Bassett of Plymouth and Barnstable, Massachusetts
William Bassett [a] b abt 1596, England, d 12 May 1667, Bridgewater, Plymouth, MA. He md [1] Elizabeth abt 1622, England, [2] Mary Tilden Lapham aft 1651. Elizabeth was b abt 1602, d abt 1651, Duxbury, Plymouth, MA.
Children of William Bassett and Elizabeth were:
  • William Bassett b abt 1624.
  • Elizabeth Bassett b abt 1626, Plymouth, MA, d bef 1668; md Thomas Burgess 8 Nov 1648, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Sarah Bassett b abt 1628, Plymouth, MA, md Peregrine White abt 6 Mar 1648/49.
  • Nathaniel Bassett b abt 1630, Plymouth, MA, md Dorcas Joyce.
  • Joseph Bassett b abt 1632, Plymouth, MA, md Mary.
  • Ruth Bassett b abt 1634, Plymouth, MA, md John Sprague.
William Bassett [b] b abt 1624, Plymouth, MA, d 10 Jun 1670, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA. He md Mary Rainsford abt 1652, Plymouth, MA, daughter of Edward Rainsford by his first wife, identity undetermined. She was b 1 Jun 1632, Boston, Suffolk, MA, d 31 Aug 1689, Deerfield, Franklin, MA.
Children of William Bassett and Mary Rainsford were:
  • Mary Bassett b 21 Nov 1654, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, d bef 1692; md John Redding 22 Oct 1676.
  • Hon. William Bassett b 1656.
  • Thomas Bassett b 1659, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Sarah Bassett b 1662, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, md Thomas Lewes.
  • Richard Bassett b 1665, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Nathan Bassett b 25 Sep 1667, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, d 16 Nov 1743, Chilmark, MA; md Mary Huckins 2 Oct 1690.
Hon. William Bassett [c] b 1656, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, d 29 Sep 1721, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA. He md Rachel Williston 9 Oct 1675, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, daughter of Thomas Williston. She was b abt 1657, Taunton, Bristol, MA, d 12 Dec 1744, prob Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
Children of William Bassett and Rachel Williston were:
  • Mary Bassett b 20 Oct 1676, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Rachel Bassett b 25 Oct 1679, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • William Bassett b 1680, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Jonathan Bassett b 31 Dec 1682, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA., d 13 Dec 1683.
  • Nathan Bassett b 1 Mar 1685/86, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.
  • Thankful Bassett b 1687.
  • Jonathan Bassett b 1690, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA.

Thankful Bassett b 1687, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, d 1777, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA. She md Matthias Ellis 30 Mar 1710, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, son of Matthias Ellis and Mercy Nye.

a. Immigrant William Bassett was among the passengers arriving in New England aboard the Fortune in 1621. A blacksmith by occupation, he was granted freeman status about 1633. In that same year, on a list of the 24 settlers taxed at Duxbury, William Basset was third on the list, indicating his comparative wealth. He served as a deputy to the Plymouth court, a member of a committee on bounds between Duxbury and Marshfield, Duxbury constable, a member of a committee to admit newcomers to that town, as well as various other public positions. One record states "William Basset of Duxburrow" granted by Plymouth Colony 100 acres of upland with "meadow convenient". He and John Howland jointly held one share as Dartmouth purchasers March 7, 1652. By 1656, William Bassett removed to Bridgewater, and was an original proprietor of that town. He held the largest library owned by any of the Pilgrams. His origins and ancestry have, as yet, to be discovered. He married twice, first to Elizabeth, surname unknown, probably by about 1621, and secondly, to the widow Mary Tilden Lapham, after 1651. All of his children were by his first marriage. His last testament and will is as follows:

    The last will and Testament of William Bassett Sen. (as dictated by him on his death bed) exhibited to the court, holding at Plymouth the 1st day of June, Anno Dom. 1667, on the oath of William Brett and John Carey.

    The third of the second month Anno Dom. 1667, the last will and Testament of William Bassett, Sen. being very weak and sick, and having spoken to his wife, and said, 'Wife, I must leave thee, but I shall leave thee with the Lord. If God had lengthened out my life it might have been that thou mightest have been more comfortably provided for.' But it being demanded of him by one who was acquainted with his mind about the disposition of his estate, whether his mind was as formerly: That he would give his movable goods with his chattels to his wife, answered, yes, it was his mind: and that she should have his house and grounds till she died: If she married not, and then he would give it to his son William, and his tools to his son Joseph: and it being demanded about his books which he formerly took care about, answered he could not now do it. To satisfy as soon as we may. Present then with him we have set our hands as witnesses to the above writing so far as we know.

    Witnesses hereunto
    William Brett.
    John Carey.

b. William Bassett was one of the early settlers of Sandwich in Barnstable. He was licensed in 1659 to keep an ordinary. He served as Collector and Constable of Sandwich in 1657, as well as Deputy to the General Court at Plymouth in 1662. He was one of the few individuals in the Colony accorded the title "Mr." At his death, all of his children were still minors. His widow, Mary (nee Rainsford) married Lieut. James Percival in Jun 1671, and with whom she had three children.

c. Third successive William Bassett of this line was the "Hon. Judge" William Bassett of Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts. Being but fourteen years of age when his father died, guardianship was granted to Mr. Hinckley, later Governor of the Colony. William Bassett attained considerable distinction in the colony. In addition to serving as a captain in the militia and member of the war council in 1689, he became a judge of the superior court of Massachusetts from 1710-1715, also serving as chief marshall of Plymouth colony from 1689-1692. He was stated to be "the most distinguished of any of the name in Massachusetts," and his gravestone is marked "Here lies ye body of Colonel William Bassett, Esq. who departed this life Sept. the 29th 1721 in ye 65th year of his age. He was a gentleman of great worth and usefulness. Blessed are the dead that dye in the Lord."

ANC: The Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, ongoing research project under the auspices of NEHGS, profile of immigrant William Bassett; GL: Massachusetts, 1620-1930 Local and Family Histories, History of the Town of Duxbury, First Settlers, p 66, 70; Bassett-Preston Ancestors, by Belle Preston, 1930, pp 23-27; Pilgrim Genealogies and Histories, Signers of the Mayflower Compact, p 103-104.

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