Lewis Bassitt (1825-1902) and Sarah Edgecomb (1831-1891)

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Parents of Lewis Bassitt
Parents of Sarah Edgecomb

Lewis Bassitt (1825-1902) and Sarah Edgecomb (1831-1891)

Key words: Lewis Bassitt, Lewis Bassett, Sarah Edgecomb Bassitt, Sarah Edgecomb Bassett, Sarah Bassitt, Sarah Bassett, Lewis and Sarah Edgecomb Bassitt, Lewis and Sarah Edgecomb Bassett, Lewis and Sarah Bassett, Lewis and Sarah Bassitt

Sarah Edgecomb, daughter of Uriah and Betsey Edgecomb, and Lewis Bassitt, son of Samuel and Elsie (Lewis) Bassitt, were married on 29 Dec 1847.1 Their families were well acquainted - in fact Lewis' oldest sister Laura had married Sarah's older brother Walter seven years earlier. On April 4th of the following year, Lewis paid $107.20 to buy forty acres of land in section 12 of Bath Township from the State of Ohio. (This land had been granted by an act of congress to the state to aid in financing the construction of the Miami and Erie Canal. The canal, which connected Lake Erie with the Ohio River, was completed in 1845 and ran through the western edge of Allen County.) Lewis and Sarah settled down on this land, which is located northeast of the intersection of present-day Bluelick and Thayer Roads, and which adjoined the farm of Lewis' parents to the south.

Sarah and Lewis began rearing a large family, which eventually grew to eleven children:

Samuel Harry,2 23 Oct 1848 - 9 Mar 1925, m. (1) Mary Margaret Whipp, m. (2) Lizzie Mitchell.
Rozetta21, b. 13 May 1850 in Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH, d. before 1860.
Philo Horace,3 4  1 Apr 1852 - 8 Apr 1936, m. Alice Netta Everett
Marquis,5 26 May 1854 - 15 Aug 1914, m. Harriet "Hattie" Hedges
James, 16 Feb 1857 - before 1860.
Nelson, 23 Apr 1858 - after 1908, m. Katherine Burns.
William,6 27 Dec 1860 - 22 Aug 1933, m. Emma Nichols Schull7
Carlinda Ann (Roeder), 1 Jun 1863 - c.1934, m. John Roeder.
Sarah Jane (Flager),8 27 Apr 1866 - 13 Feb 1939, m. George Flager.
Charles, 21 Oct 1868 - 27 Sep 18699.
Lewis Ezra, 27 Jan 1871 - 1912, m. Anna Viola Burns .

Family of Lewis and Sarah (Edgecomb) BassittPhilo Horace Bassett
Left image: (l-r) Front row: Marquis, Lewis, Sarah (Edgecomb), Samuel H. Back row: Lewis E., William, Ann (Roeder), Nelson, Jane (Flager).  On that day, Philo was mad and would not have his picture taken with the others.  (original in possession of James H. Bassett, scanned from a negative taken by Steven J. BaskaufRight image: Philo Bassett  (original in possession of Steven J. Baskauf, direct scan)

From their early days, the boys had to work hard helping their dad with the farm work. And he certainly needed help with more and more little mouths to feed. Sarah must have been very busy, since for years there were no girls in the family to help her. The family also took an interest in spiritual matters, as evidenced by their support of the American Bible Society in 1863.10

In 1864, there were distractions for teenage boys as the Civil War raged and the local newspapers whipped up sentiments with calls for patriotic young men to enlist. The promise of adventure, lure of $300 bounty money, and the example of several cousins enticed Sam to persuade his parents to let him enlist at the age of only fifteen. On February 12, he was mustered into company I of the 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and left six days later for an experience that would change his life forever. His exploits are chronicled in a series of letters that he wrote home which were carefully saved by his parents11 and can still be seen at the Allen County Museum in Lima. In these letters, one can trace changes in his outlook as he moved with his unit through the South:

February the 22nd, 1864
(Nashville, Tennessee)

My dear Grand Father and Grand Mother - i thought that i would write you a few lines to let you know that i am well at the present time and i hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same state of health. ... i have seen a great deall of the world since i left you. We went through mountains. We went through a channel too miles long and it was just as dark as anything you eve saw. You couldnt see your hand before you. ... I have been in ten days and i like it fusstrate. Allthough a soldier's life is a hard life. We havent had anything but hard crackers and charcoal Coffee ...
[read full letter]

