
      Lucy - 13 - F - TX-LA-VA - Daughter
      Hope - 11 - F - TX-LA-VA - Daughter
      Ben - 8 - M - TX-LA-VA - Daughter
      Jeff - 6 - M - TX-LA-VA - Son
      Mary - 1 - F - TX-LA-VA - Daughter
    Person ID I15  59B William Henry Bassett
    Last Modified 27 Jun 2013 

    Father William Henry Bassett, Sr.,   b. 24 Oct 1796, Charles City County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1872/1873, Grand Coteau, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Mother Eleanor O'Neill,   b. Abt 1798, Baltimore, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Oct 1852, Bayou des Glaise, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 54 years) 
    Married 22 Jan 1822  Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Burnet Bassett,   b. 12 Aug 1834, Fredericksburg, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Nov 1881, Brenham, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years) 
    Married 20 Dec 1860  Clover Lea, Hanover County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    +1. Eleanor Hunter Bassett,   b. Oct 1861, Brenham, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Aug 1949, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 87 years)
     2. Lewis Washington Bassett,   b. 4 Jan 1863, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1938, Dallas County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
     3. Henry William Bassett,   b. Abt 1865
    +4. Lucy Bassett,   b. 24 Oct 1866
    +5. Hope Bassett,   b. 29 May 1869,   d. 8 May 1948  (Age 78 years)
    +6. Benjamin Harrison Bassett, Jr.,   b. 11 Aug 1871, Brenham, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 1921, Roswell, Chaves County, New Mexico Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
    +7. William Jefferson Bassett,   b. 9 Jan 1874, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Dec 1931, Bell County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
    +8. Mary Burnet Bassett,   b. 29 May 1879, Washington County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Feb 1946, Highland Park, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)
     9. Lila Graham Bassett,   b. 22 Oct 1881, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Aug 1932, Dallas County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
    Family ID F10  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S1] SLR - Southwest Louisiana Records - Church and Civil Records.