Camp of the 27th Ohio Regiment
Chattahoochee River, Georgia
July the 14th A.D., 1864

Ever kind and affectionate Father & Mother it is with the greatest of pleasure that i take my pen in hand to answer your kind and most welcome letter which arrived at hand about half an hour ago. ... The weather is awfull hot and sultry down here and we have had some marching to do since i wrot to you last the first day we marched 15 miles and the was lots of the boys that Just fell down and could not go any further when we was marching along in ranks. if they keep running us on much longer they wont have any in the company fit for duty we lossed 41 men kiled and wounded in that charge that we made on the fourth of July, 64. ... Well Father i saw the Captain about getting a discharge and he said when the Law was passed the was so many days appointed to get a discharge in and the number of days had expired before you sent the paper and therefore he could not get one. ...
[read full letter]

Hospital 1st Division 17th Army Corpse
Goldsboro North Carolina March 29th A.D. 1865

It is with the greatest of pleasure that i take my pen in hand to inform you that I am still on the land amonst the living and sincearly hope and trust that those few unworthy lines may find you enjoying the best of health I am not very well at the presant time I have had the fever and ague for the last three weeks but have got it about broke although I am awfull weak I am now detailed as a nurse tending to the wounded the is 9 wounded men in the room that I am in and out of the 9 the is 6 that have there legs off 5 of them are off above the Knee and one below the knee. ... I tell you now it is an awfull job they haft to be handled carefuller than a child for you can handle a child and them you cant. The was one man died in my room last night that had his leg off. ... The rebles calles us Shermans swamp dogs.
During this last raid through South Carolina and a portion of North Carolina we have waded swamps where we had to take our catridge box off and buckle them around our neck and lay them on the top of our heads to keep them from getting wet and more then that we had to stand in the water and skirmish with the rebs for half a day to a time and then when we would come out we had no dry clothes to put on and would be nearly froze stiff and when it comes to putting them all togeather it is not very plesant. 12
[read full letter]

We don't know the thought and feelings experienced by Lewis and Sarah at this time since their letters weren't preserved. But a few quotes from Samuel's letters give us glimpses of loving parents' concern for their son far away:

... Well Father you wanted me to write and Let you know whather i got them things that you sent me or not. I got too Handkerchieves, too towels, too Combs and one skain of Black thread and one Inkstand. And the Last and greatest was the Potraits of my most Beloved Father and Mother whom i had once enjoyed the Pleasures of the winter fireside... 13
[read full letter]
... Well Father you wrote that you had set Lawyer Guthrig to work to get my discharge i hope he may be sucessfil in getting it so that i can come home once more and help you do your work for i know that you kneede someone to help you. ... 14
[read full letter]
... Mother, you must write right away as soon as you get this letter. This road is not agoing to be abandoned and therefore mail can come through. You must write once evry weak wheather you receive any ancer from me or not for we aint agoing to have much time to write, but i will write as often as i can. ... And i will send my money home if i can any way a tall. You said that mabby i thought that you diddent want me to come home. Never never do i think of any such a thing. ... 15
[read full letter]

With Sam far away in the army, a lot of responsibility fell on Philo and Marquis who were only 12 and 10.

... Well Father i Suppose that you have a pretty hard task in getting your Harvest cut this summer i wish that i could ben at home so as to helped you i think things would went a great deal better. Tell Philo that i give him the prais of being a diligent boy this summer. I think if nothing happens and i live and have my health good i will be at home next summer to help you in doing your work on the farm. ... 16
[read full letter]

Samuel did come back to Ohio after the war, and the family was reunited again. Sometime in the 1870's, Lewis built a large house for his family on the farm. The house on the east side of Thayer Rd. just north of Bluelick Rd. is still standing there today and has been occupied by generations of the family through Lewis' great-great-great grandsons.

Philo followed in his father Lewis' footsteps on the farm. As a young man, he and his second cousin, Franklin P. Edgecomb worked splitting rails for fences from timber cut in the forests of Bath Township. "When we were boys, Philo Bassett and I had never made rails, but we wanted to try. We made 4000 for my father, 5000 for Lew Bassett (Philo's father) and 17 000 for Almon Hadsell. By that time we felt as if we knew how to make rails!"17 Frank Edgecomb also recalled an experience he had once with Lewis:

I recall when the Erie Railroad came through Allen County. Old man Bassett took $100 worth of stock; was later offered $20 for it but did not sell, holding on to it for years. Lew Bassett and I decided to go to the State Fair, but he refused to buy a ticket. The train was crowded and when the conductor came along to collect the fares, he took my ticket and asked old man Bassett for his. Lew showed him his stock in the railroad, to which the conductor stated, "Old man, you can't ride on that." "Keep it", says Mr. Bassett. "You pay or I'll put you off", replied the conductor. "It takes a man to do that", was Mr. Bassett's reply. "I'll show you", says the conductor. "At the next station you get off." This Mr. Bassett did not do. So I told the conductor I would pay the fare for Mr. Bassett. So then Mr. Bassett was telling me that he was getting to ride for his railroad stock, so I finally told him that I had paid for him. On the way home Mr. Bassett paid his own fare.17

In about 1890, all of the children who lived into adulthood got together for a family photograph. Unfortunately, on that day Philo (who had quite a temper) was mad about something and refused to go and have his picture taken with the rest. Soon afterward, Sarah died on 1891 January 28, probably of cancer. A large portrait of Sarah was made from that family photograph; perhaps it was commissioned by her grieving husband.

In his old age, Lewis would often drive a horse and buggy up to Beaverdam to visit his grandchildren (Samuel's children) there. DeWitt Bassett remembered that as a child he used to talk to him during those visits. He was a "nice old fellow", and no longer had the beard that he had during his earlier years.18 In 1899, Lewis received a letter from his son Samuel, who at that time was working in the Treasury Dept. in Washington, DC. The letter gives a feeling of how their lives had diverged since Samuel left Ohio: " I want you to answer this Father and tell me all the news. How your crops are, and how you are all getting along. How is the oil excitement, and have they found oil on your farm yet? How is the wheat and corn, and hay and hogs. It has been so long since I have been in a wheat field, or had any thing to do with any such things, that I am getting rather homesick to be with them again and see whether it would seem natural. I am shut up here in the office from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon without even the sun shining on me " [read full letter]

Lewis died on 25 March 1902 and was buried next to Sarah in the old cemetery on the east side of Beaverdam.

How do you spell Basse/itt?

According to Frank G. Lewis, a genealogist working on Bassett genealogy in 1919, the spelling Bassitt is unique to the Allen County, Ohio Bassetts.20 All other Bassetts around the country spell the name Bassett.

This can be understood when realizes that Samuel and Elsa Bassitt, parents of Lewis, who came to Allen County when their children were quite young, could not write their names. In deeds from New York to Ohio, they signed by an "X". For example:


Since there were few other Bassetts in the area, people simply spelled the name the way it sounded: Bassitt, Bassit, Basset, etc.

Samuel and Elsie had only one son, Lewis, and he and all of his family signed their name Bassitt into the 20th century. When Samuel and Elsa died, both of their tombstones were inscribed Bassitt. Although Bassitt seems to have been the accepted spelling, the spelling didn't seem to be an issue until about 1920 . Lewis and Sarah, who died in 1902 and 1891 respectively, share one tombstone, yet on one side it says Lewis Bassitt and on the other side Sarah Bassett.

The "correctness" of the spelling of the name seems to have only become an issue with the grandchildren of Lewis and successive generations. Of the four sons of Lewis which had descendants bearing the family name, descendants of Samuel H. and Philo use Bassett, and those of Marquis and William19 use Bassitt.

The greatest amount of "argument" (all in fun, of course) about the issue of spelling seems to be between descendants of Philo and Marquis. Perhaps this is because those two seem to have been the most stubborn of Lewis' sons! In defense of the -ett clan, everybody else does spell it that way. However the -itt branch claims that that is only because the -ett Bassetts are too lazy to dot the i. Only time will tell if the conflict will ever be resolved!

This account was taken from History of the Edgecomb, Bassitt, and Snyder Families of Allen County, Ohio by Steven J. Bassett Baskauf, 2007.  This portion of the book is freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License provided you give the citation listed above.  On the web, a link to this page would be helpful.
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Comments?  Questions?  Contact Steve Baskauf



1. Allen Co., OH Marriage Record No. 2 (1842-1850), p. 192

2. Lois Bassett (DeWitt Bassett), BES family update 41 (1977).

3. Marvel Cheney Bielstein, BES family update 60 (1977).

4. Edythe Bassett Conaway and others, Philo & Alice Bassitt (Bassett) Family Members (unpublished, 2005).

5. Karen Newman, Bassett and Bassitt Family from Lewis Bassett to Oak Bassitt, etc. (2004).

6. Alice Jane Burns Bassitt, BES family update 89 (1978).

7. Anonymous, Births and deaths recorded in the minutes of the Bassett, Edgecomb, and Snyder Reunion (1936-1975).

8. Eunice Growden Flager, BES family update 40 (1977).

9. Letter from Jeffrey N. Bassett to Steve Baskauf 6 Apr 1996.

10. Pledge of $5.00 to the American Bible Society by Lewis Bassitt of Bath Township, Allen County, Ohio, 1863 Sep 25. Located in the Genealogy and Family History files of the Allen County Museum, Lima, Ohio.

11. Some of the original letters are in the Allen Co. Museum, Lima, OH. Others are in the possession of Richard W. Bassett.

12. Civil War letters of Samuel Bassitt, written to family members from 1864 Feb 22 to 1865 Sep 12. The originals and typewritten transcripts are found in the Allen County Museum, Allen County, Ohio.

13. Letter from Samuel Bassitt to Lewis and Sarah Bassitt and family, Marietta, Georgia, 1864 Aug 25.

14. Letter from Samuel Bassitt to Lewis and Sarah Bassitt, Marietta, Georgia, 1864 Oct 16.

15. Letter from Samuel Bassitt to Sarah Bassitt, Marietta, Georgia, 1864 Nov 7.

16. Letter from Samuel Bassitt to Lewis and Sarah Bassitt, Chattahoochee River, Georgia, 1864 July 14.

17. Frank P. Edgecomb's Reminiscences, recorded 1944 October 29 by Mrs. John E. Breese. The transcript of this interview is in the Allen County Museum, Lima, Ohio.

18. Interview of DeWitt Simpson Bassett by Steve Bassett (Baskauf) on 1978 July 2.

19. William's daughter Helen Binkley used the spelling "Bassett".

20. Letter from Frank Grant Lewis to Charlotte Bassett, 1919 April 26. page 2. page 3. page 4.

21. The name "Rozetta" has always been somewhat of a mystery since it is a somewhat unusual name and there were no known relatives who also had this name.  However, it now seems probably that Elsie (Lewis) Bassitt (mother of Lewis Bassitt) was a sister of Betsy (Lewis) Snyder. It also now seems likely based on circumstantial evidence that Peter and Betsy Snyder had a daughter Rosetta (Snyder) Richardson.  If these suppositions are true, then Lewis Bassett and Rosetta Richardson would be first cousins.  Lewis was a baby when his family moved to Trumbull County from New York in about 1826.  Mary Rosetta would have been about 10 years older than him and if her family moved to Trumbull County at the same time as the Bassetts (as I believe they did) and were neighbors (as I think they were), she might have been his older playmate or perhaps baby sitter for the first several years of Lewis' life.  That may have inspired him to name his first daughter after her. 

U.S. Census of 1850 for Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH, p. 492.   [blank 1850 form]

U.S. Census of 1860 for Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH, p. 407.   [blank 1860 form]

U.S. Census of 1870 for Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH, p. 317.   [blank 1870 form]

U.S. Census of 1880 for Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH, p. 397.  p. 398.    [blank 1880 form]

U.S. Census of 1900 for Bath Twp., Allen Co., OH.    [blank 1900 form]

See also sworn affidavits by Philo Bassett outlining family connections discussed in this section: from Abstract of the Title of Philo Bassett, 17 Oct 1903 and from Abstract of the Title of Claude G. Vore, 29 Mar 1927 (both originals in possession of Lewis E. Bassett).